Live After Death is in the upper echelons of my all time favourite Live Albums Period! Still to this day!
Shall we rewind back Somewhere In Time?
A week after my 18th Birthday in October of 1985 Iron Maiden drop on my senses this Double Whopper Of A Live Album. The Double Whopper being its a Double Album.
Live After Death was released on Friday October 15th 1985 to be exact and I remember this day well as I had seen the ads in Circus Magazine pre hyping it’s release a month or two before and I was chomping at the bit to go and fetch this upon its release which I did after the school bell rung on that Friday. Basically barricaded myself in my bedroom with this album for the whole weekend! Frigg ya as Maiden as per their protocol went all out on this album. Cool artwork by Derek Riggs Double Gatefold Sleeve/Tons of Pictures/All the tour dates/Lyrics/Pics/Stats (like how many guitar strings and pics were used and how much booze was consumed) you know the important stuff involving suds! Even the Road Crew schedule was posted!
I drooled as here I am in Tbay with my head fried from my Grade 12 Sociology Class yet Maiden and band mascot Eddie made me forget the hard trials of school that day and well….
So here it is Iron Maiden recorded over 4 Nights in Scream For Me Long Beach( California ) on there very successful World Slavery Tour 84/85. Plus a an added kicker they released this on VHS Video as well. A few years back as Maiden released this on DVD with a bunch of extras…. They still know how to package their product!
Losfer’s Words & Music…
||“Wrathchild” (from Killers, 1981)
||“22 Acacia Avenue” (from The Number of the Beast, 1982)
||“Children of the Damned” (from The Number of the Beast, 1982)
||“Die with Your Boots On” (from Piece of Mind, 1983)
||Smith, Dickinson, Harris
||“Phantom of the Opera” (from Iron Maiden, 1980)
YUP! Just over 98 Minutes of Maiden! Now you know why I locked myself in Bedroom with my stereo blasting this album on that cold October weekend! Special mention must be made to my parents who never ever once told me too turn it down but at times they must have wondered what the hell was going on in my bedroom! No worries Folk’s I was on the Flight Of Icarus!
Basically you have the first three sides recorded in Long Beach and man oh man did Bruce trademark the “Scream For Me Long Beach!” If he hadn’t he should!
Of course with Maiden on this tour was the stages of all stages with a Mummified EDDIE leading the way! Massive is what I would call it!
The album opens with Churchill doing his War Speech and about never surrendering and Bam! Here’s Maiden ripping into Ace’s High and tons of rolling/rolling turning/turning through out! The songs are crisp and clear. The Musicianship is second to none! Bruce’s vocals soar through out the whole album.
This is just one rock solid album from start to finish! The songs all stand on their own merit! It’s basically a Greatest Hits set done live while spreading throughout songs from the current Powerslave album that had walloped me outside the noggin the previous year!
Adrian Smith and Dave Murray in my opinion are the best two lead guitar duo’s ever in the business of Music! There playing is friggin unbelievable even up till this day (Along with current sidekick Janick Gers) The solos’ are slick/well thought out and are hammered into our skulls as epic riff’s. Nicko the lunatic playing the drums does all the drum rolls and you want epic crash n smash style but keeping it smooth look no further than the track Powerslave after the Dave/Adrian solo’s man he just is so smooth as in making it look easy. Steve Harris being the main songwriter and he is the leader(much to Bruce’s chagrin at the time I suppose) as this was his vision put forth by him and manager Rod Smallwood.
So if you want an epic Harris track look no further than Rime Of The Ancient Mariner as it weaves over it’s 13 minutes of tempo changes and keeps you the listener entrenched and no boredom ever sets in with this track. Pure Greatness!
Course the big end of the set tune Iron Maiden pulls out all the stops! Just watch the clip below and see for yourself!
Side Four is recorded in England at the infamous Hammersmith Odeon and if my memory serves me correct this side was for the diehards across the pond as Maiden would mix up the set list as to keep the hardcore fans happy as America hadn’t caught on as quickly as Europe. I may be wrong here ….
22 Acacia Avenue rips accordingly and I love how Bruce drops the line of ‘Speak For Me Hammersmith!” over the guitars of Davey and Adrian before Bruce ramps back up vocally on the second verse!
Die With Your Boots On is another kicker of a track. Great everything about this one as well! Love the guitar playing on this track as Nicko drives the bus with his drums and keeps it all together!
Phantom Of The Opera always fascinated me back than as did the other tracks that were sung by original singer Paul Dianno on the studio versions before he got tossed and Bruce took charge. Of course now in 2017 it’s nothing new when Bruce sings the Paul tunes but back in 1985 other than hearing a B-Side of Bruce singing Remember Tomorrow you had no idea how the Dianno songs would come across with Bruce singing them!
Well the answer after listening to Live After Death was that Bruce basically took them over and made him his own.
Don’t get me wrong folks I love Dianno’s singing style on the debut Maiden album/Killers and especially Maiden Japan but the Air Raid Siren just belts it out like there is indeed no tomorrow!
Live After Death was the bridge gap between 84’s Powerslave and 86’s Somewhere In Time albums but this live audio/video showcase features a band showing everyone else in the Metal Spectrum how it’s done!