clive burr

GUEST REVIEW: Iron Maiden – 01/22/1981 Beat Club

By Harrison Kopp

IRON MAIDEN – 01/22/1981 Beat Club (Video)

Good day everybody; Harrison here with a public service announcement/review. You see, on the 20th of September 2018, something amazing happened. As part of their endeavours to digitise their archives, the Beat Club (a poor man’s Rockpalast), surreptitiously uploaded a video to YouTube. But this was no ordinary video. It was a video of an Iron Maiden show. As Iron Maiden are renowned for their stinginess with archive material and reissues [1], this upload was met with celebrations across cyberspace for those in the know. And for those not in the know, here is this review of the show to bring it to your attention.  [The video can be found at bottom — LeBrain]

As you will be able to tell, this show falls in the Di’Anno era, of which the only official video release was the six song “Live at the Rainbow” from 1980, which left fans clamouring for more. (Yes, I am aware of the 1980 show on Disc 2 of The Early Days but given its status as a curiosity due to its terrible quality, I’m ignoring it for the purpose of this review). As a side note, while the original six-and-a-half song broadcast of this show has been available as a bootleg for quite a while, this is the full twelve song show (and a little more), without the visual effects of a degrading VHS either. Unfortunately, the audio and video are just ever so slightly out of sync.

We kick things off rather characteristically with the taped “The Ides of March” heralding the band’s arrival onstage and it’s instantly clear, that this is going to be so much better visually than Live at the Rainbow. While yes, the Iron Maiden stage set of the Rainbow is not present, neither is the tape hiss of that show, which, rather obviously, leads to a much better sounding show. That’s not all. The atmospheric theatre lighting of the Rainbow is also gone, having been replaced by the ever-present TV studio lighting. While it does break the immersion a little, the net result is a picture that despite being only 480p, puts virtually every other video from that era (and some after it too [2]) to shame. It really does look fantastic for its age. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The band have the performance to back it up too. [3]

The performance commences rather uncharacteristically with “Prowler” following “The Ides…” instead of the quintessential “Ides of March/Wrathchild” combo, although this was well known as “Prowler” opened the original broadcast as well. With Paul Di’Anno and Clive Burr both in fine form, “Prowler” doesn’t get much better than this.

Next up however, is something that did not feature on the original broadcast nor features on any Maiden video since: one of my favourite songs from the debut, “Charlotte the Harlot”. It becomes clear here, as the band kick the energy up to 11, of the great hindrance that Wil Malone’s production on the debut was. Steve Harris is right. It didn’t even begin to capture their ferocity live. Thankfully this mix rectifies that error, and this song is a definite highlight of the show, no mean feat in a Maiden performance. Another broadcast song, “Wrathchild” follows on, with the honour of being the first song of the show from their then unreleased second album. An awesome rendition of the enduring Di’Anno era classic, there’s not much else you can say about any of Maiden’s performances of this song.

On the other hand, there is much to say about the performance of “Remember Tomorrow”, except, not much of it has to do with “Remember Tomorrow”. During the second verse there’s a most interesting sound coming through: the sound of a technical failure, and the band stop playing soon after, having a beer and mucking around with their guitars as the problem is fixed. I’m so glad they left this interlude in. It shows a little bit behind the scenes and is a nice deviation from the main stuff, one that is not often shown, even on these full show sorts of things. Eventually someone decides to stop using up tape, and we cut to the start of the second go at “Remember Tomorrow”, which is done by the numbers in spectacular Maiden fashion.

With things definitely back on track the band plough into “Transylvania”. When it comes to instrumentals, Maiden really knocks it out of the park, and I do wish they’d done more. This performance is no exception, although I do think I might prefer “Genghis Khan” from Killers. Now, despite being one of their few singles at the time, “Running Free” didn’t make it onto Live at the Rainbow. This travesty thankfully does not reoccur here, and while Live After Death boasts the ultimate “Running Free”, Di’Anno and co. are no slouches and that’s reflected in probably one of this line-up’s best performances of the song.

Another Killers song, “Innocent Exile” is next. It’s done well, and as this is before the era of the twig-snapping bass tone, you get a nice full little bass workout from ‘Arry as the intro. [4] “Sanctuary” comes next. It’s one of my least favourite Di’Anno era songs and I fully believed it outstayed its welcome on subsequent tours. It’s not the best rendition either: Di’Anno mixes some lyrics up and the solos are not up to the usual standard.

