Iron Maiden – Flight 666 (2009) live soundtrack


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).

Judas Priest – Priest…Live! (1987)

Judas Priest – Priest…Live! (1987, Columbia)

  1. Out In The Cold
  2. Heading Out To The Highway
  3. Metal Gods
  4. Breaking The Law
  5. Love Bites
  6. Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
  7. The Sentinel
  8. Private Property
  9. Rock You All Around The World
  10. Electric Eye
  11. Turbo Lover
  12. Freewheel Burning
  13. Parental Guidance
  14. Living After Midnight
  15. You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’

Total Time = 1:14:01

Judas Priest official website

I know that putting PRIEST…LIVE! in the list of some of my favorite albums is going to spark some serious debate. Why? Judas Priest had already put out a classic live album with UNLEASHED IN THE EAST in 1979 and the TURBO (1986) album, and subsequent Fuel For Life Tour, had a more commercialized Pop Metal sound. I put this album in with my top live albums because I was 14 years old in 1987 and Judas Priest was my second favorite band (KISS being #1). The band was everywhere (radio, MTV, print) and I was along for the ride! I had been a Priest fan for a few years but the combination of the TURBO album, Metal hitting the mainstream, and the hype surrounding the band’s concerts June 4th (Providence, RI) & June 5th (Worcester, MA). I didn’t get to go to either of these local shows, my mom thought I was too young, so when the announcement of PRIEST…..LIVE! started to gain momentum in the media I was psyched! Finally I would get to hear what Judas Priest sounded like live in concert!

Taking a look at the tracklisting you’ll see that all of the songs date from 1980 onward including 5 songs from the TURBO record: ‘Out In The Cold’, ‘Private Property’, ‘Rock You All Around The World’, ‘Turbo Lover’ and ‘Parental Guidance’. Obviously, the band was on tour supporting TURBO so it’s obvious that a third of the album promotes it. Also not surprising is that 4 songs come from the album that came before, my personal favorite, DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH (1984). I lived and breathed DEFENDERS for two years as Heavy Metal doctrine so I was glad to see ‘Love Bites’, ‘Some Heads Are Gonna Roll’, ‘The Sentinel’ and ‘Freewheel Burning’ featured prominently. Then you spread out some classics like ‘Metal Gods’ and ‘Electric Eye’ and I knew that this would be a great live record even before I had listened to it.

I had a problem right away with ‘Out In The Cold’ opening the album. I had been to a few concerts (not sure why my mom thought I was too young for a Priest Show!) and all the bands opened with a fast, hard-charging song. For a Metal monster like Judas Priest to open with a guitar-synth ballad was an immeadiate letdown. ‘Out In The Cold’ was a single from TURBO, I heard it played on the local Rock station, but it opened Side 2 on the album! And where was ‘Locked In’? That was the first single/video and it’s surprising that it’s not included. Moving on to ‘Heading Out To The Highway’ (from 1981’s POINT OF ENTRY), I like this live version better than the studio version…..most likely due to the fact that this version gets played more. Even the band and label have decided to include this live version on various greatest hits and box set packages instead of the original, the song is more aggressive live. ‘Metal Gods’ and ‘Breaking The Law’ are staples of the band’s live repertoire to this day but my high point is the DEFENDERS triumvirate of ‘Love Bites’, ‘Some Heads Are Gonna Roll’ and ‘The Sentinel’. Nothing was better than hearing tracks from my favorite album live, especially ‘The Sentinel’…..a song that is a Metal feast.

TURBO tracks ‘Private Property’ and ‘Rock You All Around The World’ were cool back then but seem out of place now. My guess is that they were put in for the audience participation factor because I would have used ‘Locked In’ instead, I think ‘Locked In’ would have come off harder and more Metal. ‘Electric Eye’ is another concert staple for Priest so it’s a welcome intrusion to all the newer tracks but the live version of ‘Turbo Lover’ sounds too close to the studio version. It also sounds too light sandwiched between the driving ‘Electric Eye’ and the Speed Metal of ‘Freewheel Burning’, one of the album’s best tracks! I always liked ‘Parental Guidance’ so it gets a pass even with the audience participation and ‘Living After Midnight’ sounds a little faster and heavier live. Ending the record is the seminal closer ‘You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ from SCREAMING FOR VENGEANCE (1982) and it’s a solid extended performance that still gives me chills when I hear it.

