Review Summary: It may sound more live than its predecessor, but Priest's second live effort is evidently haunted by too many issues that make a live album dull.
Priest’s second live album, Priest…Live!
was released in 1987, its songs recorded on the 1986 Fuel for Life Tour
in support of their then-recent Turbo
album. It success was minimal, especially compared to their popular first live release, Unleashed in the East
, even though now no studio overdubbing had taken place after the initial recordings. The material is a summation of their favourites from the 80’s (except for the songs from Ram It Down
, which was released a year later), containing not one track from the 70’s.
Priest…Live!’s Judas Priest was:
- Robert John Arthur Halford ~ Vocals
- Kenneth Downing Jr. ~ Lead Guitar
- Glenn Raymond Tipton ~ Lead Guitar
- Ian Frank Hill ~ Bass Guitar
- David Holland ~ Drums
Priest…Live!: The Good & The Bad
- The idea behind it: Where Unleashed was a near-perfect summation of only 70’s material (obviously), Live! features exclusively material from Priest’s second decade, although releasing it in 1989, after Ram It Down
, would have been an even better plan. After all, in a broad sense, all 80’s studio efforts where a hybrid of hard rock and heavy metal (plus 1979’s Killing Machine
), a sound, along with its image, the band were now completely into. The band covers all albums in equal sense, and makes the right choice cuts, still covering the right tracks from the rather weak Point of Entry
- The band: Despite having obviously aged since their last decade, Priest’s performance is still very adequate, and nobody really has a problem hitting all the notes.
- The Turbo
songs: The songs from their latest offering do particularly well live, and are an improvement from their studio originals. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Turbo
was very much a glam metal/arena rock album.
- The production: Though not exactly unclear, the production is a bit of a letdown. Similar to their previous album, the vocals sound too distant at times, and the instruments are not mixed accordingly, as is often an issue with live albums.
- The lack of intensity: A combination of both age and image, the band’s playing seems a little too relaxed at times. Unable to surprise the listener with wicked extended guitar solos, powerful screaming and that sort of features, the band does little to improve their studio versions. Sounding very much like the studio versions is something a live album should avoid at all costs, as it adds no extra value to the songs.
- The length: Seeing as it also has quite some average songs on it, this live album could have well been shortened to a single disc. Another option could have been to show some 70’s material after all, which is, as most will know (or agree with, whatever your opinion is), Priest’s far superior decade.
- The overall value it really has: Priest…Live! is just another collection of live performances, instead of a whole performance, something that has often proved to work better on a live album. If these performances were now particularly interesting, it would have been very forgivable. The album makes up for a relatively nice listen, but afterwards one will wonder what is really good about this record.
Priest…Live! is in no way the excitement its title implies. The band can still play great, the record sums up their second decade nicely, but with the letdown production, a 2-disc length, and lack of intensity and innovation, the listener will come to the conclusion that Judas Priest have unfortunately presented us with a rather lacklustre live album.
Breaking The Law