REVIEW: Judas Priest – Rising In The East (DVD, 2005)

 
JUDAS PRIEST – Rising In The East (2005 DVD, live in Japan)
 
Two things I am sick of:
  1. The moaning and whining you read on Amazon reviews about Halford’s voice.
  2. The amount of live material that Priest have released since 1998 (too much).
 
In regards to point #2, most of that live material was released with Tim “Ripper” Owens on vocals. Rising In The East represents the first “real” live release since the return of Rob Halford (not counting the brief live DVD that came with Angel Of Retribution). So, this release is forgiveable. Even Priest fans who owned the live stuff with Ripper will be eager to get their hands on some brand new live visuals with Halford, with new songs, the first such release since 1987’s Priest…Live!
 
In regards to point #1, it is true that Rob Halford cannot hit all the high notes anymore, and he has stated as much in interviews.  It is what it is.  He’s 61 years old!  The man still has a fantastic voice.  If I could only sing that well!  He changes the keys on some songs, sometimes sings different notes, in order to do the challenging songs. Some, like “Painkiller”, he does his best at screaming, even though it’s not 1990 anymore. On other songs, like “Hellrider”, he lets loose a powerful piercing scream or two that seem to come out of nowhere! The cool thing about it is, when he does let loose, it’s so unexpected and so powerful that it just blows you away!  In fact, this version of “Hellrider” is my preferred version, over the album.

The song selection is interesting and varied if nothing else. All the staples are here: “Metal Gods”, “A Touch Of Evil”, “Painkiller”, “Hellbent”, “Another Thing Coming”, “Living After Midnight”, “Breaking The Law”. There are also lots of older Priest classics that, for some parts of the 80’s, were seldom played (if ever): “The Ripper”, “Victim Of Changes”, “Exciter”, “Diamonds & Rust” (the acoustic version too). There is a generous helping of new songs from Angel Of Retribution, and a couple odd ducks as well: “Turbo Lover”, “Hot Rockin'”, and “I’m A Rocker”. “I’m A Rocker” is definitely the biggest surprise, as Ram It Down-era material hasn’t been played live since that tour! It’s not the track I would have chosen (give me “Blood Red Skies”!) but I give them credit for being adventurous. The only missing link really is, I would have loved something from Defenders, or maybe “Sinner”.

My only real beef is with Halford’s stage presence. I haven’t seen Halford perform live at all recently, but his stage presence here really baffled and stunned me.  For 90% of the show, he is standing in one place on stage, hunched over, staring at the floor, looking like some strange leather-and-studs hunchback. He rocks back and forth holding onto his half-sized mic stand, eyes closed, wailing away. Every once in a while, he stands straight up and walks around, proving he’s not suffering from ankylosing spondylitis.

He barely speaks to the crowd at all. A sample song intro? “Angel of Retribution? Revolution!” That’s it! He speaks a little more before “Turbo Lover”, reciting the same song intro that he used back in 1986, but quickly and robotically.

Considering that Glenn Tipton, KK Downing, and (yes) even Ian Hill give their all on stage while Scott Travis plays seemingly impossible drum parts, Halford’s stage presence was shockingly dull. He’s always had a flair for the theatrical, and his choice of leather and metal costumes show he’s still that guy. I just don’t get what he’s trying to do with the hunching over. I am sure there is a method to his madness, and he’s not waiting on a double hip replacement, but it’s lost on me.  Anybody who can add insight, please leave a comment.   Maybe you saw him on this tour — I have never seen Priest live.

Song-wise, production-wise, and performance-wise, this is a must-purchase for any Priest fan (I only wish it was released on CD too, although some songs are available on 2009’s A Touch Of Evil Live). Visually, Halford’s performance is puzzling — but even so, it’s actually grown on me since I first watched this.

4/5 stars

38 comments

  1. It’s something Rollins talked about when we saw his show in Montreal, how rock doesn’t age well. The reason he no longer makes music is because he knows the integrity of the project would be lost if he couldn’t give it his usual 1000%. Better to go out on top and move on. Some people clearly don’t get that message.

    I actually fear for the same thing from Metallica. I kind of hope this next record is their last, in their normal format. Not because I don’t want more new Metallica music but, let’s face it, Lars can’t keep up and only Trujillo is young enough to keep all that energy going. Go out on top. Go out ruling your world. It’s not like they need the money.

    Still, I’m glad you enjoyed the DVD. Priest is always cool – you can’t deny the songs.

