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"Rock in Rio" is a live album by British heavy metal band, Iron Maiden. It was released in 2002 on EMI Records and produced by Kevin Shirley. The concert took place in front of an estimated 250,000 people and the line-up for the band was Bruce Dickinson (vocals), Dave Murray (guitar), Adrian Smith (guitar), Janick Gers (guitar), Steve Harris (bass) and Nicko McBrain (drums).
A quarter of a million people witnessed Iron Maiden perform on 19th January, 2001, in Brazil, with support coming via way of Rob Halford, Sepultura and Queens of the Stone Age. That's a lot of people to entertain and win over, but it's a walk in the park as far as Iron Maiden goes because with Bruce Dickinson back at the helm on the vocals, you have a singer that can get an audience just where he wants them, no matter how many people are in attendance. This was Maiden's 5th live album in total. Is it any good? Let's find out!
The introduction is just under two minutes in length and features the work of Jerry Goldsmith, "Arthur's Farewell", which was written for the "First Knight" soundtrack. It is an arrangement of choirists and orchestra working in unison and it works really well as the first thing the audience hears before Iron Maiden takes to the stage.
Right from the start of "The Wicker Man" it's clear that Iron Maiden have a winning formula once more with Dickinson back in the band and the three guitar line-up. I really like the opening riff and Bruce's vocals sound as good as they've ever done, stamping out the doubts that he was done as a singer. For those that don't know, his vocal performance on the "Fear of the Dark" album was a little raspy on some songs and his successor, Blaze Bayley, just couldn't cut the mustard with Iron Maiden. I thought he was a great singer for Wolfsbane, but Maiden is a different animal altogether. The bellowing of "Your time will come" in the chorus proves the doubters wrong, but it's not all about Bruce. Steve Harris' bass clunks away as dominant as ever and Nicko on the drums is a wondrous sound. Bruce Dickinson said "This song is called "The Wicker Man" because there's one line in the song which mentions The Wicker Man as in the 1970s film of the same name. And the song is, I think, the best single Maiden have had out in ages. It's a really rocking song. I was just thinking about when I stand up in front of thousands of people singing, just thinking about the buzz I get out of it; I'm thinking about the buzz I used to get when I was a kid and I used to go to rock festivals you really felt you belonged to something bigger than yourself on that one day. You also felt in some ways that you could change something; you could change the world a little bit that day because you're all in that field. And that's what's the song's about, hence the chorus, "Your time will come". You suddenly feel you are a part of everything.
"Ghost of the Navigator" begins with a marvellous intro that's melodic and timely with a few parts to it that leads into the main part of the song. Firstly, that riff is incredible, but I've heard it before on a W.A.S.P. record, although it escapes me at the moment of which one it was, I know it's on their 1992 album, "The Crimson Idol". That doesn't stop it from being really good, though, because Iron Maiden could take something from Boyzone and still make it sound like perfection. The only problem I have with the song is Bruce's wails before the chorus - they just don't really fit - and I think it would have been more atmospheric without them there. Bruce Dickinson noted "I wrote the song with Janick and he came up with this riff, and I just got this thing in my head of Vikings smashing through the seas, big boats and pioneers. Then I thought about navigation. So being a vaguely arty bloke on occasions it struck me as a metaphor for life. So suddenly I had a plot for the song. It was a great big epic sea-faring journey and the journey was life and the navigator was us as we were writing it. Steve said, "That's a really cool middle bit, and we can have this bit in it too" and I really liked it. I don't know if he was on the same wavelength as me but it sounds to me like a big storm because I've already got the navigator lashed to the helm as not to be tempted by the sirens on the rocks trying to distract him. Trying not to be distracted by all the ghosts of his subconscious, the ghosts of his failed aspirations, and also his own fears, that it may all be pointless when he gets there and he does it because he must. That's the only answer he can give."
"Brave New World" begins with a slow acoustic riff that Bruce softly sings along to, accompanied by the bass which matches his melody. I can understand the need to bring in something complex to the song, but I'm torn between wanting it to be removed and wanting it to be a little heavier than it is. When the song finally gets going properly, it sounds really good leading up to the chorus which sounds wonderful. It's that build-up that gets you, though, and that's what's important about this song. Without those build-up verses it just couldn't work, and Dickinson's impressive singing of "A brave new world in a brave new world" would not hold the power that it does. This is a magnificent song that depicts the novel by Aldous Huxley as only Iron Maiden can. Bruce Dickinson noted: ""Dying swans twisted wings, beauty not needed here". I don't recall there being any dying swans in "Brave New World" the book, but I wanted an image that represented the tragedy and sadness of what "Brave New World" had done. Dying swans, twisted wings, you know, the agony, the death. "Brave New World" doesn't want to see that. It has no use for either the life or the death. All it has use for is the image because in the book, if you want excitement you go to the viddies; it's Aldous Huxley's premonition of virtual reality and I'm taking that and throwing it out there for discussion."
"Wrathchild" comes in with Steve Harris' notable chugging bass which leads to some great guitar playing with interesting notes. What I especially like about this song is the chorus. You get the feeling of a band that's having fun, and Adrian Smith has played a huge part in that. His guitar playing style is completely different to that of Dave Murray or Janick Gers, yet they complement each other really well. Di'Anno always sounded better on the more aggressive Maiden songs, and this is no different. Steve Harris says ""Wrathchild" was originally recorded on a compilation album called "Metal For Muthas" along with "Sanctuary". That was before we had a record contract. The version on this record is pretty different. A lot of people asked us why we didn't put it on the first album. By the time we did "Killers" we weren't happy with that version so we wanted to record it properly. The guitar frills around the vocals were from Adrian. Originally they weren't there but when Adrian joined the band he decided to put them in."
