Welcome back. This is part 41 of my series of Iron Maiden reviews! As mentioned when we talked about The Essential Iron Maiden, we are now in the compilation years. I won’t spend as much time on these hits discs as I did studio albums.
IRON MAIDEN – Somewhere Back In Time (2008)
Once again, Maiden have geared a hits disc to the newbies who have never bought anything by the band before. The overall concept was cool. As they did on the Eddie Rips Up the World tour, Maiden chose to take a look somewhere back in time, and only play songs from a certain era. This time, the band brought back the Powerslave imagery, and chose only to play songs up to Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (and cheating by also playing “Fear of the Dark”.
I personally felt this was a very smart move, since many fans (whiners) had complained that on the A Matter of Life and Death tour, the band had played that entire album. You want oldies? Well now you got them so stop yer whinin’.
To promote the tour, Maiden issued this Somewhere Back In Time disc. All songs feature Bruce Dickinson on lead vocals, so that means live versions where the old Di’Anno material is concerned. Like it or not, you can at least understand Maiden trying to promote the singer that the newbies were going to be seeing live.
I loved the touch of kicking off the album with “Churchill’s Speech” as I don’t think they have ever devised a better way to open a Maiden concert. Then, into the Live After Death version of “Aces High”. It seemed an odd choice for opening a hits album. From there, you’re into a non-stop onslaught of Maiden classics. “Two Minutes”, “The Trooper”, “Wasted Years”, even “Children of the Damned” and “Phantom of the Opera”! I can’t find too much fault with the overall track selection, or sequence. Those who dislike live versions are getting four: three Di’Anno songs, plus “Aces High”.
Sure, you could argue for certain inclusions. “Where Eagles Dare” or “Heaven Can Wait”, perhaps? “The Clairvoyant” is also missing. These are nitpicks.
The album also comes with full lyrics, descriptive liner notes, and even a cool poster with new artwork on it. The poster I have is for the Canadian tour — don’t know if other countries got their own posters, or none at all? It’s hard to fit the poster back into the jewel case once opened.
Good value for new Maiden fans, old fans only need to own if they’re looking for “the complete collection”. But even for new fans, this is really only a starter. Eventually you should really get the albums.