Resurrection At Hammersmith (The Godfatherecords G.R. 670/671)
Hammersmith Odeon London, England – October 12, 1984
Disc 1(57:10) Aces High, 2 Minutes To Midnight, The Trooper, Revelations, Murders In The Rue Morgue, Phantom Of The Opera, Flight Of Icarus, Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, Losfer Words (Big ‘Orra)
Disc 2 (67:41) Powerslave, Guitar Solo, The Number Of The Beast, Hallowed Be Thy Name, 22 Acacia Avenue, Iron Maiden, Run To The Hills, Running Free, Sanctuary Bonus Tracks Hammersmith Odeon October 10, 1984; Children Of The Damned, Die With Your Boots On
Let me start of by saying how excited I was when I saw this title in the new releases by Godfathers. It had everything going for it, great looking packaging and a show from probably their most beloved tour. When my copy finally arrived and I put it in my player I was disappointed to find a layer of noise that is attributed to heavy handed mastering and or use of a poor source.
The noise is the familiar metallic haze that ruins the first disc and is even more prevalent on the second disc but curiously it does not affect the final two bonus tracks. A real disappointment as the recording was already a very good audience recording bordering on excellent but slightly distant with little crowd noise. It is the same source as Back In The Village on Meltdown ML 91606 release years ago.
The concert itself is a superbly played show, the last of a four date run at London’s famous Hammersmith Odeon. All four concerts were professionally recorded for what eventually became the Live After Death record, the London recordings made up side four with a couple tracks being released as B-sides.
After Churchill’s Speech the band storms the stage with the double salvo of Aces High and 2 Minutes To Midnight, the hometown crowd warmly greets the band and they respond with a very tight and high level of musicianship. Bruce introduces a song about a British Soldier and the band storm through a thundering version of The Trooper, the audiences sings along to the opening line “You take my life I’ll take yours too…”. The interplay between Dave Murray and Adrian Smith is almost symbiotic in nature.
The set list is well structured and because they were recording specifically for the live album they left open spots to change songs out, lucky for us. This recording features the only know live version (from the World Slavery Tour) of Murders In The Rue Morgue. Bruce introduces the songs “We have a surprise for you” and the eerie opening notes of the song are played. This song was officially released as the B-Side to the Running Free single (who can forget the cover, the live shot of Bruce and Steve, one of the few single to not have band mascot Eddie gracing the cover).
The next song is Phantom of the Opera, one could probably consider this the first of the Harris epics. The middle section is beautifully played with harmonizing guitars and Harris’s bass played note to note perfection.
The second epic of the evening is Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the band excels with its progressive structure shows the influences of early Genesis and Yes. A shame that the middle section is marred by the metallic noise so prevalent during the quiet sections. The instrumental Losfer Words rounds out side two, filled with melodic and fast paced time signatures that is not as memorable as Transylvania or Genghis Khan but is well played live and its great to hear (there is an officially released live version found on the B-side of the running Free live single).
The second disc opens with a thick haze of metallic noise and the demonic laughter that leads to Powerslave, the title track written by Bruce Dickinson is classic Maiden both musically and lyrically. Live it shines through, visually featuring Bruce with his bird mask on (just look at the cover) his first stage at adding a theatrical touch to his performance.
A Dave Murray guitar solo follows, clocking in at 3 minutes it begins with a flurry of notes and ends with some Hendrix like bombing raid noises. The rest of the concert is fast paced metal in its more perfect form, The Number of the Beast starts the end and is quickly followed by Hallowed Be Thy Name, the beginning sounding strange and almost distorted. Curiously the song is followed by 22 Acacia Avenue, the continued saga of Charlotte The Harlot before the main set comes to a close with Iron Maiden.
The bands signature song is introduced by teacher Bruce going call and response with the audience in spelling the song out, unfortunately the recording levels a now more quiet leading even more to the white noise levels. The evenings concert finishes with three standard encores; Run to the Hills, a ten minute version of running Free complete with audience interplay and finally Sanctuary. As I stated earlier a truly fantastic concert.
The bonus tracks are from two days prior, the recording is good to very good and more distant from the stage but clear and very enjoyable. The songs do not suffer from the metallic noise that ruins the rest the majority of the release. The versions of Children of the Damned and Die with Your Boots are the versions that were used for the official Live After Death record and its cool to here them from a different perspective.
The packaging makes this release, beautifully adorned with pictures from the tour and graphics relevant to the era (I love the shot of Eddie looming over the stage as Dave Murray is captured with his guitar in mid air ala one Ritchie Blackmore). If you can live with the annoying metallic noise any Maiden fan would totally enjoy this release, for me I can only look at it as a disappointment.
Hopefully Godfathers can rectify this with another release from the World Slavery Tour, it was captured very well by enterprising tapers and many quality recordings are in circulation.