"2 Minutes to Midnight" dabbles into the realm of the Cold War, and the title is a reference to the Doomsday Clock, which once reached 11:58pm, the closest to global nuclear war it's ever reached. The main riff on this song is one of the best Maiden has come up with, and the lyrics are obviously quite dark and heavy. Dickinson's vocal range is tested to the limit in the chorus, but it's once again the sound of that bass which steals the show as Harris plays along effortlessly and appears to be really enjoying himself on-stage.
I really enjoy the intro on "Blood Brothers" with its winding, orchestral feel on the guitars and this is a song that has the crowd in the palm of Bruce Dickinson's hand, especially in the chorus. His passionate singing on this song completely blows me away and it really does sound incredible live. The soft riffs go well with the vocals, and Steve Harris' bass clanging away during the verses makes it even more of a good track. Of the song, Bruce Dickinson said "This is a little masterpiece that's Steve's song 100%. In singing it I can tell you what I think it's about. It's about Steve's relationship with his father who died; it's a very personal song so this song is about Steve and his father being blood brothers, like, forever the lines go. "Just for a second a glimpse of my father I see, and in a movement he beckons to me, and in a moment the memories are all that remain, and all the wounds are reopening again, we're blood brothers". So it's kind of bitter sweet and very loving and at the same time very melancholic. It's a lot of very, very mixed emotions and musically there are a few Celtic nods."
There aren't many tracks from the Blaze Bayley era that Bruce Dickinson will sing, but in "Sign of the Cross" we have a strong record that suits either vocalist. It is the longest song on the set list at just under 11 minutes in length, but a minute or so of that is taken up by an atmospheric introduction, during which the crowd are invited to clap in time. The song doesn't really get going until close to the three-minute mark, but when it does it's pretty impressive. The highlight of this track is most definitely the chorus, and Bruce delivers the goods in impressive style. It's a winner amongst tracks which have, for the most part, been part of Maiden's live set for some time.
"The Mercenary" brings us back to the fast heavy metal style of song that Iron Maiden was once known for, as opposed to the epic songs that they began doing. There's not much to it if I'm honest and I think it could be filler, although I'm sure some will disagree with me. It's weak in the lyrics and the guitar riffs sound like they've been conjured up on the day of the recording, but that's just my opinion. As legend would have it, this song was originally meant to be on the album's predecessor, "Virtual XI", and I can imagine that holding some truth. Bruce Dickinson noted "This is a good solid track not a huge amount to say except that they're mercenaries and they're generally a bad thing; they're generally cruel and heartless fiends who cynically kill people for money. A fairly conventional tuneful Maiden rocker comparable to a sort of "Die With Your Boots On" type thing."
"The Trooper" is probably one of my favourite Iron Maiden songs of their entire discography. I like everything about this song from the opening to the galloping guitars with a good dosage of brilliant vocals from Dickinson and wonderful solo playing by Smith & Murray. I especially like the way the two guitarists play the same main riff but with slightly different pitches. It's a song about the Crimean War between 1853-56 and Lord Tennyson's poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade", published in 1854. Steve Harris said "The opening is meant to try and recreate the galloping horses in the charge of the light brigade. It's an atmospheric song." When Maiden plays this song live, Dickinson will don a British officer's uniform from that time period and wave the British flag on stage. That is something I really look forward to when I see the band in other countries.
Something inside me says that "Dream of Mirrors" was written with former vocalist Blaze Bayley in mind because of the structure at the beginning of the song. It's powerful, but there are a lot of words that fit into the opening verse and I'm not sure that works. It's the longest song on the album at over nine minutes long and I find it a little repetitive and bland, to be honest. It only gets going just over halfway through with the marvellous chorus that rocks your socks off and gets faster towards the bridge with Nicko playing some timely double bass on the drums. Bruce Dickinson said "It's a pretty lengthy song and the chorus is blinding! One of the best choruses I think Steve has ever written, and one of the best lyrics he's ever written too. "I only dream in black and white". I mean straight away, absolutely great! Who dreams in black and white? Wow, do I? Is that weird? "I only dream in black and white, I only dream because I'm alive, I only dream in black and white, to save me from myself!" I was like, "Oh man he's a tortured bloke, Steve is sometimes", and he does have these dreams and deja-vu things and out of body things going on for him."
"The Clansman" is another epic song which is around the nine minute mark. This is a beautifully arranged song which is some of Maiden's best work. It begins with a soft guitar melody and a softer bass line playing in the background before Bruce whispers the first three verses. If I was critical, he's a little too quiet and barely audible over the guitars. This song is everything Iron Maiden has to offer with excellent guitar riffs and some complex drumming by Nicko. As much as I like this version, I do think Bruce sings it so much better live. Steve Harris talks about the song: "This started as two separate ideas, then I put them together and it worked! It's got a Celtic flavour to the music which is why I wrote the lyrics about the Scottish clans. They were inspired also by the "Braveheart" and "Rob Roy" films."