I really liked this live album back in my early teens but as I got older, and my musical tastes matured, I started to gravitate towards UNLEASHED IN THE EAST. PRIEST…LIVE! today sounds a little too commercial for my ears, it’s not as aggressive compared to the actual Judas Priest shows I’ve attended since. The TURBO songs don’t have that staying power today that they might have had back in the ’86-’88 era. It’s cool to hear them but when you compare them to heavy classics from UNLEASHED IN THE EAST, they fall flat. PRIEST…LIVE! is a nostalgia trip for me now, a way to reconnect with my teen years…..if I want an all out Metal assault, I look for other records.

This album was remastered and reissued in 2002 and it has 3 bonus tracks: ‘Screaming For Vengeance’ (recorded live in 1982), ‘Rock Hard Ride Free’ (recorded live in 1984) and ‘Hell Bent For Leather’ (recorded live in 1986). I wanted to review the original album, and that’s the ones I listened to again, but it is worthy to note that these songs are performed very well. All three were possibly in and out of the actual setlist on the Fuel For Life Tour but two of these tracks were recorded on past tours making their inclusion somewhat odd. I would rather hear these songs live from ’86 like ‘Hell Bent For Leather’, a song I think should have been on the original album maybe replacing a TURBO song.

UFO – Strangers In the Night (1979)

UFO – Strangers In The Night (1979, Chrysalis)

  1. Natural Thing
  2. Out In The Street
  3. Only You Can Rock Me
  4. Doctor Doctor
  5. Mother Mary
  6. This Kids
  7. Love To Love
  8. Lights Out
  9. Rock Bottom
  10. Too Hot To Handle
  11. I’m A Loser
  12. Let It Roll
  13. Shoot Shoot

Total Time = 1:09:13

UFO official website

UFO has been one of my favorite bands for a long time. Back when I was a kid, my local Rock radio station would play some UFO songs like ‘Lights Out’, ‘Doctor Doctor’, ‘Only You Can Rock Me’ and ‘Natural Thing’ so I was aware of who they were and what they sounded like in their classic era with Michael Schenker. I listened to MSG so I knew Schenker from there and back to UFO, I listened to Fastway and Waysted also so I knew bassist Pete Way with that connection. In the mid-80s, the same radio station would play the latest single from the band during a Rock Block or on Double-Shot Tuesday (they still have this) but they always paired it with a classic single. So when I finally got online in the middle of 1998, UFO was at the top of my list of bands to check out.

The Internet was brimming with plenty of UFO related news because the band had just released a reunion album, WALK ON WATER, in 1995 with Michael Schenker back on board. I had seen the ads in Rock magazines but I really didn’t pay them much attention. Most of the message boards and discussion lists I was on recommended starting with STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT to get a good overview of the Schenker era of the band. Every song on this album is a concert staple for the band and most are still in the setlist today! All of the songs are great and the performance is solid…..Schenker is at top form, Phil Mogg is one of the best on the mic, the Pete Way/Andy Parker rhythm section is solid and you’ve got Paul Raymond rounding out the sound on guitar and keyboards/organ. That’s the classic lineup doing a setlist from their U.S. tour that is like a greatest hits album.

For my money, it doesn’t get any better than ‘Natural Thing’, ‘Only You Can Rock Me’, ‘Too Hot To Handle’ and the 11 minute plus ‘Rock Bottom’ on this record. They are all done with a lot of energy and superb soloing from Schenker. Another great song is ‘I’m A Loser’ (originally on 1976’s NO HEAVY PETTING), a song that has become one of my all-time UFO favorites. You get the staples also in ‘Lights Out’, ‘Doctor Doctor’ and ‘Shoot Shoot’ but another true highlight is the power ballad ‘Love To Love’. I have no idea how this song wasn’t a hit single back in 1977, it has that classic bluesy balladeering style with a main riff that builds up as the song goes on.

After buying STRANGERS, I started to collect the rest of the band’s discography when all the albums were reissued on CD in Japan in 1999 and 2000. I also picked up the WALK ON WATER album, started diving back into the MSG catalogue, and saw the band live in concert twice. Basically, buying this live album turned me into a major UFO fan!

