Green Manalishi: The 40th Anniversary of “Unleashed In The East”

“Hello Japan!”

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LIVE albums are a strange animal. For a long time nobody believed they could be a success of any kind. Especially double live albums now regarded as essential for any band, were still in late 1970’s seen as a risky business. Adding the risk was the musical climate, in 1979 punk movement had reached its zenith and NWOBHM was ready to take over the crown. Of course classic rock had always had its loyal fans and now rumble was beginning to get heard more aggressively all over the world. The seminal live album “Made In Japan” by Deep Purple was released in 1972 and the flow started few years later. It slowly became a standard for rock bands (metal was an unknown genre at the time) even if bands like Black Sabbath and Judas Priest were very much in existence.

Judas Priest arrived in Japan for the second time in February 1979, supporting their late 1978 release “Killing Machine.” On their first arrival pervious year, they had been greeted like superstars. Now the reception was milder but still very enthusiastic. The politeness and efficiency of local personnel amazed them like it had many other bands previously visiting the land of the rising sun. Concert setting in Japan remains different from the rest of the world still today, and in the 1970’s it literally was a universe of its own.

The band played four shows in five days and recorded two dates, one in Tokyo and one in Nakano at the beginning and end of the tour. Priest were on fire, fully dressed up in leather and studs leading the new look and sound of pure heavy metal, they tore Japan apart with blistering set-list. They returned home with a feeling of victory after listening to the live tapes. Priest’s record company CBS originally wanted to release a live recording of the Japan tour as a souvenir exclusively to the Far Eastern fans so some studio time was booked in England in order to mix the album.

For producer’s desk Priest made an important decision choosing fellow brit Tom Allom, who would work with the band on all their subsequent albums for next ten years and more sporadically later on. Allom had engineered the first four Black Sabbath albums, was roughly the same age as band, enthusiastic and most of all could deliver exactly what Priest wanted and needed at this point. A metal album with sharp as steel production, like the Priest live show, full on attack with power and intensity.

Mixes were done over several weeks at Ringo Starr’s Startling Studios in Ascot, England. The band were so pleased with the final mixes, they decided to release the album worldwide. Japanese got the exclusive four-track bonus EP and the LP was dubbed with a title “Priest In The East.”

Rob had a flu and a case of partial laryngitis when these recordings were created taking some of the edge off his voice. Thus when Priest returned to England, some overdubs were necessary in order to finalize the recording. According to Glenn Tipton few vocal lines were touched up resulting the album receiving somewhat unfair title “Unleashed In The Studio”. What most criticizing this do not realize is that almost all live albums even during that era were put through necessary overdubs. In 1993 Kiss’ front man Paul Stanley stated:

No one wants to hear me dropping a guitar just because it is “real.”

While Stanley has a point, Kiss are also the worst example of overdubs gone slightly or more overboard.

Kiss’ “Alive II” released two years prior to “Unleashed In The East” contained several songs not actually performed in their live show, separately tracked audience response and several Paul Stanley’s singing backing vocals at the same time. When listening to this one can certainly appreciate the music but it does relegate the album below its predecessor “Kiss Alive”. So there is actually a fine – and a relatively clean – line between presenting an actual and enjoyable live document and something that’s essentially rendered unreal. With “Unleashed In The East” no line is crossed.

It seems staggering it was originally released back in September 1979, exactly 40 years ago. It marked an end to an era both for Priest and for heavy metal. The punk reign had all but ended while NWOBHM was just about to begin. “Unleashed In The East” showed the way to a revolution, it was punk in all attitude, the songs on it were 1970’s in style but delivered in the sharp as steel sound of heavy metal thunder.

“Unleashed In The East” contains roughly 45 minutes of music. And not a moment of it goes to waste. Nowadays bands release double live records with often maximum playtime, even triple CD sets are common these days. The simple fact that quantity does not equal quality seems lost to many and truly great live albums come rare these days. Especially the arrival of DVD has made them almost redundant and almost always CD’s are issued as an afterthought and soundtrack simultaneously or previously with a visual edition.