"The Evil That Men Do" is an excellent song and one of the best, and it's pretty difficult to choose favourite amongst these fine specimens. There's a soft guitar intro before Nicko chimes the rest of the band into the song and classic Iron Maiden, packed full of riffs, wonderful bass tones, great drumming and, of course, the excellent vocals of Bruce Dickinson, who, it has to be said, has never sounded better. The song is about how the seventh son has now been conceived and the devil's daughter is very prominent in his life with her wishes and commands. The devil wants nothing more than for her to seduce him so that he will give his life to Satan but maybe his daughter is having second thoughts. Maybe she is not beyond saviour.
"Fear of the Dark" is probably in the top ten of my all-time favourite Iron Maiden songs - it really is that good. There are not many better feelings at a concert than watching the band play this song when it's an open-air gig and the sky is black. I've witnessed this a few times and it really doesn't get much better than that. This is the song that Dickinson gives it his all in his vocal capacity and it's a real shame that he didn't let go with all guns blazing for most of the others. Bruce Dickinson: "Steve, who wrote it, is really afraid of the dark. It's the story of a man who walks in a park at night and, as it's getting darker, he sees all sorts of worrying things. He becomes totally paranoid because his imagination is working overtime. It's a great track."
You can absolutely guarantee that every Iron Maiden concert will feature the song that gave the band their name. In the studio the song sounds a little watered on the guitar riffs but once you hear it live, it completely comes into its own. Eddie the Head usually makes an appearance in one form or another, too, and although it's difficult to name my favourite 10 Iron Maiden songs, I'm pretty sure this will be in there. Steve Harris said "As long as I can remember, we've closed our set with this song. It's quite simple; the bass line is fairly straightforward as is the drumming, but the guitar is over the top with harmony, and the bass is descending behind it. I think this makes it pretty special."
"The Number of the Beast" begins with actor Barry Clayton reciting a verse from Revelations:
"Woe to you, oh earth and sea,
for the devil sends the beast with wrath
because he knows the time is short
Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the beast
for it is a human number. Its number is six hundred and sixty six."
Steve Harris said "In America, a right-wing political pressure group accused the band of being Devil worshippers and of trying to pervert their kids. It was mad. They completely got the wrong end of the stick and they obviously hadn't read the lyrics. They just wanted to believe all that rubbish about us being Satanists." Musically, it's one of Iron Maiden's most famous songs and no concert the band puts on is without the song in the set list somewhere. Here's the strange thing, though. Don't let the song title fool you for one second because it's almost a happy-go-lucky number but with metal roots. The chorus is very pop-like and you can't help but sing along to it. Even close to the end of the song where Bruce sings, "I'm coming back. I will return. And I'll possess your body and I'll make you burn", you still get the feeling that it's a joyous song with no evil intent. Ask many fans what their favourite Iron Maiden song is, and a lot will tell you it's this one.
"Hallowed be Thy Name" is a monster of a track. Bruce's vocals are delivered with venom and ferocity here, especially when he holds the note for a good few seconds when singing the line "the sands of time for me are running low." This truly is a magnificent song, and one that I really enjoy listening to a lot. Some complexly played riffs are present but the song holds itself together well, building up from a slow and broody start through to a fast-paced ending. Steve Harris said "That's one of my favourite songs and still one we play live. We're trying to create a mood with the build-up of the song. The classical guitar-like opening was Dave building the mood, with bells in the background. It's about someone with only a few hours left to live. In concert the end part of this one takes off."
"Sanctuary" is an old Iron Maiden song that appeared on the US version of Maiden's eponymous debut album. The artwork for the single caused plenty of controversy with Derek Riggs drawing a depiction of band mascot, Eddie, crouched over what appears to be the body of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with a knife in one hand. The song is excellent with a great riff that gives you goosebumps when it's played live and it's become a track that's often played in rotation over the years. Bruce usually has the audience screaming at the tops of their lungs during the breakdown of the song.
"Run to the Hills" has one of the most memorable Iron Maiden drum beats to it, and also one of the most recognised main riffs. Steve Harris commented on the song "This song is about the American Indians. It's written from both sides of the picture. The first part is from the side of the Indians and the second part is from the side of the soldiers. I wanted to try and get the feeling of galloping horses. When you play this one, be careful not to let it run away with you." As Steve Harris says, you really do get the feeling of horses at full pelt across the fields in battle with the galloping strums on the guitar strings. This is very easily my all-time favourite Iron Maiden song, partly for the nostalgia of being a kid and buying the single and partly because it's a very good number. In fact, just thinking about the song reminds me of the old red record player I had, loading up vinyl on the holding arm to play next.
In summary, after having watched the DVD a good few times and listened to the CD countless times, this isn't Maiden at their best. It might well be very daunting to play in front of a quarter of a million people and I'm sure that the nerves were present for all members of the band, no matter how experienced they are. I've listened and watched Iron Maiden for a long time now and can always spot an error here and there, and there are one or two from the guitarists. That doesn't stop it from being a bad show, because nobody's perfect. The biggest crowd I've been in to see Maiden was 102,000 and the sound fluctuated about half way back, but 250,000 must be a nightmare. You probably can't see anything from about a quarter of the way back, and I'm not sure how far the sound would have travelled before distorting. Still, they can always say they were there. It's another good live double CD from Iron Maiden, but it's one I'd only recommend buying for the experience of that many people rather than the songs performed, which you can mostly hear on the band's other live albums.
2. The Wicker Man
3. Ghost of the Navigator
4. Brave New World
6. 2 Minutes to Midnight
7. Blood Brothers
8. Sign of the Cross
9. The Mercenary
10. The Trooper
1. Dream of Mirrors
2. The Clansman
3. The Evil That Men Do
4. Fear of the Dark
5. Iron Maiden
6. The Number of the Beast
7. Hallowed be Thy Name
9. Run to the Hills
My rating: 7/10
Recorded in front of 250,000 people at the Rock In Rio festival in Rio de Janeiro, this was (by my count) Iron Maidens 6th live album, the first one since Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith returned.
