Music News & Reviews

Rumors confirmed: Metal band Judas Priest to play Saroyan Theatre Oct. 23

Album art for “Redeemer of Sou,l” the 17th studio album by British metal band Judas Priest. The band stops in Fresno on Friday, Oct. 23 at the Saroyan Theatre.
Album art for “Redeemer of Sou,l” the 17th studio album by British metal band Judas Priest. The band stops in Fresno on Friday, Oct. 23 at the Saroyan Theatre. Special to The Bee

Last week, as Mötley Crüe announced it would play Save Mart Center on its final tour, rumors swirled that the iconic leather-clad metal band Judas Priest would also be making a stop in Fresno this fall.

The band has now confirmed it will be playing a Fresno date on its upcoming “Redeemer of Souls” tour, which kicks off Oct. 16 at Vina Robles Amphitheater in Paso Robles. The band plays Friday, Oct. 23 at Saroyan Theatre. Contemporary Georgia metal band Mastodon opens the show. Tickets are $39.50-$129.50 and on sale 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 14 at the Convention Center box office, online at www.ticketsmaster.com or by calling 800-745-3000.

Pre-sale tickets are available starting noon, Tuesday. Aug. 11, according to Ticketmaster.

While Saroyan Theatre might seem on odd spot for a metal concert, the 2,351-seat performing arts venue has hosted rock shows in the past including Nine Inch Nails (2005) and shock rocker Alice Cooper (2009).

The band’s latest album debuted at No. 6 on Billboard’s Top 200 charts.

This will be Judas Priest’s first show in Fresno in decades. The band was in town way back in 1983, at least according to a photograph on the wall of Tokyo Garden, the Japanese restaurant/jazz bar downtown.

Judas Priest was part of a wave of British metal bands that became popular in the United States in the late 1970s. The band released a string of anthemic classics during the period, including “Living After Midnight” and “Breaking the Law,” and gained a new audience with the released of “Painkiller” in 1990. Its latest record, “Redeemer of Souls,” debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 charts last year, proving that metal music is not dead. At least among people who still buy albums.

Rolling Stone said the album is “proof that Priest can still call themselves metal’s defenders of the faith.”

Joshua Tehee: 559-441-6479, @joshuatehee

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