Judas Priest: Priest Live (1987)


One of the forgotten double live albums that not to many people talk about much but should is Priest Live from those Masters of Metal, Judas Priest.

First of all, I have to thank my daughter Kylee for Priest Live as gift from her to me for Father’s Day!

Priest Live was recorded in Dallas and Atlanta back in June of 1986 when Priest was still big business in the arenas of North America.

The guys were touring in support of the classic Turbo album that marked a shift in musical direction which on Turbo somewhat divided the fan base.  I admit I was one of em as at the time I thought Turbo was ok. When I found it used on vinyl back in 2018 I liked it more for some reason maybe as back in 86 there was so much hard rock coming out it was tough to give everything a fair listen if it didn’t grab you by the throat right off the bat.

Turbo was one of those albums.

So when Priest Live hit the streets in May 1987 I scooped it up quick and why wouldn’t I? 

Double live album along with a gatefold! Win-Win. The song selection is decent enough as well featuring 5 selections from the current Turbo album from that tour.

Rob Halford brings his A-game on this album and is stellar throughout. Glenn Tipton and KK Downing prove without a doubt that in 1987 they are only second to  Adrian Smith and Dave Murray in the best co-lead guitarists in my book.

Ian Hill thumps the bass along while drummers Dave Holland and Jonathan Valen keep the Priest ship steady behind the drums

Out In The Cold as an opener was in 86 a ballsy move as it fringes more the ballad side of Priest but the sound that emulates from the 6 dudes is a huge wall of sound. 

SATURDAY NIGHT AND THE PRIEST IS BACK!!!! bellows Halford as JP tears into Heading Out To The Highway.

Priest Live is basically a Greatest Hits live album focusing squarely on the 1980 to 1986 era of the band which undoubtedly is where Rob and the boys sold the most records in North America that is.

Lots of highlights on this album for me. The already mentioned Heading Out To The Highway, The Sentinel, Electric Eye, and Freewheel Burning are solid winners in my book.

Turbo (the album) is featured predominantly and of course, it would be as they were plugging this album from town to town back in the summer of 86. Five songs are featured on Priest Live. The tempos are quicker(than the studio versions) as Priest gets on with the new stuff.

Private Property is a great track. Nice use of the guitar synth on that one as is of course the immortal Turbo Lover. Rock You Around The World sizzles with some lead guitar work from Tipton. Even, when things get almost poppy-like with Parental Guidance there, is more of punch to it live than studio which suits me fine!

This is a great spin as the hits are played(well Priest hits that is) and that was what Rob/KK and Glenn were trying to do in the 80s. Write catchy hooky riffs of Metal to try and get something to stick on MTV while keeping the diehards happy. 

The only real knock I have on this album is the packaging is well…dull. No tour info, no pics just the gatefold picture. I will admit the copper use of color is kind of neat but this could have been so much better.

Iron Maiden set the bar way too high in how they packaged Live After Death back in 1985. No one has come close since then or after that.


Packaging issues aside Priest delivers with the music and in the end, that’s all that matters.

25 thoughts on “Judas Priest: Priest Live (1987)”

  1. I love this. I was afraid to buy it for a long time becuase of all the unfavourable ‘East comparisons, but this is a great live album too, and features many of my favourite songs since I love Vengeance, Steel and Defenders so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a great cross-section of Priest during that period on here.
      I see what you mean by the comparisons with Unleashed as that one is on a whole other level.
      Still though lots of great performances on here.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Priest in Atlanta in 1986? I could’ve been there, I wasn’t, but I could’ve been. Back then, I was working, but money was tight and I had didn’t get to a ton of shows, but 1987 was quite different. Senior year and enjoying life.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That would have been a tricky task – getting something to stick on MTV without alienating the existing base. And I like when bands pick up the tempos when playing live too – much as I love The Hip’s Springtime in Vienna studio recording, the sped-up live one takes it to another level.
    And yet more proof that the Williamson girls need to write a ‘How-to’ Great-Gift-Giving book!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They are the best at giving gifts Geoff! I will get them to send you the manual on how to keep the old man happy lol
      Tempos are huge for certain song I totally agree. When I read back in 86 that Priest was opening with Out In The Cold I was like …..Whut?? Lol
      But hearing it live made sense
      SIV by The Hip is a great one as well especially on the live album. Love how Gord stretches that line ‘singing from the rooftopssssssssss!
      Great stuff

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Really love this one, but I have to agree with you, the packaging sucks. Especially after the sheer awesomeness that was the Unleashed in the East cover

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Me and my friends just lived inside this tape for a year – must have played it every day for at least 4 months straight. The VHS was even better because it had Green Manalishi and Hell Bent on it too.

    I always enjoyed Turbo way more than the squeakier early stuff. Squeaky Priest, is a great band name.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Squeaky Priest LOL…
      Funny you mention Hell Bent Joe as its listed on the back cover as written by Tipton but is not on the vinyl version.
      Check out the Turbo reissue which comes with a full different show from the Turbo tour.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it was only on the VHS version and I think it was only those two tracks different – the memory banks aren’t what they were though, so I wouldn’t swear to it.

        Liked by 1 person

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