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Best Judas Priest live record
on November 8, 2001
This one is considered Judas Priest's breakthrough classic, and rightfully so. Although too produced to call it a real "live" record, it may be better to think of it as a re-recorded best of their previous efforts (`Sad Wings of Destiny' (1976), `Sin After Sin' (1977), `Stained Class' (1978), and `Hell Bent for Leather' (1978)). That is, all the songs here are performed with an improved more metallic, more up tempo sound than the original versions - the tempo is a little faster on "Exciter", the guitar solo is a little more daring on "Sinner", the chords ring a little harder on "Green Manalishi", the licks are a little edgier on "Diamonds and Rust". But the essential performance here is "The Ripper" - the original of which was drenched with silly sound effects and seemed out-of-place on `Sad Wings of Destiny' (1976) - but the version here is simply incredible. In fact, I challenge anyone to find a metal song with a more impressive vocal performance (including any later Judas Priest records).
The original release contained nine songs with an emphasis on tunes taken from their pre-major label record, `Sad Wings of Destiny' (1976) and only one or two songs each from `Sin After Sin' (1977), `Stained Class' (1978), and `Hell Bent for Leather' (aka `Killing Machine' (1978)). On bootlegs and certain "official" releases, other songs from these concerts/session later emerged, creating a broader representation of their catalog up to that point. The original record probably should have been a double album, but now with the benefit of the extended format of CDs, it is all here, including the infamous live version of "Hell Bent for Leather" (sans the revving Harley), which became the signature encore of subsequent Judas Priest shows.
In my opinion, as important as Judas Priest was to the metal scene, this record surpasses any of their previous five prior releases.