Royal Hunt – Live 1996 (1996)

Royal Hunt – Live 1996 (1996, SPV)

CD 1

  1. Flight
  2. 1348
  3. Wasted Time
  4. Stay Down
  5. On The Run
  6. Stranded
  7. Keyboard solo
  8. Martial Arts
  9. Far Away
  10. Last Goodbye
  11. Land Of Broken Hearts
  12. Makin’ A Mess

CD 2

  1. Clown In The Mirror
  2. Guitar solo
  3. Step By Step
  4. Drum & Bass solos
  5. Running Wild
  6. Epilogue
  7. Age Gone Wild
  8. 10 To Life
  9. Legion Of The Damned
  10. Kingdom Dark
  11. Time

Total Time = 1:57:31

Royal Hunt official website

In the late ’90s, I used to shop at a record store 20 minutes from my home called 2 Guys Music. This shop was a small hole-in-the-wall store in a local shopping plaza that catered to fans of Rock, Classic Rock and Heavy Metal. They had a well-stocked CD section, large used CD section (“Buy 3 Get 1 Free”), and the Import section. I spent hours in that store twice week: new release Tuesday and Saturday mornings when all the CDs traded in for cash Friday night were on the racks! The guys behind the counter used to play all the newer bands on the stereo that I had never heard before, especially albums from the Import section, and that’s how I discovered Royal Hunt.

It was 1999 and I was buying up Metal CDs like crazy and the Import section at 2 Guys took a lot of my attention and money. All the new European and Japanese imports were usually there and higher in price but that didn’t stop me from taking a chance on a couple of Royal Hunt albums. I grabbed LIVE 1996 for $17.99, not bad for a double disc set, and MOVING TARGET (1995), the first album to feature lead vocalist D.C. Cooper. When I got to the car, I meant to put MOVING TARGET in the CD player but I ended up putting in the first CD of LIVE 1996 in by mistake. The cool thing is that by listening to LIVE 1996 first I ended up getting a sampling of Royal Hunt’s entire discography (3 albums & an E.P.) with 7 songs coming from the band’s first album LAND OF BROKEN HEARTS (1992), 6 songs from CLOWN IN THE MIRROR (1993), and 7 songs from MOVING TARGET.  LIVE 1996 was recorded on the band’s tour of Japan in the first week of June 1996. Royal Hunt was extremely popular in Japan at the time and winning many national awards for Album Of The Year for MOVING TARGET.

Royal Hunt is a Progressive Metal band kind of like Dream Theater but more melodic. The songwriting and musicianship is very strong and D.C. Cooper’s vocal range is amazing (he was up for the Judas Priest vocal slot to replace Rob Halford)! Over the course of two discs, Royal Hunt gives off a blistering performance of almost 3 full albums of material and they include 3 solo sections so they rest of the band can have center stage. The stars of the album is D.C. Cooper and his female backup singers, they just really make you stand up and take notice of the powerful vocals and lyrics. As far as individual songs, there are 20 songs here and they are all done extrememly well but some of my favorites are: ‘Land Of Broken Hearts’, ‘1348’, ‘Far Away’ (the band’s Japanese #1 single), ‘Step By Step’ and ‘Age Gone Wild’. I can honestly say that aside from the 3 solo sections and the instrumental ‘Martial Arts’, the entire live album is solid.

After buying LIVE 1996 and listening to it non-stop, it took me only a couple of weeks to update my Royal Hunt collection. I picked up the first two albums, 1997’s PARADOX (which came as a box set with a bonus CD of the album performed live called CLOSING THE CHAPTER), and D.C. Cooper’s 1999 solo album. What I didn’t know was that Royal Hunt’s original singer, Henrik Brockmann, is featured on the first two albums and that D.C. Cooper had left Royal Hunt sometime in 1998. I’ve listened to the first two albums with Brockmann on vocals and I prefer the live versions from the LIVE 1996 performance with D.C. Cooper…..Cooper has more range than Brockmann and can easily hit the higher registers. It also sounds like the band had tightened and evolved their sound with Cooper by the live album, making the older material much stronger. I listen to this album a lot to this day because the music is so melodic even with all the soloing and keyboard heavy songs.

