The Top 5 Music DVDs of 2009

2009 wasn’t the greatest year for Hard Rock and Heavy Metal DVDs. Maybe there weren’t that many released this year? Maybe I just flat out missed them? One factor could be that a lot of bands are packaging bonus DVDs into their proper album releases as bonuses for fans. Slayer, Alestorm, Saxon and KISS were just a few of the bands that did this in 2009, maybe next year I should include these as part of this list criteria? I’m not really sure what the deal is because I didn’t buy nearly as many DVDs in 2009 as I have in the past couple of years. The good news is that bands are still taking great care when producing these DVDs by adding extra content, bonus footage and CDs of live performances to the overall packages and the overall prices have been extremely reasonable. Money has to be spent wisely and the following list of DVDs gave a lot of bang for my hard earned buck! Here’s my list of The Top 5 Music DVDs of 2009:

#1

Iron Maiden – Flight 666 (The Film) DVD (2009): No surprise here! Iron Maiden consistently puts out the best DVDs every single time and FLIGHT 666 was no exception. 2 DVDs packed with a 2 hour documentary a 100+ minute concert performance and a ton of extras…..other bands need to take notice, this is how you release a DVD! FLIGHT 666 gives Iron Maiden the top spot again in the Top 5 DVDs of the year, they were the winner in 2008 with their official release of LIVE AFTER DEATH. I wonder what 2010 will bring?

#2

Anvil – The Story Of Anvil DVD (2009): Just a quick note: the link is for the movie review I did in late May when I went to see it at a local theater. Production started in November 2005 and the film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2008. The band played select tour dates in 2008 with the movie as support and I missed the show in Worcester, MA…..the good news was the actual theatrical debut in the U.S. was February. I waited on the DVD until it finally arrived in early October and it is basically the same movie as the one I saw in the theaters with the added bonus section with unedited and bonus footage. This was almost a tie for the top spot because I had more of an emotional attachment to the Anvil film seeing that I had cassettes of FORGED IN FIRE and METAL ON METAL back in the day.

#3

Global Metal DVD (2009): I was witing on this documentary to be released for all of 2008 and it NEVER came out. If you have heard of Sam Dunn & Scot McFadyen then it’s from their first film METAL: A HEADBANGER’S JOURNEY, the beginning chapter of the duos’ quest to find out how Metal is perceived, loved, enjoyed and revered by fans all over the world. GLOBAL METAL expands on A HEADBANGER’S JOURNEY and goes to different countries like India, Colombia, Japan and Brazil. It was great seeing the absolute dedication fans in different countries had, it reminded me of my days growing up as a kid and discovering Hard Rock & Heavy Metal…..I still have that same dedication. this set has 2 DVDs with the proper film on the first and all the outtakes and bonus content on the second. Any other year and GLOBAL METAL would easily take the top spot but it had to contend with FLIGHT 666…..coincidentally, Dunn & McFayden also filmed FLIGHT 666 and worked on GLOBAL METAL at the same time!

#4

Jeff Scott Soto – One Night In Madrid DVD (2009): This is a late addition that just made the cut, I just picked this DVD (and the 2 CD set) last week! I’ve been a Jeff Scott Soto fan since the Yngwie days in the early ’80s so I usually buy anything I can with his name attached to it. ONE NIGHT IN MADRID is a solid performance from Jeff’s just completed world tour and it includes a 21 song live show and a ton of bonuses including 8 music videos and bunch of outtakes. A ton of value for the price and a solid performance made this an instant favorite.

#5

Motley Crue – Cruefest 1 DVD (2009): I went with a sentimental choice for my #5 DVD, beating out the other 3 DVDs I had competing for the slot. I’ve been a Crue fan since TOO FAST FOR LOVE (1982) and I’ve seen a ton of Crue tours over the years but I skipped Cruefest 1 when it came to town because I didn’t like the lineup. I even passed on Cruefest 2 this past summer! So why does this get the #5 slot here? Because I like Motley Crue. I liked their last studio album SAINTS OF LOS ANGELES (2008) and I caught their show at Mohegan Sun Arena this past March so I was riding high on Motley Crue when I bought this DVD a couple weeks after the show. The Crue performances make the DVD, and the Buckcherry songs were good, but I could do without the live footage of Trapt, Sixx AM, and Papa Roach. A few bonuses were added in: a behind the scenes road documentary and 6 Crue videos.

