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It's kind of sad that K.K. and Glen keep improving over the years while Rob seems to be losing his voice. This DVD was released, according to the liner notes, to celebrate more than 30 years (wow they're old!) of Priest and the "Unleashed in the East" record. The DVD does not contain bonus features, odd since it's pretty much a standard for a DVD to have a bonus. Even Deicide's "When London Burns" had one bonus.
But I digress, The DVD makes up for it with a quality tracklist that would pretty much please every Priest fan. It seems though they never play "Rocka Rolla" ever, 'cuz there is no live album or video that has any "Rocka Rolla" tracks. Ah well, never really liked that album anyway. The other albums are represented with at least one track, I forgot but I think they left out one more album. Oh and obviously the Tim Owens stuff is not here, shame 'cuz I really liked "Cathedral Spires".
On to the performance. The DVD is filmed in Budokan and there is a LOT of people in attendance. But the audience doesn't do anything other than the odd headbanger in the front row. Seriously the Japanese are weird folk for going to a concert (we're talking about Priest here, how can they just stand around?) and not do anything other than clap at odd moments.
The band starts with "The Hellion/Electric Eye" combo which they've done at nearly every concert so why did they split it into two tracks in the album? I see no point for that. Okay, the stage backdrop is a giant electric eye and first it starts to shoot lasers at the crowd as if scanning them. After a while, the guitars start playing with a backing track. K.K., Glen, Ian and Scott then come on to the stage before "Electric Eye" starts, Halford later appears from the electric eye. The band performs admirably, as Priest should, for the entire concert although Rob Halford seems to struggle to hit the high notes, particularly "Painkiller" he looks like he's about to die.
The DVD is a bit cheesy at times with the transition effects and multiple angles of the same person (I swear there was a shot of Halford from the side and from the front at the same time). Now as I said before, this DVD is a great video for the fans because of the songs. The old songs are done well although "Diamonds and Rust" is not the "Unleashed in the East" version but a more faithful cover to the original, personally I like the other version better. It's very nice to have four great songs in a row near the end ("Victim of Changes" to "Hell Bent for Leather"). Of course Halford comes in a motorcycle for "Hell Bent for Leather" which makes the crowd cheer and shout.
Overall: This DVD is a great recording of the band. Although Halford struggles to hit the high notes, he puts on a great performance for a man in his 60s. The band also performs excellently, particularly the guitar duo that is K.K. and Glen. The drums ain't bad either (hey it's Travis). But poor Ian is rarely audible but he makes up for it with stage presence. The DVD could've been 87-94 if they had some bonus features, maybe a retrospective of Priest or "Unleashed in the East" which is what they were celebrating according to the liner.
I don't consider this worthy of a full price purchase. If you find it used or dirt cheap or a friend yours wants to give it to you, then go ahead. Again it's not a bad DVD it's just lacking in the features department.
Priest are in top form, even after over 30 years together. The concert, filmed in front of Japanese fans, has the band tearing though several classic songs, and only a few not-so-good sections of the performance. Production wise, the vocals are loud and up front, and the guitars and crisp and tight. Ian Hill's bass is a steady pulse (a good subwoofer is recommended), and the drums are clear.
Negative points on the DVD are some of the cheesy camera angles (I mean, this is a 2005 release), such as the 4 way splitscreen, and even a star fade (if i remember correctly). Also, a few unworthy songs are performed; Diamonds and Rust is entirely acoustic, and while it may have been boosted in 'emotion' or whatever, it's lacking that killer opening riff. Hot Rockin' is decently performed, but again, the song itself is pretty lame. The new material goes by well with the fans, who eat up pretty much anything Halford says or does (including the somewhat annoying chanting before the last song, You've Got Another Thing Comin'.
Highlights? Of course; The Ripper, Breaking the Law and Painkiller are rendered brilliantly by a trained veteran band, and Halford's still great shrieks pepper the latter. Beyond the Realms of Death saves a near 5 song shitstream near the middle of the performance, with 2 pretty bad newer songs, and then Turbo Lover. However, they really get their shit together at the end of the concert, ending with 5 great songs after Hellrider.
A good DVD, a worthy purchase. Much better than anything live released during the Ripper era.