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.
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.