Archive for September 29, 2008

Iron Maiden – Live After Death (1985, EMI)

  1. Intro: Churchill’s Speech
  2. Aces High
  3. 2 Minutes To Midnight
  4. The Trooper
  5. Revelations
  6. Flight Of Icarus
  7. Rime Of The Ancient Mariner
  8. Powerslave
  9. The Number Of The Beast
  10. Hallowed Be Thy Name
  11. Iron Maiden
  12. Run To The Hills
  13. Running Free
  14. Wrathchild
  15. 22 Acacia Avenue
  16. Children Of The Damned
  17. Die With Your Boots On
  18. Phantom Of The Opera

Total Time = 1:42:03

Iron Maiden official website

Iron Maiden has been one of my favorite bands since the early ’80s. I got seriously into Iron Maiden around the release of NUMBER OF THE BEAST in 1982 but I had known about the band from all the magazines and fanzines I used to buy. I used to hear a little Maiden over some of the local record stores’ stereo systems when I would scour the racks for hours. I came of age with the Bruce Dickinson era of the band but I went back and bought both Paul Di’anno records (IRON MAIDEN & KILLERS) before Maiden released POWERSLAVE in ’84. Going into that blockbuster album, I had everything on cassette that the band had released including the MAIDEN JAPAN E.P. (1981) and my personal favorite PIECE OF MIND (1983). After KISS and Judas Priest, there was Iron Maiden!

I followed the band’s exploits on the World Slavery Tour through magazines like Circus, Hit Parader, and Metal Forces and definitely watching MTV. Iron Maiden was everywhere, you couldn’t escape seeing the band’s logo or their mascot Eddie on denim jackets or on the walls of your friend’s bedrooms. When I read in Circus that the band was putting together a double live album to chronicle the World Slavery Tour, I knew I had to have it. Of course money became an issue because the album, LIVE AFTER DEATH, was released with a price tag that went between $12 and $15 depending on the shop and the sale prices. With Metal exploding all over the radio and MTV, there were so many bands to buy albums from in ’85 so I had to spend my allowance and lunch money wisely. I remember being in my local Good Vibrations record store the weekend after LIVE AFTER DEATH came out trying to justify buying a single cassette for close to $15 when I could buy two other albums on tape by different bands. I could have even bought two more KISS albums to complete my collection! I ended up passing on it…..

I was in 7th grade at the time and one of best friends brought his older brother’s cassette into school so we could all have a listen at the end of the day. I remember a whole bunch of us in the schoolyard after school huddled around my friend’s boombox listening to Side 1 in the middle of October. It was cold but well worth it because I knew what my purchase was going to be at the record store on the coming weekend. I ended up walking over to my friend’s house so we could listen to Side 2 and get homework done, that’s where my friend’s older brother was waiting and kicked my friend’s ass for “borrowing” his new tape without asking. After my friend took a beating, we ended up listening to the whole album because his brother also bought the vinyl and we listened to it on the big stereo he had. I still remember marvelling over the artwork and how cool it looked as a record. That weekend I bought my LIVE AFTER DEATH tape and put the LP on my Xmas wish list (I never got the vinyl for Xmas!).

This is Iron Maiden at what many consider their peak with five solid albums and a record breaking worldwide tour to their credit, making LIVE AFTER DEATH one of the best, if not THE best, live album ever. To this day, 23 years later, I still can’t find a weak song on the album. Every single track is powerful and grandly performed. I was huge into PIECE OF MIND and POWERSLAVE when this live album was released so my favorite tracks were ‘Aces High’, ’2 Minutes To Midnight’, ‘Powerslave’, ‘Flight Of Icarus’, ‘Revelations’ and ‘The Trooper’. These were the popular singles so I liked them all immeadiately. Playing the album over and over, I really started to enjoy the live version of ‘Rime Of The Ancient Mariner’ better than the studio version and the Di’anno era songs like ‘Iron Maiden’, ‘Wrathchild’ and ‘Running Free’ just came off more energetic and powerful with Bruce at the mic. After a couple of decades, I find myself enjoying the last 5 songs of the album (Side 4 of the vinyl) the most, especially ’22 Acacia Avenue’ and ‘Die With Your Boots On’.

I have had a few versions of this album over the years: the original cassette, the first CD issue that didn’t include the Side 4 songs, the Castle Records reissue from 1995 with the bonus disc, and finally the Raw Power reissue from 1998 that ended up including the missing Side 4 songs. The Castle reissue from ’95 was the most disappointing because I figured the bonus disc would contain the missing Side 4 songs but it ended up being only three tracks that were all B-sides from the singles: ‘Losfer Words (Big ‘Orra)’ live at Hammersmith Odeon, ‘Sanctuary’ live at Long Beach Arena and ‘Murders in the Rue Morgue’ live at Hammersmith Odeon. Today I own the three CD versions and the DVD that came out earlier this year, I sold my cassette a long time ago.