Now here’s something interesting though: “Killers”. This show was recorded only 11 days before that release of Killers, yet this version of “Killers” is the most experimental I’ve ever heard it. The intro and the guitar harmonies have a spacey feel to them and there’s even the changing up the lyrics for a couple lines. Di’Anno’s screams being mostly absent for most of the intro only accentuate this experimental vibe. It’s nice to have a good quality video now of the album lyrics (most of them anyway).

“Another Life” is the next song, one that was fade-cut halfway as the credits rolled on the original broadcast. Now it’s here in all its glory: a good, if perhaps almost filler song from Killers. It’s a fiery rendition, but it suffers from “If you’ve heard it once you’ve heard it three times”. The drum solo is sadly but expectedly skipped on this show, pushing this good, if unspectacular song into the background.

This slight lull in awesomeness is immediately rectified with “Phantom of the Opera”. The original Iron Maiden epic, it was played at breakneck pace at the Rainbow show and it’s not much slower here, a slight shame because “Phantom of the Opera” is one of the few songs I think isn’t better when done faster. That being said, it’s still a chunk of pure awesome no matter how you slice it.

Of course, now it wouldn’t be an Iron Maiden show without “Iron Maiden” and it wouldn’t be an awesome rendition of the song without Paul Di’Anno. [5] The end of the show is signalled in spectacular fashion, with the ever-reliable Eddie making an appearance to send off the show in style. Except that it’s not the end yet. They were recording for TV after all, so the band semi-encore with another rendition of “Sanctuary” to replace the muffed version from before. And then it’s over. One hour’s worth of early classics and deep cuts by the best band on earth. [6]

Watch now or else.

4.5/5 stars (-0.25 for audio/visual sync issues, -0.25 for lack of Di’Anno screams here and there)

Tracks: – Intro/”Ides of march” – “Prowler” – “Sanctuary” – “Phantom of the Opera” – “Iron Maiden” – “Wrathchild” – “Innocent Exile” – “Sanctuary” – “Another Life”

 

[1] This year is the 20th anniversary of the 1998 remasters.

 

[2] The 1983 live album and video Alchemy by Dire Straits is a prime example of this. It has terrible lighting, being way too dark most of the time. But then again, most landmark live albums don’t have video components anyway, so we should be grateful to have any sort of video of Alchemy in the first place. Although when it comes to picture quality verse age, you can’t beat Deep Purples Granada 1970 performance.

 

[3] Don’t even get me started on the video of The Rolling Stone’s Live at the LA Forum 1975. Complete waste of valuable high-quality film.

 

[4] ’Arry’s bass tone on Maiden England ’88 is a thing of beauty. (Actually no, it really isn’t)

 

[5] The only Dickinson rendition of this song I think is truly awesome is the Beast Over Hammersmith one.

 

[6] Sorry LeBrain.

 

 

 

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REVIEW: Iron Maiden – Another Live (1981 bootleg)

IRON MAIDEN – Another Live (1981 recording, 1990 CD release by Metal Memory)

Maiden Japan is legendary.  It is a crucial EP for all Iron Maiden fans, but also a good solid find for any metal fan in general.  It was recorded May 23 1981 in Nagoya Japan.   The live bootleg that we are looking at today also claims to be from that same show.  That claim appears to be bogus.  An A/B test on the track “Remember Tomorrow” reveals they are definitely not the same vocal performance.  Maybe this CD is taken from a show on the same tour, such as Osaka or Tokyo.

Regardless of the whens and wherefores, Another Live presents a rare treat indeed, a live CD featuring Paul DiAnno on lead vocals.  It is the Killers lineup:  Paul, Steve Harris, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith and Clive Burr.  A young Iron Maiden just before hitting the crest of their wave…there isn’t much out there officially released besides Maiden Japan.  There are a number of tracks on the rare and expensive box set Eddie’s Archive, and a handful B-sides.  For that reason, if you stumble upon Another Live, you may as well go for it!