The first thing that you should notice is just how good this album sounds. Even if you dont like the music on a high-end system, with the volume turned up to 11 this album sounds very good indeed. Bruce is clear, all 3 guitars have their own little space, Nicko thunders out, and the clank of Steves bass is there for within a 3-mile radius to here.
The show was recorded in Rio on the tour supporting the Brave New World album, and so its no surprise that six of the tracks are from that album. What is surprising is that two of the tracks are Blaze Bayley era songs - The Sign Of The Cross and The Clansman. There arent too many tracks from the 'classic' era of Maiden, but the biggest ones like The Number Of The Beast and Run To The Hills are here.
Iron Maiden have always been a live band forst and foremost, and so if this is your first foray into the world of Iron Maiden well done, you made a wise choice by heading straight to the live albums. For first-timers Live After Death may be a better choice, but this doesnt come far behind. For others the fact it has Bruce singing some Blaze songs is nice, and this version of Fear Of The Dark is my favourite from any Maiden album. All in all this only comes a close second, behind Maiden Japan, for my favourite live album, and its fully deserving of all 5 stars.
Best Tracks - The Clansman, Fear Of The Dark, Blood Brothers.
The nineties were a turbulent time for English heavy metal band Iron Maiden. Guitarist and sometime-songwriter Adrian Smith had left the band in 1989, and the two disappointing albums that followed led to the departure of legendary vocalist and also-sometime-songwriter Bruce Dickinson in 92. Try as he might, the gruff vocals of replacement Blaze Bayley kept the band out of the limelight and even saw them dropped from their record label, but a change of heart all round prior to the turn of the millennium resulted in Iron Maiden becoming once again a force to be reckoned with in heavy music.
Bruce and Arian were back, the Brave New World album was their finest in over ten years and they were slated to headline the Rock in Rio festival in Brazil as the last date of the Brave New World tour, playing to a quarter of a million fans.A classic performance and an inevitable album with shiny hologram cover.
ROCK IN RIO
2. The Wicker Man
3. Ghost of the Navigator
4. Brave New World
6. 2 Minutes to Midnight
7. Blood Brothers
8. Sign of the Cross
9. The Mercenary
10. The Trooper
As with any Iron Maiden performance since the early days, the show begins with whatever bombastic classical performance they have commandeered to introduce their new single. In this case, I have read that its the theme to First Knight I cant verify this, but its bloody epic. Owning the Rock in Rio DVD also, its hard to disassociate this introduction from the spectacular flashing and neons of the show, but the effect when Adrian, Dave and Janick burst into the guitar intro to THE WICKER MAN is much the same. This song is loud, fast and fun.
Proud of their latest release and not afraid to show it, the band proceed to play the first six tracks from the album in order, throughout the show. While some wait for as long as disc two, no time is wasted in playing GHOST OF THE NAVIGATOR and BRAVE NEW WORLD back-to-back before returning to earlier classics. It speaks volumes of the bands respect for themselves and their fans that they would save the safe, overplayed songs until the end, and louder volumes that the crowd love these first offerings with so much passion. These two are similar in style, a blend of the bands progressive-metal experimentation and traditional heavy epic style, and both feature excellent choruses, solos and softer sections, clocking in as fairly lengthy tracks.
Some minimal Bruce banter introduces the second leg of the first disc (probably inappropriate as I have divided the double album into five legs, which I believe is impossible unless a child has been torturing a fly), and this inevitably leads to older material. What may be surprising is that the next track, WRATHCHILD, is really old. 1981-old, when the band were something that only heavy metal snobs liked, with the original unreliable vocalist Paul DiAnno. Wrathchild is a great song, probably the only classic from the bands second album and one that makes it into every live setlist; it has a great groove, its short and punchy, and Bruce is excellent on the lower-pitched vocals.
Sixth is 2 MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT, a song from 1984 that would be in danger of becoming a forgotten masterpiece if Adrian and Bruce didnt insist the band play it all the time. Meaningful anti-war sentiments, one of the bands best choruses and some brilliant solo-work, its great that this classic from the bands golden age got on here. The Live After Death version is still superior though, perhaps because Im such a curmudgeon. BLOOD BROTHERS sees the band returning to their new material, the fourth offering from the Brave New World album, and although its got great folky touches and is a great example of the three guitarists, its still a bit of a rip-off of earlier song The Clansman (which appears on disc 2 anyway).
INTO THE VALLEY OF DEATH
Long songs are always difficult to pull off, but SIGN OF THE CROSS is an undisputed classic that proved Iron Maidens talent when Bruce left (the song opens their first album with Blaze), perhaps because its almost an instrumental. Excellent guitar harmonies and melodies are well worth waiting for, and even excuse the overlong chanting intro. THE MERCENARY is an average track from the new album, a little weak positioned second to last on the disc and easy to overlook, and Bruces rendition of Tennyson leads to the closing track of the first disc, the excellent classic THE TROOPER. Fast, galloping, waily, its everything thats good about pre-synthesiser Maiden and sounds great here.
