British Metal Onslaught Maiden England 1982-83-84 (The Godfather Box 14)
In the age where silver releases geared toward the collectors market are thinning by the year we are lucky to have one label in particular gear releases to the fans and collectors with beautiful and well thought out packaging aimed at a wide diversity of music genres. When this set was announced one could only salivate in anticipation of its arrival, I am not sure if there has ever been an unofficial Iron Maiden box set until now.
If this is true it has been worth the wait, I must bow down in gratitude with this set. The packaging is housed in the typical box configuration, it houses three amazing double sets showcasing three concerts from the bands greatest era and it is all brought together with miniature reproductions of the tour books for each of the tours as well as a 12 page booklet to boot. For me the addition of the tour books is an essential part of the set, I bought the World Piece Tour book in 83 when I saw Maiden for the first time and it has become a prized part of my collection, Maiden tour books were always something special to me.
Godfather sets the bar incredibly high with the presentation, each set has pictures from each tour while the cover of the box had Eddie onstage, like a homage to the pictures the band takes at the end of each concert, with a crowd full of Earth Dogs and Rivet Heads. The set focuses on the UK where Maiden carved their legacy in the stone of the hallowed concert halls that would ultimately hurl them to the worldwide stages and success that was only enjoyed very few bands in Metal. Clocking in at over five hours of music there is a tremendous amount of music to enjoy, lets get started.
The Beast Tames Oxford (G.R.Box 14 A/B)
Apollo Theatre Oxford, U.K. March 9, 1982
Disc 1 (41:34) Murders In The Rue Morgue, Wrathchild, Run To The Hills, Children Of The Damned, The Number Of The Beast, Another Life, Killers, 22 Acacia Avenue, Total Eclipse
Disc 2 (51:18) Drum solo, Transylvania, Guitar Solo, The Prisoner, Hallowed Be Thy Name, Phantom Of The Opera, Iron Maiden, Sanctuary, Drifter, Running Free, Prowler
The first set documents the bands tour in support of the as yet to be released Number Of The Beast record (it would be released in the UK on March 29, 1982) dubbed The Beast On The Road, a jaunt that would find the band playing 180 dates worldwide, many of them headlining. The record would be the first with Bruce Dickinson and would feature many contributions from the other old new guy Adrian Smith and would become a record of great change as the band would hone their sound to near perfection that would bring them a new level of success. Such was the bands confidence in the new material that 6 of the records 8 cuts would be played live plus a song that would be the B-side to a single.
The recording used for this set is a superb audience master by Simon, a taper that would archive many of Maiden’s English concerts in excellent quality. There is no crowd interference and all instruments are clear an well defined with great detail and is a pleasure to listen to at high volumes, the atmosphere is perfectly captured, the mix does favor Steve Harris’ bass and Adrian Smiths guitar ever so slightly and we can really enjoy both’s contribution.
The capacity crowd of 1,800 Earthdogs chant loudly for the band as the strains of the bands intro music, The Ides Of March is blasted over the PA system and the band take the stage with a fast and furious Murders In The Rue Morgue. This is Bruce’s first proper tour with Maiden he clearly mean to wipe away all ghosts of his predecessor Paul Di’Anno, immediately you are transfixed with his vocal interpretation of the lyrics, he adds so much to the punctuation and makes the song his own and even hits some of his trade mark air raid siren high notes with easy. There is no time wasted and they band launch into Wrathchild, the version is very similar to the heavy as hell version found on the Maiden Japan EP from the previous year, still retaining the early raw aggression.
Bruce announces that their new single has stormed the charts and has landed at number 7, a fact that gets a good cheers from the audience and the band go into Run To The Hills. Again it is a very tight version, full of energy that match’s the recorded version, Steve’s fingers fly over the strings at break neck speed.
Anyone who knows anything about Iron Maiden knows some of the incidents the band had making the record, Bruce jokingly touch’s on it briefly and introduces Children Of The Damned to the crowd, it will be one of many new songs they would here. The song has that heavy and dramatic feel to the song and Bruce does not hold back a delivers a strong vocal performance. The spoken word intro to the Number Of The Beast cast a great atmosphere for the song and Bruce lets it rip on the opening scream, the band is playing fast and very heavy and the solos from both Dave Murray and Adrian are spot on.
