Album Review by Kris Griffiths
Iron Maiden have been grinding away for over two decades now and have released three live albums prior to this one over the course of their career. A REAL LIVE ONE and LIVE AT DONINGTON were both fan favourites whilst LIFE AFTER DEATH is considered by metal fans in general to be one of the best live albums ever released. Now on the threshold of their twenty-year anniversary Maiden have released their most grandiose live recording to date.
Recorded in front of 250,000 screaming metalheads at the Brazilian Rock in Rio Festival, January 2001, the band’s lineup includes vocalist Bruce Dickinson, widely acknowledged as Maiden’s greatest frontman, and lead guitarist Adrian Smith, both of whom returned to the fray in 1999. About a year after their return the band had released BRAVE NEW WORLD, a concept album which filled fans with renewed faith after a patchy period throughout most of the nineties.
The fans’ faith in their band to deliver all the old favourites must have been severely tested throughout the opening half of the performance – six tracks off BRAVE NEW WORLD were squeezed in there. It may have seemed that the boys had drawn a line across all their old stuff but it was merely leaving the best till last, not before a couple of tunes from the 90s are thrown in as a nod to ex-vocalist Blaze Bayley.
Dave Murray’s flawless lead guitar prowess rises above Maiden’s distinctive three-guitar onslaught, which is used forcefully to belt out old classics THE EVIL THAT MEN DO and THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST, but there are still many notable omissions. Added to that disappointment is Dickinson’s occasionally fragile voice that seems to rasp heavily whilst trying to reach high notes. However, the quarter of a million Brazilian fans don’t seem to be bothered and help him out with every word.
As for all the other Iron Maiden die-hards, this may be just another live album for the collection but it is essential nonetheless. Anyone who didn’t like BRAVE NEW WORLD should steer well clear though. Expect a new album soon – the boys may be getting old but they’ve got plenty of life left in them.