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Music Review: Judas Priest – Setlist: The Very Best Of Judas Priest

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The Setlist series from Columbia Legacy is about as ecologically sound as it gets. Utilizing 100% recycled material for the packaging, and putting the liner notes on the actual CD, this low-priced series has a lot going for it. The complaints I have heard thus far have more to do with the repackaging of previously released material than with the actual final results.

Judas Priest – Setlist: The Very Best Of Judas Priest compiles some of the group's best live recordings ever, with B-sides that have been extremely difficult to find for fans.

By beginning the disc with “Judas Rising” from their 2005 album, Angel Of Retribution, the band stakes their claim to this being a contemporary look back at their years together. Having said that, hearing them perform greats such as “Heading Out To The Highway” and “Breaking The Law” is no small treat.

But hell, I’m an old dude — my introduction to Priest was in 1979, with Unleashed In The East. I still think it is one of the best live albums of the seventies, and this collection utilizes three of its best tracks. “Exciter” is the first, and any fan of the NWOBHM (including Lars Ulrich) has to give it rightful props. “Tyrant” is another tremendously powerful showcase, especially for guitarists Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing.

But it is their version of “The Green Manalishi” that must be heard. The song was written by Peter Greene, who wrote it as a member of Fleetwood Mac in the late sixties. Judas Priest treated the cut with the malevolence it demanded. Rob Halford's soaring vocals over the top of his crack band is the reason he is considered one of the greatest metal singers of all time.

Closing out Setlist are the previously unreleased “Beyond The Realm Of Death” and a US Festival recording of “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin‘,” which remains their best known number.

The Setlist series is a budget-priced introduction to various bands, and collects their “greatest hits” in a live format. With Judas Priest, I think the label did a great job. This one is recommended.

About Greg Barbrick