Krokus – Alive & Screamin’ (1986)

Krokus – Alive & Screamin’ (1986, Arista)

  1. Long Stick Goes Boom
  2. Eat The Rich
  3. Screaming In The Night
  4. Hot Shot City
  5. Midnite Maniac
  6. Bedside Radio
  7. Lay Me Down
  8. Stayed Awake All Night
  9. Headhunter

Total Time = 41:59

Krokus official website

Krokus is one of those bands that I have been a big fan since the early ’80s and everyone else says, “Who?”. I got into Krokus back in late 1983 with the classic HEADHUNTER album and the two singles/videos ‘Screaming In The Night’ and ‘Eat The Rich’…..they were always on MTV. I had read about the band in Circus and the band was featured regularly so I had another new band to check out. I bought HEADHUNTER and sometime shortly after I picked up thier first three U.S. releases (METAL RENDEZ-VOUS, HARDWARE, ONE VICE AT A TIME) on vinyl in a cut-out bin. None of my friends knew about Krokus, or they thought they sucked, so these Swiss metallers became “my” band. I remember buying THE BLITZ (1984) on the sole basis of the single/video ‘Midnite Maniac’ but the album seemed a little less aggressive then the first four records. That’s when things started to go downhill…..

CHANGE OF ADDRESS was released in 1986 and the band had taken a more commercial Hard Rock sound. Songs like ‘Our Love’ and ‘Burning Up The Night’ were melodic Hard Rock songs trying to capitalize on the Sunset Strip Pop Metal scene, they changed their sound and image, and they became a different band from the one that released the molten Metal of HEADHUNTER 3 years before. I had bought CHANGE OF ADDRESS the week it came out at a local department store, Apex, and was disappointed big time when the first single was a cover of Alice Cooper’s ‘School’s Out’. (It should be noted that Krokus had a habit of including a cover tune on each album when they released ONE VICE AT A TIME in ’82). A few months after the new album’s release, I saw an ad in a magazine for a Krokus live album, I figured this was the last gasp for the band.

I gave Krokus one last shot and picked up ALIVE & SCREAMIN’ a couple of weeks after it came out at my town’s best mom & pop record store: Luke’s Record Exchange. I had walked over there, a little over a mile and a half, with my Walkman and picked it up. I played the tape on the walk back home and I felt a little better about the band. Looking at the tracklist, 4 out of 9 songs were off HEADHUNTER and there was only one track from CHANGE OF ADDRESS (‘Hot Shot City’). There was also a new song too called ‘Lay Me Down’ (that hasn’t appeared on any other album) and it sounded cool live…..there was hope! All the big singles were there from previous albums and it was like a cool greatest hits tape. All the songs sounded great, even ‘Hot Shot City’, so I took another less critical listen to CHANGE OF ADDRESS. Of all the live albums I had at the time, I think ALIVE & SCREAMIN’ was the one live album I carried in my backpack the most during the school year. I listened to it on the walk to and from school, at practice, on the way to friends houses… became a soundtrack to part of my freshman year of high school.

Listening to it 22 years after it’s initial release, I find the production a bit thin and the setlist too safe and short. There’s not really much bite to the rhythm section in the mix and Marc Storace is way uo front with the vocals on some songs. The keyboard fills during ‘Hot Shot City’ bothered me then and they still do today because it sounds like they were purposely pushed up to overshadow Fernando Von Arb’s guitar. It almost sounds like they were overdubbed because I don’t remember Krokus using any keyboards live in the concert reviews I read. The album is only 9 songs clocking in at 45 minutes so it’s regular album length when most of the live albums of the time were double albums. Krokus certainly had good material, and they had a new album to tour for, so I’m a little surprised the band didn’t do a couple more CHANGE OF ADDRESS tunes or any of the covers to lengthen the album. It’s sounds like an opening band’s set, not a headliner’s. Back in the mid-80s, everything had to be bigger, better, faster so I don’t understand why they band didn’t follow their peers’ lead. Despite the flaws I hear now, I still enjoy it today because it brings back some great memories of high school and afternoons spent with a bunch of Rock mags and my stereo.

