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A Real Live One fits its name perfectly. It contains material from their latest release at the time (Fear of the Dark) until Somewhere in Time. This seems odd because they didn’t include songs from 5 of their previous releases which included some of their most popular songs; “The Number of the Beast”, “The Trooper”, “Run to the Hills”, “Killers”, “2 Minutes to Midnight”, among others. Also, 5 of the 11 songs are from their latest release, Fear of the Dark. I can understand that they were trying to promote their new album, but did they have to include all of those songs on a live album? You might as well have just bought the Fear of the Dark album. The other 6 songs that were included were everything they should've been. It includes some various songs from three of their previous three albums. The only song I felt that was oddly placed on this album was “Bring your daughter... To the slaughter.” As far as I know it was never considered a single, or given any other recognition.
To be honest, the first time I listened it was another live album. After several times listening to the album I began to take a liking to the album. There are bands that are great in studio and can make some impressive releases, but once they perform live it's like 5 guys who've never played an instrument in their life are the performers. If you've listened to any of Maiden’s previous live albums you would know that is not the case. The main reason I tend to stay away from live albums is the bands usually never sound as good live as they do in studio. I am extremely surprised with every single member of the band's performance. They were always in step with the other band members; there weren't competitions between Dave Murray, and Janick Gers. They did their shit and that is what makes for a non-sloppy live performance. Bruce's vocals were on pitch the entire song. His voice did not crack, no breaths in the microphone, only perfection. They could record an album with $20 and still make Bruce's vocals sound as good as they do now. Maiden wouldn't be anywhere without him.
Another problem with many live albums is the band gets lazy, and records one gig, and edit out everything but the music. A Real Live One was refreshing. They recorded this album from many different locations on their European tour. This is very good because they can be sure to pick out the best performance for each song which ensures you're getting the best that you can get. Beyond that, Iron Maiden makes this album truly feel like a live album. They have a vocal introduction for almost every song. Bruce even display's that he can speak French at the end of "Can I play with madness", which introduces "Wasting Love". The only annoying part about the album is Nicko McBrain starting the band out every song with 4 hits to a symbol on his drum set. I know that doing such is necessary in order for each band member to know when to come in. However, this could've been easily edited out. It's nothing that really hurts the album overall, just a slight disturbance.
Of course, leave it to Maiden to put the crowd in frenzy. Every song, with the exception of Wasting Love, the crowd sings along at the chorus lines, so much so in some song that it almost drowns out Bruce's vocals. In songs like "Bring your Daughter... To the Slaughter", and "Fear of the Dark" the crowd doesn't just sing along with the chorus lines, but with the intro guitar riffs. Performance wise, this is my favorite live album. Not just from Iron Maiden, but from any band. However, the choice of songs was a little weak, but not terrible. They should've included songs from more than just 4 albums. Either way, it's worth the money if you come across it in a used record store.
A Real Live One is the first official live album released by Iron Maiden after the phenomenal Live After Death in 1985. Consisting of material from 1986 to the band's most recent album at the time, Fear of the Dark, it feels like a natural successor to that legendary title, wise to offer only material that you hadn't heard there. It was handled as a bit of a marketing ploy alongside A Real Dead One (which featured older material and was released later in the 1993), and the two have since been re-issued in a single package, so if you've got the choice, just pick up A Real Live Dead One. No, I didn't laugh either. And I actually find the content here a little better than its companion album.
This is not one of those cases in which the entire album is culled from a single live experience; instead, A Real Live One is clipped together from a number of European performances in 1992, with a slight preference towards Helsinki Ice Hall, in Finland, which represents the last chunk of the album. Unfortunately, this creates an unstable consistency in the quality of the live performances, ranging from average to decent. Of the 11 tracks available here, almost half of them are from Fear of the Dark, so the band was leaning heavily on their newer material for these live dates, instead of the simple 1-2 track sampling most veteran bands include in their sets. "Be Quick or Be Dead", "From Here to Eternity", "Wasting Love", "Afraid to Shoot Strangers", and "Fear of the Dark" are all present, of which the hindmost recorded in Helsinki sounds by far the best. "Be Quick or Be Dead" and "Afraid to Shoot Strangers" in particular sound fairly underwhelming.
