Iron Maiden – Budokan 1987 (Zodiac 177)

Iron Maiden – Budokan 1987Budokan 1987 (Zodiac 177)

Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – May 13, 1987

Disc 1 (63:37) Theme from Blade Runner, Caught Somewhere In Time, 2 Minutes To Midnight, Wrathchild, Children Of The Damned, Stranger In A Strange Land, Wasted Years, Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, Walking On Glass, Heaven Can Wait

Disc 2 (47:14) Phantom Of The Opera, Hallowed Be Thy Name, Iron Maiden, The Number Of The Beast, Run To The Hills, Member Introduction, Running Free, Sanctuary

Iron Maiden ended the tour to support Somewhere In Time with a seven date tour of Japan, the band has enjoy a passionate following in the country since making their live debut there six years prior while on the Killers tour. This time it would be a bit special as they would play their first ever concert at the prestigious 14,000 seat Nippon Budokan, the very hall where their beloved heroes Deep Purple had recorded their iconic live album Made In Japan. The concert was the first of two in Tokyo, the second was held at the more intimate 3,800 seat NHK Hall. This is the third time the folks at Zodiac have revisited this tour, and for your listening pleasure proudly present this never before bootlegged recording!

There are two known recordings from this concert, the first recording is merely good as it was recorded some distance from the stage, it was released as Beyond Time To Go (Non Label), a CD-R title. Recorder 2 is what is featured on this exciting new release, it’s an audience recording in the very good bordering on excellent, well balanced with no real crowd interference near the taper who captured a superb document. First off just turn this up as it sounds great and has a wonderful ambient atmosphere, most certainly due to the hall’s excellent acoustics. The recording begins with the most appropriate Blade Runner intro music as the audience claps along to the music. Once the Somewhere In Time intro comes on it’s on as a huge roar comes from the capacity audience. For being close to the end of the tour one can not tell as the band hit the stage full force and seem ready to give their best. 2 Minutes follows on it’s heal as the ‘ead banging continues. The band moved a few songs in and out of the set during the European trek but it stabilized for the American trek. They play Wrathchild as something a bit special for the Japanese tour, an aggressive version of the song, Bruce lets out a superb wail mid song, after the songs conclusion he acknowledges that it indeed their first time playing the Budokan. Children Of The Damned is dedicated to those “wonderful American TV Evangelists”, this was the 80’s and they were still on the Religious rights list of musical acts to keep your kids away from. You can clearly hear Michael Kenney’s keyboards during Stranger In A Strange Land, adding to the lush futuristic sound of the music.

Bruce again praises the audience with niceties just prior to the best version of Wasted Years I have heard, it is just perfectly played and Adrian lets loose with a really great solo to boot. Rime Of The Ancient Mariner is the first piece of the evening, there is a cut during the spoken word section at 6:26 to 6:35 that has been patched with the first recording, the edit is smooth and seamless. Walking On Glass gives the guitarists a chance to collaborate on the Adrian Smith ethereal sounding guitar meets synth instrumental. The crowd helps out with the Oh’s during the mini epic Heaven Can Wait.

The second disc starts with a brilliant Trilogy of Terror, Hallowed Be Thy Name is a standout version and by this time a fan favorite, and yes the audience screams in all the right places. All three songs are played at break neck speed with the finale of Iron Maiden slashing out in its aggression. Bruce brings it to a fevered pitch as the inflatable Eddie appears, demanding the audience “Scream for me Budokan!”. Based upon my Spinal Tap audience meter, the first two encores of The Number Of The Beast and Run To The Hills is redlining at 11, the energy level is raised that much. Even after a lengthier break the band returns for Running Free yet their enthusiasm has not diminished and after introducing the band, Bruce is more than happy with their response. The later tour outro of the Star Trek “Space…The Final Frontier” begins to play but is abruptly stopped, the band returns and play a speed metal version of Sanctuary to end the proceedings proper. The recording ends with the aforementioned Star Trek outro, wish it was complete, I remember this being played at my third and final time seeing this tour all those years ago. Great recording of one of THE best concerts from the entire tour!

The packaging is typical for Zodiac, a virtual futuristic Eddie adorns the covers imposed over the streets of Tokyo, the rest of the insert and tray pictures are interior shots of the Budokan and are quite nice. The CD’s have a live shot of the inflatable Eddie ‘ead on them and you get a collectable sticker as well. Love this tour and it is great to have a first time pressed concert in my collection, one that certainly should appeal to Maiden and Metal fans. 

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