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  • Starting a show with a ballad is never a good idea, and pretty much ruins the rest of the gig, as the expectancy level of the audience is demolished. The fans are pumped up to a fever pitch, after waiting for this moment for weeks or months, wanting to just bang their heads. They want to hear “Electric Eye”, “Freewheel Burning”–or even “Turbo Lover” would probably have sufficed–but instead they get “Out in the Cold”. Disappointment!This sets the stage perfectly for the entire show, as what we get is a mish mash with no real consistency and more filler than we’d like. I don’t think any band puts as many new songs in a setlist as Priest did on this tour. “Turbo” was loaded with pseudo-anthems which really lowered the collective I.Q. of the album, and this dumbing down really infects the concert. When some of the songs are as banal as only pop-rock can be, it lowers the intensity of the good songs as well. I say: get rid of “Rock you all around the world”, “Private Property”, and “Parental Guidance”, and replace with some classics like “The Ripper”, “The Sinner”, or “Tyrant”. Save “Out in the Cold” for the middle of the set to calm people down. People don’t want to be mellow at the beginning of a concert!On a good note, Rob’s voice is in better form here than it had been in years. The previous couple of tours saw him really in bad shape, not singing as much as screeching or whining nasally, and his screams were almost as bad as Bruce Dickinson’s are now. See the ‘Live in Memphis’ video for proof of that. But fortunately he cleared up his issues and his voice is good as new here, and would never leave him again.Glenn and K.K. added guitar solos to “Heading out to the Highway” and “Breaking the Law” this time, which were more than welcome. Ian Hill is as sonically absent as ever, and Dave Holland still plays like an amateur (snare and kick all the way), which is probably the reason why a journalist or someone allegedly discovered a “second” drummer hidden beneath the stage at some point during that tour. The band claimed it was to “enhance” the sound. It’s hard to fathom why Dave had a drumkit so big when he never used 95% of the drums. I never understood why Priest settled for Dave’s useless ass after the talent of Les Binks. They must have owed him a very big favor.Back to the disc: Only one of the 3 bonus tracks was recorded on this tour, even though the cd claims they all were, and the impostors show what I mean when I say Rob’s voice was gone. “Screaming for Vengeance” was recorded during that tour, as Rob says “Here’s the title track from our new album…” DUH! “Rock Hard Ride Free” was recorded during the Defenders tour, and in fact was taken from the concert in California which was broadcast on the radio that year (I know because I have a tape of it). That, and the fact that this album is so blatantly loaded with overdubs (studio guitar fills, background vocals), makes it really difficult to believe anything they say anymore, even for a fan as big as myself. Since they became superstars, Priest has had an element of fraud which this album makes impossible to ignore. And can anyone decipher what Rob says before “Turbo Lover”? Sounds like: “It’s time to get a hold of something something may be hard….” HUH?

    Posted on December 23, 2009