The audio is surprisingly great for a boot, almost official quality, except scratchy in some places.  It might be a rip from a previous vinyl edition.  Unfortunately the set (wherever it was) has a few songs chopped out for time, and therefore you’re missing some of the best.  “Running Free”, “Prowler” and “Phantom of the Opera” would have been nice to have.  On the other hand there is the track “Another Life”.  You will not find any official live versions of it with Paul singing.  The only officially released ones have Bruce:  one from Beast Over Hammersmith and one from “The Trooper” 2005 7″ single.  Then we have “Twilight Zone” which you won’t find in live audio form anywhere officially.  There is definite value here in the way of rarer songs.

The performance is stellar.  A serious highlight is Dave Murray’s guitar solo on “Strange World”.  Each member has the energy of a teenager and they just blast through.  The only speedbumps really are the awkward edits between songs.  They are not done well and it’s too bad because the CD is only 51 minutes.  However if Another Live did come from an earlier vinyl bootleg, that would explain the shorter running time.

Get it if you find it.  You may not play it often, but your Maiden collection will be that much cooler.

3.5/5 stars

 

REVIEW: Iron Maiden – Revenge Is Living In the Past (2006 live bootleg CD)

Part two of a two-part series on live bootlegs. For part one, click here!

IRON MAIDEN –  Revenge Is Living In the Past (2006 live bootleg CD, The Godfatherecords)

Astute metal fans know that there have been couple very special Iron Maiden tours of late that were not commemorated with a live album. That’s shocking considering how many live albums Maiden’s done since reuniting with Bruce and Adrian in 1999 (four). The one I had been seeking the most was the Matter of Life and Death tour. On that tour, Maiden played every song from that excellent album in sequence. Some moaned and complained about the shows being loaded top-heavy with an album 70 minutes in length. Those people did not appreciate what they were witnessing, which was the only time you were going to be hearing most of these songs live. And what great songs they are. I am on record with A Matter of Life and Death being among my favourite Iron Maiden albums.

Then, at the Toronto Musical Collectibles Record & CD Sale 2014, I found it: A soundboard recorded double CD from Stockholm, November 18 2006. This was the second of two nights at the Globe arena. (They would return to Stockholm again a week later on the 25th!) I do not pay money for “burned” (CD-R) bootlegs, and one vendor had hundreds of beautifully packaged, factory pressed live bootlegs. They had many from this label, The Godfatherecords, all in lovely digipacks. I paid $40, the most I paid for any single item at the CD show. This was well below the $60 that I paid 15 years ago for the awful Virtual Lights Strikes Over France, also by Iron Maiden. I think $40 was a fair price for a double bootleg CD of this quality.

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How does a live performance of A Matter of Life and Death hold up?  Remarkably well!  In fact there was only one song that I felt didn’t work well, which was “The Longest Day”.  It’s a great song on album, but live, Bruce’s vocal is more erratic.  Still, it is hard to be critical since this is but a blip in the course of the CD.  The songs are remarkably album-accurate otherwise, with Steve and Adrian providing backing vocals where needed.

“Different World” is a brilliant opener, and the crowd is immediately fired up.  Also well received was the single “The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg”.  At the conclusion of A Matter of Life and Death, Maiden break into “Fear of the Dark,” and the crowd sings along to every word, as they often do.  The set closes with classics:  “Iron Maiden,” “2 Minutes to Midnight,” “The Evil That Men Do,” and “Hallowed Be Thy Name”.  All brilliant of course.  It is good to have an excellent sounding commemoration of this tour.  I had never really understood why Iron Maiden did not release their own official CD.  That’s why the world needs bootleggers.

The Godfatherecords generously filled out the second CD with four songs from another very special show:  Rome, October 27 1981.  Why is that special?  It was only Bruce Dickinson’s second show with the band!  Ever!  Paul Di’Anno’s final show was only a couple weeks prior, on the 10th.   From this show, we get “Iron Maiden,” “Transylvania” (what a bizarre song to include since it’s instrumental), “Drifter” and “Prowler”.  I don’t think I have a copy of Bruce singing “Drifter” on anything else I own!

