DVD REVIEW: Bruce Dickinson – Anthology (2006)

I acquired this DVD for ridiculously cheap at my old place of employ via their web order service, but after I left their employ so no staff discount.  Its condition is impeccable!  Very impressive.

BRUCE DICKINSON – Anthology (2006 Sanctuary)

Bruce Dickinson is that rare kind of artist, one whose solo work has the same level of quality, integrity and emotional impact as the work with his better-known band. I think it is safe to say that most Iron Maiden fans have enjoyed Bruce Dickinson’s solo work, or at least most of it. This DVD Anthology is a complete collection of all of Dickinson’s solo video material in one 3-disc package.

Up first is Bruce’s live video supporting his first solo album whilst still in Maiden, Tattooed Millionaire. This video, which was extremely rare when it first came out (I never located a copy), was called Dive! Dive! Live! and featured Maiden guitarist Janick Gers. It also features every song from that Tattooed Millionaire performed live, plus several B-sides and a handful of covers.  No Maiden.  As Bruce was proud to say, this video is very raw. Also on the first DVD is the video Skunkworks Live, which was released in the mid 1990’s. It featured Dickinson’s new solo band, also called Skunkworks, featuring guitarist Alex Dickson. I was not a huge fan of Skunkworks, as I found their style (particularly the bass by Chris Dale) not to mesh so well with Bruce’s songs. Most of the Skunkworks album is performed live, plus some older songs and B-sides, and one Maiden cover (“The Prisoner”). This is another very rare performance as once again, the original video was very hard to find.

Disc 2 is the Scream For Me Brazil show, featuring my favourite lineup of Bruce’s band. Roy Z and Adrian Smith on guitars, the hulking Eddie Casilias on bass, and the talented tribal and bizarre Dave Ingraham on drums. This to me was Bruce’s finest moment as a solo artist. The performance itself was never meant to be released at first, this is a rough and raw video feed. However, as grainy as it is, the raw energy and sheer performance chops of Bruce and his ace band come through. The tracklist is a mix of songs from the three albums featuring Roy Z (Balls to Picasso, Accident of Birth, and Chemical Wedding).

Disc 3 is my personal favourite disc, seeing as Bruce’s music videos were rarely shown on Much. Every video is included here. There are some really off the wall videos directed by Storm Thorgerson (check out “Tattooed Millionaire”! Shoes for hats?) and some really cool horror-chiller-theater-type videos directed by Julian Doyle. Further on, I loved “Accident Of Birth” (directed by Bruce himself), mainly because Dave Ingraham makes awesome faces while playing the drums, and is wearing this funny leather aviation hat through the whole thing. But that’s nothing, wait until you see “Road To Hell”. Ingraham is now wearing a gas mask through the whole thing! Julian Doyle’s “Abduction” video is also cool, as Bruce himself is captured by mysterious Men in Black, and experimented upon….

But there are some pretty bad videos too. “Tears of the Dragon” comes to mind, a great song, but a terrible video. Here’s Bruce, looking all pensive…then there’s some weird sumo wrestler looking guy…fire…a beach…Bruce wrecking stuff…I would have preferred to see his band. It was the early 90’s, and this was the kind of video that people were sick of seeing, pompous and self-important. Awful video.

Lastly as a bonus there is an old Samson video directed by Julian Temple. I don’t even know what to say about Biceps of Steel except it’s an odd one! There is also a lot of supplimentary bonus material, including some introductions and explanations from Bruce himself….

This package was extremely well assembled, and is very enjoyable for all Bruce Dickinson fans. You won’t be let down.  Completists in particular will appreciate that Bruce is very hands-on with his product and tends to give the fans what they wanted along with stuff they didn’t know existed.  Full endorsement from LeBrain.

5/5 stars

More BRUCE DICKINSON at mikeladano.com:

Accident of Birth (1997) Man of Sorrows EP (1997)
Balls To Picasso (1994 & deluxe edition)
The Chemical Wedding (1998 Japanese import)
Skunkworks, Skunkworks Live EP (1996)
Tattooed Millionaire (1990, 2005 Sanctuary 2 disc set)
Tyranny of Souls (2005, Japanese version)
RECORD STORE TALES Part 148: Navigate the Seas of the Sun

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29 comments

  1. I am allowed to be a smug b’stard and say I had (and still do) the original VHS of Dive Dive Live? Played it to death. Phenomenal gig. Just a rock band a stage and a lotta sweat.

    I also **looks around shiftily** ripped the audio from the DVD so I could have to tunes on my eyePod. Shussssshhhhh!

