Iron Maiden – Killers At Cornwall (Golden Eggs EGG 123)

Killers At Cornwall (Golden Eggs EGG 123)

Cornwall Coliseum, Saint Austell, England, UK, – May 31, 1980

(77:18) Ides Of March / Sanctuary, Wrathchild, Prowler, Remember Tomorrow, Paul’s Talk, Killers, Running Free, Another Life / Drum Solo / Another Life, Transylvania, Strange World, Charlotte The Harlot, Phantom Of The Opera, Iron Maiden, Public’s Call, Drifter, I’ve Got The Fire

Iron Maiden were the opening act on two prestigious tours, Judas Priest’s British Steel UK tour during the month of March and KISS’ Unmasked tour in September and October. Between these huge tours the band did their own extensive headline tour of the United Kingdom in support of the debut self titled album. The first leg of the tour would feature support from Praying Mantis and DJ Neal Kay, the same DJ who helped push the band by playing their demo and bringing awareness to not only Maiden, but the burgeoning Metal scene.

The Cornwall Coliseum in Saint Austell was a large concrete building seating a standing only capacity of 3,400 punters, certainly there were no seats for this Metal show. The recording sounds like what one would expect by looking at the building. It falls easily into the very good range, albeit slightly distant yet a clear and detailed recording with just a bit of distortion and hall echo. The instruments and vocals are well balanced and clearly heard, the crowd interference directly near the taper is minimal yet retains the atmosphere of a Metal show. A recording like this meets very important criteria, it sounds really good when played LOUD!

The performance is excellent, Iron Maiden were a live machine, their line up was stable (for another 5 months at least!) and consists of singer Pail Di’Anno, Bassist Steve Harris, Guitarists Dave Murray and Dennis Stratton, and drummer Clive Burr. The setlist would feature the complete debut album being played plus a couple of songs that were common to their early set lists and make their way on the follow up record, 1981’s Killers. The intro is a pre-taped Ideas Of March being played over the PA and the band assaults the stage full fury with Sanctuary, a song that was the lead off track on the Metal For Muthas compilation LP as well as a stand alone single yet curiously not on the actual debut record, although it would appear on CD reissues. Maiden understood pacing and the song was linked back to back with Wrathchild, a song that would play second to many opening numbers over the years, an incredible opening salvo. Paul dedicates Prowler to all the punters who came to see them, his voice sounds a bit tired during his opening rap but he is in strong voice while singing. Love Prowler, definitely one of my favorites since I first heard it, Dave Murray’s melodic work on the wah pedal is very lyrical, his solo is a thing of beauty, as is all his playing.

Some of the best Metal music utilizes a light and shade approach, Iron Maiden certainly understood this, Remember Tomorrow was an early song with this dynamic. I have often wondered if they took inspiration from Judas Priest’s Beyond The Realms Of Death as they have similar structure. Remember Tomorrow was certain one of their more early Progressive pieces, one does not think of this as Progressive due to its speed. The middle fast section is just brilliant, Dave solos first, and that is smokin’, then Dennis Stratton takes a solo and just destroys it! Stunning.

Paul introduces Killers as being from their next record and this is the earliest live version of the song, hence it makes it to the title of this release! The song starts off disjointed thanks to what sounds like a guitar issue that hampers the beginning, the band make their way through and once Clive does the first fill they get it together. The song features alternate lyrics consistent with the 1980 versions of the song. Running Free gets a nice response from the crowd, they instantly start clapping in time to the “first single”, this is a straight version, no clap or sing along to bog it down. Another Life is introduced to no fanfare, although it was not officially released until the following year’s Killers record, was a part of the earliest setlists and would be a vehicle for Clive Burr’s always entertaining drum solo, I love Dave Murray’s playing on this song, his leads on this song have always knocked me out, both on the live and studio version.

Transylvania and Strange World are played in succession like on the debut album, the former is the band’s first instrumental and is really a showcase for Dave, his playing is what highlights the intricate playing the song dictates, he doesn’t give Stratton a chance to play lead, this is all Dave! His leads during the melancholy are quite melodic and stunning, they play it a bit sparse versus other versions from this era and it’s really nice. “A song that Dave and Steve wrote…Charlotte The Harlot”, this song was written musically by Dave Murray, it has more of a Deep Purple feel than a Steve Harris Maiden song, that’s why its so infectious live, very Rock and Roll with a sing along type chorus.

Certainly the first of Steve Harris’ epics is Phantom Of The Opera, perhaps the first Progressive Metal song ever. It has all the technicality of great progressive music coupled with extreme speed that was common for these early versions, that’s what makes them so fricking good. The speed and precision of this version is incredible, this matches the great version from the Marquee I first heard on the B-Side of the Women in Uniform single, when it comes to early versions of this song, they do no wrong. Iron Maiden finishes the set proper, the fans give the band a huge cheer and instantly chants of “Maiden…Maiden…Maiden” start and bring the band back to the stage. The encores feature Drifter that is usually in the encore slot complete with yo yo yo singalong spot and a very early cover version of the Montrose (Paper Money) classic I’ve Got The Fire.

The packaging is what we expect from Golden Eggs, a tri gatefold sleeve with many a classic posed and live shots of the Iron Maiden 1980 line up. The interior of the sleeve offers liner notes, love the pictures of Paul Di’Anno with his Wings tour shirt on. This is one of the earliest live recordings to make it to a silver pressed bootleg, based upon rarity of recording, sound quality and Killer performance, makes this is a title worth seeking out.

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