The ashen skies threatened to open at any moment at Long Island’s Jones Beach Theater on Sunday, but even though lightning crackled in the distance during Judas Priest’s night-closing set, the evening remained dry. The band only pulled out one song from this year’s Nostradamus, so the rest of the set was dedicated to the glory days of yore. Apart from the old standbys (“Breaking the Law,” “Metal Gods,” “Hell Bent for Leather”), the deeper cuts provided some of the evening’s finer moments, especially a thunderous rendition of “Dissident Aggressor” and “Hell Patrol,” an unjustly forgotten number from the Painkiller album.
Though the ticket read “Heaven and Hell,” a Ronnie James Dio-fronted Black Sabbath is still Black Sabbath. Guitarist Tony Iommi appeared in great spirits, cracking a huge smile while carving out the jagged solo on “I” (some of those Dehumanizer tracks are a lot better than you may remember). Dio was in fantastic voice, sounding more like one-third of his alleged 66 years, especially on “Children of the Sea” and “Heaven and Hell,” the set’s closing number.
As always, Motorhead was Motorhead, and that’s all it takes. From a breakneck “Going to Brazil” to “Killed By Death” and the unstoppable closing one-two punch of “Ace of Spades” and “Overkill,” Lemmy Kilmister’s gravel throat has retained every bit of its charm, and his band is still top-notch. The only downer of the evening is that the audience skewed so far towards the older side, as kids with heavy metal dreams would be well advised to sign up for an evening of education and learn from the best.