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Going through original “Unleashed In The East” takes up 45 minutes of your time but try playing it (as if you haven’t already done so) from start to finish and it will seem like 4 minutes! Such is the frenetic drive, energy and passion featured it will not let the listener from its grip until the last track “Tyrant” ends and the audience sounds fade. Most of Rob’s stage banter has been edited out with only couple of the titles mentioned in between very briefly without interrupting the flow of the music. For many the album seems to be over just as soon as it begins, thus it is maybe best to go through it track by track.

Let’s begin with “Exciter” – the fast and proud opening track from 1978’s “Stained Class.” It is carried out even faster here. The audience noise quickly fades in with pulsating intro sound of “Invader”. Then series of power chords similar to current live beginning of “Hell Bent For Leather” follow and Les Binks’ drum salvo kicks off the proceedings. Rob’s vocals are phenomenal. The band bravely reintroduced the song in their set list during the 2005 “Angel Of Retribution-“ tour and Halford sang it fine enough. But make no mistake, it is arguably here that the greatest rendition is located. “Stained Class” production wise was somewhat lacking punch but “Unleashed In The East” brought things up to another level. Right from the start you have to admire Les Binks’ drum work as it carries the song and adds colour in exactly the right places. His fills are all over it but reference check out 1:19 and 1:36, drum rolls on 2:26 and ten seconds later plus finally spine chilling at 3:46. These are small colourful additions that you might not pick up instantly but they are essential parts of the song structure. Towards the end, the last “Stand by for Exciter!” scream by Rob is utterly amazing with its length and added echo. Check out again how music just slightly tightens its grip underneath before the songs end.

Immediately after this the sole inclusion from the European edition of “Killing Machine” album begins. As it is, “Running Wild” is an excellent choice. Rob shouts “right!” as the band kicks in with its familiar fast paced riff. Again, faster than the previously released studio version, Rob really spits out the verses in that slightly cocky, arrogant style the content and lyrics deserve. “And I demand respect!” is especially well delivered. K.K. Downing rips on the whammy bar during the outro. The song doesn’t even reach the three minute mark but presents within that time all the crucial elements of Judas Priest’s success in the next decade. There are many but we’ll just mention one: dynamics.

Those few (are there any?) still sleeping are woken up by Rob shouting “The Sinnneeer!!” and K.K. beating some distorted sounds out of his guitar, the main riff takes over. Like all tracks here “Sinner” too runs considerably faster than original studio version, K.K.’s solo work is wild and the whole thing has an aura of unpredictability right up until the very last note.

We get “The Ripper” next; essentially this song when originally released on 1976’s “Sad Wings Of Destiny” was a prelude to NWOBHM. Its full potential however, becomes realized here. Dangerously metallic guitar riff comes in and Halford unleashes a primal scream, short, sharp and sweet. He sings in higher key than on studio version, which works great although I’ve always been a fan of the original’s ice cold and damp feeling, the essence of a serial killer Rob so perfectly portrays. The final yells are delivered perfectly, the call and response from The Ripper, whisper and final scream all add to bigger sound picture. Very good use of echo on the vocals again.

At the end of side one, Priest ventured into the world of cover numbers laying down a great live take on Fleetwood Mac’s “The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown)”. Priest fans located in the US had enjoyed the song already earlier as a bonus cut on the “Hell Bent For Leather” LP, while rest of the world got to hear it for the first time on the B-side of “Evening Star” single in May 1979. Although most likely for lions share of the foreign fans, the live cut found on “Unleashed In The East.” was the first experience with this classic rocker.

It continued the grand tradition of excellent cover numbers by Priest and was originally a song written by guitarist Peter Green. It was released as a single in the UK in May 1970 and reached #10 on the British charts. The song was written during Green’s final months with the band, at a time when he was struggling with LSD addiction and had withdrawn from other members of the group. While there are several rumours about the meaning of the title “Green Manalishi”, one referencing a mysterious LSD drug called “Green Manalishi” associated with the drug scene of the 1960’s and 1970’s, Green himself has always maintained that the song is about money, as represented by the devil.

