Thursday, October 17, 2013

"Maiden England '88" by Iron Maiden


This summer they finally came back to St. Louis. Being an old man now, I went with my friend and his son, who's nearly as old as I was the last time I saw Maiden and older than I was the first time! This is relevant because Iron Maiden was recreating this 1988-89 Tour and played a nearly identical set list. There were a handful of songs that were different between the 2013 and 1998 versions.

Well, why are we looking at a 25 year old Iron Maiden live album? Because this is the 2013 re-release with extra tracks and presumably the reason why the Irons thought it would be a good idea to get back on the road and play all these songs again.  The show was spectacular in case you're wondering. Megadeth opened and played a great set and Dave didn't talk about any of the things that have made us all collectively groan....

It's interesting that Eddie as "The Trooper" is on the cover of this album when "The Trooper" is not contained within. It's a little unclear when "The Trooper" became a canonical Iron Maiden song, but in their 2013 Recreation Tour, they did play it.

This two disc, 18 track monster set sounds phenomenal. Eddie and the boys have always been able to bring it live. They play tighter than a frog's ass and louder than god. Maiden shows why they are the undisputed masters of Dungeons & Dragons theatrical metal.

This album features the Iron Maiden Mark I.5 Lineup (a term now coined by me.) of: Bruce Dickinson on vocals (replacement member), Adrian Smith on lead guitar, Dave Murray on lead guitar, Nicko McBrain (replacement member) on drums, and Steve MOTHER EFFIN Harris on bass guitar.

As to be expected, Bruce is in spectacular voice. Adrian and Dave weave in and out of their dual leads, Nicko keeps the beat, and Steve Harris builds the house and keeps it heavy. Of the forty seven Iron Maiden Live albums, this is definitely towards the top of the heap. Aside from many concert staples that are on all of the live records ("Hallowed Be Thy Name," "Running Free," "Iron Maiden," "The Number of the Beast," etc), there are significant portions of "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son," naturally, and a couple other surprises like "The Prisoner" and "Still Life."

The only complaint I can make is that the tour I saw this year was better, but that's hardly a fair comparison now is it? Aside from a slightly revamped set list with additions like "Fear of the Dark," "The Phantom of the Opera," and "The Trooper," the show featured the man, the myth, the legend, hero to millions, Janick Gers which makes their live sound even bigger and more grandiose, not that big and grandiose is remotely lacking on this album. In the recording you can hear how big the hall, the crowd, and the band are.

Even though Iron Maiden is a lesson as to why bands don't need to release a live album every other year, this is definitely one worth picking up. Just make sure you get the 2013 version.

Year: 2013
Genre: Metal

Disc 1:
1) Moon Child
2) The Evil That Men Do
3) The Prisoner
4) Still Life
5) Die With Your Boots On
6) Infinite Dreams
7) Killers
8) Can I play With Madness (2013 release)
9) Heaven Can Wait
10) Wasted Years

Disc 2:
1) The Clairvoyant
2) Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
3) The Number of the Beast
4) Hallowed By Thy Name (2013 release)
5) Iron Maiden
6) Run To The Hills (2013 release)
7) Running Free (2013 release)
8) Sanctuary (2013 release)

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