Review Summary: Priest partly right what was wrong with Meltdown, but still fail to bring out a live recording that is above average.
Even though also Demolition
wasn’t a success, Judas Priest went on to issue a second live recording with Owens, Live in London
. It was his last brought out performance with the band, recorded in 2001 on the tour for Politioneel
, but only released in 2003, one year before the classic line-up would reunite.
Live in London’s Judas Priest was:
- Timothy S. Owens ~ Vocals
- Kenneth Downing Jr. ~ Lead Guitar
- Glenn Raymond Tipton ~ Lead Guitar
- Ian Frank Hill ~ Bass Guitar
- Scott Travis ~ Drums
26 tracks this time around, which makes for a long listen of more than 2 hours. In contrast to ’98 Live Meltdown
, the band has obviously got more Owens-era tracks to play, but only 5 in total made it to the set list. The real famous songs (Breaking the Law
, You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’
, Living after Midnight
, etc.) are there as always, but also some new entries that weren’t on Meltdown
are present, such as Heading Out to the Highway
, Turbo Lover
and Desert Plains
. Each of the two track lists has its pros and cons, and its more up to the listener to decide which of the two albums is the better in that regard, as everyone has his preferences.
Luckily we see a slight improvement in what were Meltdown
’s worst flaws. After building up some more playing experience together, the new line-up have grown more accustomed to each other, and that shows. While still not as energetic as we would like it to be, the boys from the instrumental section put out a much better performance than the one in 1998. As for Owens, he has found more of a niche for himself in Priest’s older material, but still cannot live up to its original image. The flaws were improved upon, but not as much as was necessary.
Despite these improvements, Live in London
still isn’t a very good record. We’ve heard the performances of most of these songs already (more than once for many), but Priest does nothing to keep them interesting after so many listens. We just don’t need another Breaking the Law
or Living after Midnight
on an album. Though the repetition of the songs does not so much detract from the quality of the album in itself, Judas Priest really seem to have lost the ability to surprise and amaze, and that is a mistake that is far too often made with live recordings. Seeing the show is nice enough, but a band will have to put out something special to continue to entertain on record. Seeing is more than hearing.
Taking all this into account, Live in London
still proves to be rather average. While the band feels more together and doesn’t sound as forced or dull as before, there is a true lack of excitement or new things happening out there, even with the addition of a different singer. For the third time in a row, Judas Priest does not satisfy with a live recording. If you so dearly require a live performance from the Owens-era, I suggest to go with this one, but Live in London
is far from an essential Judas Priest release.