Green has explained that he wrote the song after experiencing a drug-induced dream, in which he was visited by a green dog which barked at him. He understood that the dog represented money.

It scared me because I knew the dog had been dead a long time. It was a stray and I was looking after it. But I was dead and had to fight to get back into my body, which I eventually did. When I woke up, the room was really black and I found myself writing the song.

He also said that he wrote the lyrics the following day.

Priest’s “Green Manalishi” is instantly recognisable but is given such a strong Priest stamp, the song is today actually considered more a Judas Priest -original than Fleetwood Mac’s composition. The rhythm, the classic four part lead break, Ian Hill’s thumping bass line, Rob’s formidable vocals. It’s all Priest. It was a fantastic choice for a cover number and the arrangement was pure genius. At quick glance it seems simple but all those elements carefully joined together built another metal classic. These initial live versions did not include a coda familiar from early 1980’s and onwards and the song ends abruptly after Rob’s final scream. The crowd explodes immediately after this which goes a long way to show the affect this track had on live audiences right from the beginning. Priest have played the song on almost all tours since 1979 and even re-recorded it with a much slower arrangement (even slower than the original studio cut) with Ripper Owens on vocals. One of the definite Priest classics and a live standout.

Side two begins with “Diamonds And Rust” – although like “Green Manalishi,” the song wasn’t written by Priest, it contains all the dramatic flourishes of band’s early and future work. Halford’s vocals soar effortlessly, the emotional aspect is yet again in full presence. Glenn’s lead work is also brilliant behind vocals carrying similar theme, singing along with the singer. Many fans hold later acoustic versions in high regard and while those are equally impressive and emotional in their own right, this writer is glad they have returned this one to its former glory on 2009’s “British Steel” trek. Magnificent stuff.

Next up is the all time Priest classic “Victim Of Changes.” While the studio version has its charm, it is no match to the live version found herein. The tempo is faster and Rob drops some of the lyrics. On the other hand he absolutely dominates on the high screams towards the end. The song starts differently with no fade-in of the guitar chords, instead the now famous duel with K.K. and Glenn appearing with full volume out of the dark, piercing through the listener with its haunting melody. In later years “Victim Of Changes” has been extended sometimes up to 11 minutes with extra parts added mostly to Glenn’s solo bit in the middle and long ending. For 1993’s compilation album “Metal Works” this version from “Unleashed In The East” was included – partially of course due to Gull owning the rights to studio track – but also because it is simply the best. “Victim Of Changes” was always a song portraying the light and shade aspect of Judas Priest and was destined for concert arenas.

Two more tunes to go and they both originate from “Sad Wings Of Destiny.” First up is “Genocide.” Live this song often got stretched around the 10-minute mark, while only 2/3 of that length remain here. The collective consensus of the song switches onto progressive. The grooves are very much within the musical surroundings of mid-1970’s, while its delivery is pure metal. Halford is free to experiment more with his vocals, going up and down the scales. The rhythm section of Ian and Les drive the song along well, and as it contains few time changes, the tightness of the players must be admired. Towards the end there’s a slow part including an ear splitting and evil sounding delivery from Rob. “Genocide” is one those numbers which benefits from Rob’s deeper, raspier voice as evidenced from his solo version few years ago. In light of this, Priest re-introducing this one today would definitely be interesting.

Like everyone knows, “Unleashed In The East” is concluded with “Tyrant” – an eternal favourite that simply crushes the listener under it, such is the power and drive of the band at the top of their game. This song like “Sinner” was turned inwards and out on The Fuel Of The Furnace (parts I and VII, respectively), so no need to go into depth here. Let’s just say that the live version blows all modern speed and power metal groups into oblivion.

Then it’s the end. The audience fades out quickly, enhancing the isolated feeling of nothing more needing to be said. Listener should feel drained after this but instead is urged to place needle on the vinyl and give it another spin.