Scorpions – World Wide Live (1985)

Scorpions – World Wide Live (1985, Mercury)

  1. Countdown
  2. Coming Home
  3. Blackout
  4. Bad Boys Running Wild
  5. Loving You Sunday Morning
  6. Make It Real
  7. Big City Nights
  8. Coast To Coast
  9. Holiday
  10. Still Loving You
  11. Rock You Like A Hurricane
  12. Can’t Live Without You
  13. Another Piece Of Meat
  14. The Zoo
  15. No One Like You
  16. Dynamite
  17. Can’t Get Enough (Part l)
  18. Six String Sting
  19. Can’t Get Enough (Part ll)

Total Time = 1:17:27

Scorpions official website

WORLD WIDE LIVE is another favorite live album from my early teenage years that I still listen to regularly. I had discovered the Scorpions at the time like I did with most bands: through magazines and record store trips. I knew about the Scorpions but I never heard a single song until I saw the video for ‘No One Like You’ on MTV. I remember that video being in regular rotation and it wasn’t uncommon to see it at some point every hour. I picked up BLACKOUT but I really didn’t get into the band until they released LOVE AT FIRST STING in 1984 and became a huge commercial success. The Scorpions were everywhere: MTV, radio, magazines, and on tour. They rode a massive wave of success on the sing;es ‘Rock You Like A Hurricane’, ‘Still Loving You’ and ‘Big City Nights’ but I liked the whole album and I started to put all the Scorpions’ albums at the top of my want list. I remember reading about a new Scorpions live album in Circus Magazine so I was definitely getting it.

I remember how I got WORLD WIDE LIVE very vividly. I was always a collector. I liked baseball cards, Star Wars toys and comics but, once I got hooked, Rock music became my passion. My father recognized my almost overnight change from a kid playing with toys to a kid listening to Heavy Metal and wearing studded wristbands! My father decided he was going to get involved in my new hobby by actually taking an interest into what I was buying, reading and listening. He was concerned like parents were at the time because all he really knew was what he heard on the news: how Rock/Metal music pushed kids into a world of sex, drugs, violence and danger. In order to try and understand what I was into, he thumbed through my Rock mags and made sure he understood exactly what tapes I bought. Shortly after WORLD WIDE LIVE’s release, I asked my father if he could pick it up for me on the way home from work. My father worked in the Boston area about a little over an hour’s commute so I knew that he wouldn’t want to take me to the record store so I convinced him to stop at the Good Vibrations in Foxboro, about halfway between work and home, and pick it up for me. Surprisingly, he agreed. My father came home and gave me my brand new cassette: Scorpions – TOKYO TAPES (1978)!

Now my father tried but he didn’t really get it. Each band was faceless and each album was the same, as long as I still got straight A’s in school and didn’t turn into a deliquent, he was happy. His effort to understand and keep an eye on what I was listening too was genuine but a little above his head. Turns out he stopped at the Good Vibrations, asked the clerk for a Scorpions concert album, and the showed him two different ones. He forgot the title so he bought the one that looked the safest…..TOKYO TAPES. Of course, I knew the difference right away and I told him that I wanted to exchange it at my usual Good Vibrations near home over the weekend. I ended up going to return the tape that weekend but I just ended up buying the WORLD WIDE LIVE cassette and keeping the TOKYO TAPES instead. My father found out I didn’t exchange the one he bought so he gave me the ten bucks I spent on WORLD WIDE LIVE and I ended up with two albums for free!

I was big into BLACKOUT and LOVE AT FIRST STING so hearing live versions of ‘Bad Boys Running Wild’, ‘Can’t Live Without You’ and ‘Dynamite’ alongside the popular singles ‘Rock You Like A Hurricane’ and ‘No One Like You’ was very cool. What was even better was that there were other songs that I had never heard and they kicked major ass! ‘Another Piece Of Meat’, ‘The Zoo’, ‘Loving You Sunday Morning’ and ‘Make It Real’ were awesome and I started to add all the Scorpions’ albums to my growing want list. My favorites on this album are the live versions of ‘Big City Nights’, ‘Can’t Live Without You’ and ‘No One Like You’ but the best part of the album was when Klaus Meine would talk to the audience…..the band was German and I knew there was a language difference but with the accents and the different phrasing, Klaus came off a bit comical while pumping up the crowd. It was because of WORLD WIDE LIVE that I became a huge Scorpions fan and I started buying up all their albums.