The sound quality is not that great, as expected.  The lineup then was Bruce Dickinson, Steve Harris, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, and Clive Burr.  Immediately obvious is that the band were playing much faster back then, and Bruce’s range was greater.  It’s very cool to hear Steve Harris himself do the song introduction on “Transylvania”!  I don’t think I’ve ever hear him speak so much on stage before.  (He also introduces “Prowler” with Bruce.)   And Bruce singing “Drifter”?  Very different.  The audience “Yo yo yo yo’s!” along to Bruce, but it sure sounds weird to hear anybody but Paul Di’Anno doing it.

This is a great CD, and if you happen upon it, I recommend you add it to your collection.

4.5/5 stars

R.I.P. Clive Burr

CLIVE

Clive Burr (Iron Maiden) 1957-2013

You were awesome.  I have no words.

http://mssociety.ca/en/ MS Society of Canada

http://www.mssociety.org.uk/ UK Multiple Sclerosis Society

http://ultimateclassicrock.com/iron-maiden-clive-burr/ A recent article about Maiden’s charity work with Clive, and MS

REVIEW: Iron Maiden – Somewhere Back In Time (2008)

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.

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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.

2.5/5 stars

REVIEW: Iron Maiden – The Essential (2005)

Part 38 of my series of Iron Maiden reviews!

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IRON MAIDEN – The Essential (2005)

…And the era of Maiden compilations had begun.  And I did buy them all.

The Essential is a series.  I have The Essential Johnny Cash as well as others.   So, this one was not put together by the band.  There’s no Eddie on the cover, no exclusive content, no liner notes from Rod Smallwood nor Steve Harris.  Instead there are liner notes from Lonn M. Friend of RIP Magazine.  They’re aimed at newbies, but at least all songs get full musician and writing credits.

Much like 1996’s Best of the Beast, the tracks are reverse-chronological.  This time, it works better than on Best of the Beast.  The cool thing is that this means you start with the incredible epic “Passchendale” from Dance of Death.  What an opening.  Every album (studio and live) is visited, including four Blaze Bayley tracks.

Everybody bitches about what tracks should have been left off, and which should have been included.  Here’s mine:

1. I would have included no Blaze tracks, and instead included live versions of Bruce singing them.

2. Those are the only times I would have included live tracks.

3. I could do without “Holy Smoke” and “Bring Your Daughter”.  Give me “Tailgunner” instead.

4. Give me “Stranger In A Strange Land” instead of “Heaven Can Wait”.

But that’s about it.  You get a healthy mix of hits along with great album cuts such as “Wrathchild”, “Killers”, and glory be, “Phantom of the Opera”!  Those, plus “Passchendale”, make this a passable greatest hits disc.

Tracklist is below, but only you can decide if this one’s worth buying.  I bought it for “the collection”.  As far as a complete career-spanning set goes, this is about as close as it got without having to buy multiple sets.  However it’s now out of print, so the point is moot.

3/5 stars

Disc: 1
1. Paschendale
2. Rainmaker
3. The Wicker Man
4. Brave New World
5. Futureal
6. The Clansman
7. Sign Of The Cross
8. Man On The Edge
9. Be Quick Or Be Dead
10. Fear Of The Dark
11. Holy Smoke
12. Bring Your Daughter..To The Slaughter
13. The Clairvoyant
Disc: 2
1. The Evil That Men Do
2. Wasted Years
3. Heaven Can Wait
4. 2 Minutes To Midnight
5. Aces High
6. Flight Of Icarus
7. The Trooper
8. The Number Of The Beast
9. Run To The Hills
10. Wrathchild
11. Killers
12. Phantom Of The Opera
13. Running Free (Live)
14. Iron Maiden (Live)

REVIEW: Iron Maiden – “The Number of the Beast” (2005 single) / The Early Days (DVD)

Part 34 of my series of Iron Maiden reviews!

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IRON MAIDEN – “The Number of the Beast” (2005 CD/vinyl single)

I’ve decided, much like my idol Martin Popoff, to stick pretty much to audio releases when it comes to this series of Maiden reviews.  To get into video just opens a big can of worms that I don’t think I can handle.  However worth mentioning is the excellent Maiden DVD The Early Days.

