How Judas Priest Got a Lifetime Ban From Madison Square Garden

Rob Halford recalls how Judas Priest received a lifetime ban from Madison Square Garden in an exclusive excerpt from his memoir Confess: The Autobiography.

The British band’s performance at the legendary New York venue in 1985 was its second visit, and singer Halford hoped it wouldn’t be the last. But after fans rioted and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage, they’ve never been allowed to return.

A statement by the publisher calls Confess ”the story of an extraordinary five decades in the music industry” and “the tale of unlikely encounters with everybody from Superman to Andy Warhol, Madonna, Jack Nicholson and the queen. More than anything else, it’s a celebration of the fire and power of heavy metal.” Confess: The Autobiography is on sale now.


We headed back down into America. In Madison, Wisc., we had to shelter 10,000 people under the bleachers of the Dane County Coliseum as a tornado approached. Glenn [Tipton] and I snuck a peek out of a back door and boggled at the low black, blue and vivid green clouds overhead as sirens wailed and the storm raged.

Then, just over a week later, our own tornado hit New York City. A second gig at Madison Square Garden, in a way, meant even more than our first: It hadn’t been a one-off! We had become a band who could play the Garden regularly! Or so we thought. Unfortunately, this was to be our last-ever show there.

It was a great, regular gig until the encore. As we came back on and I began wailing “Living After Midnight,” I caught sight, out of the corner of my eye, of a flying object. Huh? What was that? And here came another one … and another one … . As the song ended, I glanced behind me and saw a pile of foam seat covers from the auditorium cluttering the stage. I looked out into the venue, and the air was black with more seats flying toward us. One or two of them appeared to be alight.

I ran offstage and jumped on my Harley for “Hell Bent for Leather.” By the time I rode it onstage, it was like trying to motorbike through a floor-level soft-furnishings jumble sale. There were more seat cushions on the stage than in the arena. What the fuck? Two thoughts filled my head: a) This is fantastic! Our own riot! And b) They’re never gonna let us play this place again!

Glenn, Ken [Downing] and Ian [Hill] were by now bouncing on foam to play, as there was no bare stage left. Ken later said that it had been like playing guitar on a trampoline. After a quick “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming,” we scarpered offstage and hid.

Madison Square Garden later said, and the press repeated with great relish, that our fans had done $250,000 worth of damage. We didn’t do a thing to instigate the riot, but we got a lifetime ban from the venue. They

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Bratt Decor Chelsea Crib – Are Lifetime Cribs All They're Cracked Up To Be?

Have you seen cribs like the Bratt Decor Chelsea Lifetime Crib? This baby bed is fairly amazing.

It is astonishingly beautiful to look at and that's only the beginning. As a "lifetime" crib, it is designed to do just that – grow into a full-sized bed as your child grows – meaning that you won't ever need to buy another bed for your child.


Interesting idea, to be sure. But lifetime beds do come with a substantial cost attached and that's the real key to this idea. Are they worth their price tag?

Let's look at the concept of lifetime cribs from the eye of a parent. I've raised four children and have seen plenty of beds come and go through our home. Here are some things you'll want to consider – both pro and con – before jumping on Bratt cribs' – or any other manufacturer's – lifetime baby bed bandwagon.

The good news first.

– Yes, lifetime cribs make good sense. They're high on the value scale. First a baby bed and then, with a full-size mattress and box springs addition, a complete adult bed.

– If you concentrate on quality when shopping, you'll be happier down the road. Trust me, this is a bed that will need to take abuse for many years.

Chances are high your child (and her friends) will jump on, kick, dance and dramatically throw themselves on this bed. So it goes without saying that it needs to be sturdy. Check for quality and look for other parents' comments on the durability of the bed you choose. Bratt Decor, for example, has a reputation of building quality baby cribs; This is something you can check out easily enough by visiting some parenting forums and asking questions.

– Are you planning on having more than one baby? Then a drop-dead beautiful and sturdy lifetime crib can make a lot of sense because you'll be needing a crib over and over.

– As I mentioned before, this particular brand of baby crib is gorgeous and frankly, I'm sure that's a huge selling point for this company. Some lifetime cribs come in plainer versions which may appeal more to you and may bring the price point down, as well.

Remember that a bed usually is the largest piece of furniture in a bedroom, which means you will want one you enjoy looking at for years. Such a consideration is a smart choice for both your eyes and your pocketbook.

And the bad news?

– Cost. Lifetime cribs often cost more than their counterparts and that's no surprise. After all, you're getting more bed. But be careful because the quality of baby cribs varies widely.

Go to a store where you can actually put your hands on these cribs and give them a shake (do make sure the demo cribs are completely assembled first for an accurate test). Sometimes the lower cost versions are quite wiggly; you can tell they are not going to stand up …

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