Two songs from the Killers make the set, Another Life has a slightly different opening that features a drum beat from Clive Burr that sounds strange but as soon as the band kick in a Dave hits his trademark solo you settle right in. The song is short and sweet and does not feature the drum solo as it did in years past. Killers is one of the Di’Anno songs Bruce really put his stamp on, his interpretation is very cold and aggressive and it works very well in the confines of the lyric and music, a controlled brutality.
Bruce gives a brief explanation of the next song, how they “dug up” Charlotte The Harlots brothel on 22 Acacia Avenue. One of my favorite Maiden songs, one that Adrian had been playing in a slightly different form with his previous band Urchin and re worked with the help of Steve Harris has a fast riff and some excellent chord sequences on it plus a great lyric full of venom, lust, and jealousy.Part of the excitement of being a Maiden fan in the early 80’s was finding the singles in record stores that carried imports, finding Run To The Hills on 12″ was one of them (the other was the Number of there Beast single with the incredible live version of Remember tomorrow with Bruce on vocals from Italy in late 81). The song that was on the b-side was Total Eclipse, the only was to hear this song was on this single or the Japanese pressing of the Beast record and for me was much sought after and worth tracking down. Bruce explains that the song was originally meant to be on the record but they thought it was too slow ! Played just a little faster than the original the song works great live but sadly would only ever be performed on this tour, thankfully there are some great live versions floating around (the one on Eddies Archive is great also).
The second disc starts off with a Clive Burr drum solo, short and sweet and would lead directly into the incredible Transylvania, one the bands earliest instrumental and one of the best. Full of great leads by Dave Murray who would help to mold the song into metal perfection with his wonderful melodic leads, obviously influenced by Michael Schenker. The song leads right into Dave’s solo spot, he soars with lightning fast leads and soaring notes ala Hendrix and also features some nice gong by Burr. His solo ends as Patrick McGoohan and the intro from the sixties British TV series The Prisoner comes in from nowhere. The song is a live favorite for good reason, it had a catchy chorus and is another song that wreaks of Adrian Smith and his music contributions to the band.
The band waste little time and go headlong into the trilogy of terror, a trip that begins with Hallowed Be Thy Name. Bruce turns in a stunning vocal performance, on this night it is simply another new song not the crowd pleasing epic that it would morph into. Being free of the physical crowd interaction who would soon develop, he gives a true interpretation of the lyrics full of fear and angst although it is crazy hearing the song with no “scream for me…”. They go back to the Iron Maiden album for the next song about someone who “hies in the wings” and proceed to play Phantom Of The Opera at break neck speed (just like on the fast as hell live version of the Women In Uniform single recorded at the Marquee July 1980). I love the song, the twist and turns and brilliant leads playing by both guitarist, the crowd agree as the clap along at all the right places. As usual the set ends with the self titled Iron Maiden and they proceed to bring the house down with it, Eddie makes his appearance and receives a huge ovation.
The band have not tired as evident by the encores, starting with Sanctuary played a martial tempo. Bruce again shows his vocal command on the song and takes it to areas Paul could never dream of. No encore would be complete (back then) without Drifter, of course it features the Maiden meets the Police sing along made popular by Paul and gives the chance for crowd to get even more involved. The clapping does not stop there, the crowed needs it for the intro to the next song Running Free. Bruce gives the song a heavier feel and I must admit I prefer the Paul versions as his voice had that street element that really works for the song. Steve introduces the final encore, the excellent Prowler, again one of the classics Paul made his own and Bruce taking a much more aggressive style vocal. I love to hear Dave Murray let loose of this song, his playing really defines the track. Iron Maiden were at a stage of and incredible transformation of being a London based band and evolving into the world wide phenomena they would soon become but all the Piece’s (yes its a pun) where not yet in place, but they soon would be.
The tri gatefold sleeve is adorned with pictures from the tour and a picture of NME with Eddie on the cover from May 1982 and a picture of the accompanying tour book on the cover, the cd’s have the box set art on them. A brilliantly played concert and an excellent way to get the ball rolling on this incredible box set.
Brain Damage At Hammersmith (G.R. Box 14 C/D)
Hammersmith Odeon London, England, UK. May 26, 1983
Disc 1 (65:32) Intro, Where Eagles Dare, Wrathchild, The Trooper, Revelations, Flight Of Icarus, Die With Your Boots On, 22 Acacia Avenue, Number Of The Beast, Still Life, To Tame A Land / Guitar Solo / Drum Solo
Disc 2 (50:07) Phantom Of The Opera, Hallowed Be Thy Name, Iron Maiden, Run To The Hills, Sanctuary, Drifter, Prowler
There was no time for rest after the Beast On The Road tour, in fact it brought the band in sync with the next step but first there was business to attend too, namely drummer Clive Burr was deemed not up to the task of touring on such a large scale. The band knew they would need to find a drummer who could endure the endless parade of dates that would be coming over the next few years but they probably had no idea on what they where in for with one Nicko McBrain from French rockers Trust. With a personality big enough to match his drum skills he was the perfect fit for Maiden and would be the final piece to what is considered the classic line up of Dickinson, Harris, Murray, Smith, and McBrain. Together they would forge another metal classic that would find the band expanding on their metal sound with a more progressive approach, the results was the brilliant Piece Of Mind release to the masses on May 28, 1983.
The tour to support the record, dubbed The World Piece tour was a huge success and found the band headlining worldwide and this show was one of many that were taped and eventually released on bootleg on such releases, firstly on vinyl as World Piece Tour ’83 Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (K 008) and on compact disc as Ten Years Old Eddies Boys Vol 1 & 2 (X Records IM 265831/2) and Die With Your Boots On (Golden Stars GSCD 1080 / 81) with all being out of print for a very long time so the concert has been in need of good dusting off. The reason for these releases is simple, the recording is graced with incredible sound for and audience recording and has been commonly mislabeled as a soundboard source. It is a fantastic three dimensional sound with nice bottom end and a perfect blend of instruments, that coupled with an amazing show at the much beloved Hammersmith Odeon make this a true winner.
The intro music is taken from the 1968 film Where Eagles Dare, a film that provided the inspiration for the album and live show opening song and fittingly enough begins with an excellent opening burst from McBrain. The song is a perfect opener as it has an aggressive riff and allot of twists and turns that Maiden is know for.
Concert stalwart Wrathchild follows immediately. Iron Maiden has never been to rest on its laurels and they prove it, the will play 7 of the 9 songs on the new record beginning with The Trooper. On record the song is great, live it is taken to another level, the complex playing is a little faster and heavier live, a definite crown pleaser. Maiden at Hammersmith is like meeting friends down at the pub and the band has an intimate atmosphere with so much that Bruce has a casual conversation about soccer before thanking the crowd for getting the record on the charts, all leading up to his sole writing credit on the record, Revelations. I love the live versions, much closer to the record in terms of pacing, the song is heavy and slow versus the versions the following tour fitting much better with the theological lyric of the piece. Bruce really hits the vocal perfectly and is a superb version. “Iron Maiden…Number 11…Top of the Pops can go fuck themselves” is the great intro to Flight Of Icarus, the records short and straight forward song, I personally like the song and wish they would dust it off one of these tour, Adrian plays a great solo to boot. After a great Die with your Boots On Bruce states there are going to play the older material, the go back a whole year for 22 Acacia Avenue and it also makes three in a row songs co written by Adrian Smith. The crowd is totally into it, the help Bruce with the vocals to boot, the song at times sounds aggressive and violent as Adrian lays down a killer solo and before the whole band locks in for the judgmental section, great stuff indeed. After Number Of The Beast Dave Murray gets to showcase his talents, firstly with Still Life, a song he co wrote. Dreamlike and trippy the crowd is deathly silent has he plays the opening notes accompanied by Steve Harris and some nice cymbal work by Nicko.As with all the new material it seems like the band puts in extra effort as they want to convey their passion of the music they created. This song to me is almost like a prelude to Infinite Dreams from the Seventh Son record. Bruce introduces the next song as being originally called Dune after the Frank Herbert sci fi novel but the band could not get the rights to officially use the name to they called it To Tame A Land. One of the classic Steve Harris songs, it has a beautiful quiet beginning before breaking into a very majestic riff that is so heavy and makes you want to turn it up and head bang in time (..pause for headbanging..). Dave Murray’s melodic leads are perfect and give the song a Middle Eastern feel and Steve Harris plays some of his best lead bass of the night. The song ends as gently as it begins and evolves into Dave’s solo spot, I remember very well seeing this tour and being amazed at his solo, he played with his teeth, something I had only see Hendrix do and of course threw his guitar in the air ala Blackmore, great stuff indeed. His solo is followed by Nicko’s turn and he proves why he has been the consummate Maiden drummer then and now.