As we delve into the individual performances it must be surprising to many to find out there isn’t awful lot to say – simply because of the cohesive unity of the group forging a sound that can only work as well as it does when a band fully committed and synchronized is playing the music. Take one part out and the whole thing collapses. Some words however, must go to everyone involved in making of the masterpiece.

At the forefront of things, Rob Halford is ruling the land of heavy metal with a peerless vocal performance. It was the pinnacle of his high falsetto styled singing, with next couple of studio albums Halford would venture towards different direction. He’d peak again towards the end of next decade but by then his vocal technique was slightly different too.

K.K. and Glenn had worked together mere five years at the time “Unleashed In The East” was recorded but their playing had so fluently fused into one, it’s worth admiring and paying close attention to the build-ups, leads, harmonies and licks that permeate throughout the live album. The glorious moments are too numerous to point out, but take a listen to K.K. wild lead playing on “Victim Of Changes” and “Sinner,” Glenn’s melodic intensity on “Diamonds And Rust” and both of them delivering a superb leads on “Green Manalishi.”

Ian Hill as well carries his role masterfully. For bassist it is of course important to lock with the drummer in order to form a tight rhythm ground for other players to lead on. Priest were never known for their bass solos, nor did their music require it. There are however, few key moments that careful listener will want to examine further. On “Green Manalishi,” which is somewhat different from the rest of the material, Hill’s bass playing is driving the song along. Especially during the lead break, the rhythm ground is impressively heavy, up to that point almost unheard on any other Priest song. Next decade this kind of style would re-appear. Notice very similar bass groove is used on “The Ripper” – although it is much more prominent on the live recording as opposed to original studio master.

The live tapes from Japan also marked drummer Les Binks’ final recordings with the band. By the time “Unleashed In The East” was released in September 1979, he had been replaced by Dave Holland. With Holland, the band had more straight forward player who excelled on songs like “Steeler” and “Living After Midnight.” However, one cannot underestimate Les’ role in making “Unleashed In The East” as great as it was. Bear in mind, he was originally brought to the band to fill the role of Simon Phillips who had taken Priest to another level on “Sin After Sin.” Thus Binks had to replicate the kind of furious drumming that bordered on speed metal but still at the same time retain the twists and turns of Priest’s other more adventurous material. This was a major challenge but one that Binks completely met head on, and developed his style over the next two years. There’s a subtle but clear difference between “Stained Class” and “Killing Machine.” And certainly one cannot think of a better testament for Binks’ career in Judas Priest than “Unleashed In The East.”

And to make it all perfect, there’s the production to ensure the record was ground breaking sonically as well. Tom Allom was really the best possible choice for Judas Priest at this point. He brought the band onto next decade with a sound that was relatively simple, yet genius. The sound of five players with occasional (always subtle) enhancements that supported the basic wall of guitars, bass, drums and vocals. The balance was always there right from the start.

The record’s cover artwork was stylish and shot on studio stage. Notice that the band was working in between two drummers at the time. Binks had left and Holland was not yet recruited. Thus Rob is positioned in front of the spot the drummer seems to be playing. The album cover and its variations have since then appeared on different articles, posters and albums all over the world. Kiss’ “Alive” album was shot similar way and this works equally well. On the cover Halford stands proud, microphone in hand reaching for the sky, shades, handcuffs and leather outfit embellish Priest’s new look. Tipton and Downing pose close behind him in midst of smoke raising their guitars like weapons, K.K. in his classic “Sinner” solo mode. Ian Hill similarly in the background clenching his bass as if it was a shotgun. Back cover set-up is very similar right down to poses except Halford now sitting on a motorbike, without microphone, fist defiantly up in the air. The wires, lights and smoke complete the picture. There’s a sense of menace in the shots, not necessarily implying the band is playing anything. More than anything it reminds a certain moment in the actual album: when “Exciter” ends and right before “Running Wild” begins. Priest have appeared, destroyed and are ready to blast off for another round. Speaking of album covers with band themselves featured, this is one of the immortal ones capturing the place and time perfectly. Iconic image.

