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Iron Maiden - Live After Death (DVD)

Iron Maiden
Live After Death (DVD)
by Yiannis Zervos at 14 February 2008, 1:04 PM

I know that many of my fellow 30 (plus) years old Metal comrades got really tired of listening to IRON MAIDEN classics and searched for alternative sources of Metal such as Progressive, Black and Thrash. The greatness of this band my friends, is that gives birth to many Heavy Metal kids every day. And here we are, 23 years after the release of Live After Death, there is a chance for the younger audience to enjoy MAIDEN's monumental live performance in Long Beach Arena just like we should have watched it back then.
With all the DVD mania that took over the music business the last 5 years, mainly with Hard Rock and Metal bands, you wonder why IRON MAIDEN let a million Live After Death bootleg-ed DVDs on the music shop shelves around the world. Well, maybe this is the right time; who can argue with Rod Smallwood, the Sheriff Of Haddershfield himself, on IRON MAIDEN's commercial interest? Maybe this is the right time for the digital form of Live After Death.
At last I have in my hands the official DVD, with 5.1 Dolby surround and lots of bonus features.  I said to myself I can watch it 99 times, why not 100?. The crowd cheers Maiden, Maiden and then the voice of Winston Churchill makes you wait for the pre-recorded Aces High intro. Fires and blasts, IRON MAIDEN hit the stage with the intensity of a World War II air fight. What an amazing way to open a concert. The stage has the Powerslave-Egyptian theme all over, with hieroglyphics and stuff, the band is dressed weird with tights but in the 80's who was dressed up in a normal way?
For the main feature disc the screen ratios is 4:3 but the unique and magnificent thing is the Dolby 5.1 surround sound. If you have the original Live After Death LP/CD you can listen to the stereo mix Dave Murray on the left speaker and Adrian Smith on the right speaker, reproducing, sound-wise the positions they have on stage, this hard-panning method used by Martin Birch before, on WHITESNAKE's Live In The Heart Of The City and on DEEP PURPLE's Made In Japan that Martin handled the final mixes. But in the 5.1 mix of Live After Death DVD we have Bruce Dickinson's vocals a lot higher on the front speakers, it's funny cause you can hear him having troubles on Aces High melody which hits immediately high notes that without the proper vocal warm up is a tough thing to reach. On the Left and Right rear speakers we have the rest of the band and the crowd noise. This trick creates the live performance feeling to my ears and transfers me in the Long Beach Arena, I'm sure you will go there too. This DVD also includes a solid high quality stereo mix that I recommend on those who don't have access on a Dolby surround system.
IRON MAIDEN prove that they are a live stage band as they record and mix this four-night sold-out gigs and they played like they've never played before, with energy and their music sounds even better than the studio versions of these songs. The other thing that makes Live After Death precious is that you can hear Nicko McBrain's drumming abilities on older songs like Hallowed Be Thy Name, because until '85 we hadn't listen to Nicko in any of them, except the lucky ones that bought the expensive bootleg LPs.

Highlights of this live performance are many, like the mummified Eddie that walks on stage with the band, and then as the giant mummy that comes behind Nicko's drum kit firing sparks from his eyes. Bruce picks Murray on his shoulder during a solo, the unstoppable Steve Harris runs up and down, the classic live MAIDEN image we all have in mind. But I personally mark Bruce's introduction on the thirteen minute masterpiece Rime Of The Ancient Mariner. Bruce says that this song inspirited by Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem that he wrote under the influence of marijuana. Bruce also notices that this particular drug used to be legal in England in 19th century and that Queen Victoria used to ease her period pains by smoking that kind of stuff.
Another amazing moment is the long version of Running Free  that appears on the double LP and the double remastered CD but it doesn't exist in the original CD release. In this DVD we have a slightly different version. Bruce manipulates the wild crowd in a unique way that makes them scream from the top of their voices.
After a magnificent dream-set-list of every IRON MAIDEN fan in the world, this 90-minute film comes to an end, with a satisfied cheering crowd and an even more happy viewer in front of the screen that took a journey in time to experience this wonderful songs from the greatest line up of musicians on stage.
The second bonus DVD begins with History Of IRON MAIDEN - Part 2, the follow up of The Early Days DVD. A 60-minute documentary with interviews on how the band flew to Nassau island in Bahamas to record Powerslave, all the funny things they did there under the influence of big amounts of alcohol, the monumental World Slavery Tour that followed with 195 gigs in 21 countries, the Mission From 'Arry incident and of course Live After Death. This bonus DVD also includes the Behind The Iron Curtain documentary, filmed in Poland and Hungary in 1985. In years of division IRON MAIDEN made the big step over the Wall of Hate and dared to perform on Eastern Block soil (making me jealous communists didn't win the Greek civil war). This one hour film includes live performances, MAIDEN playing football ( I must say Adrian Smith is an exceptional footballer but poor McBrain didn't played, he must be awful, I know cause Steve Harris takes seriously football matters), MAIDEN jamming Smoke On The Water on a Polish wedding, and generally never seen before footage of a crazy British band. I must say METALLICA had (and still have) a camera rolling in their lives even when they go to bed; IRON MAIDEN never did it and that is a big deference between these two giants of Metal.
The bonus DVD concludes with Rock In Rio, a historic footage filmed on January 11, 1985 with an audience of 300.000 Latin American Rock maniacs headbanging on the Metal sounds of MAIDEN, Ello' Texas, with rear interviews and performances from Alamo, San Antonio along with the original videos of 2 Minutes To Midnight and Aces High.
My IRON MAIDEN friends, I must say this was 20 well-spent Euros. I do not know if you believe that IRON MAIDEN's music is old news and you want to listen to Doom, Thrash, Black Metal or Progressive and Pop Rock, \[but] Live After Death is a must-have DVD that makes you remember the original sound of IRON MAIDEN that drew you into this music. The young ones should dump the Emo, Nu and other Metal monstrosities and focus on something real and solid that won't ever fade away.  
That is not dead
Which can eternal lie
Yet with strange aeons
Even death may die
(H.P. Lovecraft, Nameless City)

5 Star Rating

Disc 1

Churchill's Speech (Intro)
Aces High
2 Minutes To Midnight
The Trooper
Flight Of Icarus
Rime Of The Ancient Mariner
Number Of The Beast
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Iron Maiden
Run To The Hills
Running Free

Disc 2

The History Of Iron Maiden - Part 2
Behind The Iron Curtain
Rock In Rio '85
Ello' Texas
Promotional clips for Aces High and 2 Minutes To Midnight
Bruce Dickinson - Vocals
Dave Murray - Guitar
Adrian Smith - Guitar, Backing vocals
Steve Harris - Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
Nicko McBrain - Drums
Record Label: EMI Music


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