    If you can get hold of the Alive In Studio A album I’d strongly recommend that one. It’s the Skunkwirks line-up but pre-Skunkworks album so it’s their take on the first 2 solo albums. Great sound & well played.

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    1. Oh yes I do have the Studio A CD, thanks for the reminder! I remember being disappointed by it, because it sounded so different from the Roy Z/Tribe of Gypsys lineup. But after adjusting to its differences, I quite like it a lot. I think Bruce is an extremely underrated performer, as a solo artist.

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    2. Oh yes I do have the Studio A CD, thanks for the reminder! I remember being disappointed by it, because it sounded so different from the Roy Z/Tribe of Gypsys lineup. But after adjusting to its differences, I quite like it a lot. I think Bruce is an extremely underrated performer, as a solo artist.

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  2. I love this DVD and I was really excited about it when it came out. I saw him on every solo tour he did (apart from the Tattooed Millionaire one) so it brought back good memories. And it was great to finally have Biceps of Steel! That was a great bonus and definitely a WTF? video.

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      1. It was a great time being able to see him play in club venues! I can’t believe that so few Maiden fans thought it was worth going to see him!

        I saw the Balls to Picasso tour (the Alive in Studio A-type set) at the Glasgow Garage and that was fantastic. I got really excited about that line-up but the Skunkworks tour show (Glasgow Cathouse) was a little disappointing. Cool to hear The Prisoner at that though, it was totally unexpected!

        Then I saw the Accident at Birth tour (supporting Lynyrd Skynyrd at the Royal Concert Hall) with Adrian Smith and Roy Z. I remember they played Powerslave and 2 Minutes to Midnight at that and I practically crapped myself with excitement to hear Bruce and Adrian doing those! Last one I saw was the Chemical Wedding tour… for some reason Roy Z had to be filled in for at that show. The guy that replaced him played well but had a really stupid-looking robotic kind of performance which was a bit distracting. But great tunes though. For some reason, it’s the show I remember the least about in terms of setlist etc…

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        1. Wow you have seen some cool shows man. While I think I would have preferred Roy Z, you did get to see a cool different performance that others didn’t even know about!

          Bruce supporting Skynyrd is too weird for words.

          Cool that they played the Maiden songs that they wrote — and they definitely had the right to do so!

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        2. It was an rare lineup I suppose but I’d have rather seen Roy again too.

          Even though I knew Bruce was supposed to be supporting Skynyrd I refused to believe until I saw him onstage. It was such a strange bill I felt sure he was going to pull out at some point. His set was very poorly attended but I loved it. It was almost like having a private gig with Bruce and Adrian. How can you beat that?

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        3. You certainly can’t beat that, and it has to help make up for the Roy-less show, right? I think Bruce is just about due to think about doing another solo album with Roy Z. I would love that.

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        1. Yup one of the best…also love Son of a Gun, Gypsy Road…Bruce was really creative at that time, he was writing all these tunes with Janick and also came up with a pretty decent amount of tunes for the Maiden album at the same time.

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  3. Wow, this looks awesome. As you may remember, I came to Maiden very late in the game. The late-’90s, to be exact. Even though I worked in record stores during their ’80s heyday & several friends were big fans back then, I never gave them a shot. Once I became a fan, I fell hard for them, so much so that I scooped up all of Bruce’s solo work. I pretty much worked my way backwards, starting with Chemical Wedding (that and Accident Of Birth remain my favorites). I’ve never seen any of the videos (live or promo) on this package, so for the right price I will definitely pick this up.

    As for your comment about most Maiden fans liking the majority of Bruce’s solo output, I’m not sure how true that is, at least based on the handful of Maiden fans I spoke with after discovering his albums. At least three guys I know who had been fans since the early-’80s had never listened to his solo stuff, and even when I made them a CD compilation the best reaction I got was, “it’s pretty good, but not as good as Maiden.” So in some ways I may have lucked out by getting into them so late, since I had a much more open mind than the older Maiden fans I know.

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    1. Yeah I fall into the camp too sorry to say, I can appreciate his solo stuff and have a fair bit of it but push comes to shove I’d listen to Maiden. I also came into the game fairly late, 1990 to be exact but once I fell I fell hard! I owned Millionaire at some point but I was more interested at the time in ASAP. Big Adrian Smith fan. Without him Maiden isn’t as interesting but I did and still do enjoy No Prayer. The only video of these I have seen is the fantastic Killing Floor. Great song, weird Python-esque video. No surprise, Julian Doyle is associated with Python thru their film works.

