The immortalised live chapter from Iron Maiden’s Book Of Souls.
The three-decades-plus between the earliest and latest material here are unnoticeable.
This double-CD live album, comprised largely of songs from the band’s 2015 release The Book of Souls, frequently jumps straight from a newer song like The Book of Souls itself to a favourite like Fear of the Dark and never feels like you’ve just escaped weaker material and got to the ‘real’ classics. In fact, the new songs frequently feel like highlights here, in a setlist including 1983’s The Trooper and 1984’s Powerslave – both of which the band rips into with blistering speed; the latter sounding every bit as epic and menacing as it ever did.
This is the band’s twelfth live album – since 2002, Maiden albums have become a far more common occurrence – but there’s a reason why 1985’s Live After Death has near-legendary status. It’s because Iron Maiden are incredibly good live. From Bruce Dickinson’s opening vocals to the last note of ‘Wasted Years‘, the band sound tight, accomplished, confident, exciting and dynamic. It’s a genuine pleasure hearing a band delivering the goods with such panache.
Older numbers, like 1980 and 1982’s pre-Dickinson Iron Maiden and Wrathchild, are performed like the heavy metal classics they are, and they’re an absolute joy to hear again with such swagger and potency, but what’s most amazing is just how much the new material shines. The Book of Souls and The Red and the Black are 10 and 13 minutes long respectively, but every guitar lead and melody is memorable. Hearing the audience sing along joyously to them makes them feel like classics already. ‘Death or Glory‘ sounds here like it would have been at home on 1984’s Powerslave.
Not that ‘The Number of The Beast‘ or ‘Fear of the Dark‘ are anything less than stellar here, nor ‘Blood Brothers‘ any less the perfect song for a warm festival night. In fact, as this live album closes with classic after classic, it feels like a band truly victorious; every bit as powerful and inspired as they’ve been at any point in their career.
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