I had the cassette, which I wore out and it snapped, so I upgraded to CD. the problem was that the initial U.S. pressing on CD dropped ‘Another Piece Of Meat’, ‘Can’t Get Enough (Pt.1)’, ‘Six String Sting’ and ‘Can’t Get Enough (Pt.2)’ to fit it on one disc. I couldn’t listen to it without those songs so I went out and bought a new cassette. Somewhere in the late ’90s, Mercury Records started reissuing the Scorpions’ catalog and the CD reissue of WORLD WIDE LIVE ended up having all the songs and the original artwork so I picked it up on sale for $8.99.

Iron Maiden – Live After Death (1985)

Iron Maiden – Live After Death (1985, EMI)

  1. Intro: Churchill’s Speech
  2. Aces High
  3. 2 Minutes To Midnight
  4. The Trooper
  5. Revelations
  6. Flight Of Icarus
  7. Rime Of The Ancient Mariner
  8. Powerslave
  9. The Number Of The Beast
  10. Hallowed Be Thy Name
  11. Iron Maiden
  12. Run To The Hills
  13. Running Free
  14. Wrathchild
  15. 22 Acacia Avenue
  16. Children Of The Damned
  17. Die With Your Boots On
  18. Phantom Of The Opera

Total Time = 1:42:03

Iron Maiden official website

Iron Maiden has been one of my favorite bands since the early ’80s. I got seriously into Iron Maiden around the release of NUMBER OF THE BEAST in 1982 but I had known about the band from all the magazines and fanzines I used to buy. I used to hear a little Maiden over some of the local record stores’ stereo systems when I would scour the racks for hours. I came of age with the Bruce Dickinson era of the band but I went back and bought both Paul Di’anno records (IRON MAIDEN & KILLERS) before Maiden released POWERSLAVE in ’84. Going into that blockbuster album, I had everything on cassette that the band had released including the MAIDEN JAPAN E.P. (1981) and my personal favorite PIECE OF MIND (1983). After KISS and Judas Priest, there was Iron Maiden!

I followed the band’s exploits on the World Slavery Tour through magazines like Circus, Hit Parader, and Metal Forces and definitely watching MTV. Iron Maiden was everywhere, you couldn’t escape seeing the band’s logo or their mascot Eddie on denim jackets or on the walls of your friend’s bedrooms. When I read in Circus that the band was putting together a double live album to chronicle the World Slavery Tour, I knew I had to have it. Of course money became an issue because the album, LIVE AFTER DEATH, was released with a price tag that went between $12 and $15 depending on the shop and the sale prices. With Metal exploding all over the radio and MTV, there were so many bands to buy albums from in ’85 so I had to spend my allowance and lunch money wisely. I remember being in my local Good Vibrations record store the weekend after LIVE AFTER DEATH came out trying to justify buying a single cassette for close to $15 when I could buy two other albums on tape by different bands. I could have even bought two more KISS albums to complete my collection! I ended up passing on it…..

I was in 7th grade at the time and one of best friends brought his older brother’s cassette into school so we could all have a listen at the end of the day. I remember a whole bunch of us in the schoolyard after school huddled around my friend’s boombox listening to Side 1 in the middle of October. It was cold but well worth it because I knew what my purchase was going to be at the record store on the coming weekend. I ended up walking over to my friend’s house so we could listen to Side 2 and get homework done, that’s where my friend’s older brother was waiting and kicked my friend’s ass for “borrowing” his new tape without asking. After my friend took a beating, we ended up listening to the whole album because his brother also bought the vinyl and we listened to it on the big stereo he had. I still remember marvelling over the artwork and how cool it looked as a record. That weekend I bought my LIVE AFTER DEATH tape and put the LP on my Xmas wish list (I never got the vinyl for Xmas!).

