Slave To The Power (The Godfatherecords G.R. 883/884)
Apollo Theatre, GlasgowScotlandUK – September 11, 1984
Disc 1 (57:53) Intro, Aces High, 2 Minutes To Midnight, The Trooper, Revelations, Flight Of Icarus, Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, Loser Words (Bog ‘Orra), Powerslave, Guitar Solo
Disc 2 (44:37) The Number Of The Beast, Hallowed Be Thy Name, 22 Acacia Avenue, Iron Maiden, Run To The Hills, Running Free, Sanctuary
One band Godfathers has not shied away from is Iron Maiden, after two incredible box sets showcasing the bands output during the 80’s one could wonder what’s next? Another show from the band’s legendary World Slavery tour, complete and in very good to near excellent sound quality. What draws fans back again and again to this particular era in Maiden’s illustrious career is the fact that the band was playing at an extremely high level, night after night they slammed audiences with full throttle performances as well as the stunning visual experience that would go down in Maiden lore as THE best.
Glasgow has long been a favorite city for the band, the Apollo Theatre has excellent acoustics and passionate fans making for a memorable evening, one that finds our merry band of London East Enders playing their first concert date on the bands United Kingdom leg of the tour, one that would culminate with four sold out shows in their hometown London and would forever be immortalized on the Live After Death record. Of course the band had done a short European tour prior to this, seeing the band playing behind the Iron Curtain, a first for a metal band. As stated above the audience recording is very good and near excellent and just slightly distant, well balanced with all instruments and vocals perfect in the mix, there is very little crowd noise directly near the taper and the ambience captured is perfect.
The band would play a standard set of songs for most of the tour, a set comprising of material made up of Bruce era material with a few classics thrown in for good measure. During the European and UK leg they would also throw in a few special surprises along the way. The recording starts with Churchill’s Speech and the band hits the stage in full flight for “Aces High”, the Glasgow crowd greets them with a victors welcome. Bruce is in superb voice from the scream and the mix is perfect and all instruments can be heard and fully enjoyed, I love hearting Steve’s bass playing in this recording. “Glasgow what time are we in tonight ?…” is Bruce’s intro the “2 Minutes to Midnight”, the fever pitch continues as the audience not only clap along but also supply chorus back up, making for a superb version of the song. So fevered is the crowd that Bruce tells them that their two hour show will take them 5 hours to play, he even offers his opinion of Top Of The Pops, something that gets a loud cheer from the audience. As with “2 Minutes”, “The Trooper” is met with a huge ovation and the crowd is completely into it, they again clap and sing to great effect. Guitarist Dave Murray and Adrian Smith trade leads effortlessly and the song is very powerful.
Bruce tells the crowd how nice it is to be back in Glasgow, he has an intimate rapport with the crowd, like good friends getting together for a good jam as he is most certainly one of the best front / showman in Metal. The band slows down the pace with a superb rendition of “Revelations” and a fast take on “Flight Of Icarus”, a song in this reviewers opinion needs to be revisited to by the band as it has not been played live since the mid 80s. The real centerpiece of the gig is the mammoth “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner”, fueled by the incessant cheering from the crowd who are elated to hear the intro of “what not to do if a bird shots on you”. 13 minutes of pure progressive metal with a serious nod to Genesis and Yes, “Mariner” is certainly one of Harris’ masterworks. His playing is can be heard clearly as he not only sets the foundation but also the pace, the riffing on the “water, water everywhere” section is perfection. Of course the center section is excellent, the solitude of the Mariner is felt as the boards creak and his story of his fellow crewman dropping down, one by one is told. The rebirth segment is punctuated by Bruce’s striking vocals, the use of echo on his voice is perfect and it all culminates with a soaring scream and explosions of a musical nature. A superb rendition of the classic song.
Bruce introduces the next song as a chance for him to draw his pension, a most interesting was to take a vocal break while the band plows through the twists and turns of “Loser Word (Big ‘Orra)”, while listening to the song I was struck at how similar it was to “Flash Of The Blade”, also from the Powerslave record. That record’s title track quickly follows, complete with its haunting voice intro and the re appearance of Bruce with his hours styled mask, a bit of theatre no doubt. Dave Murray’s melodic leads seem to hang in the air, in a haze of echo that gives the song an eerie feel before Adrian rips it to shreds. Dave gets his moment to shine via a solo spot at “Powerslave’s” conclusion, his intense three minute solo showcases his immense talent but also serves in part as an homage to his heroes, Blackmore, Schenker and of course Hendrix.
While the first disc was a Poweslave and Piece Of Mind showcase, the second disc is a Number of the Beast and Di’Anno years feast. “The Number Of The Beast” leads the charge and is quickly followed by an incredible version of “Hallowed Be Thy Name”, full of the signatures twists and turns, again it’s Murray and Smith who steal the show, their infectious leads are just blazing and the whole song is like a how to for kicking ass. Bruce demands more from the crowd as he introduces “22 Acacia Avenue”, it’s in a curious place in the set sandwiched between “Hallowed” and “Maiden” but I will take any live version of the song. Bruce feels the energy level is slowing to he asks “What do you recon Glasgow” and changes a lyric to “Anytime your down in Glasgow”, needless to say it seems to wake them and they clap in response. Of course the main set is finished with the bands signature song, “Iron Maiden”. The song contains the shows real visual feast when Eddie appears towering overhead of the drum riser in massive form, as Bruce demands “Scream For Me Glasgow…Scream for me Glasgow!” they need little encouragement.
The chants of “Maiden” start soon after the band leave the stage that draws the Beast back to the stage. Bruce gives the opening band, Waysted, a big shout out. Of course the bass player was none other than Pete Way of UFO fame. The love for Number Of The Beast continues as the band retake the stage for their encore call, what better way to start it off than with “Run To The Hills”, a song about cowboys and Indians. Again Bruce gets the crowd into the mix helping with the chorus to great effect and the song leaves them clambering for more and their energy is the fuel to feed “Running Free”. Just prior Bruce introduces the band to much fanfare, the simple yet riff heavy song is the perfect vehicle to drain the audience of what energy they have left, Bruce gets them in the obligatory sing along that is great fun. “You Want It?” the answer is yes and the band roar through a fast “Sanctuary” in excellent fashion to end the evening. I love Bruce’s fake cough during the song, he has certainly delivery on this evening and would continue to do so throughout the rest of the tour.
The packaging is, as usual with the Maiden titles, excellent. The use of Powerslave graphics mixed with posed and live shots of the band is visually very appealing. There is series of five pictures of Dave Murray taken in Egypt in front of the Pyramids and the Sphinx, I have never seen these pics before and for me bring the whole set together. Another excellent and must have Maiden title, more please!