Richie Faulkner returns to the stage as Judas Priest kicks off rescheduled 50 Heavy Metal Years tour dates


Judas Priest has kicked off a series of rescheduled dates on the North American leg of his 50 Heavy Metal Years tour, marking the return of guitarist Richie Faulkner, who suffered an aortic aneurysm onstage with the band in September. The tour was postponed following the incident.

Taking to the stage Friday night (March 4) at the Peoria Civic Center in Illinois, Faulkner seemed to be back on full throttle, helping the band navigate a selection of their greatest hits, including Got another thing coming, Turbo enthusiast and Pain killerbefore concluding with the fan favorite, Living after midnight. Check out the images below.

Judas Priest’s touring lineup currently consists of frontman Rob Halford, bassist Ian Hill and drummer Scott Travis, while Richie Faulkner and Andy Sneap form the band’s guitar tandem.

Last January, the band announced plans to resume the 50 Heavy Metal Years Tour as a quartet. This meant the departure of Andy Sneap, who produced the band’s 2018 effort, Firepower, and had assumed direct functions ever since. At the time, Sneap said he was “incredibly disappointed,” but respected the band’s decision.

However, following fan backlash, Priest reversed his decision, announcing that Sneap would indeed be joining them for the rest of the tour. They also confirmed that longtime guitarist Glenn Tipton – who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2018 – would join them “as soon as he can”.

Richie Faulkner has made a remarkable recovery since suffering an aortic aneurysm onstage at Louder Than Life in September. Just 10 weeks after the incident, he was shredding on Instagram Live, and in December he revealed he was back in the studio to record a guest solo for Demon Hunter’s upcoming album.

Faulkner joined Judas Priest in 2011, replacing longtime guitarist KK Downing. To date, he has appeared on two of the band’s albums: redeemer of souls (2014) and Firepower (2018).

KK Downing’s relationship with Judas Priest has soured in recent years. In 2018, he published a memoir titled Heavy Duty: Days and Nights in Judas Priest, who looked into the reasons for his departure. He noted his relationship with Glenn Tipton as a major contributing factor.

“I never found Glenn particularly easy-going,” Downing wrote (per The Guardian). “Early on, I became fully aware of the limited conditions in which he operated. If you were going to report to him, you would do it entirely on his terms.

And in the new issue of guitar worldTipton fires back, explaining why he thinks much of what Downing said is wrong and unfair.

“He insinuated that he was the driving force of the band,” he says. “That’s just not true. Priest [is] consisting of five guys working together. [There’s] not just one person leading the group. He said all these things that I think are meant to upset us and make us say something in response and for a long time we didn’t. But I have a lot to say and that’s enough.

The North American leg of Judas Priest’s 50 Heavy Metal Years Tour will stop in Los Angeles, San Antonio, Philadelphia and more, before concluding April 13 in Hamilton, Canada.

The band are then due to travel to Russia to begin the European leg of the tour in May, although the status of their shows in Moscow, St Petersburg and Kyiv remains up in the air following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

See the band’s full setlist at the Peoria Civic Center on March 4 below.

  1. A shot at glory
  2. Thunderbolt
  3. Got another thing coming
  4. Freewheel engraving
  5. Turbo enthusiast
  6. Hell Patrol
  7. The Sentinel
  8. A touch of evil
  9. Rocka Rolla
  10. victim of change
  11. desert plains
  12. blood red sky
  13. Invader
  14. Pain killer


  1. The Hellion / Electric Eye
  2. Hell Bent for Leather
  3. Break the law
  4. Living after midnight

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