This is Iron Maiden at what many consider their peak with five solid albums and a record breaking worldwide tour to their credit, making LIVE AFTER DEATH one of the best, if not THE best, live album ever. To this day, 23 years later, I still can’t find a weak song on the album. Every single track is powerful and grandly performed. I was huge into PIECE OF MIND and POWERSLAVE when this live album was released so my favorite tracks were ‘Aces High’, ‘2 Minutes To Midnight’, ‘Powerslave’, ‘Flight Of Icarus’, ‘Revelations’ and ‘The Trooper’. These were the popular singles so I liked them all immeadiately. Playing the album over and over, I really started to enjoy the live version of ‘Rime Of The Ancient Mariner’ better than the studio version and the Di’anno era songs like ‘Iron Maiden’, ‘Wrathchild’ and ‘Running Free’ just came off more energetic and powerful with Bruce at the mic. After a couple of decades, I find myself enjoying the last 5 songs of the album (Side 4 of the vinyl) the most, especially ’22 Acacia Avenue’ and ‘Die With Your Boots On’.

I have had a few versions of this album over the years: the original cassette, the first CD issue that didn’t include the Side 4 songs, the Castle Records reissue from 1995 with the bonus disc, and finally the Raw Power reissue from 1998 that ended up including the missing Side 4 songs. The Castle reissue from ’95 was the most disappointing because I figured the bonus disc would contain the missing Side 4 songs but it ended up being only three tracks that were all B-sides from the singles: ‘Losfer Words (Big ‘Orra)’ live at Hammersmith Odeon, ‘Sanctuary’ live at Long Beach Arena and ‘Murders in the Rue Morgue’ live at Hammersmith Odeon. Today I own the three CD versions and the DVD that came out earlier this year, I sold my cassette a long time ago.

KISS – Alive II (1977)

KISS – Alive II (1977, Casablanca)

  1. Detroit Rock City
  2. King Of The Nighttime World
  3. Ladies’ Room
  4. Makin’ Love
  5. Love Gun
  6. Calling Dr. Love
  7. Christine Sixteen
  8. Shock Me
  9. Hard Luck Woman
  10. Tomorrow And Tonight
  11. I Stole Your Love
  12. Beth
  13. God Of Thunder
  14. I Want You
  15. Shout It Out Loud
  16. All American Man (studio track)
  17. Rockin’ In the USA (studio track)
  18. Larger Than Life (studio track)
  19. Rocket Ride (studio track)
  20. Any Way You Want It (studio track)

Total Time = 1:11:26

KISS official website

It’s probably no surprise to anyone that my all-time favorite live album is ALIVE II, I think I’ve told the tale about my early induction into the KISS Army many times. I enlisted in 1977, at age 5, with ROCK AND ROLL OVER after pestering my mother in a local department store but I really didn’t start listening to the album, or Rock music, for a few more years. I just knew I had to have that album. Around 1980/1981, I started to get seriously into music through my weekend trips to the record stores…..that’s where I saw ALIVE II.

Back in the day, I saved my allowance and lunch money to buy music. I bought cassettes (tapes) 99% of the time because they cost somewhere between $6.99 and $8.99 depending on the shop. If I saved my lunch money for the week, and my allowance for doing household chores, I could easily put $15 to $20 together! That’s two tapes and a magazine or a poster! My real education came from scouring through racks and racks of vinyl. Records were still the medium of choice for most people and stores dedicated much of their floorspace to vinyl. Vinyl was also where the selection was, you could find almost every album from each band in the record racks. Everytime I walked into a record store I always went to the KISS section first and studied each album. I knew the artwork, songs, band members, etc. and I always made sure that I filed each album chronologically just so other shoppers could see everything in the proper order. I did the same thing in the cassette section of the store…..I’m sure the store clerks thought I was crazy! For me this was extremely normal because this was how I decided to buy my KISS albums! I had to have them all in order so I could make a proper choice.

I bought ALIVE II in 1982. At the time, I had four KISS studio albums on cassette: ROCK AND ROLL OVER, KISS, DESTROYER and LOVE GUN…..bought in that exact order! ALIVE II had the songs I was familiar with from DESTROYER, ROCK AND ROLL OVER and LOVE GUN so it was the obvious choice when faced with the ALIVE! (1975) vs. ALIVE II debate. This was a double album (2 LPs or 2 cassettes) so the price was higher than a single — $13.99! I remember it like it was yesterday…..I would sit staring at the 2 tapes packaged together with that yellow price tag with the double price. I could buy two different KISS albums for the same price, I could buy two tapes of any band for the same price, this was one album. Obviously, I knew that there were two albums worth of songs on there but, in my mind, they all added up into one album. After weeks of procrastinating, I finally caved in and bought it.

