Released: 2003, Sony
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
ELECTRIC EYE is the first product released from Judas Priest since Rob Halford was announced as being back in the band earlier this year. Before you get excited, there isn’t any “new” material here, but rather unreleased footage and other stuff that is making its DVD debut. Still, some of this material is enough to make a collector salivate like Pavlov’s dog while the rest is cool to finally have all in one place.
The DVD is broken into 4 sections: promo videos, the Fuel For Life Tour show from Dallas in 1986, some unreleased British television appearances and an animated discography. The promo videos are mostly stuff that’s been seen before though never with the excellent picture and audio quality that DVD delivers. The videos are all presented in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby 2.0 Stereo, which give the music new life. Crystal-clear sound and an improved picture make the classics feel as though they are enveloping your ears. Highlights include the pre-buzz cut Halford in “Living After Midnight,” the pre-outed Halford sporting a leather biker hat and moustache in “Don’t Go” and further clues of what was to come in the pumping iron clip of “Hot Rockin’”. It was also a treat to see the stop-motion animation used in “Locked In” and “Turbo Lover”. Don’t miss the “Judas Priest Beyond Thunderdome” tribute on “Locked In”, as Glenn Tipton saves Halford from imminent death by luring a naked fat guy away from the wheel of death with a Twinkie! Halford’s pony-tailed skullet in the dreadful “Johnny B. Goode” clip is another hoot. My own personal favorite Priest tracks—“Freewheel Burning,” “Love Bites” and “Painkiller”—are also shown here. I still remember seeing the video for “Painkiller” on The Headbanger’s Ball way back in 1990 and being absolutely blown away by Priest’s sound. They hadn’t been this heavy since 1983’s SCREAMING FOR VENGEANCE album and Halford’s bug-eyed glare at the end of the clip made me hungry for the new album. I still remember playing the CD over and over and going to see Priest (with Megadeth and Testament opening) for—get this—$20!!! Those were the days…
The live show is taken from the long out-of-print VHS release of FUEL FOR LIFE. This video showcased the band in Dallas, Texas on the TURBO Tour in 1986. The show was also released on CD as, PRIEST…LIVE!, the following year. The show runs 93 minutes and is also presented in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby 2.0 Stereo. PRIEST…LIVE! has always been one of my favorite live CDs with the versions of “Out In The Cold” and “Love Bites” being superior to the originals. Halford’s screams at the end of “Love Bites” are a chilling testament to claims of him being “The Voice of Metal.” The outfits and hairstyles of the band must be forgiven as this WAS 1986. K.K. Downing’s Randy “Machoman” Savage style shades and Halford’s mullet and skin-tight leather pants with suspenders are best left in the time capsule!
The third segment features the BBC performances. While these are not presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, they are still shown in 2.0 stereo and sound excellent. Only “Rocka Rolla” and “Dreamer Deceiver/Deceiver” are actually performed live, while the other tracks are lip-synched. The live tracks show the band in the early days where Halford still had long hair, Downing wore a fedora and Ian Hill was less creepy looking. Halford’s voice was immaculate then and he holds some unbelievable notes. Tipton’s guitarwork on “Dreamer Deceiver/Deceiver” is also impressive. The rest of the tracks are cool to see but since it is blatantly obvious the band is neither singing nor playing their instruments, it takes something away from the clips.
The final portion of ELECTRIC EYE features a full Judas Priest discography with album covers, track lists and a full song from each playing over its respective album. I actually sat through each song just to hear them again!
The DVD also comes with a nice booklet featuring a new intro written by Halford and still photos taken from some of the band’s videos.
Overall, the ELECTRIC EYE DVD is certainly a must-have for any Priest fan and for under $20, it is a great introduction to the band for anyone who has never experienced one of the inventors of heavy metal. Clocking in at nearly 3 hours, it takes a good portion of an afternoon to wade through everything. My only complaint is that ALL of the band’s videos were not included. The key clips are here but given the DVD is titled ELECTRIC EYE, wouldn’t it have made sense to include the video for that song given that it is one of the band’s best tracks?