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  2. This is a good DVD but I’d just like to moan about Halford’s voice and the amount of live Priest material that has been coming out… only joking! :D

    I saw them on this tour and had pretty much the same reaction. It didn’t help that the Scorpions were on first and made Priest look positively sluggish by comparison. Halford’s stage presence was odd, I wonder if he’s having back problems or something? Even coming down the steps took him a whole song! Fair enough, he’s old but I wonder what the story is. He seems to take that crouching down position for the screechier numbers like Painkiller.

    As far as his voice… Ian Gillan won’t touch certain numbers now and for good reason. I think Priest should be brave enough to just leave some of the numbers alone. I mean they have classics coming out their arse so would it really annoy everyone so much if they binned Painkiller in favour of Delivering The Goods or something like that, that he could still do justice to? The concert got significantly more convincing during the newer tracks.

    I saw Halford touring solo (supporting Maiden) and thought that was much better.

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      1. You know what guys, I have no issues with the guy’s voice. It is what it is, and he still can belt it out on the lower tunes. As you mentioned HMO on more recent material he sounded a lot better. It was more his stiff stage persona. I could understand if he did that just for “Metal Gods” or something. But virtually an entire show? And barely speaking? I imagine that it was some kind of performance art thing but I didn’t get it.

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        1. Yeah, it was really only on a couple of tracks that his voice struggled which was why I thought they should just have picked the set with that in mind a bit more. On most the tracks he still sounded great.

          His stiff stage persona I think looked more to me like a fitness issue. The lack of interaction… not so sure! I don’t remember him saying much when I saw them either.

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      2. Lack of interaction… man, we went to see Tool at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton. GREAT show. What a band live! But if the stage was 50′ deep (it was huge), Maynard stayed on a riser, in the dark, in the back 10′ of that stage, behind the drums, The Entire Show. Never once came down front. Never once acknowledged the crowd. Sure, you can say, that’s just Maynard. He’s a freak and an asshole but DAMN THE BOY CAN YELL! Sure. But there could be more to it. Maybe he just hates people, fine. Or maybe it’s an insecurity thing. Maybe big crowds yelling your name are an initimidating thing. Maybe Halford’s suffering a bit of stage fright, at this point? Or maybe he’s just tired and jaded. Or maybe he had a cold. Or needed a blowjob. Or… it’s endless.

        As for the getting around, my Dad’s older than that guy, and it sounds like he could run circles around him. Age ain’t a factor.

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        1. No, I’m not saying the age is an excuse but it can be a factor if he’s having genuine health problems. Glenn and KK are the same age and performed great whereas Halford looked genuinely unfit and like he had mobility issues, very hesitant when moving around (especially in all that leather and studs!). I don’t think it was a performance choice and I wonder if he has health problems or just didn’t bother to get match-fit (in which case he’ selling the paying fans short).

          By comparison, Rudolf Schenker is no spring chicken and I’ve never been as fit as him and probably never will be! He was like shit off a shovel and the Scorpions energy levels put Priest to shame. So age might be a factor but definitely not an excuse.

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    1. “This is a good DVD but I’d just like to moan about Halford’s voice and the amount of live Priest material that has been coming out… only joking! :D”

      Haha it’s a wonder Mike puts up with us. I mean, we already know that working in a record store was JUST LIKE Empire Records.

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        1. A lot more like High Fidelity, yes.

          Although if you go back to the blog entry titled “Spoogecakes” you’ll see one of my ex employees doesn’t feel that way. Nor did she feel I was even “remotely amusing” even though she stalked my blog :) Oh come on you KNOW you want to go back and read it now…

          Psycho employees? Yup, that was MY experience!

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  3. I HAVE SEEN PRIEST WITH HALFORD ON VOX 3 TIMES ND HIS STAGE PRESENCE WAS AMAZING! PERHAPS THE “DEAD” JAPANESE AUDIENCE DIDN’T INSPIRE HIM TOO MUCH..

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      1. I don’t think it was the audience… he was exactly the same in Glasgow and if you’ve ever seen a Glasgow audience then you’d know that wasn’t the problem. Having said that, I haven’t seen Priest since so, for all I know, he may not be performing like that since. I’m just commenting on what I saw at the time. I’m glad you’ve had a better experience seeing them live Dimitris!

        (Although I would admit the still had “presence” in the sense that he was Rob Halford! Do you know what I mean? He;s still the Metal God and, let’s face it, he was never the most mobile of performers!)

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      2. HMO: Glasgow is on my bucket list. Well Scotland in general. I didn’t get this rampant lion tattoo for nothin’.

