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Bruce's voice lags a bit. - 81%

hells_unicorn, September 20th, 2006

While on tour supporting their powerful and innovative album "Powerslave", Maiden compiled this, their first full length concert offering on CD. The song selection on here is excellent, though obviously their second album "Killers" has been neglected for more audience friendly material. But bear in mind, I have the original release which does not contain the Hammersmith Odeon concert the year before, which I am told is superior to the latter performance and features WrathChild from Killers.

Overall, the performance on this CD is quite good. We kick off the concert with a speech from World War 2 given by Winston Churchill, a perfect introduction to "Aces High", which features some excellent guitar work. "Two Minutes to Midnight" and "Powerslave" are also featured from the latest album at this point are also well done, the latter featuring some interesting variations on the eastern theme that dominates it and a good vocal performance. "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" is also featured on this tour, but unfortunately it's a bit overlong of a track for a live performance and slows down the pace of the show.

From the "Piece of Mind" album, "The Trooper" wins the contest for best live song. The energy present on this composition is undeniable, and Maiden do well to recapture it. "Flight of Icarus" also shines, though Bruce's vocal performance is a bit weak here. "Revelations" was somewhat of a weak track on the studio album, and here it is missing many of the over-dubbed lead tracks, making it worthy of hitting the skip button.

"The Number of the Beast" material is probably the weakest on here. Bruce can't hit the high notes the night of this concert the way he did on the original studio versions, and it drags down the enjoyment of "Run to the Hills" and the title track. "Hallowed be thy Name" proves to be a saving grace from this group, as it requires less singing by Bruce and more instrumental work, and overall does not push the limits of his range.

The 2 songs off the debut are the best on here. "Iron Maiden" has all the usual treats of a memorable main riff and a straight forward vocal line, pretty tough to screw up. And the extended version of "Running Free" is the highlight of the album, allowing Bruce to keep to his medium high range, and jazzing up the audience in a memorable sing along session.

In conclusion, this is a live album that does what many live albums that are not touched up in the studio afterward can often do, sound too rough for recorded material. When you are at the concert, this isn't noticed as the imperfections in sound are covered with the visuals of the show itself. It is strong at the beginning and at the end, but in between it lags much. Bruce's voice fails to hit many of the obligatory high notes called for in these songs, and this makes it difficult to listen to at times. When you take into consideration that it is a live album that is not enhanced, it passes as good, but even so Maiden has pulled off lives shows better than this one.