JUDAS PRIEST’s IAN HILL On Coming Up With Setlist For Band’s Tours: ‘It Gets More Difficult Every Time’

In a new interview with Metal Express Radio, JUDAS PRIEST bassist Ian Hill spoke about the task of coming up with a setlist for the band’s tours. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “It is difficult. It gets more difficult every time. Obviously, the fans are coming to hear their favorite songs, so you have to be very careful which ones that you replace. You can’t just keep adding songs. You’ll stand around playing for days. We’ve got the core songs that the fans expect, as does any band. So, we sort of ring-fence those and then build the rest of the set around those songs. The other older songs, we can swap and change those; we can get away with that. And, obviously, we have to discard some to add the new material. So you can’t play much more than three songs from the new album and keep everyone happy. Every new one you’re putting in, you’re replacing somebody’s favorite.”

JUDAS PRIEST kicked off its “Invincible Shield” world tour on March 11 at OVO Hydro in Glasgow, United Kingdom. The band’s 18-song setlist included three tracks from PRIEST‘s latest album, “Invincible Shield” — the title track, “Panic Attack” and “Trial By Fire” — along with the first performance of “Love Bites” in nearly a decade.

Earlier in the month, Hill was asked by The Break Down With Nath & Johnny podcast who in JUDAS PRIEST has the final say when it comes to picking a setlist for the the band’s live shows. He responded: “Well, it is probably Rob [Halford, PRIEST singer], really. But then again, we’ve got a whole spectrum now. You’ve got the younger element with Richie [Faulkner, PRIEST guitarist]. He’s the same age as my eldest son. And then comes Scott [Travis, PRIEST drummer] and you’ve got Glenn [Tipton, PRIEST guitarist], of course. He can’t do it anymore [due to his battle with Parkinson’s disease]. [But] he’s still sharp as a pin between his ears. Then Andy [Sneap, PRIEST touring guitarist] and Rob and myself. So you’ve got a full spectrum there of ages. So everybody has their own favorites and their own types of JUDAS PRIEST song. We all sort of [go], ‘Yeah, like that. No, don’t like that one.’ And then we’ll go. If someone’s adamant that they really don’t wanna do something, well, you don’t wanna do something, and vice versa — if someone really wants to do a particular track, you do it. Like I say, you’ve got the ring-fence tracks there that you’ve gotta do — the ‘Breaking The Law’s and the ‘Living After Midnight’s and things like that, that you have to do. It’s what brings people to the shows, basically. And then you’ve got your other sort of classic PRIEST songs, which is a little bit easier because you can swap and change those between — do a month maybe using one song, change it to another one of a similar kind. And then try to get some new stuff in there — three, maybe four maximum is about as much as you can get at any one time. I’m sure there’ll be more than that, that we’ll go through. And just swap and change as we go.”

Asked if there are any songs that he can think of straight off the top of his head, in the PRIEST back catalog that he really loves to play live but never has, Ian said: “Ah, there’s one that we have played live that we haven’t played for a while and that’s ‘Dissident Aggressor’. I still say that’s probably my all-time favorite song. It’s just so raw — it’s just pure rock, really. It’s one of those songs that, even in the studio, I can remember it being — it’s two guitars, bass, drums and vocals. And I think there might be one extra guitar on there through the lead break. Other than that, it’s totally raw. It’s exactly as it would be on stage. And I love that song, apart from it being a great song. And there’s always other things. We’ve never really done ‘Before The Dawn’ — from the other point of view, the other end of the spectrum, if there’s a quiet part in [the show]. These days people tend to prefer the more upbeat stuff rather than the quieter pieces. But that would be cool to do as well. It’s only about two and a half, three minutes long anyway, so it wouldn’t take much time. But there’s loads in there — there’s loads of them. ‘Sinner’ we haven’t done, so it’d be great to do that again. We haven’t done that for a while. But we’ll see.”

Hill is the sole remaining original member of PRIEST, which formed in 1969. Halford joined the group in 1973 and Tipton signed on in 1974. Rob left PRIEST in the early 1990s to form his own band, then came back to PRIEST in 2003. Original guitarist K.K. Downing parted ways with the band in 2011, and was replaced by Faulkner.

“Invincible Shield” entered the U.K. chart at No. 2, just behind Ariana Grande‘s “Eternal Sunshine”.

Prior to “Invincible Shield”‘s arrival, PRIEST‘s highest U.K. chart achievement was with 1980’s “British Steel”, which reached No. 4.

PRIEST‘s 2018 album “Firepower” entered the chart at No. 5.

“Invincible Shield” is JUDAS PRIEST‘s fifth Top 10 album, after the aforementioned “British Steel” and “Firepower”, as well as 2014’s “Redeemer Of Souls” (No. 6) and the 1979 live album “Unleashed In The East” (No. 10).

“Invincible Shield” landed at No. 1 in Germany, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland, as well as No. 5 in France, No. 8 in Italy and No. 16 in Australia.


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