Iron Maiden – Gracias, Killers! (Boleskine House Records BHRCD-17-1/2)

Gracias, Killers! (Boleskine House Records BHRCD-17-1/2)

Palacio de Municipal, Barcelona, Spain – April 2, 1982

Disc 1 (53:28) Murders In The Rue Morgue, Wrathchild, Run To The Hills, Children Of The Damned, The Number Of The Beast, Another Life, Killers, 22 Acacia Avenue, Total Eclipse, Clive Burr Drum Solo, Transylvania, Guitar Solo

Disc 2 (44:48) The Prisoner, Iron Maiden, Hallowed Be Thy Name, Phantom Of The Opera, Sanctuary, Drifter, Running Free, Prowler

This is a title that has been on my radar for a while and I finally took the plunge and ordered a copy. I am a sucker for Early 1980’s Iron Maiden and figured what the hell, being it’s 1982 Iron Maiden, how bad could it be. I must admit I did look over the Iron Maiden Commentary to see how they rated the sound and it received 8 out of 10 stars, this made my decision much easier. Iron Maiden has been on my playlist as of late, been going back and listening to my original 80’s vinyl collection, much to the delight of my wife.

This date is special as it is the first Iron Maiden concert in Spain, the band would play three concerts in the country that were sandwiched between an extensive tour of France as part of Iron Maiden’s European Beast On The Road tour. While the Maiden Commentary site gives the sound 8/10 stars, in reality the sound falls into the good range. It is slightly distant, clear and atmospheric with guitars, bass, and vocals being well defined in the mix with the drums a bit buried. There is some crowd noise in the recording that adds to the atmosphere giving you the feeling of being in the audience and for me makes an average recording sound better. There is some overloading on the tape as the sound was certainly too much for the recording device, yet thankfully the sound is bright favoring the middle and upper frequencies. Like their parent label, Tarantura, the sound levels are needlessly on the loud side, that being said, while the sound is loud it does not ruin the concert just limits the recording when played loud. The timbre of the recording sounds very much like the Rainbow November 30, 1982 concert at the same venue immortalized on Child In Time (Tarantura TCDRAINBOW-31), if I were a guessing man I would say they are from the same taper.

The beginning of Murders In The Rue Morgue serves as the intro and opening number, the band hit the stage to a huge ovation, the Killers deep cut makes for a really dynamic opening song. Bruce greets the audience “Que Pasa…here’s a song called Wrathchild” in the second spot, at the 1:52 spot Bruce lets loose with a wail to rival the great Ian Gillan as the man nicknamed “AirRaid Siren” makes his mark on Spain. The band played six songs from The Number Of The Beast record, seven if you count the B-side Total Eclipse, which was released just a few days before this concert. The crowd greets the new material warmly, their unison clapping at the beginning of Children Of The Damned let the band know they are with them. Bruce’s vocals on this song are a highlight, he is in full control and wields its power perfectly making for an almost evil rendering.

This would be the last tour for many years to feature the Paul Di’Anno era songs Another Life, thankfully played without the drum solo as it simply devastates in its original form, and Killers with its super aggressive vocals by Bruce who leads with a bit of a shout along at the beginning. Lastly, to the delight of the fan who had been shouting for the song for some time, the first Iron Maiden instrumental Transylvania, a song that dissolves into the always incredible Dave “The Blond Bomber” Murray.

The trilogy of terror is played in reverse on this tour, the audience is very animated during a blistering fast version of Phantom Of The Opera. Always interesting to hear Hallowed Be Thy Name from this tour as it had yet to achieve its mythical status as a finishing number. The audience is totally into the last segment of the concert, obviously the Di’Anno era material is what they had been listening to and are most familiar with. Sanctuary finds the audience going crazy and Drifter has them out of their heads, Bruce does the old “Paul” does The Police’s “Yo Yo Yo” chant and the concert is a total band fan unison orgy of Metal. Steve Harris introduces Prowler, the last song of the night and a certifiable Maiden early classic if there ever was one, the crowd sings along with Bruce. Despite the average quality, the concert is just incredible.

The packaging is simple and typical of the other Boleskine House releases I have in my collection, a simple CD sleeve that is adorned with official Iron Maiden font with a front cover photo of four fifths of the band with one Ritchie Blackmore, the Man In Black taken backstage early in the 1982 North American tour where Iron Maiden played as special guests to Rainbow, who were on the Straight Between The Eyes tour. A silver pressing of an average audience recording from this period is rare, and while this kind of recording may not appeal to the general collector, for the seasoned Maiden enthusiast is certainly a title to consider adding to one’s collection.

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