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Iron Maiden: En Vivo!

Let me preface this article by saying I am grateful to Universal Records for sending me a screener of the Iron Maiden En Vivo! DVD, as well as a copy of the CD version for review on this site. Unfortunately, they only sent the first disc. I refuse to give a critical review to anything that is incomplete, which is one reason why the First Impression section exists. This package arrived late last night, which meant I didn’t have time to check out the visual aspect yet, but I made the time to at least sample disc one of the audio edition.

Of course, En Vivo! was recorded during the band’s outting to support their latest full-length recording, The Final Frontier and it seems to be rather well represented here. The set starts off with “Satellite 15,” which makes for a nice live introduction before going into the latter half of that track, “The Final Frontier.” There’s also “El Dorado” and “Coming Home” in this set, and the second disc contains “When the Wild Wind Blows” and “Running Free.” Obviously I didn’t get to hear those latter two, but I did spend time with the others. Personally, I’m not a fan of The Final Frontier to begin with, so I went into these with little anticipation. It seemed my lack of interest was even met by the band. While the performances were still good, they felt really tame and toned down outside of “Coming Home,” which seemed to be fueled by the crowd’s reaction to “2 Minutes to Midnight” and “The Talisman.” Despite that strong effort, I just couldn’t get into them, and it felt like I wasn’t the only one.

When you listen to the rest of the first disc, it’s clear what the fans came for, and what the band wants to play, or at least is excited about. “2 Minutes to Midnight” is a fantastic performance from the band, full of energy and passion despite having been played who knows how many times. The same goes for “The Wicker Man” and “The Trooper,” the latter especially with how the crowd joins in compared to “The Final Frontier” when Bruce Dickinson tries to get them to chant along, and mildly succeed at. The near two a half minute introduction to “The Talisman” gets the crowed rile up immediately. The clapping nearly dwarfs out the narration entirely, as does the cheering, whistles and roaring applause. The outburst of glee at the start of “Dance of Death” must have been deafening at the venue that this event took place at. Once the introduction ends and the music picks up, so does the band, as well as the audience. It sounds as if Iron Maiden are playing these songs for the first time still, and everyone within range of the music feeds off it, which seems to only further fuel the group.

While four of the songs on the first disc really didn’t do much, the rest made me wish I was actually experiencing Iron Maiden live. I also wish I had the second disc so I could get a feel of their modern live approach, which doesn’t seem to have changed much. En Vivo! is definitely on the top of my list of albums to buy whenever I have the money, just so I can have the full experience. When I can afford it, I’ll be sure to get a proper review of it live. As far as disc one goes, the somewhat crisp audio from the sound board may not capture the full energetic effect, but this version still has some strong performances well worth checking out by what I can tell from the first half.

Article based on digital review material provided by Universal Records.