Part 12 of my series of Iron Maiden reviews!
IRON MAIDEN – Maiden England (PAL VHS/CD set)
Maiden’s spectacular Seventh Tour of a Seventh Tour seemed the perfect time to do another live home video. Future Maiden tours were to be toned down stageshow-wise for quite a few years. It also enabled Maiden to take a break while Steve Harris took 6 months to edit the video himself. In the meantime, Adrian and Bruce were able to write solo albums. We’ll get into that.
In the meantime, “Moonchild” opens the set. Sadly the acoustic part is just a pre-recorded tape, but Bruce just howls his way through this one. As Bruce welcomes the Birmingham crowd to the show, the band break into “The Evil That Men Do”, probably the best live version of this song available. Steve charges into it and the rest of the band keep up.
This is followed by a deuce of classic Maiden tunes that were-not-but-should-been-on Live After Death! These would be “The Prisoner” and “Still Life”, also available on the single for “Infinite Dreams”. “Still Life” is a rarity to hear live so this is a nice treat; I think it’s an excellent song. One of my all time favourites.
“Die With Your Boots On” was included on Live After Death but I ain’t complaining! You can hear that Bruce has lost a little bit of his range on some of the high notes; it is what it is. It’s an awesome tune and this version has a certain reckless abandon.
The single, “Infinite Dreams” follows, and I always felt it was one of the better Seventh Sontunes. It works live, especially once the band kick it into gear halfway. And if you somehow managed to fall asleep, an especially screamy “Killers” will wake you up.
That’s it for classic Maiden for a while. The next four numbers are all from the most recent two albums: “Heaven Can Wait” (with singalong), “Wasted Years” (which Bruce seems to struggle with), “The Clairvoyant” and the epic “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”. At 10 minutes long, Bruce makes sure the crowd doesn’t fall asleep, getting them to sing along.
The CD closes with a double whammy of classic Maiden: “The Number of the Beast” and “Iron Maiden”. Bruce implores the Birmingham NEC to scream for him, and scream they do.
The VHS version had two extra songs, lopped off the CD for time reasons. They are, unfortunately, an amazing “Hallowed Be Thy Name” and the single “Can I Play With Madness”.
A DVD version of Maiden England with a remastered and complete CD was confirmed by Maiden manager Rod Smallwood to be forthcoming on March 25, 2013.
Maiden England was a good package, and it’s cool to have the Seventh Tour documented on video, with that cool arctic stage set and crystal balls, and all that. Comparing it to Live After Death is just…well…you can’t. Live After Death was 25 minutes longer therefore more comprehensive, and perfectly mixed. Maiden England sounds a little more…I dunno…muddy, maybe?
Who cares. It’s Maiden.