It was time for Priest to release another live album. After the success of the band’s 1986 album ‘Turbo’ and the very successful tour called ‘Fuel for Life Tour’, the band was still riding high. It was decided to capture this new era of Priest with a live album. The album takes songs from two of the band’s shows on the tour. The first was from my hometown of Atlanta, Ga from the show on June 15, 1986 at the Omni. Back then I would’ve been 17 years old and about to start my Senior Year in High School which means I was in to the whole glam rock scene with the likes of Poison and Ratt and those bands. I wasn’t listening to Priest so completely missed that show…now I look on it sadly because what a show it would’ve been. The second show they took songs from was from the Dallas, TX show on June 27, 1986 at Reunion Arena. And from the sounds of this album, both shows were spectacular.
What I find really cool about this release is they did the same thing Kiss did with Alive! and Alive II. They did not repeat any tracks on the albums. Yep, all the songs on Priest…Live! were from the era after ‘Unleashed in the East’ so you get an entirely new set of songs. As a fan, I completely appreciate and love that fact. Then you can throw on both albums and play them back to back and get a killer show with no repeats. Good job guys.
The track listing is great with over 15 tracks covering the 5 albums. You get 5 from ‘Turbo’ which makes sense since that is the album they were touring at the time. You get 4 from ‘Defenders of the Faith’, 2 from ‘Screaming for Vengeance’, only 1 from ‘Point of Entry’ and 3 from ‘British Steel’. The version I have has 3 bonus tracks which is 1 from ‘Defenders of the Faith’, 1 from ‘Screaming for Vengeance’ and ‘Hell Bent for Leather’ which would technically be the only repeat, but since this is a bonus track and not on the original album it doesn’t count.
There is really only one negative I have to the entire show and that is the opening track, “Out in the Cold”. Now, it is is a great song, but not an explosive song to kick off a concert with. Way to slow! A concert should kick off with a bang and be bombastic and loud. Not with a keyboard sounding song that was a slow to mid-tempo song. The drum sound was loud and slamming, but overall a rather lackluster opener. They redeemed themselves quickly with the rest the next track “Heading Out to the Highway”. What is cool about that song is that the live version actually has two guitar solos, one by Glenn Tipton and one by K.K. Downing. The studio version only has the one solo I believe.
Another really cool track on the live version is “Breaking the Law” which adds another K.K. Downing solo that the album doesn’t have. And this is why live albums are so cool. You get fresh takes on songs by the band. The band cranks through song after song and all guys are on point throughout the whole album. Rob’s vocals sound great and he hits some of those classic Halford screams that are the signature Priest sound. The guitar solos by Downing and Tipton are nothing short of amazing as the two seem to be playing off each other to see who can out do the other. Some of my favorite tracks are “Love Bites”, “Some Heads are Gonna Roll” and “Turbo Lover” might even be as good as the studio version (not really, but I loved it). Another one I really loved was “Freewheel Burning” with the motorcycle revving and the hard pounding drum opening. Rob sounds possessed and brings it home.
The album closes with two tracks that see the band having so much fun and full of explosions, “Living After Midnight” and “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'”. Both are extended versions that have the crowd participating in full force and makes you feel like you are part of the show. The whole album felt more live than ‘Unleashed in the East’ and big part of that was Rob’s banter between songs. By this time in the Priest era, Rob was a pro and his crowd interaction was incredible. Nothing goofy, all solid and fit with the energy and vibe of the show. He was wielding the crowd like a puppet master.
The 2011 remaster gave us three bonus tracks from 3 separate shows from various tours. First was “Screaming for Vengeance” from Memphis, TN, 12 December 1982 during the Screaming for Vengeance Tour. The second was “Rock Hard, Ride Free” from Los Angeles, CA, 5 May 1984 during the Defenders of the Faith tour. Lastly was “Hell Bent For Leather” with the whole part with Rob riding out on his motorcycle as he is revving the bike to go as loud as it could go. That song was from Saint Louis, MO, 23 May 1986 on the Turbo Tour. All three were great additions.
The band upped their game for the 2nd live album with a bigger setlist and an even more live sounding album. The delivered the goods with this one, but will get dinged for having such a weak opening song with “Out in the Cold”. This misstep didn’t make the album perfect but it is still everything you want in a live album. It has all the fan favorite tracks as well as songs done a little differently than the album at times which is the fun of live shows. You get great banter from Rob and some killer solos by Tipton and Downing. You get a band that was still at the top of their game and were ready and willing to Rock Hard and Rock You All Around the World. I will give it a 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars for all those reasons above. If you liked “Unleashed in the East” then this will make a great addition to the catalog and must have for fans.
UP NEXT: ‘Ram It Down’ (1988)
THE COMPLETE ALBUMS COLLECTION SERIES:
- Rocka Rolla (1974)
- Sad Wings of Destiny (1976)
- Sin After Sin (1977)
- Stained Class (1978)
- Killing Machine / Hell Bent For Leather (1978)
- Unleashed in the East (1979)
- British Steel (1980)
- Point of Entry (1981)
- Screaming for Vengeance (1982)
- Defenders of the Faith (1984)
- Turbo (1986)
- Priest…Live! (1987)
- Ram it Down (1988)
- Painkiller (1990)
- Angel of Retribution (2005)
- Nostradamus (2008)
- A Touch of Evil: Live (2009)