Unleash The Beast (Calm & Storm 041)
Shiboya Kokaido, Tokyo, Japan – December 4, 1982
Disc 1 (62:30) Opening, Murders In The Rue Morgue, Wrathchild, Run To The Hills, Children Of The Damned, The Number Of The Beast, Another Life, 22 Acacia Avenue, Drum Solo, Transylvania, Dave Murray Guitar Solo, The Prisoner, Hallowed Be Thy Name
Disc 2 (54:05) The Phantom Of The Opera, Iron Maiden, Running Free, Sanctuary, Drifter, Prowler, Smoke On The Water, I’ve Got The Fire
Such was the success of Maiden’s first visit to Japan the previous year that the country would be a regular stop on the band’s world tours and they would close the Beast on the Road with a 10 date jaunt in late November early December 1982. The tour was well covered and recordings exist for 6 of the dates and multiple sources circulate for a couple of them. Shades released a title Iron Maiden Tokyo Beast documenting three of the Tokyo shows but unfortunately it was pressed onto CD-R’s. Finally collectors have a silver release of Iron Maiden’s 1982 Japanese Tour, thanks to the Miracle Man archives, and one has only to look at the encores to know that the band gave their Japanese fans something special.
The sound is similar to other Miracle Man tapes, slightly distant sounding but very clear and well balanced. The recording has that wonderful mix of music to audience that gives it great ambiance; the audience is raucous and is thrilled to see the band. The band hit the stage with “Murders in the Rue Morgue” that and the crowd roar the arrival with much happiness. “Wrathchild” immediately follows and is very strong and powerful sounding, the differences a year makes are instantaneous, Bruce is a master showman and has the crowd sing the chorus and gives them a few “air raid sirens” to boot. A very strong version of the Maiden classic.
Bruce greets the Tokyo audience to a loud ovation and tells the crowd that this would be their last night in their city and makes a comment about computers before introducing “Run To The Hills”. In my opinion the 1982 versions of the song are the best, the playing is just so tight and perfect and Bruce sang it with a more aggressive tone in his voice, the audience claps and sing with the band making for a spectacular rendition. Bruce talks about the next song as one their detractors say is about devil worship and such, of course it is about a doomed individual and the band roll into “Children of the Damned”. The song is a definite move forward for Steve Harris, while rather short it has that epic feel that would culminate in some of his later (and longer) songs. With the addition of Bruce he was able to open up this song writing, one cannot really hearing Paul Di’Anno being able to sing this song effectively. Again the audience is right with Bruce and they help with some backing vocals close the songs conclusion with some “ooohhhsss”.
The song flows almost non stop into the recorded voice of Beelzebub and the title track of the current record The Number Of The Beast. Great to hear the crowd, as Bruce does his first scream at the songs begging they match it and also help at various spots throughout. It is obvious that the band is feeding off the endless energy supply they are giving off. The band is keeping the tempo fast, the go right into “Another Life” and Bruce does his song into during the opening riff. The song has a looser feel than the previous tour and is getting one of its final airings on this tour. Again I love this song and its wonderful Dave Murray melody leads he plays but I find myself waiting for the drum solo and it does not come in these 1982 versions.
The band try and take a quick breather but the crowd won’t let them so Bruce gets them screaming while a bit of tuning is done and they rip into “22 Acacia Avenue”. The crowd is in the palm of his hands and Bruce acknowledges them and even changes a line from “anytime your down on the East End” to “Anytime your down in Tokyo”. The drum solo comes next and starts as a stand alone solo, Clive was an incredible player whose contribution to the band must not be overlooked (I say was as I am not sure if he is even able to play anymore due to his afflictions). He interacts and engages the audience through his playing, at times he plays a rhythm and the crowd claps the same back to him, fantastic! Clive gets a quick round of applause before the band hits the stage with “Transylvania”, the bands earliest instrumental and arguable their most beloved. Dave leads them through the paces, I was listening to his fantastic playing and was thinking of all the different band members who have played that song as the band evolved in their formative years (I counted at least 13). It all leads into a blistering, and I mean blistering Dave solo and one of substance and not overly done and leads into the intro to “The Prisoner” and the return of Bruce who has had a few minutes to catch his breath and ultimately “Hallowed Be Thy Name” finishes the first disc but is the beginning of the trilogy of terror.
