Rumours persist that ‘’Priest… Live!’’ should be renamed ‘’Priest… Live! (in the studio) as the amount of studio intervention has rendered this album about as live as a dead fish. Allegedly. Still it’s got a cracking cover and some blistering Heavy Metal tunes. Performances where culled from the bands ‘’Turbo’’ tour of 1986. Not confident (?) of recording the one show PRIEST, for fan consumption, opted to cover the whole tour and even though you can smell the leather, hear the chains clash, the guitars solo and riff, the vocals howl and generally get carried away with the whole Metalness of the PRIEST live spectacle one can’t help but think that the entire album is just to sterile and like most PRIEST albums poorly produced. The added injection of crowd is particularly hard to stomach – this is Metal JUDAS PRIEST Metal! Why does the crowd then drown out the band on occasions?
‘’Turbo’’ broke the band Stateside so it was an obvious choice for a live offering to capture more of the massive and lucrative US market. Even though ‘’Turbo’’ was received about as well as Anti Social Behaviour Order in the UK Halford et al didn’t give two tosses and proceeded to Rock us all around the world. The stage show was bigger as was the hair, but not on Halford, the spandex tighter, the leather shinier and special mention must be given to Glen Tipton choice of sunglasses on the accompanying live video release. The whole thing reeks of Spinal Tap absurdity but PRIEST sure know how to batten down the hatches and deliver Heavy Metal like few others.
For what it’s worth and discarding the overall live patchiness this is a superb run out of the mighty PRIEST. Out is the likes of ‘’Victim Of Changes’’ and ‘’Sin After Sin’’ in comes the Metal-tastic ‘’Freewheel Burning’’ the awesome ‘’The Sentinel’’ and of course ‘’Breaking The Law’’ and ‘’Living After Midnight’’ The UK fans might have deserted in droves but the almost Hard Rock bite of ‘’Parental Guidance’’ ‘’Private Property’’ and ‘’Rock You Round The World’’ is what the Yanks lap up in droves.
Not an essential live album but as a greatest hits package it hits the ground running and at fair rate of knots. (Online November 30, 2005)