Judas Priest – “Priest… Live!” (1987)

Judas PriestThis double live album was recorded during Judas Priest’s “Fuel For Life” tour in support of their 1986 album Turbo.  All fifteen tracks included on the LP were taken from Priest’s 1980-1986 albums.  Therefore, there was no overlap of songs from with their previous live album, 1979’s Unleashed In The East.  That was one of the only cool things about this otherwise inconsequential release.

Priest… Live! captured the band at a strange time in their career.  Their latest album Turbo had found them experimenting with synthesized guitars and electronic drums, as well as writing pandering metal-lite slop.  The Turbo album did go platinum, but in hindsight it seems that Judas Priest opted for immediate (and fleeting) commercial success at the expense of their longtime fans and, ultimately, their own legacy.  Turbo was truly a colossal mistake.

The set list to Priest… Live! shows just how inconsistent Judas Priest’s 1980s album were.  While they had some killer tunes like Electric Eye, Freewheel Burning, and Metal Gods, they also had a number of losers like Love Bites, Parental Guidance, and Private Property.  Given that the album was recorded on the tour for Turbo, it doesn’t help matters that five of the fifteen songs on Priest… Live! came from that lousy LP.

Overall, Priest… Live! is a bore.  Judas Priest sounded too deliberate and too vanilla in their arena rock phase.  The use of synth guitars on some of the songs doesn’t help matters — it makes the album sound quite dated.  And there is always the looming question of how much of this recording is truly “live” and how much was edited in post-production.  Given the dodgy stories that surround Unleashed In The East‘s “live-ness”, one can’t help but be skeptical.  The crowd noises are obviously pumped in, which is distracting more than anything else.  But it doesn’t really matter because at the end of the day Priest… Live! is as toothless as it is useless.  My score: C+


4 thoughts on “Judas Priest – “Priest… Live!” (1987)

  1. I am new to your site, and I went through a number of your previous posts. I love 99.9% of what you post. I agree in most cases, and love 80’s hard rock and metal as much as you. This is the only review where I beg to differ. I personally don’t think this was an inconsequential album at all. If it was ok for Unleashed to add crowd noise, it should be not only accepted, but almost expected here. Turbo is not an awesome album but far from their worst. Also, in my opinion Love Bites is a decent song. Great live songs from arguably the best era of Priest deserves more than a C+ and not a bore, toothless or useless in my opinion.
    Again, I love your site, your opinions and reviews 99.9% of the time. With this album I think we need to agree to disagree.

    • I appreciate the feedback. I kind of have a love/hate thing with Judas Priest that stems from my worship of their earlier albums. As a consequence I am probably a lot harder on their eighties stuff than I should be. It’s very subjective, I know. I am a follower of your site as well. I really enjoyed the recent Scott Weiland write-ups. I never followed Scott outside of the first four STP albums, so you opened my eyes a bit there. Thanks again and keep up the great work.

      • Thanks for the praise and not being offended.
        I wish Turbo had been the dual album, Dual Turbos like the band wanted. It.might have been better, and the name is cool.


  2. The double album would have been called Twin Turbos, and the track listing is out, for example Wikipedia and Judas Priest Info Pages have it. Unfortunately it would include three of the worst Priest songs recorded by then. Red White and Blue, Monsters of Rock and Love You to Death. But it would have been cool to hear the RiD title track and Hard as Iron with proper production instead of the cheap 1988 re-recordings. Back on topic, Priest…Live! is killer, and the video a great representation of Priest live at their peak. Or second peak, they killed it in 77-78 as well.

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