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Dickinson-era downfall - 30%

morbert, March 8th, 2010

Two times they visited my country supporting Fear of The Dark, once in September ‘92 and then april ’93. Of course, as being a dedicated fan, I went to each show. Also they released two live albums from that period. This was the time Maiden began flooding their discography with live recordings and haven’t really stopped since. ‘A real Live One’ was pretty nice due to the track listing and ‘A Real Dead One’ also had a few nice additions.

The reasons to get this album if you’re into Maiden are simple: ‘Prowler’, ‘Transylvania’ and ‘Where Eagles Dare’. Old classics played live for the first time in many years. Especially ‘Where Eagles Dare’ stands out. Having a live recording of ‘Remember Tomorrow’ with Bruce of course wasn’t that special because of the 1982 Number of the Beast single.

The major complaint about ‘Transylvania’ is Janick Gers. His playing lacks the needed staccato feeling. And secondly the pace is slightly too slow. The slow pace is also what makes ‘Prowler’ sound less interesting.

Then there are all those other songs. I have enough live versions of The Trooper, Hallowed By the Name etcera already, thank you very much. And with Gers on guitar the bands does look good and energetic live, but they don’t sound that good anymore on a live album. He is sloppy and especially original Smith solo’s need precision.

Then there is Dickinson. Not at his best on this tour and it shows. Tired, uninspired, whatever the excuse was, we’re not getting the best and together with Gers he is the second reason to discard this bad release.

The last straw is the production. Horrible! Blurry! Each song sounds too different from the other since they were recorded on different nights so the album does not sound cohesive. If they actually used the best versions from that tour of each song I wonder how bad Bruce sang or Gers played on the other recordings. Or how slow the band worked its way through Transylvania, Prowler and Iron Maiden on other nights. Of course the paces of Iron Maiden and Prowler here have more in common with the Soundhouse Tapes versions which featured Sampson on drums, but after growing up with the Clive Burr version, these slow interpretations are truly lacking.

Musically Iron Maiden (including Gers) were so much better when promoting the No Prayer album and they would be pretty damn good again on the Ed Hunter tour. But this was the lowest point during the first Dickinson-era. The albums were getting bad, the performances sloppy. So 30 points for hearing three oldies again and that about wraps it up for this album.