Iron Maiden – Flight 666 (2009) live soundtrack

Iron-Maiden-Flight-666-cd

Iron Maiden – Flight 666 (2009, Universal Music)

Tour Setlist (with a song filmed in each of 16 different cities)

  1. Churchill’s Speech (Mumbai, India)
  2. Aces High (Mumbai, India)
  3. 2 Minutes To Midnight (Melbourne, Australia)
  4. Revelations (Sydney, Australia)
  5. The Trooper (Tokyo, Japan)
  6. Wasted Years (Monterrey, Mexico)
  7. The Number Of The Beast (Los Angeles, USA)
  8. Can I Play With Madness (Mexico City, Mexico)
  9. Rime Of The Ancient Mariner (New Jersey, USA)
  10. Powerslave (San Jose, Costa Rica)
  11. Heaven Can Wait (Sao Paulo, Brazil)
  12. Run To The Hills (Bogota, Colombia)
  13. Fear Of The Dark (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
  14. Iron Maiden (Santiago, Chile)
  15. Moonchild (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
  16. The Clarivoyant (Curitiba, Brazil)
  17. Hallowed Be Thy Name (Toronto, Canada)

Band Lineup:
Bruce Dickinson – Lead Vocals
Steve Harris – Bass
Dave Murray – Guitars
Adrian Smith – Guitars
Janick Gers – Guitars
Nicko McBrain – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Michael Kenney – offstage Keyboards

Produced by: Kevin Shirley & Steve Harris

Total Time = 102 mins

Iron Maiden

The FLIGHT 666 Soundtrack is the CD version of the live concert DVD from the FLIGHT 666 DVD set. It’s the same tracklisting as Disc 2 from the DVD and it’s the same performances, the band giving us one live song from 16 different cities on the first leg of the 2008 Somewhere Back In Time tour.

While it’s nice to have a double live album from Iron Maiden, the problem is that they have so many now…..7 by my count and that’s not including the MAIDEN JAPAN E.P.! I like Maiden live so I like the live records but at least there is a continuity to them, that’s the overall problem of the FLIGHT 666 live record. If it was a single show, or a bunch of shows strung together with audience noise in between, then it might be a little better but having the fade in and out between songs/countries is a little annoying for me and not what a true live album is about. Then again, this is technically a live soundtrack.

I think the overall problem for me is that I’ve watched the actual FLIGHT 666 film (Disc 1 of the DVD) so many times in the last month that I’ve just come to associate the song performances with the visuals of the band’s stops in the different countries. By the same token, I don’t enjoy the live DVD (DVD Disc 2) as much as I do the actual documentary DVD! For me, this isn’t the definitive live album from Iron Maiden and I probably won’t give it much playing time when I can reach for classics like LIVE AFTER DEATH (1985), LIVE AT DONNINGTON (1993) or ROCK IN RIO (2002). Then again, FLIGHT 666 is a bad live record in terms of performances and sound.

Bottom Line:
Would be better without the gaps between songs but that’s the point of the whole project: to give everyone a glimpse into the different cities and countries on the first leg of the tour. There’s no comparing it to LIVE AFTER DEATH but young/new Maiden fans will enjoy hearing the songs from the last tour. I bought it as the companion to the DVD set, which is exactly what it’s meant to be, but I’ll be watching the DVD more than I will listen to the CDs. Good for completing the Maiden collection but not necessary if you have the DVD.

Favorite Songs:
Like I said in the DVD review, if I have to pick a couple of favorites they would be ‘Powerslave’ (from Costa Rica) and ‘Fear Of The Dark’ (from Colombia).

