Thursday, December 11, 2003

Review - Electric Eye

Artist: Judas Priest

Posted on Thu, Dec 11, 2003 at 4:00 AM

Electric Eye
Label: Columbia/Legacy DVD
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: Electric Eye

I'm sorry, but how on earth was there ever any question about Rob Halford's sexuality? Sure, the easy jokes about leather and spikes are there, but look at the rest of the band and their straight selves are dressed the same as he was. I'm not talking about his clothes. (OK, in the case of the tight white T-shirt and painted-on jeans he wears in "Heading Out to the Highway" I am.) I'm talking about his gyrating and preening throughout every single one of these videos. When I was 12, I thought he was the toughest motherfucker on the planet. Now, I look at clips like "Living After Midnight" and "Love Bites" and I can't stop laughing at how naïve I -- and pretty much every other guy in the world -- was for figuring it out with Freddie Mercury but being clueless about Rob Halford. That said, these videos (all 13 clips from the group's decade with Columbia Records) were charmingly low-budget at the time and have not aged well at all. The fierce imagery of Priest's album covers and lyrics didn't translate properly into the then-limited palette of rock videos. But whatever their MTV presentation lacked, the band more than made up for it onstage. The long out-of-print "Priest ... Live!" video captured a Dallas gig from the "Turbo" tour, and while most metal fans had dismissed the band's use of synths, ballads and colorful leather as an obvious attempt to sell records, the band's power was undiminished live. Digitally remastered, the presentation is stunning -- and the inclusion of seven BBC performances (between 1975 and 1980) makes this double-disc set quite necessary for even the most casual Priest fan.

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