As I was preparing to interview Judas Priest lead singer Rob Halford for this week's music feature, I took a cruise through the Metal God's Instagram feed, which is a surprising and often hilarious collection of historic photos of the band, life on the road mementos and pictures of Halford wearing cat T-shirts. Really.
He remembered the day vividly, and while his tale didn't make my preview of the band's show Wednesday at Northern Quest Resort & Casino, I'll relay it here.
"I just put that picture up for a Throwback Thursday on Instagram," Halford told the Inlander. "I'm holding a Budweiser, and that was 33-something years ago or more because just after Live Aid I started my path of sobriety."
Judas Priest played three songs at Live Aid — "Living After Midnight," "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" and their cover of Fleetwood Mac's "The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)." It was a cover song Priest didn't play that day, though, that gave Halford his biggest Live Aid memory.
Judas Priest covered Joan Baez's "Diamonds & Rust" on their 1977 album Sin After Sin. And the song has remained a live staple of Priest shows ever since. Backstage at Live Aid in Philadelphia, Halford saw Baez making a beeline his direction after Judas Priest's set.View this post on Instagram
“Live Aid Philadelphia 1985! wow what a day and what memories,do you have some?”🤘🏻😈🎤🔉🔥19 #heavymetal #ink #tattoo #tbt #throwbackthursday #live #philadelphia #music #festival #love #leather #beer #sober #leather #shades #denim #bottle #blond #bloke #family #friends #fans #together #care
"I go, 'Oh no, she's pissed because we did "Diamonds and Rust,"'" Halford recalled. "And she actually came up to me saying, 'Rob, I just want to say thank you for what you did with 'Diamonds & Rust.' And I go, 'Well, that's really great, Joan, I really appreciate it, that's so cool.' And she goes, 'Yeah, because my son is a big Judas Priest fan, and he liked your version better than he likes my version.'"
"How great is that," Halford continued. "She's a giant in music! And as the day went on, I'm hanging out with Jack Nicholson, and I'm just like a kid in a candy story. My jaw's dropping. 'Oh my God, it's Jack Nicholson!' And we ended up going to a couple of parties together. It was just a wonderful, wonderful day."
Judas Priest plays Wednesday at Northern Quest Resort & Casino. Uriah Heep opens the show.