No Maiden show is complete without this song as it is a band and metal classic, as I listened I thought of how influential the music is and my first comparison comes to Metallica. One has to simply listen to the …And Justice For All track “One” to see the similarities, the lyrical themes are the similar, one is being led to his death where the other is waiting to die and musically they both start off slow and almost melancholy before erupting into a furious onslaught. Back to Maiden, Bruce sings the opening lyric fantastically and puts much emotion into it and that’s why I love the 1982 versions of these songs as it is in the way Bruce sings them. In coming years he would develop into a more soaring style I would guess came about with vocal training that would make it easier on his vocal chords.
The second disc starts with the Dave or Adrian teasing “Smoke On The Water” that has the crowd going insane, their energy level is at a high and Bruce translates the language barrier by being Bruce! He has them cheering at all the right spots during the opening of “Phantom Of The Opera”. The song has lost none of its primal fury and the band try and lay waste to all. The audience cheers Bruce as he sings the opening lyric to great effect. Iron Maiden finishes the main set as it has been and always will be, Bruce asked during the song “Do your hear me Tokyo” as if demanding a response, he gets one as the audience perfects speed clapping.
The band barely takes a rest and is back on stage, the energy if the audience is infectious and the band is having a great time, Bruce talks to the crowd and “Smoke On The Water” is teased again. They know they will play it but first things first….”Running Free”. The encore section is always one of the early classics and “Running Free” is the perfect vehicle. The audience gets it and delivery spot on back up vocals and cheers as directed by the master of ceremonies. Another fake break is needed before Bruce asks who know what songs is next, It is of course “Sanctuary”. The song gives Bruce a chance to do an acapella solo for the audience that is meant to impress and it does! More crowd interaction follows with “Drifter”, Bruce is ready to sing and comes in a little early but sounds right on and does some really nice vocal improvisation reminiscent of RJD during his Rainbow years. It sounds as if he is really enjoying himself throughout the show and loves the Tokyo crowd, of course we are waiting for the sing along section of the song, but first we get our ass kicked by a great Adrian solo followed by some guitar harmonizing that leads to the Police inspired Yo, Yo, Yo sing along section. The crowd has obviously either remembered the bands earlier visit or has heard via imports and B-sides to know exactly what to do. Bruce does some yo’s but expands to include some yeah’s to great effect. He leads them through a one…two…three…yeah sing along to great effect and much fun is had by all.
One of the bands earliest musical triumphs follows in the form of “Prowler”, its raw energy is infectious and is one of my favorite Maiden songs sadly I have never heard live. Again it is the melodic wah pedal leads of Dave Murray that just blow me away. Fast and aggressive the band are going for the jugular with this one and the performance is awesome one cannot help but the play air guitar and head bang through this performance (of course my kids wonder what the hell is wrong with Dad?). Dave’s leads are spot on and like “Transylvania” he leads the charge and the crowd sing in the background adding to the atmosphere.
The band try and say goodnight but the crowd will have none of that, they quickly return to the stage and Bruce tells the audience that is a special night since it is their last night in Tokyo and tells them they will be doing something nice for the wonderful audience. He talks about Deep Purple and Montreux introduces “Smoke On The Water” much to the delight of the audience, they know the words and sing along and the show is reaching a real high moment. Maiden playing covers live is a rarity and they deliver a welcome text book version of the classic. Purple was a major influence on the band and while Maiden has carved out their own sound In Rock, they certainly owe much to the pioneers. Both Dave and Adrian play great solos and the song is really special, but the crowd wants more…and they will get it. There are two versions of the Montrose classic “I’ve Got The Fire” that were released on B-sides. My favorite of the 1980 live version found on the “Women In Uniform” single, the second would as yet to be released at this time but would be found on the “Flight Of Icarus” single the following year. Tonight we are treated to a furious version of the song ala the early version that is full of passion and aggression, the band has given their all, the crowd has responded in spades and the concert is a masterpiece, we are blessed that we have such a great recording to enjoy. This is one of Clive’s final performances with the band as they would replace him the following year and continue to climb the ladder to world wide metal domination. One interesting note is that “Total Eclipse” was dropped from the set list by this point, curious as it was found in the Japanese version of “The Number Of The Beast” record as a special treat for the Japanese fans.
Packaging is typical for Calm & Storm, beautiful full color inserts adorned with excellent graphics, live shots of the band, and Eddie. This seems like a companion piece to Phantom Killer (Calm & Storm 040) since they were released together and this set cds have pictures of Bruce on them. They also give you a copy of the concert ticket to boot. Another excellent release from the kind folks at Calm & Storm (I am very excited about their upcoming AC/DC titles and look forward to hearing and reviewing them). Great job and for me a must have.