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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.