Part 17 of my series of Iron Maiden reviews! NOTE: This album was later reissued as part of A Real Live Dead One.
IRON MAIDEN – A Real Dead One (1993)
When Maiden hit the road for what was to be Bruce’s farewell tour, it did not go as the band intended. There were some positives: Because this was Bruce’s farewell, the band decided to pull certain older tracks out of the box, and record them for the next live album, A Real Dead One. But three of the four other Iron Maiden members (Janick Gers being the sole holdout) have accused Bruce of sabotaging that last tour. I’m sure this is all water under the bridge now, but Maiden were furious that Bruce seemingly stopped trying, barely sang, and underperformed on certain stops on the tour. Only the big gigs, with the cameras and the press, did Bruce put any effort into singing, claimed the band.
Whatever the case may be, Bruce did turn up for the tracks on A Real Dead One. And Maiden stacked the deck with great tracks, stretching from the first album to Powerslave. And those older seldom heard tracks that Maiden pulled out of the box? Yeah! You get classics like “Remember Tomorrow”, “Where Eagles Dare”, and “Prowler”. None of those songs were on the immortal Live After Death (neither was “Transylvania” or “Sanctuary”!) so that brings added value to this album, as a companion piece of sorts.
But it could never live up to the legacy set by Live After Death, and although it’s certainly better than A Real Live One, I can’t say I play this too frequently. The band are on fire and playing as furiously as ever. The solos are nothing if not sublime. Steve and Nicko gallop forward driving the whole thing. That’s all well and good. The vocals don’t seem mixed high enough to me. Bruce’s voice is also obviously wearing with age. It happens. I think the album has a better overall sound than A Real Live One however.
I don’t think “Remember Tomorrow” needed backing keyboards, although Dave and Janick’s guitar work is beautiful. I love Janick’s noisy chaotic solo that still somehow fits the song. I also love Nicko’s drum work and fills.
“Hallowed By Thy Name” appropriately closes the album, and was also the album’s single. The fantastic cover art shows Bruce being killed by Eddie, a trick they would try live for their final gig (and more on that when I get to it). “Hallowed” had two unique live B-sides: “Wasted Years” and “Wrathchild”! Both are worth having. “Wrathchild” probably could have been on this album, and “Wasted Years” definitely should have been on A Real Live One.
Derek Riggs came back for the cover art. DJ Eddie seems to be spinning discs in hell, at 666 FM!
Even though this was Maiden’s second live album of 1993, it was not their last! Stay tuned…
Below: Note Bruce promoting his cousin Rob Dickinson’s new band, Catherine Wheel! Also seen, the CD for the combined A Real Live Dead One release.