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What a night Maiden had on Japan recording this gig, the enthusiasm of a hungry band that was about to take over the world with their storm of thundering chords and upbeat tempos is the first thing you will notice when you listen to this. It totally surpasses the quality of the recording, that is OK but not up to Iron Maiden today’s standards of course. Di’ Anno’s vocals are another special aspect about this album; because it features a whole set that included almost all the material they had at the time so having it performed live by its original singer is a great deal; considering the short time he was in the band. The inclusion of Adrian Smith is another aspect worthy of mention, because the string department features the 3 guys from the band’s golden era playing live versions of songs you won’t hear somewhere else. The crowd is kind of dead… I bet they were too busy taking pictures, but it doesn’t ruins it for me; the band’s live sound is priceless with or without a good audience. Besides, at this point of their career there weren’t any extremely famous hits to sing along with; the whole gig has an underground atmosphere more than a big arena show feel.
I think Bruce is a better singer, but Di’ Anno can surely sing too and he performed amazing on that night, the early punky sound of the band kind of fits his vocals that are way more raspy and angry than the elegant Bruce’s air raid siren. He does well through the whole set till the end without problems. Dave and H twin guitar attack wrote a fucking legend, and this is why; they have always been sharp and accurate in every gig whatsoever. The arpeggios melted perfectly with their clean guitars, as well as the glaring twin leads and heartfelt riffing; are delivered with a passion you won’t see anywhere else. Arry’s bass guitar anchors the drums with the guitars with his finger hammering frenzy like no other person could, laying a king size mattress for the guitars to go and beat the shit out of everyone’s neurons with their dynamic dance. The rounded tone finger picking he provides enhanced by his classic Fender Precision bass metallic edge and a hard hitting string technique bred a whole generation of bassists, and this is why: the guy plays perfect; every fucking note is nailed heavenly. On the percussive duties, Clive Burr did always a decent job but he is nowhere Nicko, who is an octopus behind the drum kit. However, his performance is clean and serves as a heartbeat to the band nicely; it’s the comparison between drummers what makes it sound watered down.
The set list includes pretty much every song the band wrote at the moment, except from “Prodigal Son”, “The Ides of March”, “Prowler” and “Charlotte the Harlot”. It’s long, you feel it’s a whole gig unlike “Live at the Rainbow” for example, that is very short and lets you wanting more. It’s pretty solid but it suffers from the friendly atmosphere of early hard rock a lot, not every song has that particular metal mean as fuck attitude, but what the hell… The performance as I said before is near perfect, this guys are amazing musicians; there’s some lo-fi cloud hanging over the record’s production but it sounds good… maybe too honest, but for me that’s good. This is surely not the best Maiden gig from this era but it’s the most comprehensive and it’s surely enjoyable!