The album received encouraging reviews worldwide and fulfilled a lot of its commercial potential. The LP reached number 70 in the US Billboard chart which was very good at the time for a live album. In the UK top-10 was cracked making “Unleashed In The East” at that point their most successful release. LP stayed in the British charts for eight weeks. A lot of success the US was down to an extensive tour supporting Kiss on their “Dynasty” tour in late 1979. Masked heroes were on the way out, troubled with internal problems and Priest were a band full of fire and energy. ”Unleashed In The East” would eventually be certified Platinum.

Rolling Stone wrote in its somewhat mixed review:

On Unleashed in the East–recorded live in Japan in CBS’ third bid for the Budokan dollar–Judas Priest simply repeats the same master-race rock found on its last five studio albums. The group has a textbook macho arrogance that’s fuelled by Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing’s fuzz-heavy guitars, and these guys peel off cliché-ridden riffs that somehow support lead singer Rob Halford’s bloodcurdling howls of cosmic marauding. Though Priest’s pretentions too often gain the upper hand, as in the apocalyptic ravings of “Victim of Changes,” the band’s fire-eating take of Fleetwood Mac’s old and bluesy “The Green Manalishi (with the Two-Pronged Crown)” show that it makes up in gall what it lacks in chops.

The band themselves were pleased with the results. “I think the live album is an exact representation of the band,” reflected K.K. shortly after the release. “At the same time, we feel that it sort of marked the end of an era. It’s certainly one of the most pleasing things we’ve done. My preference for listening always goes to live albums because of the atmosphere.”

“The band on stage and on record are two completely different things,” Rob continued. “But the excitement of that album really came across and I think it did well because of the pursuant build-up we’d generated through the other studio albums. Live albums are like an ace card to play really -you have to know exactly when to release them or you can put one out and it’ll do absolutely nothing for you. It was definitely a good time to have “Unleashed” though, because people who had seen us live finally had the opportunity to experience the whole thing on record. I think they were waiting for it and it just opened up whole new areas for us.”

Listening to “Unleashed In The East” now, it is astonishing how Priest had evolved from their debut album “Rocka Rolla” through four subsequent studio releases into the vibrating, powerful heavy metal machine it was in 1979. It’s even more admirable considering the time in between was five years. These days bands don’t even release two albums in that period of time!

By year’s end Priest would head out to studios in order to complete their next studio album, which would result in 1980 as monumental “British Steel.” From there on there was no stopping the Priest machine. Leading the charge along with hundreds of other hopeful NWOBHM-outfits, heavy metal would take over the world like a storm.

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Against the usual tide of live albums released at the time, “Unleashed In The East” contains mere nine songs. It may not be reflective of a full Judas Priest show, but it is certainly reflective of the band Judas Priest and in fact the whole heavy metal in general. The music was going in new exciting directions and Priest would lead the charge. “Unleashed In The East” also closed the gap on Priest’s adventurous first decade and opened the book on 1980’s when they would become true metal monsters. It’s impact was established early on and it’s grown in statue continuously over the last 30 years. It was placed number 64 on the Kerrang!-magazine’s “100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums Of All Time” in July 1989. Years later on Classic Rock’s “50 Greatest Live Albums Ever” list, it reached number 16. It has been a regular on other similar lists during the last 30 years.

Nowadays it is universally regarded as one of the greatest heavy metal live releases and has influenced countless of metal artists and acts. It’s verifying to hear Rob Halford on stage today introducing songs like “Victim Of Changes” and “The Ripper” coming from “Unleashed In The East” as often as “Sad Wings Of Destiny.” The original studio versions have their charm but seem like different takes compared to their counterparts from three years later. This is another valid point currently lost on many, there’s plenty of live albums where renditions follow studio cuts so precisely it makes one wonder why they bothered. After all to entice buyers, a live recording should offer something special. And that something special isn’t always length or audio quality in itself. The content should reflect this.

