Judas Priest(Click on thumbnail image to view larger version of photo)

Rob Halford K.K. Downing Rob Halford K.K. Downing K.K. Downing and Rob Halford Glenn Tipton Rob Halford Glenn Tipton Rob Halford From left, K.K. Downing, Rob Halford and Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest.Photos by Raymond T. Conway / ©Stars and Stripes

Legendary metal singer Rob Halford is back with a vengeance, once again commanding center stage with the reunited British heavy metal pioneers Judas Priest.

More than 4,000 leather- and denim-clad heavy metal maniacs packed the Stadthalle in Offenbach, Germany, as Halford and band mates Glenn Tipton, K.K. Downing, Ian Hill and Scott Travis ripped through an explosive two-hour, 22-song set.

The intensity of the band and crowd was electrifying, as fans ranging in age from 16 to 60 were treated to several classics such as “Breaking the Law,” and “Living After Midnight” — along with four killer cuts from the band’s new album, “Angel of Retribution,” which was released March 1.

Backstage following the Offenbach performance, Halford spoke with Stars and Stripes and offered words of encouragement for U.S. troops fighting the war on terrorism at home and abroad.

“Right now, I have friends serving in Iraq, onboard the USS Stennis and in Guam, and the work they are doing is incredibly important, not only for America but the entire world. I fully support what they’re doing,” he said.

Halford, who cites San Diego as one of his favorite hangouts, said he became friends with many sailors and Marines from the nearby Navy bases and the sprawling Camp Pendleton.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in America and have several friends in the U.S. military all over the world,” said Halford.

GIs have always been big fans and supporters of Judas Priest and Halford’s three solo bands: Fight, Two and Halford.

“Everyone in the band supports all [the troops], and we sincerely wish them the best and a safe return home to their families,” he said.

During the concert, Priest performed several other standout tracks, such as “Beyond the Realms of Death” and an acoustic version of “Diamonds and Rust.” The highlight of the night came with the band’s mesmerizing performance of “Victim of Changes” from the “Sad Wings of Destiny” album.

One German fan, who identified himself only as Stefan, had tears running down his cheek as The Metal God delivered a bone-crushing scream in the song’s finale.

“I’m a grown man, 36 years old, but that brought tears to my eyes,” he said after the show. “They hit every note. … Halford is just amazing.”

Servicemembers in Europe and Japan will have a chance to catch the metal legends. Starting Wednesday, Judas Priest rolls through the United Kingdom for 11 shows.

From there, Priest will make stops in Holland, Germany, Poland, Austria, Italy, Portugal and will wrap up the European leg on April 17 with three dates in Spain. After a short break, the band heads to Japan and will play seven shows May 8-18. Plans are under way for a North American summer tour.

For information on tour dates, locations and tickets, see For lively metal discussion, check out The Metal God’s Quorum message board at

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