Review Summary: Don't you cry for me, beyond is where I learn.
By 1993, Iron Maiden were beginning to cease to exist. Frontman Bruce Dickinson clearly was tired and had his mind on his oncoming solo tour; Steve Harris was going through a nasty divorce and tensions within the band were beginning to hit an all time low, and to make things worse, Bruce announced that he was leaving the band to pursue his solo career. This resulted in the "Real Live Tour", which was exclusively European and culminated at Pinewood Studios in London for a televised event which consisted of an awful magic show and a very clearly bored Bruce zombie-walking his way through the gig. And that video isn't the only proof we have of this lack of passion, folks. Along with it came two live albums, A Real Live One
and A Real Dead One
, both of which are compilations from the 1992 Fear of the Dark tour and 1993 Real Live Tour. And the bad news is, it's every bit as depressing to listen to as you'd expect. If Metallica's Some Kind of Monster
was a love album! it would definitely resemble this one.
Don't let that fool you, guys- there are indeed a few reasons to own this release. For one, we have both live albums in one package, which immediately saves you the pain of spending extra money for each individual album. You have some live versions of tracks from the 1980s, particularly on the Dead One
disc, including versions of "Prowler" and "Remember Tomorrow" with Bruce on vocals (note: the 1982 version is just Bruce singing over the already released Maiden Japan version), and to date, the only official live version of "Where Eagles Dare"c the sad thing is, they're hardly a joy to listen to. "Remember Tomorrow" shows a very passionless Bruce not even trying with the song- in addition to the verses played way too slow, you could just imagine Bruce sitting on his monitor staring into some void above the crowd's heads, talk singing his way through. Bruce isn't the only problem- the whole band just doesn't give a flying shit anymore. Janick slaughters every solo with the precision of a trap from one of the Saw
movies- doubly shocking when you consider his amazing performance on Bruce's Tattooed Millionare
. Dave seems to be the only one here even remotely interested in adapting here, and even then he's sloppy at best.
Shockingly, the Live One
disc isn't that bad, but it hardly does anything to save the compilation. Whereas the previous life album Live At Donington 92
(recorded in the same time period) showcased the band full of raw energy, it's clear Steve just haphazardly picked random recordings - which would also explain why "Be Quick or Be Dead" is essentially just the Live at Donington 92
version but with different crowd noise and a different label. In fact, the thing that prevents it from being enjoyable is the awful production- mixed by Steve Harris himself, the sound quality here is simply ATROCIOUS. For one, it sounds as if it was recorded in a dingy 500 person nightclub with an awful mixing system, and save for "Fear of the Dark", the crowd can't be heard save for the obvious moments, the band sounds as if they can't hear each other as they frequently get off beat, and to top it all off, the drums are tuned way too loud, which wouldn't be a problem if not for the fact that his bottom skins were removed from his drums (like on Powerslave
, except they're tuned way too loose, so they sound like cardboard boxes)."
In short, unless you're a die hard collector, there's no reason to own this. If you want good quality live versions of the early eighties songs featured, seek out the 2005 Ullevi Stadium recording, and save your money. Unless you like to hear an amazing band wrench away their last scrap of dignity and Bruce Dickinson embarrass himself and a French crowd with his awful attempt at speaking French before "Wasting Love" (and I can confirm thankfully he's improved, as I was at their Paris show last year and he spoke perfect French!), or spending "Powler sounding like he has to use the loo, do not waste a single cent on this. You can find better versions of these tracks elsewhere.