I played ALIVE II over and over thrilling to hear KISS in concert on my stereo. This was my only chance to hear what the original KISS was like live because both Ace Frehley and Peter Criss were out of the band in ’82, even though Ace was pictured on that year’s new album CREATURES OF THE NIGHT. The great thing about ALIVE II was that each studio album was represented equally by 5 songs, that gave a solid variety for me because I owned those three albums. For my money, it couldn’t get any better than hearing the band open with ‘Detroit Rock City’ and careening into ‘King Of The Nighttime World’ with Ace’s lead. Then getting two songs from ROCK AND ROLL OVER with ‘Ladies’ Room’ and ‘Makin’ Love’ was my personal highlight because they came from my favorite album. Side 1 ended with ‘Love Gun’ and I would just hit rewind and listen to it again before moving on to Side 2. Back when I was a kid, I liked all the live songs but today I’m a little more selective. The album is still the best but I could do without ‘Calling Dr. Love’ (Side 2), ‘Tomorrow And Tonight’ (Side 2) and ‘Beth’ (Side 3). I never liked ‘Tomorrow And Tonight’ even on LOVE GUN, ‘Beth’ is just overplayed nowadays when you hear KISS on the radio, and I absolutely can’t stand ‘Calling Dr. Love’ live anymore. I used to think the song was cool but now I skip it when I listen to an album it’s on and I take a break during the song when I see the band perform in concert. Best songs on the live sides to me are ‘I Stole Your Love’ and ‘Shout It Out Loud’, then all of Side 1!

I played Sides 1, 2 and 3 of the cassettes daily but I virtually ignored Side 4, the studio tracks. As I became a more seasoned KISS fan, I revisited the 4th side and I like most of the studio songs. ‘All American Man’ is a typical Paul Stanley rocker and my second favorite original on this album. ‘Rockin’ In The USA’ is one of those Gene Simmons throwaways that reminds my of ‘Kissin’ Time’ from the debut album, it’s a gimmick track. The second Gene song is ‘Larger Than Life’ and it’s another typical Gene sex innuendo song and it’s only marginally better than ‘Rockin’ In The USA’. Ace Frehley’s ‘Rocket Ride’ is the jewel of the five studio songs and I still wish that it could have been on the LOVE GUN album, it would have made the album so much better. ‘Any Way You Want It’ is a cover song originally done by The Dave Clark Five and it reminded me too much of the terrible ‘Tomorrow And Tonight’ on the live part and was a partner to the cover tune that ended the LOVE GUN album: ‘Then She Kissed Me’. ‘Any Way You Want It’ is a waste and totally unnecessary, I skip it to this day.

Back when I was a kid, I didn’t know much about the history of the album. Thanks to KISS konventions, KISS fanzines/books, and the Internet, I know all the stories about which tracks were seriously overdubbed and who did or did not play on the studio side. Today it’s all well documented but I prefer to remember the thrill of hearing my favorite band in concert with fresh ears. I played that album so much that I’m surprised I didn’t wear the tapes out. I still have those cassettes today and I have a few other formats as well: I own the original pressing gatefold vinyl with all the inserts, I have the original CD issue, and the 1997 remastered reissue CD. I used to have a copy of the Japanese paper sleeve remastered reissue from around 1997 or 1998 but I ended up selling that on Ebay for double what I paid for it.

Live Album Week

After taking most of September off from the site, and from the Internet all together, I decided to get myself into gear and end September with something I’ve been planning for awhile…..Live Album Week!

All the Live Album reviews are after this post.

This week is dedicated to some of the most influential live albums that I have listened to over the years. Most of these are my all-time favorite live albums but, most importantly, each album helped me discover more about each band.  Each live album review will be similar to my normal reviews but with a little more emphasis on the memories that each one possesses.

Here’s this week’s lineup:

Sunday: KISS – Alive II (1977)

Monday: Iron Maiden – Live After Death (1985)

Tuesday: Scorpions – World Wide Live (1985)

Wednesday: Krokus – Alive & Screamin’ (1986)

Thursday: Royal Hunt – Live 1996 (1996)

Friday: UFO – Strangers In The Night (1979)

Saturday: Judas Priest – Priest…..Live! (1987)