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Iron Maiden's Rock in Rio was recorded in January 2001 at the Rock In Rio festival, Brazil. It could be considered the complementary live to the Brave New World album which featured the reunion of the band with Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith, and the inauguration of the band's three-guitar assault (since they kept on Janick Gers). But though it pays great heed to the band's more recent material, with features some unfortunate selections from the mediocre X Factor and downright awful Virtual XI, the album does mix it up with some older songs, and the sound quality is actually quite good. If you want yet another Maiden live set captured to audio, this 2CD set is far from the worst they've offered.
A great choir intro heralds "The Wicker Man", which is pretty much the best thing you could hope for to open their set, a sheer ass kicking with an unforgettable chorus that inspires both emotion and fist shaking. Judging by the massive crowd response (which honestly sent shivers up my spine), the Brazilians were WELL into this song by the time Maiden dropped down there for the festival. As they should be, because it rules, and it's one of the best on this entire live. Other tracks from Brave New World include "The Mercenary", "Ghost of the Navigator", "Blood Brothers", "Dream of Mirrors" and the title track, all of which the crowd can also relate to. The rest of the newish material is rounded out by "The Clansman" from Virtual XI, which, while improved with Dickinson's energy, is still little more than average. "Sign of the Cross" is included from The X Factor, not one of the better tracks from that album, and not one of the better tracks on this one.
The rest of the set list tours the band's already extensive back catalog, with some oldies from the Paul Di'anno days like "Wrathchild", "Sanctuary", and "Iron Maiden". "The Number of the Beast", "Run to the Hills" and "Hallowed be Thy Name" are surefire audience pleasers from The Number of the Beast album, and "The Trooper" appears from Piece of Mind. Only "2 Minutes to Midnight" arrives to represent Powerslave, and to my huge disappointment, there are no tracks present on this live from Somewhere in Time, which is my absolute favorite... Clearly Harris and crew underestimated the tastes of the Brazilian audience? The final two tracks included are "The Evil That Men Do" from Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, and the title track from Fear of the Dark. Like Somwhere in Time, No Prayers for the Dying is ignored, and it's a little sad.
Surely we could have given the boot to "Sign of the Cross" and "The Clansman" and included two or even three tracks from those neglected efforts. "Wasted Years", "Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter" and any other track from Somewhere in Time would have sufficed. Alas, it was not to be, at least for the release of the 2CD set, but at least the rest sound really good, and outside the duo of Live After Death and Maiden Japan, this is one of the better live offerings. Each of the discs is also enhanced with video material, for a little extra bonus. If you're a Maiden fan who rabidly collects their live shows, at least the 'official' releases, you could do far worse than Rock in Rio.
I am surprised this album hasn't been reviewed more. Quite simply, if you an Iron Maiden fan, and you don't have this record, go out and get it NOW. Or order it online...whatever, just make sure you add this to your collection.
What does this album have that other live albums don't? Basically, the energy of 300,000 people feeding the energy of the band...powerful. But wait, there's more. I know a lot of people (myself included) have often been disappointed by some groups' attempts at releasing live albums. Often the performances don't quite match up to the excellence of the studio product. Oh sure, people will often say, "Well, at least it's got the rawness and excitement of being live." But secretly, they're thinking, "Wow, this sounded WAY better on the original record." Well, you won't say that when you hear Iron Maiden on Rock in Rio. In fact, the performances are SO good, it makes me wonder if they did a lot of overdubs in the studio, as many bands have done. Then again, I think it helps that this record features the amazing three-guitar lineup of Smith, Gers, and Murray. That has to go a long way to filling out the sound.
One thing that you will definitely notice, listening to Rock in Rio, is the tremendous momentum this band has from the very get-go. As soon as they hit the stage, they launch into "The Wicker Man," and they never let up for the rest of the show. Of course, some of the songs with slower intros, such as "The Sign of the Cross" or "Hallowed Be Thy Name" offer a natural place to pause and gather up steam for the assault ahead, but regardless, I am amazed at how the band (especially Bruce) can sustain such a constant high level of power and energy. I'm sure having a few hundred thousand screaming Brazilians around doesn't hurt.
Some of the most outstanding songs in this set include "2 Minutes Til Midnight," "The Trooper," "Fear of the Dark" and of course, the always excellent "Run to the Hills." I think you'll agree that "Fear of the Dark" is substantially better in this live version than it was on the original record. And "Run to the Hills" is a great finale. Bruce's voice has rarely sounded better, and having the giant crowd sing along with him on the chorus is a real treat. I would also be remiss if I didn't mention the anthemic quality of "The Clansman" and the exceptional beauty and emotional power of "Hallowed Be Thy Name."
In short, I agree with anyone who has said that this live album is a MUST for any Iron Maiden fan's collection. I can confidently say that you will not be disappointed by this outstanding performance.
This album is simply amazing, Maiden dominates and conquers every song they play on this live album. Bruce's singing on this is at its best, the triple guitar attack, Janick Gers, Dave Murray, and Adrian Smith allow for all the studio complexity to be played live. Stave Harris is flawless as usual, his base seems to blow through everything and make its presence, but not overshawdow the rest of the band. Nicko Mcbrian dominates on drums, the fills are amazing, working well with the bass. The whole band is playing so well to gether on this album, all at the same spead, its amazing.