From No Prayer for the Dying, Maiden have included "Tailgunner" and "Bring Your Daughter... to the Slaughter", both of which sound fair at best, "Daughter" opening with its usual extended crowd play. "Can I Play With Madness", "The Evil That Men Do" and "The Clairvoyant" are here to represent Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, and though none of the three is spectacular, I found them to be among the more enthusiastic of the performances on the record. "Heaven Can Wait" is the sole selection from Somewhere in Time (my favorite Maiden album, coincidentally), and it sounds fair, though suffers from a too-clunky bass tone, like some of the other tracks on the album.
I can't claim Dickinson is on fire through the entire track list. He sounds a little shaky in some spots, and out of breath. But seeing that these performances are plucked from massive sets, and he was likely worn out for half of them, and he's still a better singer than you or I will ever be, it's not all that bad. The crowd is very much present on the album, swelling up in places like the bridge of "Heaven Can Wait" so loudly that they almost threaten to drown out the band. It's certainly no Live After Death or Maiden Japan (fan club version), but if you can excuse its occasional stumble, it's tolerable. Just don't expect much consistency here, or on its companion album. 1993 seemed like the year for Maiden to make some scratch, because not only did they release both of the 'A Real _ _ _ _ One' albums, but also the full set from 1992 Donington Monsters of Rock performance as a double live album (a few tracks of which appear on the others). Unfortunately, they include the same set list.
Iron Maiden’s live CD releases in 1993 featured an incredible amount of lackluster vocal performances by Bruce Dickinson, particularly on older material. This album’s sister release “A Real Dead One” was mired by an complete inability of Bruce to hit much of the higher notes found on the pre-Somewhere in Time material he was on with any strength, not to mention some butchered guitar parts by Janick Gers. This was mostly due to a shift in Bruce Dickinson’s vocal style, which resulted in a rather lousy release in “No Prayer for the Dying”.
But much as the new vocal style hurt the performance on the older material, it has worked well for the performance of newer material, particularly the Somewhere in Time and Seventh Son material. This tour contains my favorite live rendition of both “Heaven can wait” and “The Evil that Men do”, where Bruce uses his dirtier vocal style to inject these songs with some much needed attitude. Likewise, Gers proves to be a bit more apt at playing the later lead material and riffs that Adrian Smith offered up before his exodus from the band.
The other thing that helps this album along is an extremely low number of “No Prayer for the Dying” songs on the set list. “Tailgunner” has the edge in terms of musicality as it is more cut from the middle of the road rock tunes that Steve Harris occasionally puts together, while “Bring you Daughter to the Slaughter” is pretty much a AC/DC rip off that listens okay but doesn’t really accomplish much other than give us some creepy horror inspired lyrics.
The Fear of the Dark material is mostly on point, and once again Maiden has done well to avoid playing any of the crappy songs from that album live. The title track and “Be quick or be dead” are the performed the best, although I wish that the audience would learn to sing along with the chorus to the former in time with the song. Unfortunately both “Afraid to Shoot Strangers” and “Wasting Love” are not very strong. They just don’t recapture the atmosphere of the studio versions at all, as well as the fact that Harris’ bass work sounds a bit muddy.
This album is mostly recommended to people who liked the later 80s and early 90s material. The live versions of the stuff that Adrian Smith was originally present on is much better than what was on “A Real Dead One”. Those of you, who like Maiden better with Adrian Smith in the fold or who liked the pre-Somewhere in Time stuff the best, either avoid this or look for it at a reduced price. If you can only find the double CD release, don’t both buying it, the renditions of the older material is pretty bad.