The second disc begins with the trilogy of terror, Phantom Of The Opera is slightly slower but where it lacks in speed it makes up for in sheer heaviness. Bruce’s vocals are well suited and he gives a dramatic rendition to the song, the crowd follows the band by clapping in time with the songs. Hallowed Be Thy Name gets a nice ovation from the crowd, again they clap in time with the band as the song has become an onstage favorite in a short time and still hold a place in Maidens set. You can here Bruce’s crowd participation of cheering during the song, the master showman indeed and a superb version of the song. Of course Iron Maiden closes the main set and Eddie is finally let loose to stalk the stage, larger than ever and straight jacket bound be even had a removable dome to boot and drives the audience insane..”Scream for me Hammersmith !…
The audience demands more, the band return with some crowd pleasers that begin with Bruce introducing the guys in the band and offering a bit of disco music in the form of Run To The Hills. Sanctuary is a given and it steam rolls the audience and the band give both Drifter and Prowler final airings before retiring them for some years, the latter sounds like it wrings all the bands and audience energy from them. Simply one hell of a concert, one of many on this tour that cements the bands claim to metal greatness.
The tri gatefold has pictures from the 83 tour, great live shot of the band in the center with the three triangular trusses down and arms raised in victory, and keeping with the theme of the box set a picture of the tour book.
Gaumont Slaves (G.R.Box 14 E/F)
Gaumont Hall Ipswich UK September 18, 1984
Disc 1 (59:28) Intro, Aces High, 2 Minutes To Midnight, The Trooper, Revelations, Murders In The Rue Morgue, Flight Of Icarus, Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, Losfer Words, Powerslave, Guitar Solo
Disc 2 (44:03) The Number Of The Beast, Hallowed Be Thy Name, 22 Acacia Avenue, Iron Maiden, Run To The Hills, Running Free, Sanctuary
Iron Maiden was on the verge of metal stardom, poised and ready to compete and surpass their peers such a as Judas Priest, Ozzy and the Scorpions. The final wrung on the ladder to success was 1984’s Powerslave, it had it all, brilliant songs, record cover and one of the most elaborate stage sets ever. The bands popularity rose so high that band would tour for close to 2 years, record their fist live record and full length concert video and would sew the first seeds of discontent in its aftermath, seeds that would blossom some years later with the departure of Adrian Smith and finally Bruce Dickinson.
Powerslave was released September 15, 1984 and the band had already logged in a European tour under its belt by the time the hit the UK for an extensive round of dates. The band recorded some of the dates with the idea of making a live record in London, the beauty of these dates is the band was still experimenting with the set list and songs where played that never made it to the United States and the bulk of the Live After Death record.
The recording from the Gaumont Hall is a very good to near excellent audience recording again by Simon , a little more distant that the other two shows on this set and a bit of hall echo can be picked up but the music is well balanced and all instruments and vocals can be clearly heard. This is some very minor hiss present when turned up loud but does not interfere, in fact it sounds best when played at loud volumes.
The intro is the Churchill’s Speech typical for this tour and the band hits the stage with Aces High and after a brief break 2 Minutes To Midnight. These two songs work so well together and form an opening salvo that draws in audience member and listen instantly. Bruce talks about Top Of The Pops again as 2 Minutes has charted high, this time nothing disparaging and the crowd cheers their approval as the song is an instant live favorite and they even lend their voice for back up vocals on the chorus.
