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Judas Priest: Electric Eye (DVD)

In the brief but overzealous liner notes to Electric Eye, original Judas Priest singer Rob Halford writes that his group was "on the leading edge as the first of the heavy metal bands using any type of visual medium." And he's right. The 13 videos included here – from "Living After Midnight" and "Breaking the Law" in 1980 to "Painkiller" and "A Touch of Evil" in 1990 – include some pre-MTV fare and plenty of leather and cheese. But they also chart Priest's growth from amateurish rockers to innovative headbangers. There's even a shower scene in "Hot Rockin'" that should have knocked us over then and there with its homosexual overtones.

But that's just the beginning. Electric Eye is a fascinating compilation of promo videos, the Priest…Live concert film and revealing clips from six British television appearances between 1975 and 1980. The DVD arrives at a time of revived interest in classic Judas Priest, as Halford has rejoined the band, which is planning a new album and tour.

The last time a Halford-era tour was captured on film was Priest…Live!, filmed in Dallas in 1986 during the Fuel For Life Tour. It captures the band in all of its glitzy glory. Truth be told, watching this now (it's been out of print on VHS for years) is a more enjoyable experience than simply listening to the album version of the same concert. Halford, proudly sporting a magnificent mullet, is in near-prime form, complete with his onstage motorcycle. And the space-age, mechanically inclined set towers above the band and becomes as much a part of the show as the music. Surprisingly, there are also plenty of shots of overdressed American chicks who have that sleazy big-hair Eighties look you've probably seen in videos for Bon Jovi, Def Leppard or Mötley Crüe – but never for Judas Priest.

The six clips (two from BBC Television's Old Grey Whistle Test and four from the BBC's Top of the Pops) provide intriguing looks at the band before it really defined its style. "Rocka Rolla" and "Dreamer Deceiver/Deceiver" from 1975 show the band looking more like old-school proggers with a long-maned Halford, while later clips show Priest gradually embracing the leather-and-steel image that continues to this day.

Electric Eye is an immensely enjoyable viewing experience that demonstrates why Priest was practically in a class by itself back in the day.

Track Listing
The Videos
1) Living After Midnight
2) Breaking the Law
3) Don't Go
4) Heading Out to the Highway
5) Hot Rockin'
6) You've Got Another Thing Comin'
7) Freewheel Burning
8) Love Bites
9) Locked In
10) Turbo Lover
11) Johnny B Goode
12) Painkiller
13) A Touch of Evil

1) Out in the Cold
2) Locked In
3) Heading Out to the Highway
4) Breaking the Law
5) Love Bites
6) You've Got Another Thing Comin'
7) Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
8) The Sentinel
9) Private Property
10) Desert Plains
11) Rock You All Around the World
12) Hellion/Electric Eye
13) Turbo Lover
14) Freehweel Burning
15) The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown)
16) Parental Guidance
17) Living After Midnight
18) You've Got Another Thing Comin'
19) Hell Bent For Leather

BBC TV Performances
1) Rocka Rolla
2) Dreamer Deceiver/Deceiver
3) Take on the World
4) Evening Star
5) Living After Midnight
6) United

Added: January 30th 2004
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Judas Priest Web Site
Hits: 2866
Language: english

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