1. Dream of Mirrors
2. The Clansman
3. The Evil That Men Do
4. Fear of the Dark
5. Iron Maiden
6. The Number of the Beast
7. Hallowed Be Thy Name
9. Run to the Hills
The second disc unconventionally opens with a ten-minute song, the last to come from the new album in the form of DREAM OF MIRRORS. Long and tedious, this song was thankfully one of the last examples to date of Steve Harris overlong song syndrome, something that permeated most of their nineties material. The closing harmonies are incredible, but not really worth the build-up when considering that two average length classics could have easily been inserted (Aces High and Infinite Dreams. Just consider it. Consider it I said! You dont even know what Im talking about, do you.) The length is especially annoying considering its followed up by THE CLANSMAN, another ten-minuter that has already appeared in a similar form on disc one. Some great acoustic bass work from Harris, but Bruces vocals arent really shown off in this Blaze-era epic.
The second disc gets a lot more interesting with one of my favourite Maiden tracks, THE EVIL THAT MEN DO. The perfect formula of verse to chorus, including the great reprise, this nevertheless suffers a little from the songs age and the lack of synthesisers. Cheesy though it is, this song really doesnt sound right without it, and the out-of-tune guitars are also a little distracting. FEAR OF THE DARK is many peoples favourite Iron Maiden hit, but Ive always found it a little dull. Nevertheless, fear is a dish that is best served live its just a shame that it was done so much more memorably in the 1992 Donington show, also available on CD.
SOMETHING FROM OUR JURASSIC PERIOD
The lone guitar intro of IRON MAIDEN signals the final stage of the show, otherwise known as really old stuff that youve been waiting for all along really. The bands title track is fun, catchy and a great example of their original sound, coming as it does from their first album, but its not as technically sophisticated as anything that came after and it stands out somewhat. THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST is THAT song, the one you always hear the annoying budding guitarist play through the walls, and although its fun, Ive simply heard it too much to ever need to hear it again. The same thankfully cannot be said about HALLOWED BE THY NAME overplayed, yes, but a classic metal ballad with powerful lyrics and memorable riffs and melodies. This is easily one of the bands finest moments.
SANCTUARY disappointingly isnt anywhere near as good, my least favourite track in this show, but fans of the very early albums may like it. The sound is a little too Judas Priesty for me, although not as good. RUN TO THE HILLS is the perfect ending, an overplayed track that still sounds good because of the galloping bass rhythm and fun, if completely irrelevant, lyrics. On the live DVD, Bruce picks up a mock skull that has been thrown on stage and hastily ad-libs Hamlets alas poor Yorick sentiment between lines of the chorus without faltering in the slightest, but this is omitted from the CD release for obvious reasons. It would have been nice though.
LIVE AFTER LIVE AFTER DEATH
I hate to do this to you, but 1985s Live After Death still remains the greatest example of Iron Maidens live prowess, and evermore shall be so. This caught the band at their creative and technical peak, with classic songs from their first five albums. Later official releases from 1991 and 1992 see the band in a state of decline; Bruces vocals suffer, Adrian Smiths replacement Janick Gers is just plain annoying, and the new songs that dominate arent all that good. But as I said, the Brave New World album was fantastic.
Rock in Rio almost offers Iron Maiden fans a worthy follow-up to Live After Death. Despite the repetition of some tracks, it is for the most part a representation of the years that have passed and the work the band have done. The tracks from Brave New World are a little overpowering in number, but are worthy enough to do so, while the brief snippets from Fear of the Dark, The X Factor and Virtual XI show the best sides of those otherwise average albums. I still have one gripe though: the bands incredible 1986 and 1988 albums Somewhere in Time and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son are not fairly enough represented to deem this a worthy successor in its own right.
SCREAM FOR ME BRAZIL
For a live album, Rock in Rio has excellent sound quality. The DVD version suffers occasional lapses in sound, thanks to the temporary nature of the stage set-up, but glitches in volume have been fixed completely for the surround sound CD. Both discs are mostly full of classics old and new, but there are points when even the most ardent fan may find their patience tested. Short songs tend to be grouped together, as do long songs, but the guitars, bass, drums and vocals are all on top form and sound very live thanks to the (limited) experimentation and errors.
The crowd can be heard fairly loud behind the music but never gets in the way, except perhaps in some of Bruces quieter vocals (get a studio album and stop complaining), and I would recommend this to any fans of heavy metal new or old. The booklet is full of photos of the band looking middle-aged, but thankfully the slipcase has a nice hologram design, as do the discs. 2003's follow-up album 'Dance of Death' is even more spectacular than Brave New World, and doubtless excerpts from that masterpiece will find their way into Iron Maiden's ever-expanding repertoire.
Up the Irons!
Forget Live After Death, Forget Live At Donnington, this is everything you could ever of imagined from Iron Maiden. From Nickos drumming to the precise guitaring from the lads and of course Bruces booming voice, together they perform the best live event ever! It starts off with a tense intro combining orchestra getting more and more dramatic and then the almighty Wicker Man kicks in with Adrian performing at his best. The track list covers new and old and it features the modern Brave New World, Ghost Of The Navigator among others and the Maiden classics such as The Trooper, 2 Minutes To Midnight and the fantastic Clansman. The atmosphere there was great and you actually feel your there with the crowd roaring and bruce stirring them up as he usually does. I think though that the best part of this album is the drumming. Nicko already amazes us with his fast tapping and coordination and on this album, he really does rock. Hallowed Be Thy Name on this album is the best song I have ever heard and thats saying something. The bass drum and hi-hat work is splendid along with the fast drum rolls and fills. If your a drummer, buy and listen to this album, you will truly have your breath taken away! Overall, this album is Iron Maidens best and you must, I repeat must buy this album. You will not be dissapointed I assure you!
