Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Judas Priest – British Steel 30th Anniversary Special Edition
Judas Priest – British Steel 30th Anniversary Special Edition - CD review
Released: May 2010 (Through Sony music).
To many Judas Priest fans, here’s an opportunity to replace either your worn out first issue of British Steel on CD from a while back or to pick it up on CD for the first time (Doubtful if you’re a real Priest fan!) or maybe just curse that you’d already picked up the remastered copy of British Steel from a few years back … The latter fans to be honest, shouldn’t hesitate about splashing out for this because you may have had the remastered version but this includes a live DVD from last years British Steel Anniversary tour – A year early!
To be completely honest, any Priest fan should pick this up anyway as the DVD should be worth the purchase price alone to you. You saw the tour – Most likely. – Now get yourself the DVD of said tour. Buyers of the ‘Deluxe’ edition will also get the live CD from the tour as well.
So what to add on the remastered CD copy of British Steel then?
Well, there are 2 bonus tracks – I didn’t have the remastered copy. – Which I understand one of which was previously on the remaster, that being the live cut of ‘Grinder’ tagged on the end, from a California show.
This copy also includes ‘Red, White and Blue.’ Nothing really spectacular musically, just more of a simply heartfelt tribute to the homeland of the band, before a live audience. Otherwise for me personally, it’s nice to have an up to date copy of the album.
Seriously though, it’s the DVD that we all want to know about, right?!
The first nine tracks of nthe DVD then are the original album in its entirety, so they open the set with ‘Rapid Fire’ and the band seem in fine form, looking as lean, mean and menacing as ever!
Having seen the anniversary tour myself last year, I just want to add how much the stage set impressed me. Metal to a tee! Impressive set up and lighting rig too!
(Judas Priest live at DTE / Pine Knob July 2009. Photo: Alun Williams)
Rob Halford’s voice, exactly as you’d expect, KK Downing and Glenn Tipton, two fine lead players indeed, with Ian Hill (Bass) and Scott Travis keeping the backbone of the band solid.
‘Metal Gods’ is next and it’s as early as in this track that Halford gets to stretch his vocals talents to their full range from deep growls to piercingly high screams … To be honest, it’s what we get for the rest of the show! What an incredible range he has.
In ‘Breaking the Law’ next, the Florida crowd takes over the song very strongly and the band are clearly impressed!
The crowd is a little strange though as it almost seems that between songs, there’s a section of the crowd that appears to be booing? Very weird?!
No sign of letting up as ‘Grinder’ is next before the chanting chorus driven sounds of ‘United’ soon follow and the band wants some audience participation with the chorus, although it’s clearly not as popular as ‘Breaking the Law’ was, with this crowd!
Halford throughout the set thus far, has been pacing the stage, head down with little attention to the audience at this point and he almost seems to be laboring at times and he’s not really been standing at front of stage in his role as you might expect. That said, many Priest fans will tell you, this has been very much his way in recent years.
(Rob Halford and Glenn Tipton live July 2009. Photo: Alun Williams.)
That all changes in ‘You Don’t Have to Be Old to Be Wise’ next, as he is clearly taking his role to the max and is gesturing throughout the song with the crowd and they respond accordingly to his attention to them.
Drummer Scott Travis gets things going and sets the tempo for ‘Living after Midnight’ and then the band launches in and its crowd participation time again midway through the song and this time they duly oblige!
For ‘The Rage,’ Ian Hill leads off, then Scott Travis joins in and then light chord strumming from Tipton and Downing before huge power chords kick in and Halford appears from side stage, to take the helm of the band.
This song at time almost reflects a prog metal sound from the band but it’s short lived as the riffs crank out to keep the hard rocking sound back on track. Some nice lead breaks from both Downing and Tipton.
‘Steeler’ was the closer of the original album and it’s as strong as opener ‘Rapid Fire’ was in its opening and again, both Tipton and Downing play some fine solos off one another. Great job guys!
Then Halford tells the crowd, ‘There you have it metal heads, that’s all of British Steel, but you’d still like to hear some more metal from the Priest, right?!’ Which receives a resounding, ‘Yeah!’ from this crowd?
Next is ‘The Ripper,’ that brings to mind, Iron Maiden’s sound, but then we all know too well, who came first ...
The band then dips into the ‘Nostradamus’ album for ‘Prophecy’ which stands out due to the keyboards we can all hear – As on the album. – But, there’s not a keyboard or player as such anywhere in sight, still love the track though!
Halford then goes through a series of costume ..., OK jacket changes, as the band launch into ‘Hell Patrol,’ which has some excellent harmony lead work. Likewise, I love the picking harmony intro to ‘Victim of Changes,’ before the band all kick in and it’s great stuff, especially Downing’s wicked lead work towards the end of this, the set closer.
(KK Downing live with Judas Priest July 2009. Photo: Alun Williams)
Before I forget, as I previously mentioned around the beginning of this review, it’s great when the cameras back off to take in the full extent of the stage show and lighting in general, great stuff!
The band returns along with Halford astride a Judas Priest endorsed Harley Davidson with a fantastic new Judas Priest Anglo-American backdrop and the band cranks out ‘Freewheel Burning.’ Riffs galore, drums pounding and Halford giving his all, all while still sat on the bike.
Priest’s version of ‘Diamonds and Rust’ the Joan Baez song that they’ve now made their own next and they leave the stage again. Will they come back?
Yep, they certainly do, with Halford chatting away to the crowd and telling them, ‘We do this all for you!’
He then gets the audience into some more participation with some, ‘Wooah’s’ and more before the band comes back out to close the evening with ‘Another Thing Coming’ with the crowd singing the full first verse and Halford picks up the song for the chorus and the rest of it, although come the next chorus, who’s loudest? You tell me!
A great live DVD, quality recording and with the ‘Making of British Steel’ that has previously been on VH1 Classic, in its entirety, it makes for an excellent keepsake for any fan of the band and new fans in the making!
Go on, treat yourself, it’s a great release and then you go and catch the band next time around live!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5