        I agree though — Priest never were the “run around the stage” kind of band. Especially when it came to Ian Hill! But they still have a presence. I’ve always loved Halford, and while I do own the British Steel 30th DVD, I can’t remember if he performs like this on it.

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      3. Dude, I have had the honour of travelling to bonny Scotland twice in my life already, and it is definitely worthy of your bucket list. Start saving now and get yer butt over there! Worth every minute!

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        1. When my folks went to Scotland, I sent them with a CD list. In Edinburgh, they went to an HMV store and picked me Deep Purple – Knocking on Your Back Door, and Whitesnake – Restless Heart. Both very hard to get here. The UK edition of that Deep Purple CD has Son of Aleric, the full 10 minute song, one of the rarest I have ever encountered.

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      4. I was there in 1993 and 1995, and found the cost of CDs prohibitive. Especially compared to here. I mean, I think it was $2.40 for a pound, maybe higher… something stupid like that, anyway. So 20 pounds was $48. Ugh. So I actually didn’t buy a whole lot over there, except a sweet 4CD swing/big band box set out of a bin somewhere for cheap (one of the advantages of loving music from long ago decades is it sells damn cheap). That was cool. And my trusty guitar chord reference guide, which I’ve had since 93, that came from there too.

        I actually came home with a list of CDs that my new-found Scottish friends wanted me to buy for them here and send back to them. ;)

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  4. How about the Live Vengeance DVD from Memphis 82?
    You wanna talk about a band on top of its game,check that one out or the recently released US Festival 83 afternoon performance from the Vengeance reissue.
    The quality and the audio is excellent and well if the camera men could figure out who was playing what solo it would have been mint.
    Still a quality set!

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  5. Yeah Mike, get your butt over here! Haha You have a lion rampant tattoo?! That’s dedication for you… Nice to hear all the Scotland love!

    The CDs are much cheaper here that in the mid-90s… don’t know how the exchange rate works out but you can see what I’ve been spending for a rough idea. I’ve got that Perfect Strangers CD with the Son of Aleric 10 minute track. Didn’t realise it was so rare! I think there is a deluxe edition of that in the pipeline.

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  6. I love this DVD but its always confused me seeing Rob bent over singing into his own belly button. Heavy Metal Hunchback indeed.

    You know what’s awesome though, the bit where Travis throws his stick in the air (to the point where you think he’s thrown it too high and botched it) and then catches it even after the camera has given up on him.

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      1. He’s a very good drummer. Underrated even.

        Yeah, I do play the drums, although I haven’t played in two years. I keep moving to places where its not possible to play them, or having schedules where its not sensible to take the time to play them.

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        1. Ahh yes. My old roommate Trevor had the same problem. Now he has a house big enough…but he also has two kids. There’s always something!

          I think Les Binks is also quite underrated. But Travis really gave this band a kick in the pants when he joined which was exactly what they needed. I’m looking forward to whatever the new album will be. Just glad there’s a new one coming.

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        2. Yeah. If its anything like Angel Of Retribution I’ll be happy.

          I think they should make a short album though, about 35-40 mins, and only one ballad or epic. That’ll counteract all the grief they got over “Lochness” and “Nostradamus.”

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        3. Ahhh, Loch Ness. The terror of the deep. If there was ever one “WTF!?” moment for me and Judas Priest. I sure hope the next album doesn’t have “Ode to Sasquatch” or “The Kraken”, or anything like that! No songs about any more monsters Rob, please. I’m begging you Rob.

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  7. I know so little about this era of rock, the band member names and such atleast, that I just seen ” breaking the law ” live from the “rising of the east ” DVD, and the first couple times that they showed drummer Scott Travis, I was almost absolutely convinced that he was Alice Cooper, haha. I was like ” oh shit, I didn’t know Alice copper wss the drummer for Judas priest” lmao and had to look it up on Google to be sure, but immediately realized I was wrong, but at first time, first glance, I swear he was a dead ringer. Thought you guys might get a kick out of what a loser I am lol🤘

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  8. I know this thread is over a year old, but I thought Rob was hunched over and looking at the floor because he was reading lyrics from a monitor at the front of the stage. I was at this particular show and commented to my friend that Rob had more wardrobe changes than Cher.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No, I don’t mind either. I liked it. And I like your sight. Currently reading your Judas Priest album reviews. Getting amped up for the new Priest album, Firepower.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Wow cool thanks for reading! I have a little story coming this week too about some of my first Priest tapes.

          Firepower is what I am excited for most in 2018. The Priest is back.

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