Rising in the East (Rhino)
by Mike Delano
Unlike their brothers-in-arms, Iron Maiden, who’ve long since taken the concept of saturating the market with unnecessary live albums and DVDs to near absurdity, Judas Priest has limited their output and focused on quality, not quantity. Certainly, there’s no excuse for four CDs worth of live material from the Tim “Ripper” Owens era, but there’s plenty of justification for this, the band’s first DVD since reuniting with metal god Rob Halford.
What a difference it makes! Clad right from the start in studded leather (even with Ultimate Warrior tassles!), there’s just no substitute for the real thing. He hams it up with the crowd, rides the bike, makes frequent proclamations about Priest’s legendary status, and mostly stalks around the stage like a true ringleader, while everyone else in the band does the grunt work. At first, considering he’s nearly motionless for the entirety of opener “Hellion/Electric Eye,” the band gives the impression they’re just going through the motions, but they quickly gel and rocket right through a stellar two-hour set list. Also, the new tracks don’t suck and fit surprisingly well with 30-year-old classics like “Victim of Changes” and “Exciter.”
Filmed at the Budokan in Tokyo, the band looks and sounds great. The sound mix is perfect, the special effects and stage scenery are tastefully silly, and the crowd is in it throughout. This is a no-frills disc, though. For those, look to the Electric Eye DVD, with its collection of videos and archival live footage.
Yes, it’s creepy when a bald, goateed middle-aged man tells you he wants to be your “Turbo Lover,” but even that can’t make this anything less than a perfectly-executed concert DVD.