I like the crowd shouting along with Vincent Price to open the show. But holy, Bruce’s voice was SHIT through that opening of Number. Did he have a cold? I’d believe it, he sounds brutally bad. Whatever, the crowd was into it; he really should have let them sing it. Almost sounds like he’s coasting, wishing they’d pump up his mic volume, not taking the vocals high when he can take them low… damn. The band, of course, nails it. The Trooper rolls around and the crowd noise is gone when it suits the studio fixers. Again. I hate that (I’ve said that before). A ripping version from the band, but Bruce still sounds like hell. Uninspiring, so far, is Mr. Dickinson. That guitar solo! I keep saying that about these guys, but damn! Prowler confirms my fears that this entire rcord is gonna be a stellar blast from the band but a horrible showing for their vocalist. Maybe he’s off in the mix, too. I mean, there is a lot going on, a lot with which to compete, but that still doesn’t make up for his taking the easy way out as often as he does, not holding notes, not reaching for the high notes we expect. Maybe a live DVD of this show would show that he was actually running around at full speed and all of these complaints are moot because he was giving it this much, all the while doing sprints and jumping jacks or whatever. Transylvania is the best track here. It’s absolutely GREAT musicianship, and the dude’s not singing.
Remember Tomorrow wasn’t a highlight for me when I heard it on the record, and this version’s slow bits plod painfully. The up-tempo bits, of course, kill. The guitars, AGAIN! Hot damn. But those screams he gives out after the 5:00 mark are just bad. Better left alone, man. Where Eagles Dare’s middle section is more proof positive that this band could kill as a completely instrumental metal band. People would still come to rock the fuck out, I swear. Sanctuary messes with the crowd noises again, but at least the vocals seem to (finally) be warming up a bit. When they stop one minute in, to introduce the band… I dunno. Odd timing, seven songs into a 12 song set. Whatever. Listen to that insane guitar, again! Makes it all okay. Even when that last little bit about 1:30 from the end makes it all fall apart before the go off on a gallop again. I wonder if that was planned? Probably. Ill-advised, anyway. Just rock it, man. Stop mucking about. So then that track leaves us hanging abruptly and Running Free comes bouncing in. It’s alright, I guess. Lots of crowd participation. Not a main track in this set.
Run To The Hills’ intro was way too fast, which makes sense to me – means he doesn’t have to hold notes. The rest of the tracks blasts along well enough but man, that’s it, I’m done with this guy here. Every song I’m writing how he’s not able to do it. Sure, it’s a tough-as-hell job, and the recorded versions are tough to live up to, night after night. I know I sure as shootin’ couldn’t do it. But it’s the reason he’s there, and he’s missing the notes. Ugh. The rest of this is just going to hit my ears music-only. 2 Minutes To Midnight is pretty faithful to the record, though it seems like they dragged it out long. I could be wrong about that. Iron Maiden ends the main section of the show with one of those long, drawn-out crashing closings. The crowd chants along for a while until they comeback and do the obligatory encore. Hallowed Be Thy Name saves the whole thing. Not THAT’S what we needed! Sure, the bass sound is… clunky? Something off about it. And it’s shit that he saved the best vocals for the last track. Guess he knew it was time to go home soon, have a cup of tea and not have to yell so much. But this is the best song here (the only one I’d pull for a mix), the only one that clicks and says MAIDEN! To have to sit through the rest, waiting for it? Nonsense.
Overall? This one really is a real dead one, alright. All thanks to the abyssmal vocals from Mr. Dickinson. I have this mental image of him running backstage after the show and collapsing. Oh well. Kudos to the rest of the band, they nailed it, song after song. Not a fan of this one.
And here’s Mike’s true-fan perspective: