Koseinenkin Hall, Osaka, Japan – April 24, 1985
Disc 1 (45:38) Aces High, Two Minutes To Midnight, The Trooper, Revelations, Flight Of Icarus, Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, Powerslave
Disc 2 (37:06) Guitar Solo, The Number Of The Beast, Hallowed Be Thy Name, Iron Maiden, Band Members Introduced, Run To The Hills, Running Free, Sanctuary
Iron Maiden played a total of 8 concerts in Japan as part of their massive World Slavery Tour in April 1985, the second to last date of the tour was in the city of Osaka and the subject of this new title from a new label, Drifter Records. Judging from the record company name, I am guessing they will be focusing on Iron Maiden something I am more than good with. The recording used for this title is a good to very good audience recording, it is clear and defined but lacks frequency dynamics. It is slightly distant and is clean and atmospheric, do not be afraid to turn this up loud.
By this point of the tour, the band had settled on a set list and did not vary from it, nonetheless the band put on an excellent performance for 2,400 rabid metal maniacs. Curious on this tour the band did not use Churchill’s speech, rather you get the air craft engines and planes flying overhead that lead directly into Aces High. The one two punch of Aces and 2 Minutes is certainly a powerful opening segment, Bruce mentions Osaka between the songs making certain that the recording date is not in doubt. The metal heads in Osaka know their Maiden and sing the chorus’s during 2 Minutes with Bruce, they continue this trend through a fast and furious version of The Trooper. They slow the proceedings down a bit with Revelations, a song about “Religion and things like that”, it takes Bruce a bit to get the audience to follow his lead but soon they cheer in all the right spot. Flight Of Icarus features a blistering Dave Murray at the songs end, a flurry of notes that rips your head clean off!
Bruce plugs the new record, Poweslave, and introduces a long song based upon a poem, you can hear some punters chanting in the distance, thankfully it is a minor disturbance and his intro comes through clearly. Rime Of The Ancient Mariner is truly a prog epic, the band rips through the intricate twists and turns with surgical precision. The very ending has what sounds like an edit as it does, well weird. If it is the fade and seam is superb as it sounds very good and based upon the timing it would make perfect sense to flip a tape. Powerslave is the last song on the first disc, played at a nice fast tempo with dueling guitars of Murray and Smith lock into a tight synchronicity, Bruce does a superb vocal (as usual), only thing that sucks is the song ends into a Dave Murray guitar solo, well you get the first 12 seconds then you need to quickly switch to the second disc…
…to hear this incredible Dave solo, love to hear him just let loose once in a while, his leads flow effortlessly and Nicko joins in for some added bombasity (yes, I invented a new word). The solo ends with the venue going dark then the Number Of The Beast intro comes eerily over the PA and the trilogy of terror begins. I think for most Maiden fans this is the tour where Hallowed Be Thy Name began to take epic status, largely due to the Live After Death record. Where many front men would go take a breather, Bruce stays out and rips the audience into a frenzy…”SCREAM FOR ME OSAKA!”. Iron Maiden finishes the set, as it has and always will, its tradition. Bruce talks of being in Osaka the previous year, Bruce is mistaken as they did not play in Japan during the “World Piece Tour” yet he makes up for it when introducing Nicko. The encores are standard for the tour, they breeze through Run To The Hills, Running Free has the audience already prepared, as soon as the band starts the audience starts clapping and it’s great to hear them sing the chorus’ for the song. We get the obligatory sing along and it’s like a bunch of friends getting together for a big party, as the band leave the stage they chant loudly “MAIDEN…MAIDEN”, they will not wait long as the band come back, Bruce tells the audience they will be back in a year or so and the band rips into a speed metal version of Sanctuary that ends the concert proper. A superbly played concert, the band is a well oiled machine!
The packaging is simple full color inserts housed in a slim line jewel case, the front cover is a take on the Powerslave theme while the rest are full color and black and white live shots from the tour and there is a numbered sticker as well. Excellent performance, very acceptable recording makes for an impressive debut and has me very much looking forward to their “Beast Over Manchester” title.