During an appearance on the latest episode of "The Jeremy White Podcast", JUDAS PRIEST bassist Ian Hill spoke about his expectations for the band's first pandemic-era tour, the rescheduled "50 Heavy Metal Years" North American trek, which will kick off on September 8 in Reading, Pennsylvania and conclude on November 5 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Asked how he and his bandmates will navigate touring amid the coronavirus crisis and whether PRIEST will skip meet-and-greets and backstage guests on this upcoming run, Hill said: "I'm afraid it's gonna be that. We're all double-jabbed, so we're about as protected as we ever will be, unless something else comes out in the meantime. I don't know. And it's just that — [we'll] be careful, and we're just gonna keep our distance away from people. If we go out in the evenings, we'll try and keep our bubble together. We're gonna try to limit the amount of third parties you get to see.
"It's a sad thing, 'cause all of us, we've got friends and people that we see every time we come around," he added. "This time around, we're gonna have to be a little bit careful, I'm afraid."
In early April, JUDAS PRIEST's European tour, which was scheduled to kick off in late May, was once again postponed due to "ongoing COVID-19 vaccine issues." The trek will now run from May 27, 2022 in Moscow, Russia until July 31, 2022 in Oberhausen, Germany.
Two months ago, PRIEST singer Rob Halford talked to the "All Exce$$" podcast about the band's upcoming North American tour, which will mark the British heavy metal legends' first run of shows since June 2019. "We kick off in Reading, Pennsylvania in September," he said. "So we've got some saving grace as far as now and then," he said, referencing the international travel restrictions to the United States from the U.K. and other countries, including those in the European Union. "I was just talking to Martin, our production guy, about flights back into the U.S., and I'd like to feel that hopefully the corridors between the U.K. and the U.S. are fully open. I think you'll still have to show proof of vaccination and a test before you get on the plane. But you'll be able to get off the plane, because that plane is gonna be the safest place in the world to be. Once you get on it, and then you're safe and then get off and then go back into the world, hopefully you don't have to go through the hoops and stuff that you have to right now when you get to either end. But, look, I think that you do what you've gotta do. You listen to the scientists, not the politicians, and we've got through this."
"Every single one of us has been affected by this pandemic," he continued. "Every person on the planet, one way or another, has been affected, and we've all had to make the necessary safety changes that we need to make.
"Considering the severity of this pandemic, the way that the scientists worked so effectively and so brilliantly to getting a vaccine so quickly, it's remarkable," Halford added. "It's absolutely remarkable the way technology has advanced so much and they do a lot of this stuff on computer — DNA and virus, blah blah blah. It's just a blessing that this vaccine has been able to be created so quickly."