SAM_1611A two-disc set, The Early Days combines an excellent documentary with lots of rare early Maiden footage featuring Di’Anno and Dickinson.  Live At The Rainbow, Beast Over Hammersmith (audio available on Eddie’s Archive), Live In Dortmund, and Live at the Ruskin Arms are all a part of this, as well as some videos and Top of the Pops performances.  The documentary chronicles the early days and features interviews with ex members Paul Di’Anno, Clive Burr, Dennis Stratton, Dave Sullivan, Terry Rance, Doug Sampson, Ron “Rebel” Matthews, Terry Wapram and Bob Sawyer.  There are very few members missing from this documentary; most notably singers Paul Day and Den Wilcock, and drummer Thunderstick.

The following year, Maiden re-released “The Number of the Beast” as a CD single, with an advertisement promoting The Early Days on the back.   Therefore I’ve decided to consider this single as promotional to The Early Days, which also contains the video for “Beast”.

The tracklisting is as follows:

  1. “The Number of the Beast” (original version)
  2. “The Number of the Beast” (live at Brixton ’02)
  3. “Hallowed Be That Name” (live at Brixton ’02)

plus videos:

  1. “The Number of the Beast” (Camp Chaos version — essentially has added animations)
  2. “The Number of the Beast” (live at Brixton ’02)

I also have a red vinyl 7″ single with a lovely poster.  This one just contains the two versions of “Beast”.

These live tracks being ’02, they featuring the six-man lineup of Steve Harris, Bruce Dickinson, Dave Murray, Janick Gers, Adrian Smith, and Nicko McBrain.

So what can I say as far as an actual review goes?  Well, it’s Maiden live in ’02, two of their all time best tracks.  “Hallowed” in particular smokes with fiery solos by Dave and Janick.  Janick simply burns up the fretboard with the kind of speedy fingerwork that the fans love him for.  Bruce is in top voice.

As a nice little extra bonus single for the fans, I have no complaints.

5/5 stars

REVIEW: Iron Maiden – Edward The Great (2002)

Part 31 of my series of Iron Maiden reviews!

IRON MAIDEN – Edward The Great (2002)

“If you have purchased this then you have no doubt heard of Iron Maiden at some point during the band’s career over the last two-and-a-half decades.” – from the liner notes by Steve Harris

Clearly this CD (released simultaneous with the Eddie’s Archive box set) was not designed for the existing Iron Maiden fans.  The die hards were not the intended target market, they got the box set to satisfy them.

In fact, Maiden wisely made the cover art (a ho-hum piece by someone named Tom Adams) available for free download.  They knew some fans would just want it, and didn’t to force them to shell out for an album full of songs they already had.  Again.

Yes, this was Maiden’s third compilation CD since 1996’s Best of the Beast.  To keep things interesting, at least they shook up the format a bit.  Unlike Beast, this is not a career spanning anthology.  Unlike Ed Hunter, the fans did not vote on the tracks.  Edward the Great was a simple chronological compilation of singles from 1982 to Brave To World.  It ends with a recent track, a live version of “Fear of the Dark” from 2001’s Rock In Rio disc.  I don’t understand the lack of Di’Anno tracks while still including two Bayley songs.

(NOTE:  Maiden have also re-released the disc with an updated tracklist.  I don’t have that, so I can’t really talk about it.    Except to say it still has Blaze stuff on it!)

There’s an attractive booklet but not enough pictures.  For a CD called Edward the Great, I think a few Eddies from the past would be in order.   Oh well.

With the exception of the Blaze material, which simply breaks up the flow of the disc, every song belongs here.  You could argue about exclusions, certainly.  Most conspicuous by its absence is “Aces High”.  You could also make a case for including the original studio version of “Fear of the Dark”.  Playing Devil’s advocate, perhaps Maiden included the live version to demonstrate the power of an Iron Maiden concert to the initiated.

Whatever the case may be, as a greatest hits set I find this one lacking a bit.  Considering the format, I would have chosen to call it the “Bruce years” and remove the Blaze tracks.  Then you’d have room for two more classic singles (perhaps “Aces High”, “Tailgunner”, or “Be Quick of Be Dead”.  As it stands I don’t understand excluding Di’Anno classics in favour of more recent Blaze material (two songs that they weren’t playing live anymore anyway).

1.5/5 stars.  Better compilations were to come.

REVIEW: Iron Maiden – Eddie’s Archive (2002)

Part 30 of my series of Iron Maiden reviews!

