Return Of The Beast (Apocalypse Sound AS 174)
Velez Sarsfield Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina March 28, 2009
Total Running Time: 1 hour 40 minutes Churchill’s Speech / Aces High, Wrathchild, 2 Minutes To Midnight, Children Of The Damned, Phantom Of The Opera, The Trooper, Wasted Years, The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, Powerslave, Run To The Hills, Fear Of The Dark, Hallowed Be Thy Name, Iron Maiden, The Number Of The Beast, The Evil That Men Do, Sanctuary
This latest release from AS is continuing coverage of Iron Maiden’s hugely successful Somewhere Back In Time world tour and features a show from the final leg in March of this year. What makes this release interesting is the change in the set list from the previous legs, we get a revamped set with four different songs and some of the familiar ones moved around a bit. The footage is multi camera pro shot with excellent picture and sound and was used for the huge video screens. There are short segments between songs where the picture goes black and most are merely just a second or two with nothing being lost. The concert begins with the familiar Churchill’s Speech that is cut short and leads directly into the second verse of Aces High. Next up is the first “new” song, Wrathchild.
For the first verse the vocals are low in the mix but is quickly fixed, the song is a welcome addition and is a typical powerful version and the band launches right into Two Minutes without skipping a beat. Bruce gives a short speech about the gig being sold out and 42,000 fans in attendance before introducing one of the first tracks he worked on with the band, Children of the Damned. Adrian plays a double neck guitar for this one and the song is superb. I have said it in earlier reviews but the three guitar attack gives the band much more depth and this song shows it.
One of the band’s earliest tracks is up, Phantom of the Opera is probably the first of Harris’ magnum opuses and is just as powerful more than twenty years after it was written and is a welcome addition to the set with it intricate time changes is one of the earliest examples of what would become speed / thrash metal. The settles into standard routine with the next batch of songs, interesting enough there was no real intro to the massive Rime of the Ancient Mariner, again a set highlight. One thing to notice is bassist Steve Harris seems relatively calm, his playing is great but keeps to keep to one area of the stage. Another curiosity is Hallowed be Thy Name at the end of the main set and not in the encore, I love the beginning as Bruce finds a place to sit as he sings the opening lyrics as if he is pondering is own fate.
After announcing the gig is all over the band breaks into Iron Maiden and it is here we get yet another treat. For the first leg of the tour the band used the cyborg Eddie, but for the rest of the tour we get the mammoth mummified Eddie as he towers over the stage amid flames and a parting sarcophagus and even have the sparks shooting from the eyes and the climax of the song. A devil bathed in red lights and fog towers over the amplifiers during the spoken intro to The Number of the Beast and the song is warmly received by the audience, and we are treated to some long shots from the back of the stadium giving you an idea of the size of the gig. Another thing that should be pointed out is Dave Murray’s playing has been incredible all night, playing one incredible solo after another and Bruce’s singing is also fantastic.
Next up is The Evil that Men do, a curious not that band has a Somewhere back in time Backdrop for a Seventh Son track but we know the reason, cyborg Eddie makes his walk through amid giant sparks erupting from the back of the stage. From there the band launches into the last track and final new one for the tour, Sanctuary. during a pause we get more crowd shots and the placed is literally packed as Bruce salutes the enormous crowd and let them know they will be back in 2011 after the next studio record and also plugs the Flight 666 movie and introduces the members of the band and even though they are very low in the mix you can hear the crowd chanting.
The packaging is the standard AS fare, tri fold cover beautifully adorned with Flight 666 graphics and the inside having live pictures intersected with a shot of the band in front the Ed Force One. The DVD menu is also the standard simple and easily maneuverable. The past year has been fantastic for Iron Maiden fans, we have been treated to the Live after Death DVD set, the huge tour, which I was lucky to see, the Flight 666 documentary and to cap it off the unofficial releases from AS have given fans a way to further enjoy this mammoth project from the band. This set is recommended to not only someone who does not have a dvd from this tour but to the others who have a previous release because of the different set list, fantastic playing, and great packaging. another thumbs up, or should I say UP THE IRONS !