REVIEW: Iron Maiden – Live At Donington August 22nd 1992

Part 18 of my series of Iron Maiden reviews!

“Satan’s work is done Donington!” – Bruce Dickinson

IRON MAIDEN –  Live At Donington August 22nd 1992 (1993 CD, 1998 remastered edition)

I imagine if Bruce remained in the band, Maiden probably wouldn’t have released three live albums in one year.  But they needed time to regroup and figure out what the hell to do next.  In the meantime, as if to say, “We’ll be back!” Maiden released Live At Donington August 22nd 1992.

A much better recording than its two predecessors (A Real Live One and A Real Dead One), it’s a very special set.  It’ll never be Live After Death (that’s impossible) but this is one of the finer Maiden live albums to come down the pipe.  I mean, just look at the first three songs!  A smoking “Be Quick Or Be Dead”.  An absolutely devastating “Beast” (I like that they threw it in early).  A surprising “Wrathchild”, one of the best Maiden songs of all time.

Then I get a little disinterested — “From Here To Eternity” is not a personal fave, and “Can I Play With Madness” is flat sounding again, just like on A Real Live One.

“Wasting Love” is better.  The dual guitar harmony is a little off, but it’s live, what you hear is the way it was.  Bruce pushing his voice to the breaking point.  The mix is nice here.  You can hear Nicko’s drums beautifully and both guitars clear as a bell.

A fiery “Tailgunner” takes us out of ballad territory and back into traditional Maiden:  pumping guitars and lyrics about good ol’ WWII.  I like when Bruce sings, “No more bomber just one big bomb, hey hey, whooo!  Pussshhhttt!” as if to imitate the sound of a bomb going off!

Then, “The Evil That Men Do” lives on and on.  Bruce urges Donington to scream for him; they do and he responds with a solid “Fuck yeah!”

Incidentally, does anyone know why Bruce always seems to sing the words to this song wrong, live? This album and A Real Live One, he sings:

“And I will pray for her,

Someday I may return,

I will bleed for her,

If I could only make her learn.”

The actual lyric on the album is:

“And I will pray for you,

Someday I may return,

Don’t you cry for me,

Beyond is where I learn.”

Anybody?

Bruce then introduces the modern war ballad, “Afraid To Shoot Strangers”.  I think this is one of Maiden’s greater songs, at least once it gets going into that awesome guitar melody…and then another one after that!

The first CD of Donington closed with “Fear Of The Dark”.   Interesting — playing this one halfway through the show, and not the end!  How things would change, as this song became more and more of  a classic.  The Donington version is great, I love Janick’s pinch harmonics.  The remastered CD loaded four more songs onto disc one from here, freeing that space off disc two for video content.  I’m only mentioning this because depending on which version you have, your disc may end on a different song.  But I think “Fear Of The Dark” may as well close the disc, as it’s a perfect place to pause!

“Bring Your Daughter” was up next.  I can always pass on this song, although the redeeming factor are the wild and crazy guitars!  I could do without the singalong intro, but the fans at Donington are sure into it!

The brilliant “Clairvoyant” pumps the crowd up once again.  Once again, Janick crazies-up the guitar work making the whole thing more manic.

“Heaven Can Wait” of course was the big singalong song, I just wish they’d play something else from Somewhere In Time instead of this number.  Although I do like it when Bruce allows Nicko to have a word.  “Oiiiyyyeeeee!”  This is followed by “Run To The Hills”, which indicates we’re getting closer to the end.  Personally I’m tiring of this song, and the guitars sound too thin.

“2 Minutes To Midnight” serves as a reminder of the great tunes that Bruce and Adrian used to write together.  Great riff (even if poached from “Wildfire” by Budgie), great song.  Funny:  As a kid, I loved “Hills” and didn’t really like “2 Minutes”.  Now, I really love “2 Minutes”, but I’ve heard “Hills” just too many times.

Then:  four classics in a row.  “Hallowed”, “Trooper”, “Sanctuary”, and “Running Free”.  “Hallowed” is still one of the very greatest Maiden tunes of all time, and in many ways I think it’s better live.  In particular, the Live After Death version is great.  But Bruce sings his teeth into this one too, and it’s just that much better for it.  Once again, I can hear some tasty pinch harmonics in the opening.  Is that you Janick?  Guess I’ll have to wait until this show comes out on blu-ray in 2013….

