Iron Maiden – Definitive Paris 1993 (Zodiac 469)

Definitive Paris 1993 (Zodiac 469)

Elysee Montmartre, Paris, France – April 10, 1993 

Disc 1 (54:48) Intro, Be Quick Or Be Dead, The Number Of The Beast, Prowler, Transylvania, Remember Tomorrow, Where Eagles Dare, From Here To Eternity, Wasting Love, Bring Your Daughter…To The Slaughter, Wasted Years, The Evil That Men Do 

Disc 2 (53:53) MC, Afraid To Shoot Stranger, Fear Of The Dark, The Clairvoyant, Heaven Can Wait, Run To The Hills, Iron Maiden, Hallowed Be Thy Name, The Trooper, Sanctuary 

This release caught me off guard as there are not a lot of silver bootlegs from Iron Maiden’s tour in support of A Real Live One, their 1993 live album culled from the Fear Of The Dark tour. The “Real Live Tour” ran from March 25, 1993 to June 4, 1993 and were made up of dates in Europe and the U.K. A short break followed the dates and the band played two performances at Pinewood Studio’s in late August that were filmed and released as Raising Hell, these are Bruce Dickinson’s last concerts with Iron Maiden until 1999. The news that Bruce was leaving Iron Maiden at the tour’s conclusion brought out the fans and many of the concerts were recorded from the audience yet most of the bootlegs from this tour are from the Pinewood dates so to have a release from this tour is special. 

The recording used for this release is a complete excellent audience recording, it sounds as if it was recorded near the stage and captures an extremely clear and detailed sound stage. All instruments and vocals are perfectly balanced, there is certainly some crown noise as well but does not overpower, just adds to the ambiance of the recording. This tour was plagued by inconsistent performances from Bruce, being in the capital of France he is certainly on his A game for the Paris Metalheads. So pop the discs in the player and turn this up loud, the recording and performance demands it. 

The opening number is the excellent Be Quick Or Be Dead, the opening song from the Fear Of The Dark CD and the first single as well. Incredible track, my love for this song has not waned in the thirty years since I first heard it. This song was like a breath of fresh air and a throwback to the band’s earlier works, fast with great time signatures and a killer riff. The audience is into it from the go, they are clearly audible singing the choruses, a curious second song is The Number Of The Beast, its position early in the set is like a shot to the face and works perfectly. Bruce greets the crowd properly with “Bon Soir Paris”, without hesitation the band go into Prowler which clearly catches them off guard but they instantly rebound and again help Bruce with the lyrics. That is what is great about the Real Live Tour, the band added several deep cuts to the set list. The band play a ripping version of Prowler which is followed by Transylvania which ends with a nod to Strange World, which leads into Remember Tomorrow! If this is not enough Where Eagles Dare is dusted off having not been played since the 1983 World Piece Tour, this oldies section is extremely well played and powerful, Eagles is storming and Nicko’s drums will pummel you yet during the middle section the timing is off and the band get slightly off track. A real live one for sure.

With the oldies done for a bit the band get into the now, From Here To Eternity is rousing. The near ballad Wasting Love is very well received, the song is a crowd favorite and they assist Bruce in singing. He, in turn, gives a stunning vocal performance, soaring and commanding. During his introduction to Wasted Years Bruce gives a nod to Adrian Smith which elicits a nice ovation for the guitarist who wrote the AOR single for the incredible Somewhere In Time opus. The incredible Afraid To Shoot Strangers begins the second disc, the somber beginning with Steve Harris’ bass taking center stage sees the audience quietly clap along. The nightmare of battle follows and it’s pure Maiden in their bombastic best. Jannick takes the first solo, his manic style reminiscent of Ritchie Blackmore is perfect in its fury, a chorus interlude leads to Dave Murray’s more melodic structured leads, blistering. The equally incredible Fear Of The Dark follows, the audience begins with the vocalization during the intro and the drama begins, some voices more in tune than others. Bruce gives an incredible vocal on the opening mellow portion, his phrasing is punctually perfect, the heavy part is Maiden perfection, the twist and turns of the music perfectly matched with lyric, classic Maiden.

The Clairvoyant has a more up tempo Harris bass intro that introduces the melody as well, the song is a live favorite and a dynamic song well placed in the set, it just keeps getting better. Heaven Can Wait is furious in its pacing, lots of crowd interaction, Bruce works the audience like the master front man he is. I like these early versions before they began the big sing along “ooohs”, early focused and incredibly powerful, damn the ending is killer! A storming version of Run To The Hills follows with the energy of the band and audience still at 10, this continues through the set ending version of Iron Maiden. This recording features the full crowd cheering until the band return to the stage with the epic Hallowed Be Thy Name, a perfect encore song the audience is ready for Bruce to lead them in the familiar cheering section made famous on their Live After Death opus. Maiden hits the audience hard with this storming version of The Trooper, in an interesting spot as an encore, it works well. The audience are feeding off every note singing and cheering at one with the band. A golden age Maiden classic ends the set. Sanctuary features a brilliant Bruce solo showing his lungs are at full capacity, the audience is lead through a cheer along, a glorious ending to a brilliant concert.

The packaging is perfect, Derek Riggs artwork and relevant photos from the era adorn the inserts and CD’s themselves all housed in a slim lined jewel case. Straight up excellent title all the way around, great sound and a killer performance make this a great title that I am very glad to have in my collection. Interesting fact to end with, if one examines the A Real Dead One official release you’ll see 2 Minutes To Midnight credited to this performance, that is certainly wrong as it was not played on this evening. It did not appear in the set for another couple weeks, its first appearance in a recording would be the April 23 date in Gothenburg.    

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