Iron Maiden Highlighted their Mammoth World tour in 2000/2001 At Rio de Geniro in South America Headlining the Rock In Rio Festival Maiden have released three other live albums Live after death A real live dead one (originaly released as 2 albums) Live at donington Live after death has been their bes to date Untill now The intro kicks in and you here the croud roaring to the guitars as Wickerman fires up from then on it is a roller coaster ride of Maiden at its best With Maidens front man Bruce Dickinson Firing up the crowd in his unique style and the legendary chant of Scream for me Brazil.... The album has tracks from the new album Brave new world including Ghost of the Navigator Brave New World Wickerman and Blood Brothers as well as some maiden classics like Number of the Beast Wrathchild Two Minutes to Midnight and of Course the Iron Maiden on the cd you will find to enhanced videos (Brave new World and a day in the life of which is a short documentary about the band ) This gives you a sneak preview of the DVD thats is to follow Well this album rekindles the flame for those of you who saw Maiden on tour last year (and this year if you went to the charity Brixton gig) and if youve never seen Maiden then buy this album Love it and buy their other albums then see them live next year!! Up The Irons and Rock on!
Iron Maiden — Rock in Rio (live album) Year released — 2002 (Recorded live at Rock in Rio festival, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 19 January 2001). The line-up — BRUCE DICKINSON - vocals DAVE MURRAY - lead guitar ADRIAN SMITH - lead guitar JANICK GERS - lead guitar STEVE HARRIS - bass guitar NICKO MCBRAIN - drums (and Michael Kenny - live keyboards) Ever since Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith rejoined the fold in 1999, Iron Maiden fans seem to have been growing progressively happier that their favourite band is well and truly back and ready to re-conquer the world after the lean years of the mid to late 1990s. The band’s 2000 studio album ‘Brave New World’ was hailed by most as a big success, the kind of concept album the band had not attempted since 1988’s ‘Seventh Son of a Seventh Son’, an album containing a number of memorable, sustained melodies, new Maiden classics and the hit single ‘The Wicker Man’ — and, most importantly for some, the return of the voice of Bruce Dickinson, the most universally well-loved of all Iron Maiden’s vocalists and the man dubbed the “Air Raid Siren” by the fans. Maiden soon embarked on a world tour to support this new album. The reaction to the live gigs by the fans was overwhelmingly positive, but by far the most common criticism by those who were dissatisfied were the playlists. More than one internet review that I have read has slated the band for concentrating so heavily on new material and playing scant regard to the fan’s desire to hear their old favourites to which they know all the words. Indeed, one review of a gig in California stated that, so obvious was this reaction even to the band themselves on stage, Bruce Dickinson felt the need to explain live, on the microphone, the fact that Maiden were a band looking to the future and looking to compete with the best modern
metal bands on an equal basis, and not some kind of old men’s reunion like so many of the other recently reformed metal outfits of yesteryear. This desire to showcase new material is clearly evident on Rock in Rio — of the 18 Maiden tracks on offer, 6 (fully a third) are from the Brave New World album, and many of these songs are clustered in quick succession towards the first half of the set to give the onstage impression that Maiden really is hell bent on playing as little from their early back catalogue as possible. There are also a number of other 1990s pieces on offer, including a couple of numbers from the Blaze Bayley era including one in particular which I thought was a very surprising choice indeed for the playlist, but towards the end Maiden loosen up a bit and decide that perhaps their long-standing status is not something to be ashamed of after all, providing the audience with renditions of a good few early favourites and the buyers of this album with a good, strong cross-section of Iron Maiden material — which should please just about everyone, from the die-hard early fans who can still remember the sight of Paul Di’Anno strutting around the stage shouting his head off, to the new fans, like me, who really only started listening to the band with Brave New World and who have since had to plough through the back catalogue at a rate of knots, discovering one of the definitive acts in heavy metal for the first time. But the album begins first of all with a piece not taken from any Iron Maiden album of any period; the INTRO is, in fact, a piece called ‘Arthur’s Farewell’ by Jerry Goldsmith. I think the piece is fairly typical of Goldsmith’s work, a full orchestral arrangement with a bombastic tone. In fact, the first time I ever listened to this album I had only read the back cover, where the track is simply listed as Intro, and I immediately thought this music would be ideal for a f
ilm — the fact that the piece turned out to have been written by one of Hollywood’s foremost film composers did not really surprise me at all when I later read the information inside the CD booklet. The Iron Maiden set proper does not commence, however, until the second track on the album. As the last few strains of Goldsmith gradually fade away the audience roar noticeably increases, obviously as Iron Maiden themselves storm onto the stage, and the unmistakable opening chords of THE WICKER MAN (Smith / Harris / Dickinson) blare across the stage. This was the hit single and opening track from the Brave New World album, and the crowd love it, roaring with delight virtually all the way through the song and joining in with Bruce’s chorus of “you’re time will come!” and the songs pretty macho “whoa-oh-o-oh” denouement. Reactions to this opening song when listening to this CD may well be a bit mixed — the guitars are spot on, but the drums seem strangely overrepresented (this rendition of the song is very bassy and bottom-heavy), and Dickinson’s voice seams a bit hoarse at times, but overall this is a good opening and a good choice of song — something both instantly recognisable and popular and yet modern and new, showing the audience that this is a Maiden who mean business. The band follow this up with tracks 2 and 3 of the Brave New World album, GHOST OF THE NAVIGATOR (Gers / Dickinson / Harris) and the title track BRAVE NEW WORLD (Murray / Harris / Dickinson). These two songs are more lengthy than The Wicker Man — which was, after all, written as a single — and feature more prolonged purely guitar-instrumental introductions before the drums and vocals kick in, but both songs are popular nonetheless with both being greeted by huge roars of applause at their inception, and clapping and cheering throughout. Indeed, at the start of Ghost of the Navigator, Dickinson provokes som