“Unleashed In The East” was released as part of Judas Priest remasters campaign in 2001 and added four bonus tracks: “Rock Forever,” “Delivering The Goods,” “Hell Bent For Leather” and “Starbreaker.” Not everything that was originally heard and recorded was included as the remaster left out “Take On The World,” “Beyond The Realms Of Death,” “Evil Fantasies” and “White Heat, Red Hot.” From these “Beyond The Realms Of Death” was first issued on a limited edition three-track EP which came with the album’s UK pressing. The song was re-released in 1981 as a B-side to the “Rock Forever” 12’ inch single. “Evil Fantasies” appeared on the flip side of 1980’s “Living After Midnight.” The other two songs recorded; “Take On The World” and “White Heat, Red Hot” remain unreleased to this day. On the remaster these cuts make for a nice listening and obviously Priest on top form cannot be faulted, especially “Starbreaker” is great to hear as it features a short drum solo and is a fitting proof on Les Bink’s talent.

Overall bonus tracks are a nice addition but in hindsight a right decision was made to leave them out. Not just because “Unleashed In The East” would then not have been the album it was, but because more doesn’t always equal better. In that point in time, Priest needed to make a statement. After four studio records they needed to deliver the new age, set themselves apart from 1970’s typically long live interludes and punch in with power. From start to finish, “Unleashed In The East” works as one pulsating force, it’s complete as it is.

It would be another eight years before Priest released another live album. Double LP “Priest…Live!” taken from the phenomenal “Fuel For Life” tour 1986 was a very different concept and quite wisely ignored all material featured on “Unleashed In The East.” The climate had changed and the band had evolved into another entity. 1998’s “Live Meltdown” was again miles away, not only because it featured a new vocalist and drummer but also in regards of sound and general feeling. And finally more recent “A Touch Of Evil Live” again features only songs not previously heard on either “Unleashed In The East” or “Priest…Live!” It’s also the first Priest live record taped from two different world tours. And no, “Live In London” (2003) is not forgotten but bear in mind it is essentially a soundtrack to the DVD released the year before. Visual discussion is another matter altogether. These various Judas Priest live albums are worth another article so for the time being, we shall let them rest. But it is important to understand their importance in the Priest catalogue and also their vast difference.

It is this very reason, which makes Judas Priest live documents so special. Not just because of varying song or member line-ups but their wide scope of sound and canvas. “Unleashed In The East” deserves its place in the great history books of heavy metal, not just because it was the first Priest live album but because it defined the era it belonged to. Only precious few live albums are able to do that: transport you into another time and place where worries of the world do not seem to matter. And Judas Priest did it at least twice, “Unleashed In The East” and “Priest…Live” are up there with the greatest heavy metal albums ever released. Only “Unleashed In The East” did it first, if you haven’t dug it out from the shelf recently it is high time to do so now. It isn’t just the sound of a band at its peak, it is the sound of life.

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Alongside Priest’s “Unleashed In The East” there have been countless records taped from the land of the rising sun and many of them in the famous Tokyo Budokan Hall. Outside the metal field there have been releases by The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Cheap Trick and Eric Clapton among others. Here’s a run-through on some of the essential ones from the hard rock and heavy metal genre:

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Deep Purple – Made In Japan (1972)

The one that started it all. Mark II of Deep Purple had released three classic studio albums but arguably their milestone statement is this double LP. The live version of “Smoke On The Water” took off like a rocket in the charts and made the song into a phenomenon it is today. And the 20-minute version of “Space Truckin’” was something unheard at the time – until Led Zeppelin surpassed it with a 40- minute version of “Dazed And Confused”. And by that time it all had gone over the top anyway. The complete three shows recorded were released as 3CD box set “Live In Japan” in 1993.

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Dream Theater – Live At Budokan (2004)

The current masters of progressive metal recorded their third live album in Tokyo. It’s a three-disc set and without question not easily absorbed by everyone. If the word prog makes you think about suicide it is wise not to go near this. For others it is a chance to sit back and let the unrivalled music wizardry take you over. Highlights include the speed metal groove of “The Test That Stumped Them All,” their only hit single “Pull Me Under” and astounding 16-minute set-closer “In The Name Of God.”