Iron Maiden – Flight 666 DVD (2009)

Iron Maiden - Flight 666 DVD

Iron Maiden – Flight 666 DVD (2009, Universal Music)

DVD 1

Iron Maiden – Flight 666 (Film Documentary) – (113 mins)

DVD 2

Tour Setlist (with a song filmed in each of 16 different cities) – (102 mins)

  1. Churchill’s Speech (Mumbai, India)
  2. Aces High (Mumbai, India)
  3. 2 Minutes To Midnight (Melbourne, Australia)
  4. Revelations (Sydney, Australia)
  5. The Trooper (Tokyo, Japan)
  6. Wasted Years (Monterrey, Mexico)
  7. The Number Of The Beast (Los Angeles, USA)
  8. Can I Play With Madness (Mexico City, Mexico)
  9. Rime Of The Ancient Mariner (New Jersey, USA)
  10. Powerslave (San Jose, Costa Rica)
  11. Heaven Can Wait (Sao Paulo, Brazil)
  12. Run To The Hills (Bogota, Colombia)
  13. Fear Of The Dark (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
  14. Iron Maiden (Santiago, Chile)
  15. Moonchild (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
  16. The Clarivoyant (Curitiba, Brazil)
  17. Hallowed Be Thy Name (Toronto, Canada)

Band Lineup:
Bruce Dickinson – Lead Vocals
Steve Harris – Bass
Dave Murray – Guitars
Adrian Smith – Guitars
Janick Gers – Guitars
Nicko McBrain – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Michael Kenney – offstage Keyboards

Produced & Directed by: Sam Dunn & Scot McFayden

Executive Producer: Rod Smallwood

(Region 1, NTSC, Total Running Time = 3 hrs + 35 mins)

Iron Maiden

I was lucky enough to catch Iron Maiden’s Somewhere Back In Time world tour in Mansfield, MA last summer so I was really looking forward to this DVD documentary on the band’s first leg of the tour. FLIGHT 666 is named for the airline call numbers of Iron Maiden’s custom made Boeing 757 airplane (nicknamed Ed Force One) that the band, crew, families and gear flew in to travel over 50,000 miles across the globe to play 23 concerts in 45 days. Making the flights even more special was the fact that lead singer Bruce Dickinson, a pilot for Astraeus Airlines, was behind the controls…..talk about double duty!

Disc 1 is the documentary that takes you behind the scenes from planning the tour to how the band travels and how they spend their time off. There are plenty of interview pieces with band members and crew but the most important part of the film is the focus on the fans and the hysteria that forms when Ed Force One touches down in different countries. Travelling with the band from England to Mumbai, India for the first gig you get hit with the reality that Maiden are a worldwide phenomenon and that Maiden fans are some of the most passionate in the world. Just watching the crowd from Mumbai swirl and sway to ‘Aces High’, and watching the pre-show fan hysterics, I am a bit jealous because I wish the crowds I am usually in here in the U.S. were just as passionate. You can definitely tell the difference between the faithful in India compared to the fans in the U.S. but the real story doesn’t come until the band travel to Mexico and South America.

Iron Maiden has played all over the world and, as Bruce Dickinson put it, ‘The further south they go, the hotter it gets.” How true! Starting with the Mexican dates and moving into Costa Rica, Colombia, a string of dates in Brazil, Argentina and ending in Chile, you really see the height of Maiden fanaticism in the Latin American countries. From the crowds waiting at the airport and hotels to the crowds outside the arenas, you get a sense of just how important Heavy Metal is to these people and I could identify with them. Different fans that were interviewed made it clear that Maiden’s arrival for a show was an important event. You had fans talking about how the gig was “the thing” to see and that friends had quit jobs to be there, others in Colombia spoke about police oppression and how important the Maiden concert was to them. You could see the impact the concerts had with the crying fan in Costa Rica who caught a Nicko drumstick to the fans in Colombia who camped out a week in advance of the show with no food just so they could be close to the stage. It’s this fan interaction that makes the film and it’s exactly what filmmakers Sam Dunn & Scot McFayden have done with their previous films METAL: A HEADBANGER’S JOURNEY and GLOBAL METAL. Seeing the band offstage, mixed with the fan reaction, mixed with parts of the stage performance in each country is a cool way to tell the story.

