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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

Priest...Live
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
Score:
Related Link: Official Judas Priest Web Site
Hits: 2496
Language: english

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Judas Priest: Electric Eye (DVD)
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2004-11-17 11:34:06
My Score:

The literal shortage of DVD product from Judas Priest alone makes this something that is worth picking up from the local music store or your favorite online dealer. This DVD not only features every Judas Priest video ever made and a full concert from the "Fuel For Life" ("Turbo") tour. It also features a score of BBC live appearances. Truly a value packed item for the dollar. Looking back on the videos section you have to admit that they were a bit cheesy. Yet "Breaking The Law" and "Living After Midnight" are timeless in the minds of the older Priest fans who remember when MTV not only played videos but also played a lot of metal music (yes, there was such a time). Of course, at the time the format of music and video together was new. Bands were still feeling the ground of combining their musical expressions along with the visual medium and the ways it could be made to work. To this day my very favorite videos remain "Freewheel Burning" and "Painkiller". However I will leave discussion of "Hot Rockin" for another person. than the videos that they released for being honest, Judas Priest videos were pretty cheesy.

Videos: Living After Midnight, Breaking The Law, Don't Go, Heading Out To The Highway, Hot Rockin', You've Got Another Thing Comin', Freewheel Burning, Love Bites, Locked In, Turbo Lover, Johnny B. Goode, Painkiller, A Touch Of Evil.

The BBC Footage is indeed a blast from the past. Seeing Rob Halford with a full mane of Robert Plant like hair was a very strange site for he had either the shaved head of many years or the short cropped style from "Hell Bent For Leather". Most tracks seem to be lip-synched, but it is quite cool to see them just the same. You even get to see long absent drummer Les Binks who was an excellent part of the band in their history.

The BBC Pieces: Rocka Rolla, Dreamer Deceiver/Deceiver, Take On The World, Evening Star, Living After Midnight, United.

1986 "Fuel For Life" Tour:
The concert section of the DVD is filmed during the "Turbo" tour which was referred to as the "Fuel For Life" Tour. This tour was not a favorite of the hard core Priest fan as it took out heavier staple numbers and replaced them with some of the more "pop-metal" tunes The Priest had created. You are not going to win older fans over when you remove songs like "Beyond The Realms Of Death" and "Sinner" with "Private Property" and "Parental Guidance" (considered lame by the old school fans). While this was not a "Defenders Of The Faith" level performance, the sound was still quite good and it is nice to see this available again in a quality format. The VHS of this concert was long out of print in the 90's. The only other DVD of Priest is the one included in the "Metalogy" boxed set (reviewed elsewhere on this site). That show is from the "Screaming For Vengeance" tour and gives those in need of heavier Priest their fill. I should mention that the "Live In London" DVD is also heavy, but features Tim "Ripper" Owens on vocals and not Rob Halford. Purists seemed to avoid that piece and it was misguided for them to do so, as Ripper did a helluva job in the band.

With Judas Priest being reunited with Rob Halford and hard at work on a new album and tour it will be logical that some new DVD will perhaps be forthcoming from them. Given the recent Ozzfest tour I am hoping for us fans that some of this footage will be released as they were clearly the best portion of the evenings excitement. However, until new material is ready we shall only have the "Electric Eye" DVD. The overall sound and tunes come out very good (and I saw this tour as well), it was great to see Priest as a band on top of their game. At that point in Metal history, there really was no bigger band than Judas Priest. It is a recommended purchase for any Metal DVD Library.



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