- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 11, 2020

Judas Priest followed Aerosmith on Friday and became the latest long-running rock band to push back plans to celebrate its 50th anniversary due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The “Breaking the Law” and “Living After Midnight” group said it postponed or canceled 25 shows the band had booked in the U.S. this fall to mark a half-century of Judas Priest.

Aerosmith made a similar announcement the previous day and said it would pushing back its 50th-anniversary concert from this fall to next. The show is now set for September 2021.

Both groups are among the latest internationally touring rock bands to put their plans on hold due to the global outbreak of COVID-19, the incurable disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

And while virtually every major performer has stopped touring in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, few have had to put off plans to commemorate a rock band’s rare golden anniversary.

Judas Priest was formed in England in 1969, making the heavy metal group among the genre’s pioneers in addition to arguably one of its most influential and well-known acts.

Aerosmith was started the following year in Boston, meanwhile, where the “Walk this Way” group plans to commemorate its 50th anniversary at the iconic Fenway Park baseball stadium.

Judas Priest announced the U.S. leg of the “50 Metal Years” tour Feb. 24, nearly two months after the first COVID-19 cases were reported but weeks before the outbreak was declared a pandemic by public health officials; Aerosmith originally announced its hometown concert in late January at a time when the total number of known COVID-19 cases in the country totaled only five.

More than 3.2 million people in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19 in the months since the outbreak started, including approximately 134,000 died as a result of the disease, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Judas Priest had originally planned to start its U.S. tour in September at MGM Casino in Maryland near Washington, D.C. That performance and 13 others have been bumped to next fall, while 11 of the shows, including dates in Long Island, Philadelphia, Orlando, Detroit and Chicago, have been canceled.

“We have every intention of adding more shows and cities to our 50th anniversary tour in the Fall of 2021,” Judas Priest said in an announcement. “As soon as we have the new dates finalized, we will announce them.”

Judas Priest had been scheduled to tour the group’s native Europe this year as well, but those dates were previously postponed to the spring and summer of 2021.

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