I like seeing other things bands do on tour besides give the same old interviews with the same old tour stories. Seeing Bruce Dickinson behind the controls of Ed Force One was cool and seeing the band travel with their families was something you don’t immeadiately think of when you think of a Metal tour. There were some Metal dignitaries backstage at the U.S. performances in L.A. and New Jersey, some of them gave interviews or spoke to the cameras (Tom Morello, Kerry King, Lars Ulrich and Vinny Appice) while others were just quick sightings (Ronnie James Dio, Scott Ian, and Doro)…..I always like seeing who’s backstage because I never get there! There are also scenes with band members doing different things on their days off like Adrian Smith playing tennis with the pros in Australia while Nicko McBrain & Dave Murray played golf. There’s the quick soccer match footage in Brazil where I think I might have seen the guys from Sepultura with Steve Harris in a quick shot and there’s also the band exploring the temples in Mexico. I would have liked a little more in depth interviews with some of the band members, specifically the quiet Dave Murray and elusive Janick Gers, but the star of the offstage footage was Mr. Nicko McBrain…..he made the DVD! Just something about the madman behind the drumkit in golfing attire with his hair slicked back just seems so funny!

Disc 2 is the complete setlist live in concert with a song filmed in each of 16 different cities around the world. The setlist is exact to the one I saw in Mansfield on the second leg of the tour so there are some really good Maiden memories attached to the performance but, like Disc 1, the quality of the performances are linked to the crowd reaction of the different countries. You can definitely see the differences between the crowds and how some are more rabid and Metal hungry than others. Watch ‘Aces High’ from Mumbai, India or ‘Powerslave’ from San Jose, Costa Rica and compare it to ‘The Number Of The Beast’ in Los Angeles…..it’s like two completely different worlds. The L.A. crowd seems tame compared to the chaos of any South American, Indian, or Japanese audience!

The running order of the live set doesn’t correspond to the travelling but to the setlist itself. Just like the band criss-crossing the globe, the DVD is a criss-cross of different performances in different countries in order to keep the original running order intact. The L.A. show is sandwiched between Mexican dates and the New Jersey performance seven songs ahead of where it was in the tour itinerary. For me, I would have rather had the original itinerary but the band went with the best performances of their songs and mixed the country order. Not a big deal I guess. The live set is just as solid as all the other live Maiden DVDs but it doesn’t have the same impact as the actual film.

Bottom Line:
Iron Maiden is a legendary Heavy Metal band with an impact that truly is global. Everytime the band releases an album, a DVD or goes on tour, they give 110% and they never disappoint…..this is why they have been one of my favorite bands since I started listening to Metal when I was a kid. When you see an Iron Maiden show, you know you are getting a top notch performance…..and when they translate that live show into a DVD package, you know you are getting possibly the DVD of the year! Last year Maiden released the LIVE AFTER DEATH DVD and it took top honors as the best DVD of 2008, now they give us FLIGHT 666 and it will be hard to beat in 2009! For me, the band could have just released the film and it would still be the best DVD so far this year but they also made sure to give everyone the full Iron Maiden live experience with a 2nd DVD of the concert setlist. Overall, another successful world tour and another visual triumph.

Favorite Songs:
All the songs Iron Maiden played live on this tour were classics but the songs they filmed in India, Mexico and South America are the best because of the crowd reaction. If I had to pick one song that would be my favorite it would be a tie between ‘Powerslave’ (in Costa Rica) and ‘Fear Of The Dark’ (in Colombia).

Father’s Day Playlist

It’s been a long week with work getting busier while school and baseball is winding down for my daughters. There hasn’t been much time to listen to much of anything except the new Iron Maiden – Flight 666 live album soundtrack…..along with watching the double DVD! I decided that I would pass up the Sunday overtime and take a much needed day off from work and spend Father’s Day with the family and hopefully listen to some music…..

Iron Maiden – Flight 666 DVD (2009): 2 DVDs that take up 3 hours and 35 mins from start to finish…..I’ve watched the whole thing everyday in the past week. I was up early this morning so I put it on and stared at the television watching Maiden conquer the globe again. I saw this tour a year ago and it was cool to re-live the setlist while seeing Maiden mania in different countries around the world. The DVD of the year so far!