“The Trooper” is of course pummeling as ever,  and “Sanctuary” a welcome rarity from the earlier punkier days.  I like when Bruce introduces Nicko as “old Flatnose himself”.

“Running Free” though was very special indeed, and a harbinger of things to come.

Adrian came out and joined the band for this one, a special appearance at a special gig.  For years I had no idea:  It’s not like you can really understand what Bruce is saying when Adrian comes out, perhaps overcome with emotion!   This really was a preview of the most beloved, long-standing Maiden lineup of all time:  Bruce, Steve, Nicko, Davey, Janick, and Adrian.  It would be seven years before they played together again, but here’s the first.

The cover art and packaging was decidedly bootleg:  A plain white cover with a Maiden logo stencil and the title in sloppy typewriter font.  No booklet at all.  Thankfully, this was rectified with Mark Wilkinson’s poster art, used for the remastered cover art.  The remaster did indeed feature a full booklet packed with photos, and some live video stuff that may or may not work on your current machine.

And thus ends Live At Doningon, and thus ends the last album with this lineup.  It would be uncharted waters forward, as Maiden began the audition process for a new lead singer for the first time in a decade.

But there would be one more special show.  One more release to talk about:  Not an album, but a video.   Next time, we’ll talk about Bruce’s final show, called Raising Hell, featuring the decapitation of the band’s lead singer!

4.5/5 stars

Advertisements

23 comments

  1. 1992 was a crazy yr in music ,I mean u have the Seattle Sound everywhere and Maiden plops out three Live albums in one yr!
    Kinda funny how the two previous releases(A Real Live & Dead One) have the bootleg sound and than the Donnington one comes out with a total Bootleg cover!(no frills)
    I bought this pretty much when it came out,I think if my memory serves me correct there wasn’t that much promotion for it,it just kinda appeared on store shelves!
    I bought it as a fan but man is there really a difference between the 3 albums?
    I dunno but 20 yrs ago I didn’t ask that question ,I just bought it.
    I would give this 3/5…more for the fact that the songs are on the other two live albums for the most part…

    Like

    1. You’re right Deke, I didn’t see ANY promotion for it at all. Just saw it in the stores and bought it as soon as I did. I had no idea if it was official, whatever! Never saw an ad for it in magazines.

      Like

  2. For sure,I remembered flipping over the case and once I seen the capital e.m.i label I knew it was legit,I just couldn’t believe it when I took the wrap off it that the was no booklet,pics,nada…..it was kinda like Live After Deaths bastard son!

    Like

    1. You know what though, I have two Quiet Riot discs (the first two with Randy) that are both with the Sony logo, and yet I’m sure they’re bootlegs. Same with my Wicked Lester. So those bootleggers can be tricky some times!

      I wondered if maybe my copy was mis-packaged without a booklet! A few years later I saw another open copy and it was the same.

      Like

  3. Yeah for Maiden it was a bare bones package…no frills which for them was a first and last…
    But I guess it’s about the music right?
    When u get spoiled with there packaging over the yrs…..
    Man I couldn’t believe it..hahahaha

    Like

  4. Another excellent and thorough review, and I’m happy that we agree about the quality of this album. Having come to “Live At Donington” the way I did the majority of their catalog…years after the fact…I had no expectations other than, “Cool, another live Maiden album. I hope it’s better than ‘A Real Live Dead One.'” Sure, it’s no “Live After Death,” but that’s an unfair standard to have to live up to. I was impressed by the energy in their performances, and I thought Bruce sounded particularly strong. I guess you don’t like “Bring Your Daughter…” but it’s among my favorites from their late-80s/early-90s releases.

    When I was finally getting into Maiden in the late-90s, I gave the Blaze Bayley-era albums a shot, but no matter how many times I played them they did absolutely nothing for me. I’m curious to find out what you think of them. Maybe I need to re-evaluate them.

    Like

    1. Well Rich I’m excited to get into them To prepare, I listened to X Factor yesterday, absorbing it completely flaws and all. I can’t wait to get it reviewed. I did like much of the Blaze era…maybe I will turn some people around!

