Leashed In The East (Tarantura TCDJUDAS-1)
Shinjuku Koseinenkin Hall, Tokyo, Japan – July 31, 1978
(74:13): Opening, SE / 1812 Overture (Tchaikovsky), Exciter, White Heat Red Hot, Ripper, Sinner, Beyond The Realms Of Death, Better You Than Me, Victim Of Changes, Diamonds And Rust, Genocide, Starbreaker (encore), Tyrant (encore)
The wonderful, prolific Tarantura label continues to impress this reviewer with live titles by artists a tab bit outside of the core of giants like Zeppelin, Floyd, and Eric Clapton found so often in live music titles. An example in the summer of 2008 was Tarantura’s Michael Schenker Group title, The Descendant of God, which was a beautifully packaged presentation of a balanced and clear Mr. Peach recording of a powerful 1981 concert by MSG. Continuing with its pattern of appealing to a broader base of live music collectors is Tarantura’s recent Leashed in the East presentation of Judas Priest’s July 31, 1978 concert to an energized Tokyo audience.
Like the MSG title, this also bears the image of a peach on the back of the attractive, glossy jacket containing the single concert disc. The beautiful title also comes with a mini poster of Glenn Tipton in action from this era in Priest’s history. For those of us who fell in love with Judas Priest’s commercial release Unleashed in the East, this Tarantura title was immediately attractive. That was before I received a copy of the title, however, which has exceeded my expectations.
The clear sound on this title is simply excellent. There is a full, virtually surrounding balance to the overall recording, with Les Binks’ china cymbal or splash cymbal accents as clearly audible as Rob Halford’s freaky-great vocals. All guitars and bass equally coexist with the audience’s participation and reaction throughout. While Unleashed in the East contained remarkable performances of its tracks, Tarantura’s Leashed in the East offers a comparable show from that time period, but the complete show as compared to the commercial release, making it very desirable.
Following the opening of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, the band thrash into the concert with “Exciter”, which is thrilling, to put it mildly. And that’s just the beginning of the show. “White Heat, Red Hot”, the “Ripper”, “Sinner”, and “Beyond the Realms of Death” are incredible, with Halford demonstrating himself in ways not too many vocalists can dream of approaching. Power from behind him by Les Binks – Priest’s greatest drummer in the opinion of this reviewer – constantly kept this concert in overdrive, and it’s excellent to hear his muscular, tasteful performance amidst all of the sounds from Downing, Tipton, and Hill. The show highlight for me, and quite possibly the audience, was the band’s virtually overwhelming performance of “Victim of Changes”.
Rob Halford introduced the song as being from Sad Wings of Destiny, which he explained was Priest’s first album connecting them to the “very beautiful” audiences of Japan, and the song that those audiences apparently “took the most from the album.” The alternating guitar solos by Downing and Tipton at different parts in the song do not drown out the rhythm guitar or bass playing at the same time, and Binks’ double bass drum, snare, hi-hat, and tom-tom work is beautiful throughout and captured perfectly. The arguable star of the song, though, is Halford, who was simply stunning. Unfortunately for the recording device, though, it couldn’t handle some of his crazy vocal highs, causing minor distortion at times. But that just adds to the concert recording for me, and the value this title adds to my live music collection.
As with the MSG title mentioned above, though, word on the street is that this reasonably priced Tarantura title may soon be sold out. One need not wonder why, though, because this release is absolutely fantastic for any fan of this band, or fans of the heavy metal explosion that occurred around the world in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. I can only hope that Tarantura continues to produce beauties like this.