A few of the tracks witch stand out are Iron Maiden, Brace New World, The Whicker Man, Run To The Hills, and Fear Of The Dark. On Rock in Rio Maiden preforms the second best version of the song Iron Maiden, only to be surpassed by the live Iron Maiden from Live After Death. When that opening riff from Iron Maiden hits you it sends goosebumps down your spine, then it comes back again, and again!
Bruce blows everything away on Brave New world with his vocals. His sings with such intensity, as well as the rest of the band backing him up with intense playing.
Fear of the Dark is deliciously evil sounding on this album. What makes it even better is the audiance singing and humming along. The intensity on this track of Rock In Rio can not be matched by any of the other tracks, defiantly the best live version of Fear Of The Dark.
Rock in Rio holds the best live version of Run to the Hills ever. The catchy opening riff, followed by powerful vocals by bruce and that unforgetable chorus. This will give you all the engery you need after listening to it.
Another great thing about this album is the audiance, they work so well with the songs, not interfearing at all. Its great.
The only negative thing about this album is that Iron Maiden should have chosen so better tracks. They have nothing off No Prayer For The Dying, Mother Russia would have been nice to hear live. Maiden did to much from the Blaze years, they should have only done one of his songs. They only did one track off of Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, they should have at least done Infinite Dreams. If they did a few of these tracks the album would be much better. The actualy preformance is great though.
How many live albums does Maiden need? I guess one can never have enough Maiden, but 4 albums seems a bit excessive... As far as live albums go, Rock in Rio falls firmly in the "eh" category, not being too good or too bad. Just eh.
The good... The rio crowd is loud as hell, and there's not much more moving than 50,000 metalheads screaming "666! THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST!" Dickinson is the air raid siren and was in top form the night this was recorded, barely missing a note (the exception being Wrathchild). As mentioned in the review title, Bruce singing the Clansman is stunning, amazing, cataclysmic, hell, even orgasmic. It just don't get much better than that folks, and if you had any doubt as to whether the Clansman was a godly song, get ready to throw em out the window.
The bad.... The mix is muddy as hell... i dunno if this can be attributed to the open air nature of the Rio or the crowd or what... but when I put it on in my brother's car an incessant buzz cut through alot of the instruments and put a damper on our listening experience. Another thing is the way those 3 guitars are mixed. It used to be Adrian on one channel, Dave on the other. With a 3rd guitar to deal with, sometimes things get messy.
If you're a maiden fanboy like me, get it. If you are a n00b, go for Live After Death and be merry.
Another Iron Maiden live album? This is the fifth live album from Steve Harris, Bruce Dickinson and company, following 1985's classic "Live after Death" and 1993's less than classic, but still enjoyable "A Real Live One," "A Real Dead One," and "Live At Donnington." "A Real Live One" and "A Real Dead One" were my introduction to live albums, and as lonely teenager, I really loved them. As a lonely adult, I still like them, but realize that there are better produced and performed live albums out there. "Rock In Rio," is easily my favorite live Maiden release since their "Live After Death" masterpiece.
This album was recorded in Rio De Janeiro, at the "Rock In Rio" festival, in front of Iron Maiden's biggest audience ever -- and they really make themselves heard on this album. The crowd sounds familiar with the band's newer material proving that Iron Maiden are just as vital as they've ever been. Six songs from the band's 2000 reunion opus, "Brave New World," are included in the setlist, with five appearing on the first disc. Two songs from the Blaze Bayley era also appear: "Sign of the Cross" and "The Clansman." It's interesting to hear Bruce Dickinson's interpretation of these songs.
The classics are here as well: "Hallowed Be Thy Name," "The Trooper," "Wrathchild," etc. However, when you have 12 studio albums and have released as many classic metal songs as Maiden have, fans are inevitably going to gripe about certain songs not making the cut, especially fans who aren't into the band's newer material. Personally, I am thankful for the overabundance of new songs on "Rock In Rio." The old songs can be heard on the band's previous four live albums. If you want to hear "Aces High," then go listen to "Live After Death.
So, how does Maiden sound after all these years? The band's performance is top notch, and the addition of the third guitarist gives the songs a fuller sound. Bruce Dickinson's vocals are great as well, although his voice is not quite a powerful as it used to be. If you've heard his singing on the "Beast On the Road" tour, then you'll know exactly what I mean. When he screams "the Mercenaaaaaaaaary" to introduce the song of the same name, it sounds pretty ugly. Thankfully, these "ugly" moments are few number, and I find that Bruce's vocal performance on "Rock In Rio" is much better and infinitely more inspired than on Maiden's live releases in the '90's. Bruce sings with uncharted softness on the opening verses of "Sign of the Cross" and "Brave New World," and even growls certain words and lines throughout the album (eg. "show them no fear").
Overall, an absolute must have for any self-respecting Iron Maiden fan.