Iron Maiden – Flight 666 (2009): I can’t get enough of Maiden right now so I listened to the double CD today while walking the dog. I got thru the first hour walking the dog and I kept my iPod on around the house to finish it off. Now I have to compare it to the rest of the Maiden live albums…..can you believe this is their 7th live album?!

Michael Schenker – Thank You (1993): Everyone went out after I listened to FLIGHT 666 so I took the opportunity to seize the quiet time and play something low-key. Michael Schenker is one of my favorite guitarists and I have enjoyed his THANK YOU series of acoustic albums for their excellent musicianship and relaxation. My youngest daughter would only take her afternoon nap if I played THANK YOU or THANK YOU 4 (2003) on a continuous loop! This time my dog took a nap to Schenker’s acoustic guitar while I thumbed through old issues of Metal Forces.

Manowar – Gods Of War (2007): I like to take a look at my top posts here at HMA, especially the album reviews, to see what people are clicking on. No surprise that Manowar would be in the top 5 of all the album reviews that get read. Seeing that it’s popular among the readers, I decided to listen to it again. Big mistake! I listened and after I was done I remembered why I chose GODS OF WAR as the Worst Album of 2007…..it’s terrible!

Accept – Balls To The Wall (1984): So I’m listening to the end of the Manowar album and I pulled up the new version of ‘Balls To The Wall’ by the reunited Accept with Mark Tornillo (TT Quick) on vocals…..sorry there’s no one like Udo Dirkschneider. Didn’t the guys try this once with David Reece? I decided to go with the classic album first and then listen to…..

Accept – Eat The Heat (1989): …..EAT THE HEAT so I could compare Udo to David Reece and hear the difference fresh. It may say Accept on the album cover but it’s not Accept. I can’t fault Reece though because it’s a tough enough job to replace an original singer but, when that singer has a voice so unique, it’s even tougher. EAT THE HEAT isn’t something I listen to often, I think I’ve listened to it twice in the last 5 years.

By this time I’m looking for something great, something classic. The Manowar album and EAT THE HEAT had negated the greatness of Maiden, Schenker and Accept so I had to find something special, something I haven’t listened to for a long time…..

Savatage – Sirens (1983): What a way to end the day! I haven’t listened to SIRENS in a very long time…..I remember when this first came out! It’s still one of my favorite albums from 1983, and from Savatage…..they have an awesome catalogue of albums. I remember this record so well, I heard this in a local record store a couple months after it had come out and picked it up on cassette. ‘Holocaust’ is my favorite track.

New Release Tuesday: Iron Maiden – Flight 666 DVD & soundtrack

Iron Maiden - Flight 666 DVD

Iron-Maiden-Flight-666-cd

Iron Maiden – Flight 666 DVD (2009) – $14
Iron Maiden – Flight 666 soundtrack (2009) – $15

So I was out in front of the record store again this morning waiting impatiently for the doors to be unlocked so I could get my hands on the new Iron Maiden DVD — FLIGHT 666. Everytime Maiden puts out a DVD, it’s a superb product and I expect FLIGHT 666 to go beyond my expectations especially when Sam Dunn and Scot McFayden (the guys that did METAL: A HEADBANGER’S JOURNEY and GLOBAL METAL) filmed it!

I saw the tour stop in Mansfield last summer so I know all about the live show, I want to see the behind the scenes footage and the worldwide footage of fans in other countries going wild. The video is 2 DVDs at over 3 1/2 hours between the film and the concert footage. The CD is a double disc set that is a mirror of the DVD performance. Why did I need both? Because it’s Iron Maiden! The only complaint I have is that the CD cost a dollar more than the DVD and the DVD gives you more quality Maiden product. Not sure what the powers that be are thinking, the DVD should easily be priced higher than the CD if we went by content. I saw the vinyl at the store too but I wasn’t dropping the $20 for it.

I didn’t get a chance to see this in a theater and I’ve avoided VH-1 Classic (they have been showing it multiple times a day since last Friday!) so I’m going into my viewing/listening with fresh eyes and ears. Up the Irons!