• Iron Maiden - Maiden England '88 (2013) (9,5/10)

    Genre: Heavy Metal / Progressive Metal
    Label: Self-production
    Playing time: 100:36
    Band homepage: Iron Maiden

    Tracklist:

    1. Moonchild
    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
    9. Heaven Can Wait
    10. Wasted Years
    11. The Clairvoyant
    12. Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
    13. The Number Of The Beast
    14. Hallowed Be Thy Name
    15. Iron Maiden
    16. Running Free (Bonus Track)
    17. Run To The Hills (Bonus Track)
    18. Sanctuary (Bonus Track)

     

    Iron Maiden - Maiden England '88

    For quite some time, I hesitated to buy the re-release of IRON MAIDEN’s “Maiden England” live set that had been recorded back in 1988 in support of the studio record “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” and was first released in 1989. I had several reasons to do so. First of all, I’m not at all a fan of rehashed old material. Instead of spending their time on re-releasing old material and play numerous concerts in the key of that old tour, I would like IRON MAIDEN to work on some decent new material. Their last studio output “The Final Frontier” was lukewarm and released three years ago. Comparable bands like LOUDNESS show how to release decent material each year or at least every second year while still playing energizing live shows all around the globe.

      

    Another reason for me to avoid buying “Maiden England ‘88” was that IRON MAIDEN had already released multiple more or less relevant live albums and that I have got several of them in my precious collection. Could that new live record really mess up with “Live after Death”, “Rock in Rio” or “Flight 666” for example? The third reason that made me hesitate for a while is that this live record supports the “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” release. For many fans, this release is an all-time classic or even the best IRON MAIDEN record but that’s not my case. I always thought that its concept was pretentious and superficial and I still have my problems with the overlong title track “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” or filler material like “The Prophecy” or “Only The Good Die Young”. Finally, I saw this record for a good price (at Müller in Germany where records cost a lot less than at Media Markt and especially Saturn - sorry for the publicity, but this needed to be said and I hope that Media Markt and Saturn soon wake up and realize that their prices are not appropriated and don't follow the inflation of their clients) and decided to give the two discs that also include three bonus tracks for the first time a shot.

     

    I must admit that I was completely blown away by the excellent live sound, the great and energizing instrumental performance and the unchained vocals by Bruce Dickinson. Even the crowd did a good job even though they still can’t mess with fans from Latin America. But you really hear that the band feels well to play in their home country and give their very best. Apart of these positive impressions, the set list of this concert was simply unbeatable. Of course, it includes the usually and very well played classics like “Iron Maiden”, “The Number of the Beast” or “Hallowed Be Thy Name”. But the band also played a few rare classics that I like quite a lot. I must point out the passionate performance of “The Prisoner” which is one of my favourite songs from “The Number of the Beast”. The energizing rendition of “Die with Your Boots On” hits the same vein. The melancholic and melodic band anthem “Wasted Years” should be played at all concerts in my opinion and the version on here is also a stunner. The dark “Killers” works even better live than on the original album. The atmospheric “Still Lie” which is my favourite song on “Piece of Mind” fits well to the calmer songs from “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”.

     

    To my very positive surprise the songs from “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” work a lot better on stage than in studio for me. Album highlights like the catchy hit single “The Evil That Men Do” and the diversified soft Progressive Metal milestone “Infinite Dreams” is absolutely essential in this version. But also weaker songs in my opinion like “Moonchild” work better on here and this certain track really kicks off the concert on a positive note that mixes the much needed energy with thought out atmosphere. IRON MAIDEN simply deliver an outstanding powerhouse performance and it’s great that they have focused on a few more original songs which are rarely played live and decided to leave out classics like “The Trooper” for example.

     

    The three bonus tracks “Running Free”, “Sanctuary” and “Run to the Hills” are a lot less essential than the rest. Their production and especially the few moments of silence between these tracks in comparison to the fluid recording of the other fifteen songs don’t please me at all. On the other side, these bonus tracks are a nice gimmick for collectors who have bought the VHS version of this concert twenty-four years ago. That’s why we shouldn’t judge the band all too hard and see these three bonus songs as a little gift and nice attention.

     

    In the end, I finally did the right choice to purchase this double live record. The performance of the band is healthy, passionate and technically positively diversified. Especially the rarely played tracks make this release a true highlight. Of course, this record can’t beat “Live after Death” but it’s easily on the same level as “Rock in Rio” or “Flight 666” for example. That’s why not only collectors and die-hard fans should get this release but also occasional IRON MAIDEN fans. Up the Irons!

    (Online August 18, 2013)

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