Judas Priest dug deep into their catalogue for the Paris kickoff concert to their European tour Sunday night, pulling out hitman diary “Killing Machine” for the first time since November 1978. Frontman Rob Halford, forever clad in studded-black leather, leans into his mic to sing the song’s lyrics about hunting down his prey, taking pauses during the guitar solos for prowling the stage and wagging his head. The song was the title track of the second LP they released in 1978, though the record’s name was changed to Hell Bent for Leather when it was released in the United States.
The group has been looking back a lot lately when prepping its set lists. Last year, when they kicked off the North American leg of their tour, they gave “Saints in Hell” – a track off 1978’s Stained Class – its first recorded performance ever. They kept it in their set list for most of the tour.
The group is currently touring in support of last year’s Firepower, their 18th studio album. The album felt like a return-to-form for the band, and Rolling Stone ranked it Number Three on its list of the 20 best metal albums of the year. In a blurb for the list, the magazine wrote, “Frontman Rob Halford sings his tales of specters, necromancers and the ruins of war with more gusto than on the group’s prior record, 2014’s Redeemer of Souls, and the band plays with true bloodlust throughout, recalling their crushing work on 1990’s Painkiller and the melody of 1978’s Stained Class.”