IRON MAIDEN – Eddie’s Archive (2002, limited edition)

Eddie’s Archive was released simultaneously with another (!) greatest hits compilation called Edward The Great.  We’ll talk about that one next.  This is the real meat of it all!

This box set defines limited edition. I’m not sure how many copies were made, but the first printing with blue inlay was sold out nearly immediately. That’s the version I have. It was soon reissued with a red inlay to differentiate it, but even it is long out of print.

Inside you will find three individually packaged jewel cases, each containing 2 CDs for a total of 6 discs. These three “double albums” (for lack of a better term) are:

BBC Archives
Beast Over Hammersmith
Best of the B’Sides

The main reason to buy this set are the first two albums, BBC Archives and Beast Over Hammersmith.  To me, the Best of the B’Sides only scratches the surface of the treasures to be found on the numerous Iron Maiden singles and EP’s.  And as loyal LeBrain readers know, I’ve talked about ’em all.

BBC Archives contains numerous goodies. It starts off with a rare four song session by an ealy version of Maiden featuring Doug Sampson (drums) and Tony Parsons (guitar). Listening to “Sanctuary” as an example, you can tell it’s a guitar player you’re not familiar with. This is Parsons’ only recording with Maiden, but “Sanctuary” was previously released on the very rare NWOBHM compilation that Lars Ulrich put together.  I love the pure fire and raw youth of these early recordings.  “Transylvania” feels very different from its album incarnation.  You can tell it’s a different drummer.  And of course since it is the BBC, they are expertly recorded.

From there it’s a scorching ’82 set with Dickinson at Reading. Then back to 1980 for a Di’Anno Reading set, and finally to 1988 for a Seventh Tour of a Seventh Tour (Donington) recording. All of these are pure smoke and it’s great to hear Bruce in peak voice. Unfortunately, on this album alone, you will hear “Iron Maiden” four times!  It is what it is.  You wouldn’t want them to leave any tracks out, would you?

Next disc has the ’82 Hammersmith show. A couple tracks from these were issued as B-sides on the “Run To The Hills” single from Rock In Rio. Anyway, like the BBC discs, this is pure smoke. It is a pleasure to finally have a full concert with Clive Burr on drums and Bruce in top form. Of course you will hear “Iron Maiden” and numerous others again. With a box set of this nature it’s inevitable. If you’re a Maiden fan, you don’t care.  Do you?

Finally, the B’Sides.  Everything here has been made available before on singles.  There is nothing truly “unreleased” here as far as Maiden goes. There’s also nothing that is previously unreleased on CD unfortunately, like Maiden Japan or “I Live My Way” from the “Man On The Edge” 12″ single. For me, these discs are more just a “best of”. There are some cool tracks here such as the Montrose cover “I’ve Got The Fire”. (Maiden chose Dickinson’s version rather than Di’Anno’s, which is fine.) Other highlights include the pop metal goodness of “That Girl” and “Reach Out”, as well as originals such as “Burning Ambition” and “Invasion”. The covers that Maiden selects are mostly obscure enough (Nektar? Marshall Fury?) that they may as well be originals.

Then you get some of Maiden’s little-known jokey material: “Sheriff of Huddersfield” for example. I’m not sure how well it works as an overall listen. I prefer the singles in their original context, personally. As I mentioned, this is far from a complete set, and you can argue all you like for what you would have included. Certainly you can make solid arguments in favour of the Thin Lizzy cover “Massacre” or the rare “I Live My Way”.

Each CD jewel case features its own extensive booklet with photos, Derek Riggs cover art, and liner notes, with the exception of Beast Over Hammersmith. That one contains a booklet which is a reproduction of the original tour programme! Works for me! Otherwise, there is no book for the box set itself.

What you do get includes a neat scroll with the Iron Maiden family tree on it, wrapped inside a metal ring. (I’m sure this family tree is loaded with errors like the previous one included inside A Real Dead One, I’ve never bothered to check.) You also get this cool shot glass with Eddie’s face in the bottom. A cool treat. The box itself is a shiny tin masterpiece. It snaps shut securely and it is very detailed and cool looking.

What are you willing to pay for this set? That’s entirely up to you, but if you don’t have it, expect to pay through the teeth. Personally, to me it’s all about the music. Decide how much you’re willing to pay for approximately four discs of previously unreleased Maiden and purchase accordingly.

