The crowd's anticipation is at a breaking point, only Nicko McBrain stands behind his drumset. Enter Adrian Smith, pumping out the opening riff of The Wicker Man
and its off to the races with one of the greatest DVDs I've had the pleasure of watching.
The year was 2001, metal legends Iron Maiden headlined the Rock in Rio festival, playing before an audience of 250,000. The show was superbly filmed and recorded, allowing the band to make their DVD debut forever capturing an incredible show.
From the get-go, its obvious that Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith are glad to be back with their band after their departure in the early 90s. The reunited classic lineup, now with the added skills of Janick Gers put on one helluva show. From the powerful opener they cover every inch of the stage, never slowing down or letting up for a moment.
Bruce Dickinson's frontsman antics are in top form, as he screams out his trademark vocals, and getting the crowd to sing, clap, and chant along with him at every turn. Guitarists Adrian Smith, Dave Murray, and Janick Gers add solos into many of the songs, showing off talent never before dreamt of in their studio work. Bassist Steve Harris plays his signature gallop perfectly and Drummer Nicko McBrain's insane single bass speeds have never been this great.
Rocker's like Wrathchild
or The Mercanary
which, while infused with energy, never quite did it for me in the studio come alive here. The band truly feeds off the crowd like few bands can.
Almost every song is performed immaculately. From the fast as lighting performance of The Trooper
to the melodic and introspective Blood Brothers
they give every song their complete effort.
They also resurrect two songs from the band's Blaze Bailey era: Sign of the Cross
and The Clansman
. Both are some of the bands biggest epics, but I was skeptical as to how Bruce would approach singing Blaze's material. Fortunately, he works wonders on both songs, the former of which also features Dave and Janick shredding in ways that would impress Eddie Van Halen.
And of course, there's something utterly majestic about two hundred thousand people singing along word for word to Fear of the Dark
. That song is easily the highlight of the DVD, with Bruce's chilling vocals, and wonderful playing from all the members of the band.
At first glance, I must admit that the setlist seemed to be a bit lacking, but the utter strengthe of the material garnered their reunion album Brave New World
makes up for the lack of oldies. Still though, despite classic's like Hallowed Be Thy Name
and 2 Minutes to Midnight
being present and wonderfully performed, I wouldn't mind seeing songs like Ghost of the Navigator
replaced with something along the lines of Flight of Icarus
, Aces High
, or Powerslave
. Fortunetly, having seering live performances of newer classic such as Brave New World, Blood Brothers,
or Dream of Mirrors
is certainly a plus
So honestly, I can't say enough about how great this DVD is. Many peope have complained about the rapid editing, but I didn't feel it was hyperactive at all. And as far as the extras go the 'documentary' A Day in the Life seems pretty surperlative, but the interviews, conducted while the band was having time off (Bruce is seen fencing, Steve playing soccer, Adrian fishing, Nicko and Dave golfing, and Janick hanging with the fans) are actually pretty interesting. Overall, this is a superb testiment to the power of Maiden's live show.