e synchronised clapping and chanting from the audience with no effort at all, and as an extra bonus his voice has noticeably improved and the drums are at a better volume (actually, throughout the album, Dickinson’s voice is considerably better when he *sings* rather than trying to shout and scream). All three tracks played so far are from the latest album, and there has been absolutely none of the cold reaction occasionally reported on the Internet to these choices, but just before Rock in Rio starts to become an in-order play through of Brave New World, Maiden change tack completely and come forward with WRATHCHILD (Harris), a very old song from Maiden’s second album, ‘Killers’, originally released way back in 1981. This rendition features a couple of short guitar solos the original did not have (possibly the benefit of having three lead guitarists now compared with two when the original was recorded?), but in general Maiden seem intent on capturing some of that punk grit from what Dickinson describes as the “Jurassic period” and they succeed well, with the crowd absolutely screaming “Wrathchild!!!!” at the appropriate moments in the chorus. The band then choose to plump for an utterly safe option from 1984’s fan-favourite album ‘Powerslave’: 2 MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT (Smith / Dickinson) is one of numerous favourites from that album, and the audience reaction is predictably delirious, especially since Dickinson starts to issue his trademark “Scream for me” requests during this song. A chant of “Maiden! Maiden! Maiden!” goes up from the crowd and the frontman takes the opportunity to introduce the next song, BLOOD BROTHERS (Harris), yet another song from the Brave New World album which Dickinson explains is written about the brotherhood of heavy metal fans who have supported the band and kept them in the limelight for so long. Blood Brothers is a much slower song
than most of what Maiden have played so far but the crowd seem well up for it and roar the chorus, especially when Dickinson allows them to do so unaided. When I read the playlist for this album and saw that SIGN OF THE CROSS (Harris) had been included I have to admit that I was very surprised. Taken from 1995’s ‘The X Factor’ album which was, shall we say, less than universally popular, Sign of the Cross has always struck me as a song which has a good central section and chorus, but which is surrounded by too much other material of utter irrelevance to be good overall — in effect, 3 minutes’ good music stretched out to a ten minute running time. And here the band have chosen to play all ten plus minutes, recorded monk chants and all! This was something that I expected to go down like a cup full of sick — if I had to choose an X Factor song for Maiden to play live it would be the much shorter and more populist ‘Man on the Edge’, but then again who asked me? — but surprisingly the assembled fans do not seem to mind, and Dickinson handles the vocals reasonably well given that this song was written for Blaze Bayley, a singer whose vocal style is thoroughly different. The set speeds up again, however, with the next track THE MERCENARY (Gers / Harris), another solid number from the latest album, and then THE TROOPER (Harris), a classic Maiden single (and memorable video) from 1983’s ‘Piece of Mind’. It is at this point, with the crowd suitably riled up after two nicely belted out faster pieces, that it is time to change to disc 2. DREAM OF MIRRORS (Gers / Harris) is the last track in the set to be taken from the Brave New World album; an epic masterpiece of a song which many are already hailing as a genuine Maiden classic, Dream of Mirrors starts slow and gradually cranks up the pace, and it is a song which genuinely takes up ten minutes of time, rather than having to be s
tretched into it, which eventually builds into a shattering crescendo before calmly settling down again to a seemingly effortless ending which mirrors the opening (no coincidence?) excellently. As soon as the song gets underway the audience are clapping for all they are worth and humming along to the instrumentals, and they frequently sing along throughout the length of the piece. Dickinson here provides some of his best vocals of the entire album, and the track as a whole is quite simply an absolute success. THE CLANSMAN (Harris) is another Blaze-era song taken from 1998’s ‘Virtual XI’, but this is a much more obvious selection for the playlist since this song seems to have been written much more with Dickinson’s operatics in mind than with the low-toned powerblasts provided by Bayley on the studio recording. Dickinson himself obviously likes this song, giving it a verbal introduction which states its Scottish overtones to this largely Brazilian crowd and explains that, essentially, The Clansman is a song about freedom. This track is yet another tremendous success, showing that The Clansman — and perhaps by extension the entirety of Virtual XI — was in fact a classic, marred by an original singer whose voice was simply inappropriate to the music at hand. As the opening strains of THE EVIL THAT MEN DO (Smith / Dickinson / Harris) are played, the experienced Iron Maiden fan may well come to the sudden and surprising realisation that this is the first (and it will be the only) song to be played from the almost overwhelmingly popular 1988 concept album ‘Seventh Son of a Seventh Son’. This is a song which manages to combine a catchy central tune, a lively upbeat rhythm and some impressive guitar solos (here well executed) with some surprisingly sombre and tender lyrics to form what is basically a regret-tinged love song, an ode to a nameless woman from the Middle Ages whom the narrator is never to see aga