      Like

        1. Well man, I hope to perhaps shine some light on some good songs that you may have forgotten about. There’s no denying the flaws even now as I listen to them again. But context is so important! Maiden were one of the most important bands I’d ever loved and this was all they had to give me. I played it and played it and played it…there was little else to buy.

          Plus, as a softer Maiden album, it was one of the few I could get away with playing in-store, which I did when I could. The Bruce stuff didn’t go over well in-store in the 90’s. I remember two kids making fun of the screams.

          Like

        2. Man, those kids need SCHOOLED! Mind you, when No Prayer came out I was laughing at the screams for a while too… I do want to say my piece about the Bayley era, however uninformed it might be, but I’m better waiting until I’ve read your reviews first.

          Virtual XI ended up in a bin. That’s all I’m going to say right now. :)

          Like

        3. Can’t wait to review that one then! One of my best customers, Conrad, he thought it was better than X Factor. Meanwhile another one of my customers used to say that all Maiden did was repeat themselves, while Bruce pulled a surprise out of his hat with Skunkworks. Both arguments have merit…

          Really I can’t wait to get there. Listening to Maiden, properly listening to any band you love, is a personal experience. Maybe somebody died and you listened to Maiden to get through the hard times. Or maybe it was the best times in your life and you had Maiden as your soundtrack. All that is so important, and it’s fun reliving those memories while I review!

          Like

        4. Totally agree, it’s absolutely essential to have all that personal context in there. Sometimes you can really dislike an album but then hear it in the right place at the right time and it just clicks.
          It’s interesting what your saying about there being so little music of interest at this point. It’s what I was thinking about when I did that Top 10 of the 90s. But now, looking back there was so much good stuff going on then that I didn’t know about or just wasn’t interested in at the time.

          Like

  5. I didn’t bother getting this when it came out. I had Maiden-fatigue bad by this point! I did get the VHS though after seeing a clip of Fear of the Dark to promote the release. It is a more enjoyable set than the Real Live/Dead albums. The whole performance seemed more convincing. And yeah, this is the first performance of the Three-Amigos line-up! I hadn’t even thought of that! Well spotted!

    Like

  6. I will only say this once, off the top. I promise I won’t mention it again throughout the rest of the following diatribe. Ready? Dickinson’s vocals here are WAY better than on A Real Dead One. I mean, there’s no comparison. The dude actually showed up to work for this one. The difference is obvious.

    OK, there, I said it. Onward.

    Be Quick Or Be Dead immediately cleanses my head of the travesty that was A Real Dead One. Maybe he’s in the mix properly, but he definitely had a better opening on the mic. The Number Of The Beast is also just a great version. When the band kicks in, it’s off to the fuckin’ races, man. Wrathchild was a cool one to hear. It’s more mid-tempo for them, but still rocks out with simultaneous abandon and control, and very bluesy to boot! Metal-blues. Niiice. So of course it devolves into their AC/DC-wannabe track From Here To Eternity. Not so obviously a rip-off as Weekend Warrior was, but this one cuts it pretty close! Can I Play With Madness is a decent version. Is my memory of the album track off here, expecting synthesizers? Somehow I was… anyway, it’s better without them. Oh wait, there they are. So quiet in the mix. Should have just left them out.

    Wasting Love lets all the air out of the balloon in one fell swoop with that long intro, and the mid-tempo (at best) other bits. Nah, not really a fan of that one. But then we get the almighty Tailgunner. I do love this song, and this is definitely a credible version. And of course it leads into The Evil That Men Do, another rollicking run-through. Excellent. Though I could have done without the three minute blabbering about how they were recording all this. C’mon, cut that shit out of here. What a dead spot on the record! Oh, and there’s his “war is stupid!” bit again. Sigh. They should have snipped that bit from the CDs, left it for the DVDs. Fortunately, what saves it is a perfectly chosen ending to what could be considered a trilogy of songs. Afraid To Shoot Strangers ressurects the momentum they’d just lost.