      I always want to discover more of Bruce’s solo, especially confrontd with what may be a Maiden hiatus.

      Of his solo albums which is a good place to start, Chemical Wedding?

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      1. Craig, my favorites are Chemical Wedding (which was my first Bruce solo album) and Accident Of Birth. I thought his earlier releases were a combination of excellent & weak material, while those two are pretty strong from top to bottom. Others may disagree, but that’s just one man’s opinion.

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        1. Just wanted to post this email of yours so others could see what CD I made to accompany Chemical Wedding for you!

          Here’s Mike’s 16 tracks, with a c- to note it’s on the offical comp:

          son of a gun
          c – tattooed millionaire
          c – born in ’58
          sin city
          the breeding house
          change of heart
          c – tears of the dragon
          c – back from the edge
          c – accident of birth
          the ghost of cain
          omega
          arc of space
          mars within / abduction
          kill devil hills
          navigate the seas of the sun
          elected

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      2. Chemical Wedding is awesome. But you know what? I’m a big fan of self-promotion, so if you really wanna know all the nitty gritty and make informed choices, check out my series of Dickinson reviews!

        But in a nutshell? Chemical Wedding is heavy, it’s awesome, and so is Tyranny of Souls. I think both are easy entries, as is Accident of Birth.

        I have some A.S.a.P. and I will be reviewing some time. I have the CD, and two singles as well.

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    2. I strongly encourage disagreement here! But I still stand by my statement, because really all I’m saying is most Maiden fans have enjoyed some of Bruce’s solo work. I think it’s fair that enjoy doesn’t mean you don’t have to love it, and “some” could be a couple songs…I think I’m being fair anyway :)

      However I think there’s some truth to your getting-into-Maiden-later idea. I feel lucky though to have fallen for Maiden at age 11 or 12 and been with them for…God…30 years now!

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  4. This looks like an amazing set! Good on Bruce Bruce for making a cool set worth having. Still, I dunno, for me, videos are an afterthought. I’d rather the CDs themselves – I’d get more play out of them. Especially since we don’t have a TV. But this is really awesome for collectors, as you noted.

    Also, that guy in the picture at the top of the post on the right, he’s at the far left in the camo jacket… he looks like he’s about 14 years old!

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  5. I picked this up at Hmv when it came out. It’s worth the price esp the Dive Dive Live dvd(which I also owned as well on VHS !!)
    Gers is nuts and puts on the show infront of a bar audience as does Bruce.
    Good little band he put together so when I heard that Adrian Smith had quit Maiden and was replace by Gers I was ok with it….

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    1. Gers live is an awesome sight…the guy is mental and I don’t know how you play a guitar jumping around like him! Him and Rudy Sarzo should have a contest over who can play better with their instruments on their heads!

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  6. “Bruce Dickinson is that rare kind of artist, one whose solo work has the same level of quality, integrity and emotional impact as the work with his better-known band. I think it is safe to say that most Iron Maiden fans have enjoyed Bruce Dickinson’s solo work, or at least most of it. This DVD Anthology is a complete collection of all of Dickinson’s solo video material in one 3-disc package.”

    Although we are about the same age, I came to Maiden much later than Rich. interestingly, I had hair down to my waste most of my life, but then I had to cut it short when it got too thin after chemotherapy, just as I started going to heavy-metal gigs! :-( I have all studio albums and about half of the live stuff with Bruce. Most people I’ve discussed this with thought I would like SIT and SSOASS best, since I like progressive rock, but actually they are probably my least favourite (though still very good, of course). They said I would like Bruce much better than the other singers, but since I’ve heard a lot from Paul and Blaze on Shoutcast (internet radio), I have to admit that the corresponding 4 albums are not bad. I expected the first two to be almost punk, but in fact they are very Maiden. I expected Blaze not to sind very well, but he’s not that bad and the music is quite good. So, when someone who has a taste similar to mine said that Bruce without Maiden is better than Maiden without Bruce, I became sceptical. I’ll give his solo stuff a chance, though. In general, it is extremely rare that I think a solo album is even just as good as previous music made in the context of a group.

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    1. I have three of Blaze Bayley’s solo albums — the first two studio albums, and the live album. I will say his first solo album is really impressive. I don’t think the second was as good, but that double live CD is impressive. He does some of his Maiden songs, and a great version of Dazed and Confused.

      I also love the first two albums with Di’Anno, but I don’t think much of his solo material. I have a few live CDs of his but they are not very good and I don’t recommend them at all.

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