No band does a live album package quite like Iron Maiden.
Iron Maiden – Nights of the Dead, Legacy of the Beast: Live in Mexico City (Parlophone Records)
Release Date: 20 November 2020
Words: Brian Boyle
Who remembers grasping the monstrous ‘Live After Death’ album in 1985?
With the legendary artwork and picture packed gatefold sleeve, the commanding Bruce Dickinson wanting the Long Beach Arena crowd to “f**k up his hearing for good”.
In 1985 we sat inches from the turntable, hunkered over and absorbed the epicness of ‘Rime Of The Ancient Mariner’, ‘Phantom Of The Opera’, ’22 Acacia Avenue’ and ‘Die With Your Boots On’.
Since then there has been a big slab of live releases, including ‘A Real Live/Dead One’, ‘Death On The Road’, ‘Flight 666’, ‘En Vivo’, ‘Live Chapter’ and of course the mighty ‘Rock In Rio’ all released as sovieners to mark the previous album/tour.
‘Nights Of The Dead, Legacy Of The Beast, Live In Mexico City’ is one that truly rivals that ’85 classic.
The LOTB Tour is the most ambitious production the band have taken on the road and features more pomp and pageantry than ever before, including a precariously low hanging Spitfire, twin flamethrowers, a sword fight with Eddie, tons of pyro, an illuminated crucifix and Dickinson changes his costume more times than Diana Ross.
Recorded over three sweaty nights in the Mexican capital, 70,000 Maiden disciples were treated to a evening like no other and revelled in a sumptuous career spanning setlist.
The historic sound of ‘Churchill’s Speech” makes it’s first appearance since the’ Somewhere Back In Time’ Tour and then it is straight to the breakneck ‘Aces High’, which they’re performing better than they ever did.
Credit to the 68 year old Nicko McBrain – his supple wrists are still bang at it.
Apparently manager Rod Smallwood picked the majority of the set and if ‘Where Eagles Dare’ was his idea, then more power to his big Yorkshire elbow, as it sounds as compelling as ever.
The ever youthful ‘2 Minutes 2 Midnight’ still has the knack to send you hurdling back to the 80’s with that timeless chorus.
Being the pro that he is, Dickinson has never had any heirs and graces about performing tunes from the Blaze Bayley era. And, harsh as it sounds, when he is decked out in character and fully opens up his pipes on ‘The Clansman’ and ‘Sign Of The Cross’, full custody is all but granted.
Setlist banker ‘The Trooper’ as always does what is required, while it’s ‘Piece Of Mind’ comrade ‘Revelations’, reminds us that with the ‘Three Amigo’s’ of Smith, Murray and Gers in full flow, it is still one of their best live animals.
Eyebrows may have been raised when ‘For The Greater Good Of God’ was included in the set. Some of the Maiden fraternity still baulk at the memory of the ‘A Matter Of Life And Death’ album being played in its entirety on the corresponding tour. While it might not be seen again for a while, this version stands tall against the heavy hitters.
Album highlight lies in the wings of ‘Flight Of Icarus’, a song that does not deserve it’s usual reserve team status, but with Captain Dickinson brandishing his flamethrowers, the song takes on a gigantic status.
Latin American crowds have always been a rowdy lot and their love for Maiden is religious.
These six English gentleman love to feed off a heated atmosphere and you can feel the mutual respect between band and audience on the home straight of the album. ‘Fear Of The Dark’ completley sizzles with the Mexicans in full voice, while ‘The Number Of The Beast’ sends the crowd into demonic abandon.
Without doubt the best version on the last number of live albums, ‘Iron Maiden’ sounds like it fed on the vital essence of an unsuspecting Mexican pre-show, as this just sounds totally reborn.
While a couple of more tunes from ‘Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son’ would not of gone a miss, ‘The Evil That Men Do’ is given enough wellie to suffice.
Three years ago, one of their front of house numbers ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ was dropped from ‘The Book Of Souls’ set amid a legal battle over copyright. On this tour they seem to be performing it like a statement of pure ownership.
As they were rolling out classic after classic, they would not have left Mexico with all their limbs intact had ‘Run To The Hills’ not been played. The galloping bass of Commander in chief Steve Harris, as always, does the business with a pummelling execution.
This songs still remains the ultimate set closer.
“Another bloody live album” some may moan. Well yes! And here’s to a few more.
Iron Maiden – still the best ticket in town.
Of the Mexico City release, Steve Harris previously told MetalTalk: “When the final leg of our 2020 Legacy tour this summer had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the whole band was very disappointed and deflated and we know our fans felt the same.
“We had been really looking forward to bringing the show to even more countries and although we’ve been able to reschedule most of our European shows for 2021, we thought we would take a listen to the recordings from the tour so far and see if we could create a definitive live album souvenir that everyone, everywhere could enjoy.
“I’m very pleased with the results, especially as this set list includes songs which have never made it to a live CD before, such as ‘For The Greater Good Of God’ and other older songs like ‘Where Eagles Dare’, ‘Flight Of Icarus’, ‘The Clansman’ and ‘Sign Of The Cross’ which have not been included in our live set releases for many years.
“We’ve never released a live album from Mexico before and I think this recording does justice to the passion and joy of our Mexican fans who always give us such a fantastic welcome whenever we play there.”
Where Eagles Dare
2 Minutes 2 Midnight
For The Greater Good Of God
Sign Of The Cross
Flight Of Icarus
Fear Of The Dark
The Number Of The Beast
The Evil That Men Do
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Run To The Hills