in — especially, it seems, if he values his life. Needless to say, the crowd go ballistic for this song and chant, clap and scream all the way through to FEAR OF THE DARK (Harris), one of Iron Maiden’s most popular songs from the early nineties and the title track of their 1992 album. The enthusiasm that the band has instilled in the crowd during the previous track simply continues through here unabated, as the crowd vocally accompany Dickinson along the deliberately sedate introductory stage of the song before simply roaring as the main section of the song, which is basically a thrash metal number, kicks in. Dickinson’s vocals here are basically spot on and the occasional croakiness of earlier on seems an age away, although one of the guitar solos three-quarters of the way through does not seem to go quite to plan (probably Janick Gers storming around the stage like a mad man and deciding to improvise again). At the time of writing it is 22 years since the release of this band’s self-titled first album, and of the band’s current six members only two were present in the line-up responsible for recording that debut: Steve Harris, bass player and the band’s founding father, and the long standing lead guitarist Dave Murray. Despite that, tracks from that first album remain popular and this one in particular, IRON MAIDEN (Harris), seems to turn up on just about every live performance the band give. This song was really written for the unconventional voice of Paul Di’Anno, a man whose voice personified streetwise punk aggression but which lacked the refined feel of Bruce Dickinson who here refuses to simply shout across the fast-paced, harsh beats of this classic as his predecessor did. Personally, I have always thought this song sounded strange and occasionally a bit daft coming from Dickinson, but the fans obviously love it and I would have to admit that the drumbeat on display here is absolutely *made* for headbanging
of the kind likely to cause painful neck injury. At the end of this track Bruce engages the clever little ploy of wishing the crowd goodnight … they of course are having none of it, and want more, much more. Given that there are 4 tracks left on the CD, the listener will hardly be surprised when Maiden comply with the demands from the mob, and here the band romp through two of their most popular tunes ever, one straight after the other. Whether the band like it or not, their early 1982 album ‘The Number of the Beast’ has remained probably their most popular album with the fans to this day. The title track THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST (Harris), which served as one of the singles from that album, has the fans going right from the famous opening monologue — even if the song does suffer from the same kind of overly bassy sound which slightly marred The Wicker Man much earlier — and fan favourite HALLOWED BE THY NAME (Harris) not only maintains the pace throughout its not inconsiderable length but in this case provides one of the most outstanding recordings on the album all round. Following this, the band venture back to their debut album a second time for SANCTUARY (Harris / Murray / Di’Anno), with Dickinson pausing halfway through to get the crowd chanting alternately as two separate halves. This song features an extra little bridge section I do not remember from the original, which is quite effective. As the band try to leave again, the crowd demands yet more, and so the six-piece begins its last track of the night, the Number of the Beast classic RUN TO THE HILLS (Harris), a tale about the treatment of the American Indians when white settlers started to arrive in the New World, told from perspectives of both natives and settlers. Going slightly off-topic, the live performance of this track — which, by the way, is eclectic and an excellent finish to the set — is likely to be familiar to some alread
y, as it has been released quite recently (March 11 2002; it entered the charts at #9!) as a single in aid of the Clive Burr Multiple Sclerosis Fund. Clive Burr, who was the drummer with Maiden at the time of this song’s original release, has recently announced that he is suffering from the debilitating disease MS, and obviously his medical future is unsure. Hence the charity single (and three charity gigs in Brixton), and hence the recent appearance on Top of the Pops (which I missed). Even if you intend to purchase this album, I wholeheartedly recommend purchasing the single as well, not only since it contains in its two discs some rare and quite good 1982 live performances (of ‘Children of the Damned’ and ‘Total Eclipse’ on disc 1 and ‘22 Acacia Avenue’ and ‘The Prisoner’ on disc 2), and not only because there are enhanced multimedia videos on there as well, but also because it is for a damn good cause. Direct donations to this end can also be made via www.ironmaiden.com. As well as the 19 standard music tracks, these two discs also contain enhanced footage. Disc 1 contains video of the live performance of Brave New World, whilst disc 2 has a little mini-featurette entitled ‘A Day In The Life’. Both of these are taken from the forthcoming ‘Rock In Rio’ double DVD and, if these two items are anything to go by, that DVD will be a truly compulsory purchase for any fan of Iron Maiden or heavy metal in general. All in all, Rock in Rio is an excellent live album, featuring a thought-provoking playlist, some extremely good performances from the band, including some flawless guitar riffs, and an electric atmosphere which is really generated by the sound of such a huge crowd obviously having a damn good time. Of course, nearly every Iron Maiden fan will be able to name a classic which they thought ought to have been included (although I, for one, have never been fond of ‘
Bring Your Daughter … to the Slaughter’ and was glad of its absence), but the set already comes in at two hours long and should contain more than enough from each era of the band to please most people if not everybody. At the end of the album Dickinson tells the assembled fans, “You’ve had yourselves a great night”, and they had. Not counting the ‘Best of the Beast’ compilation, Rock in Rio is Iron Maiden’s 16th official album — and it’s a big success. Probably their best live album since ‘Live After Death’ way back in 1985!
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Intro - Arthur's Farewell
2 The Wicker Man
3 Ghost Of The Navigator
4 Brave New World
6 2 Minutes To Midnight
7 Blood Brothers
8 Sign Of The Cross
9 The Mercenary
10 The Trooper (Live)
Disc #2 Tracklisting
1 Dream Of Mirrors
2 Clansman, The
3 The Evil That Men Do (Live)
4 Fear Of The Dark (Live)
5 Iron Maiden (Live)
6 The Number Of The Beast (Live Version)
7 Hallowed Be Thy Name (Live)
8 Sanctuary (Live)
9 Run To The Hills (Live)