    Fear Of The Dark… why does he always introduce it in that Halloween-y voice? Anyway, a classic that had to be here, and the band nails it with aplomb. I think I liked it better as a show-closer (wasn’t that A Real Live One?). I mean, mid-set it sort just becomes another great Maiden song, without the soccer-chant-able singalong bits. So help me, the intro to Bring Your Daughter… To The Slaughter, here, made me think they were going to break into a bad cover of Billy Idol’s version of Mony Mony. But no! Let’s get the crowd to sing along with some nonsensical “hey yeah yeahs!” This whole track is built on the chorus. The rest is just like ketchup for the fries, just him talk-singing. Anyway, I’ve probably just commited heresy and you’re free to stop reading. I’m typing as I’m listening, and it is what it is, as I see it. Now, I love the next song, and The Clairvoyant does not disappoint. Woo! Although, those arpeggio guitar bits flirted with being out of tune. But shhhh! Don’t tell anyone! Just go back to rocking, nothing to see here! Even where it switches tempos abruptly isn’t THAT jarring, this time. Great track. Next up, Heaven Can Wait launches and never comes back down. LOTS of crowd participation here, the song is just built for it. They could have milked this one a lot longer than they did. And, to end the first of the CDs here, Run To The Hills. Of course. Cool version. And they signed off the main chunk of the show there, too. That one CD is enough to blast holes in most fortified walls. But wait, you mean there’s MORE?

    The second CD kicks off with 2 Minutes To Midnight, which gets things right back to where they had been. I’m not the craziest about this song, but I understand its appeal in the discography. Next up, Iron Maiden keeps up the pace, until they break it down around the 2:30 mark. Guess, after all that, the band needed a bit of a well-earned break. Not that they lingered, it’s off to the races again right quick. And then they sign off again. That’s the end of the concert. Right? Nope. The crowd chants along for a good three minutes of wasted space on the disc, though. Shame, that.

    Hallowed Be Thy Name starts things up again. At this point, it seems obvious that the band doesn’t want to go home. Dickinson did promise that they were going to play long, earlier in the set. And man, what a full track! What a work-out! That late in the night, it’s phenomenal, a testimony to their ability and energy. But then! No time is wasted getting straight to The Trooper, which does noting to give them a break. Lesser mortals would be falling over, by now. Not these guys. They’re banging out bpms and blistering guitar solos like it’s the first song of the night. Damn. Up next is Sanctuary, which blast off until a minute or so in, same as on A Real Dead One, they just slow to a stop, and where he spends a minute lying to the crowd about how he was nervous before the gig, then introduces the band, and then… boom! The crash back into the song as if they’d never stopped playing. They shouldn’t have. I don’t think they know when to intoduce themselves, it always comes at an awkward point. Tell them to call me, I’ll tell them. And for the last song of the night, Running Free brings back the bluesy rock, and includes the breakdown where he says goodbye, talks about the other bands who’d played that day, then gets a long segment of crowd shout-alongs before crashing to close. I dunno. Not the song I would choose to end a set like this, but once again they never asked me. They even left in the thanks, and Nicko’s babbling, and the fireworks at the end. I guess they wanted it to be complete.

    Still, in all, despite the edits I’d have made? This was the best live Maiden I’ve heard so far, hands-down. They just gave everything they had, it was obvious.

    If it came down to this one versus A Real Dead One, hell, even A Real Live One, competing for my hard-earned in a record shop, this one would come home with me, hands down, even with the pointless stopping and starting and the way-too-long crowd chanting between sets. A Real Live One would be a second choice, and no matter how they’d priced it, I’d tell them they’d over-priced A Real Dead One.

    Like

  7. Yes: The original Can I Play With Madness had loads of keyboards in the chorus.
    Yes: Fear of the Dark is better as a show-closer.

    Lying to the crowd about how he was nervous for the gig? Why do you say that? Many rock stars are known for getting stage fright. Most of them kill it with alcohol…Bruce does not. It was a BIG gig. 80,000 people.

    Did you like this one better than Live After Death?

    Like

        1. And you say that the original (white cover) version does not have this awkward mix?

          Over the years it was the white cover I have listened to most. More recently I replaced it with the remaster. But I have not played it nearly as often as I did my original white cover version so I do not know it as well.

          Honestly this information is new to me, I never noticed — so thank you very much Thor666 for bringing it up!

          Like

Rock a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s