REVIEW: Iron Maiden – Raising Hell (Bruce’s final show 1993) (DVD/VHS)

Part 19 of my series of Iron Maiden reviews!

IRON MAIDEN – Raising Hell (1995 BMG VHS)

28 August 1993:  Bruce’s final show.  And for the occasion, Maiden decided to team up with…a magic act?

I don’t know who this Simon Drake fellow is, but his “horror magic show” or whatever the hell you wanna call it is just plain awful!  Simon serves as a guest act during Iron Maiden’s final show, Raising Hell, available on VHS and DVD.  He does magic skits at various places during the show, sometimes interacting with the band, but always with this really bad cheesy metal music (not Maiden!) behind him.  And the bit where he kidnaps Dave Murray?  Awful!  D’y’think that the real Dave might actually be still behind the giant curtain they walked behind?  You can still hear his guitar even after he has it taken away from him, and has a hand chopped off!

Simon Drake sucked!  This is magic?  He pretty much ruined Raising Hell, for the most part.   Good thing VCR’s used to have “fast-forward” buttons!

Thankfully, Iron Maiden kick ass.  With a few Eddie’s and some big backdrops, they’re playing a smaller venue (a TV studio) and it feels really intimate.  Bruce is awesome, wailing and running around like a man possessed on opener “Be Quick Or Be Dead”.  He does “Hallowed” perfect…really, everybody in Maiden is flawless, on fire, possessed.  And by flawless, I don’t mean note perfect — there’s mistakes, but they make it perfect!

But you know who really stands out to me?  Janick Gers.  I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a more physical guitar player since Ritchie Blackmore!  So why the hell is the camera on Steve Harris during Janick’s manic “Afraid To Shoot Strangers” solo!?  There are quite a few missed money shots.  Why?

Because it wasn’t directed by Harris, that’s why, it was directed by somebody named Declan Lowney, I guess that’s the TV production type deal.  So beware:  Maiden England this is not!

One thing I find a little strange:  It’s Bruce’s final show, but they still played the instrumental, “Transylvania”.  Nothing against that song, but why not one more vocal number?  I know they were playing it live on that tour, but still.

Tracklist:

  1. “Be Quick or Be Dead”
  2. “The Trooper”
  3. “The Evil That Men Do”
  4. “The Clairvoyant”
  5. “Hallowed Be Thy Name”
  6. “Wrathchild”
  7. “Transylvania”
  8. “From Here to Eternity”
  9. “Fear of the Dark”
  10. “The Number of the Beast”
  11. “Bring Your Daughter… to the Slaughter”
  12. “2 Minutes to Midnight”
  13. “Afraid to Shoot Strangers”
  14. “Heaven Can Wait”
  15. “Sanctuary”
  16. “Run to the Hills”
  17. “Iron Maiden”

And of course, it is during “Iron Maiden” that Bruce finally meets his end.  One of the few highlights of the magic act is the end of Dickinson…

Rating for just the band, not the magician:

5/5 stars

Rating for the magician, not the band:

-1/5 stars

Rating for the overall video, setlist, stage show, direction, etc:

4/5 stars

Average rating:

2.666~/5 stars

What happens next?  Will the band carry on?  What will Bruce do?  Stay tuned…

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20 comments

  1. That Simon Drake guy had about 5 minutes of fame in the UK when he seemed to be on the telly a lot for a short while. I’ve heard that the broadcast slot it was given was on the basis of there being something else going on other than just the music. Shame, as it ruined an otherwise great performance. Always though Bruce was on great form here but the “magic” was just shit and embarrasing. Hard to imagine the Maiden management compromising themselves like that now and it gives a bit of an insight into how uncertain things in the Maiden camp were back then maybe?

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    1. I was hoping you’d say he had 5 minutes of fame. I can understand wanting to do a special final show, and the idea of “killing” Bruce was cool. Maybe they could have had Drake do just that? Just kill Bruce? Ahh well.

      I think you’re right and I think things were indeed uncertain. But don’t worry…we’ll talk about that soon enough!

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        1. I can’t really remember what he was like on other things. I just remember him appearing on lots of variety shows and stuff for a while. I’m inclined to think he was especially sucky on this though…

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  2. I don’t have this DVD, so I’m left with the youtubery. And speaking of tubes, that Drake guy is AWESOME! How can you dislike an act like THAT? This is as cheesy as that KISS video you wrote about way back: the worse it gets, the better it gets! Never ever underestimate the cheese factor, my friend.

    Also, you might wanna rephrase that one bit where you said “quite a few missed money shots.” Maybe I saw a different video, andmaybe I just have a dirty mind, but that’s NOT what I thought of when you said money shots. And that has no place in this video, for me at least. ;)

    Also, that is one KICK ASS setlist. Damn! So what if they did an instrumental? If you had a CD of this show, and it hadn’t been Bruce’s last show, you’d be very happy with it as it is. ;)

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      1. No Dude, I don’t LIKE that stuff, but I can appreciate just how bad it is, and so when something is THAT BAD, it becomes likeable. Like every Ben Affleck movie ever made, you know? So shitty that it somehow becomes endearing. Not that you’d want to own it or anything, but you have… sympathy for it. I have an appreciation for really cheesy stuff like that. Comes from all those years of my watching REALLY HILARIOUSLY BAD kung fu movies, would be my guess.

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        1. Haha man, they are ALL “ugh.” That’s my point! They’re kind of like the runt of the litter. Sure, they’re fugly, but you still tolerate it, even if only momentarily. And hey, I could have said Julia Roberts movies. ‘Cos man, same thing applies.

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  3. This show was on ppv and I ordered it and me and my bro watched it once and have not seen it since it originally aired.
    Sure the song list was fine but I just remember why end it in a tv studio???
    Sure they could control the environment of there show but I dunno about it,I guess all those yrs of watching Live After Death u could say I was jaded!
    The Drake fella,never heard of him til that night,never heard from him again after that night,pre Internet I guess….no North American exposure til the ppv.
    I just found the whole thing ok…..kinda knowing that Bruce was on his way out probably had more to do with it…….

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    1. Why end it in a TV studio? I guess at the time…almost 20 years ago now…it seemed like a good idea?

      From reading their book, with hindsight they would have done a lot of this very differently.

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        1. I disagree because Maiden’s not really a band that’s had a long history of success with TV studios. But on the flip side, it never was really “farewell”, was it?

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  4. I got this on DVD a number of years ago (maybe around 2000), when I was finally getting heavily into Maiden and wanted to see/hear everything they released. I thought this video was so bad that I eventually sold or traded it. I wasn’t bothered so much by the cheesy theatricality, but it might have just been the truly awful sound mix on the DVD. I couldn’t even tell if Maiden played well because the mix was so muddy. I’m wondering if the VHS sounded better, and in trying to “upgrade” the sound for DVD they ruined it.

    Regardless, I enjoyed your review, and I’m glad you separated the performance rating from the magic act. At least we have to give the guys credit for trying something different.

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