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Scorpions – Tokyo Tapes (1978)

The end of an era for the band. Final recordings with guitarist Uli Jon Roth who had departed at the time of its release. Roth’s Jimi Hendrix –influences and progressive leanings did not sit well with Rudolf Schenker and Klaus Meine’s more traditional song writing. “Tokyo Tapes” is a fitting tribute to this clash of styles, resulting the band playing intensively. Japanese crowd laps it up and there’s a moving version of traditional hymn “Kojo No Tsuki.”

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MSG – One Night In Budokan (1982)

Mad Mickey Schenker departed UFO in late 1970’s and after briefly reuniting with The Scorpions formed his own band. He recruited Gary Barden on both vocals and as writing partner. Drum legend Cozy Powell completed the line-up which shined on the 1982 live recording. “One Night In Budokan” is fantastic document of a hard rock band at their peak, Schenker’s fluent playing is all over the album and the sounds from his Flying V send the Japanese into a frenzy.

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Hughes/Turner Project – Live In Tokyo (2002)

On their own neither Glenn Hughes or Joe Lynn Turner could create anything to rival their former bands but together their undeniable talent came together in quite spectacular way. In between two excellent hard rock studio efforts, they played a string of dates in Japan and issued a live album. Group’s own material is certainly strong enough, but obviously the strongest response greets the Deep Purple/Rainbow-material. “Spotlight Kid,” “King Of Dreams,” “Stormbringer” and the gargantuan take on the ultimate hard rock blues “Mistreated,” are delivered with power and style.

Mr.Big – Back To Budokan (2009)

One of the most popular hard rock bands in Japan, Mr.Big at one point even released an exclusive live album for that market. Of course as it featured tracks not available elsewhere it became a must-buy for fans worldwide. The band broke up shortly after the current millennium but reunited some years later and besides this live record have already released several studio albums. Taped in Budokan during their “Next Time Around” tour, this double CD and DVD release had much to do in restoring their following. As the band was always much more than just a one-ballad-hit-wonder, the DVD is also recommended to fully catch the virtuoso playing of Paul Gilbert and Billy Sheehan.

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6

Dokken – Japan Live ’95 (2003)

Being released nearly ten years after it was recorded already speaks volumes. A recording left on the shelf to gather dust and then rolled out in an attempt to possible make some revenue when classic metal and hard rock enjoys a renaissance of sorts. While Dokken’s 1988 live album “Beast From The East” is one of the good ones, this most certainly isn’t. It’s rather badly produced, unsurprisingly containing no recording information nor other data. And despite back cover claims of a band live in their prime, it features nothing of the sort. Honestly “Japan Live ‘95” offers a very uninspired group at the end of their rope. The internal frictions were driving Dokken to a breaking point and disillusioned guitarist George Lynch jumped ship shortly after.

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Judas Priest info pages
Steve Gett – Heavy Duty: The Official Judas Priest Biography

“Unleashed In The East” stats:

Recorded Live At Koseikinen Hall February 10th, 1979 and Nakano Sunplaza Hall February 15th, 1979
Produced by Tom Allom
First released in September 1979
Released in Japan as “Priest In The East” with four bonus tracks
Remaster released in 2001 with four bonus tracks

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“Thank you Ville for a great write up on the album.

I must say that it was one of our finest goals scored when we got to record a live album in Japan.

I seem to remember vividly Deep Purple’s album and thinking how envious I was that a band from England could go to the other side of the world and record a live album. In my wildest dreams I never could have hoped to achieve such a prestigious task.

Anyway, eventually we did have the opportunity in September 1979 and we were determined to do the best we possible could. No way did we intend to blow this golden opportunity.

Although I was both nervous and jet lagged, I remember my adrenalin running flat out. The set list on the day was probably as good as any Priest have ever had, all we had to do was what we do naturally and come home with the goods.

Fortunately all went well and to this day I am extremely proud to say thank you to all of our fans that have played their part in order to make “Unleashed in the East” one of the most highly acclaimed live albums ever made.”

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About Ville Krannila