Sun-Plaza Hall Nakano, Tokyo, Japan – May 24, 1981 Evening Show Sunday 6:30PM
Disc 1 (57:01) SE / Opening, The Ides Of March, Wrathchild, Purgatory, Sanctuary, Remember Tomorrow, Another Life, Clive Burr drum solo, Another Life (reprise), Band Introduction, Genghis Khan, Killers, Innocent Exile, Twilight Zone, Strange World, Murders In The Rue Morgue, Phantom Of The Opera
Disc 2 (32:33) Iron Maiden, encore cheer, Running Free, encore cheer, Transylvania, Guitar Solo, Drifter, encore cheer, Prowler, encore cheer, the last greeting of the band, SE ~ Announcement
Last year Tarantura released the fourth edition of their Maiden Japan series documenting Iron Maiden’s inaugural visit to Japan in May of 1981. This new title (not new since it’s close to being a year old) shares commonality with the others as it features a very complete recording by the famous Mr. Peach. While being the fourth edition released, it is titled as Vol. 5 as it is from the fifth and final show in Japan, the band performed two shows on May 24, the early show was immortalized on Maiden Japan Vol. 4 (Tarantura TCDIM-4-1,2).
Based upon the scans of the tickets found on the gate-fold interior, Peach was sitting in the exact same seat for both performances, assuming the tickets were his, and recorded the concert onto two Sony Duad90 cassette tapes, no mention is made of what rig he was using. Same gear, same location, same venue, same taper equals a similar sounding recording to the early show. The recording is clear enough where all instruments can be heard, Steve Harris’ bass is slightly loud in the mix but overall very good recording that certainly reeks of atmosphere. Like many of their releases, the volume is boosted to an unnecessary volume, I do not mind a bit of mastering but like many I feel the recordings would benefit from a tad lower volume.
The recording begins with the last strains of UFO’s Doctor Doctor being played over the PA followed by the official intro of The Ides Of March, the fans clap in time as they eagerly await the band to take the stage. Early Iron Maiden at their aggressive best, based upon the quality of Paul’s scream during Wrathchild his voice is in fine shape to the second concert of the day. With Steve’s bass being very clear in the mix we can really enjoy his part of the Maiden sound, how he played at this pace with his fingers and no pick is beyond mere mortal comprehension. Purgatory quickly follows and the synchronicity between Adrian Smith and Dave Murray is beyond extremely tight as they give a demonstration of the twin lead guitar attack.
The set list for all five dates in Japan was the same and consists of a typical headlining set from the band, a perfect selection of material from their self titled debut and their most recent LP Killers. The performance is staggering, this is Thrash Metal before the term had been phrased, after this tour the band would never again play this fast. Set highlights are really the whole concert, it’s classic Maiden yet I never tire of Remember Tomorrow, or any of the Killers songs, Twilight Zone, Purgatory, Genghis Khan…all played brilliantly. The band are obviously overwhelmed by the adoration from their Japanese fans, prior to Iron Maiden, Paul thanks Mr. Udo and the response of the audience during the encores is really over the top, they are very loud and passionate and this trip to Japan would begin a special relationship between the Nation and the group.
The packaging is full color photos of the band in a Samurai photo shoot, the tour was covered by the Japanese music press, I can remember seeing some of these shots in an old issue of Music Life. The interior is a group shot with their old pal Eddie and the aforementioned cassette and ticket scans, and let’s not forget picture CD’s and the obligatory OBI. It took me some time to order this title, I simply decided I needed it, here’s to hoping Peach recorded Osaka and we will get Vol. 3 someday.