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This is how a live album should sound like. - 99%

maidenpriest, May 1st, 2004

This is a great live release, the band are at a critical point in their career, having just released one of their strongest albums ever and on possibly their best tour ever (bar the Seventh Son tour perhaps). The band sound uniformly great, Bruce Dickinson has a youthful energy and has a scarily enormous lung capacity. Truly one of the best ever Heavy Metal frontmen, he's full of energy and sounds great all the way through. Another great thing about this album is the bass. It has a very loud mix which really allows you to appreciate Steve Harris' intricate Basslines, which is a good thing, I promise you. Adrian Smith and Dave Murray shred on guitars, excellent as always and always in perfect unison (comparable to Tipton-Downing duo). And Nicko McBrain on drums. I've always liked his style of playing, maybe more than Clive Burr. (He's crazier, faster and more technical anyway, and I like that) Nicko has a great performance, amazing with only one bass drum.

The tracklist is great, covers all the early classics (you wish they'd play 'Killers' though, that would make it even better), and some heavy tunes from the last few albums. Personal highlights for me are 'Phantom of the Opera' (not on the original vinyl or CD, its on the bonus second disc of the remastered CD). It's a pity that so many of these songs get played on later live albums, because they start to lose their freshness if you listen to this as well as Iron Maiden's other live releases. But of course those tracks are arguably the best tracks on this album. The Trooper, Run to the Hills, 2 Minutes to Midnight and Hallowed Be Thy Name fall into this category. (They sound great on Rock in Rio too, mind!)

The only thing that prevents me from giving this 100 is Bruce's performance on opener Aces High. Although he sounds really great throughout the song, if you want to be technical he doesn't quite hit all the high notes. Actually, that's not to say he doesn't sound great, as I don't think anyone else in the world could if they sang like he did, and he does make a really good job of it, but it is a slight gripe that bothers some people, like my brother. (He makes that his reason for preferring Rock in Rio to this release). But apart from that, absolutely flawless performance that will creep its way into your CD player again and again. Buy it now, you won't be disappointed, and I really mean it this time.