For me? 4/5 stars!

REVIEW: Iron Maiden – Rock In Rio (2002)

Part 29 of my series of Iron Maiden reviews!

IRON MAIDEN – Rock In Rio (CD/DVD 2002)

With Bruce coming back and all, you just knew Maiden had to do a live album.  It would have been a great disservice not to do one.

Almost everyone and their pet Schnauzers will agree that Live After Death is the greatest live Maiden album of all time.  Some might even argue it’s the greatest live metal album of all time.  I would gladly invite any of those people over for perogies and conversation.

Where we start to differ is, what is the second best live Maiden album?

This is just LeBrain’s opinion, but I say it’s Rock In Rio.

I do remember carrying this in store when it was released in March 2002.  I also remember some customers saying, “Yeah, I’m not buying this one.  I don’t know any of these songs!”

Maybe they’d been living under a rock and missed the awesome Brave New World CD?  Whatever the case may be, I’m not the type that likes to buy the same live album over and over again.  Give me tracks that have never been released in live versions before.  Let me hear the new stuff, when it’s good enough to be on a live album.  And having enough good new stuff was not a problem for Maiden after Brave New World.

Maiden bravely started with an opening salvo of fresh music:  the first three songs from Brave New World:  “The Wicker Man”, “Ghost of the Navigator”, and the title track itself.  And the Brazilians went nuts.  Singing along at the top of their lungs, they clearly didn’t have the problem of not knowing the songs like my customers did!

Then, wisely, Maiden dug way back and pulled “Wrathchild” and Adrian’s classic “2 Minutes To Midnight” out of the hat.  And it sure is great finally hearing the old stuff played by the Three Amigos.  The three guitar lineup works so well, that I definitely never want Maiden to go back to two.

Another newbie is up next, “Blood Brothers”.  Once again, the crowd goes crazy singing along.  It must have been an incredibly loud night.

“Sign of the Cross” is the one I had been waiting for.  Anybody who felt that all the Blaze Bayley material would have been about 150 times better with Bruce singing will be happy campers.  “Sign of the Cross” is a brilliant song that finally reached it full potential with Bruce at the mic.   There is simply no comparison.

“The Mercenary” from Brave New World, and “The Trooper” provide a much needed fast-paced adrenaline boost after spending 10 minutes on the epic “Sign of the Cross”.   Bruce begins “The Trooper” with a stanza from Tennyson’s poem, but once he starts singing the crowd follows every word!  It’s hard to imagine how you could have even heard the band if you were in that crowd that night.

A couple more songs of recent vintage kick off disc 2.  “Dream of Mirrors” is one I personally could have done without, as its 10 minute length could have been taken up by two shorter songs.  But the crowd doesn’t seem to mind, clapping and screaming along with Bruce’s nightmare.  And then, “The Clansman”.  Once again, if anybody felt that the song never came to life with Blaze singing, then listen up.  This is a song that was built for performing live.

“Freedom!”  And once again, Rio goes wild.

And that’s it for the new stuff.  It’s nothing but back to back hits on the home stretch:  “The Evil That Men Do”, “Fear of the Dark”, “Iron Maiden”, “Number”, “Hallowed”, “Sanctuary”, and of course “Run to the Hills”.

Production by Kevin Shirley is crisp, clear, with great separation of the three guitars in the stereo field.  Absolutely no complaints.  And if that’s not good enough for ya, you can get the whole thing on a nice (5.1 surround) DVD package too.  The DVD in fact has some cool behind the scenes footage of all six Maiden members killing time.  Adrian likes to fish, for example.  It’s a chance to get to know all six members as people.

The single was “Run to the Hills” (again — third time this song was chosen as a single!) but I’m not going to bother discussing the B-sides too much.  While they are great, great vintage live recordings from 1982 with Clive Burr on drums, all of them were issued later on the massive Eddie’s Archive box set, as part of a live disc (and that happens to be our next stop anyway).  Check out the photos below for the tracklists.  “Total Eclipse”!  I like the painting of Bruce as Eddie.

“Scream for me Brazil!”  And scream they did.  And unless you’re stuck in the 1980’s like many of my old customers, you will too.

4.75/5 stars