A stunning, heavy-hitting metal show

Just shy of a year since Judas Priest’s live statement A Touch of Evil, Halford has issued this “soundtrack” to the forthcoming DVD of the same name (due August).

Unlike Priest’s disappointingly brief set however, this one weighs in with a hefty 23 tracks and brings together cuts from the three metallic phases of his career. Recorded back in 2003, before he finally rejoined his famous band, Live in Anaheim sounds more like Judas Priest than Judas Priest then did, a searing, energetic, thoroughly metal concert powerhouse.

The strength of any live album relies on its track-listing. Iron Maiden’s have repeated the same songs so often that most of them are redundant, but even though this is the second live release for a band that had only done two studio albums at the time, Halford comes up trumps here. True, some of the tracks were also on Live Insurrection and two featured on A Touch of Evil but there’s also a rare concert reading of the awesome “Rapid Fire” and the Stained Class track “White Heat Red Hot” that Halford announces has never been played live before, along with “Never Satisfied”, a deep album cut from Rocka Rolla! The version of “Painkiller” that opens this release blows the one from last year right out of the water and “Diamonds and Rust” is fully metalised, totally dispensing with acoustics. The band, Roy Z, Metal Mike, Bob Jarzombek and Mike Davis, are superb and Halford is spectacular. Much has been said in recent years about Rob’s decaying voice, but here it only partly lets him down once. After pushing himself to the limits of his range in “Resurrection”, he sounds almost out of puff during “Made in Hell” only to recover nicely in time for the Gothically sinister “Golgotha” — one of two tracks (along with “Heretic”) that are repeated in alternative, “bonus” versions on disc two that aren’t included on the DVD, and probably added mainly so the twin CDs aren’t seriously lop-sided. Whether they are completely necessary or not, they don’t subtract from the quality. Indeed it would be hard to be disappointed with this other than some minor quibble over the track-listing but without a serious dud on here you’d be hard pressed to argue even with that.

Live in Anaheim is a stunning, heavy-hitting metal show that is testament to Halford’s experience and prowess. A seriously good live album.

CD 1:
1. Painkiller
2. Rapid Fire
3. Heretic
4. Resurrection
5. Made in Hell
6. Golgotha
7. Into the Pit
8. Light Comes Out of Black
9. White Heat, Red Hot
10. Never Satisfied
11. Breaking the Law
12. Hearts of Darkness
13. Handing Out Bullets

CD 2:
1. Diamonds and Rust
2. Hellion
3. Electric Eye
4. Riding on the Wind
5. Victim of Changes
6. You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’
7. Heretic (live in Japan)
8. Sun (live in Japan)
9. Golgotha (live in Japan)
10. One Will (live in Japan)