“A song about a military man” in the introduction for The Trooper, fast and furious the crowd claps in time ad Murray and Smith play the dual guitar parts perfectly, the crowd has surrender to the band by now and the concert becomes a unison of music delight and they sing along with the band. Bruce has trouble recalling the meaning of the next song as it was written years and years ago, it is familiar to use and the band turn in a great version of Revelations. A little faster in tempo than the previous show in this set but not as fast as the one that would make the official live album, the crowd has it down, the are ready with a “HEY” during all the instrumental breaks. Murders In The Rue Morgue sounds like it catches the crowd unexpectedly, they soon break in into unified clapping as the band go headlong into the fast beginning. The song was played only a few times during this tour and we are lucky to have tow versions in decent quality. After Flight Of Icarus the band the prepare for the centerpiece of the set, the crowd knows what to expect as soon as Bruce says 13 and a half minutes. Having built upon the foundation of To Tame A Land the song is an instant classic and of Steve Harris most enduring progressive songs. Live it is musical perfection, the band play the song with conviction and duly reward the audience in Ipswitch. The recording is nice and clean and you can clearly hear the intricate playing of Steve Harris and the interplay of both guitarists, interestingly the song has a rather abrupt ending.
The rest of the first disc is rounded off by new songs, the first one is the records instrumental, it themes are very indicative to the record and makes me wonder why they never attempted the other songs like Back In The Village or Flash Of The Blade both of which would have been interesting live. Losfer Words (Big ‘Orra) is very effective live, it is a great showcase to again enjoy the interplay between Murray and Smith, their style blend in perfect synchronization. The song gives way to the heavy breathing and laughter that is the evil sounding into to Powerslave. Lyrically this is the dark side of the coin to Revelations, drunk with powder and condemned to its draw the saw brings it both words and music and the band turn a excellent live versions of the song. The song gives way to Dave Murray who again takes the solo guitar spot,his solo on this night is more musical and less over the top and sound like it follows the Powerslave theme and Nicko adds some drums and gongs to the proceedings to great effect.
The second disc begins with a standard version of the Number Of The Beast, standard meaning ass kicking and is quickly followed by Hallowed Be Thy Name. The crowd reacts not with a huge cheer but instantly start clapping along with the song as it has become a stage favorite, you can the audience singing along to great effect. Again it is the time changes and musical interplay between the band that make the song, Both guitarist nail their solos and when the band is playing the swirling riffs you can hear the crowd being riled up to the max by Bruce, the consummate front man. 22 Acacia Avenue is played next, to me it has a very interesting spot in the set and the band seems to turn it up a notch for its placing. Always a crowd favorite is serves to whip the crowd up for the set closer as it always should be with Iron Maiden, Bruce has a great intro for the song, he asked the crowd to give him each letter of the song. The respond all through out the song and provide backing vocals from Bruce and one can easily visualize the tower from of a mummified Eddie towering overhead.
The crowd demands more and they will not have to wait long, the band return to the stage and Bruce gives the introductions and states the Steve is happy Prince Charles is a fan ! Run To The Hills is the first of the encores and the energy goes up a notch, the crowd are even more vocal and the group responds. Running Free is brought back and his the vehicle for audience participation, well more they have been participating all night. Bruce does the whole split the crowd thing to perfection and the audience responds in spades, the crowd demand more and chants “Maiden…Maiden” until they return with nice and fast version of Sanctuary.
Bruce drains every last bit of energy from the crowd and give the band a huge ovation at its conclusion.
As with the other sets this one is covered with mostly live shots of the band on the tri gatefold sleeve, there is a after show shot if the group enjoying the success of another concert. The shot of Steve Harris on the back caught mid jump as the fireworks shoot from the huge Eddie’s eyes is fantastic. It is obvious that Godfather takes their box sets very seriously and we the collectors are the happy recipients of their efforts.
This box is a Iron Maiden fans dream and gets my enthusiastic praise and recommendations, if you want to know why Iron Maiden in the biggest metal band in the world one must look no farther.