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The Essential Live Iron Maiden Album - 95%

caspianrex, May 23rd, 2009

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.