Release date: March 25, 2002

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Now that Bruce Dickinson is back in the band, Iron Maiden continues to release live records. Not even Manowar can beat the British in number of live CD’s put out in between studio albums. “Live After Death” is perhaps the best live record there is. Not only because of its quality, but also its packing and layout. Then, in the nineties, Iron Maiden released “A Real Live One” and “A Real Dead One” – both poorly produced and nowhere near their predecessor in quality, much due to a line up change. “Live At Rock In Rio” sees the same line up that recorded “Live After Death”, though with that little lineup change problem still present.

You may ask yourself; why is “…Rio” so noisy and full of distortion, while “…Death” never was? Did Dave Murray get sloppy during the nineties? Did Adrian Smith’s return to the band after a few years solo add a noisy element? Most likely; no! Actually; no way!!! If you have seen Iron Maiden live during the last decade, and you’re not a fan who can’t criticize your favorite band, you know what I am about to say. Iron Maiden has a fifth wheel on their wagon – a sixth and redundant member, who believes he can do whatever he wants to on stage (actually, he’s trying to dance like Paul Stanley and playing guitar at he same time), and still come out good.

On “Brave New World”, it worked out very good with three guitar players, but do you need three guitar players in the studio? Live 2001, Iron Maiden has two of the most underrated guitar players in the biz, plus a dancer that throws his guitar in the air, plays it on his back, and however else, at the same time posing like he was the sex symbol Stanley back in the mid-eighties. I never saw Iron Maiden as a band to try out your poser ideas… On to the CD, which consists of the set Iron maiden toured with last year, on the “Brave New World Tour”. The set is mostly based on the last album, and also includes a couple of songs from the Blaze era, showing that there was nothing wrong with the songwriting process during those years.

Disc one has only three old songs, “Wrathchild”, “The Trooper” and “Two Minutes To Midnight”, while the rest are songs never before released live by the band. Disc two starts off with four “new” live songs (if you never play those live and dead ones, which I don’t), but from there goes back to the stuff the band just has to include in their set; “Hallowed Be Thy Name”, “Iron Maiden” etc. You know which ones! The whole thing sounds very live, and the audience works much better as the sixth member if the band than Mr. Gers… Nowhere near “Live After death” in quality, and a live CD is perhaps not what the fans needed after just one studio release since Dickinson’s return, but if you don’t mind the fuzz, this is overall something to enjoy – simply because Iron Maiden still writes killer songs which live up to their legacy.

I seldom get chills down my spine while listening to records these days. It was something that occurred in my childhood and early teenage years.What about you? If you go back a few years, I bet a lot of you remember the feeling you got when hearing your favorite album for the first time,or the buzz of getting that highly anticipated follow up? Or the joy of finding ANOTHER great group!? Ah, glory days indeed.

Iron Maiden and their Live After Death album was a landmark album for both their fans as well as the band. Years have gone by, and they have released a lot of concert recordings, so the big question is: Do we REALLY need another Iron Maiden live album? Well,… OF COURSE WE DO!

Let me get back to those chills….Putting the first CD in (it’s a double), turning up the volume and hearing the crowd-noise and the introduction music, I know that I am indeed listening to something a little bit special. Iron Maiden live at Rock in Rio- 2001, back with Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith, are VERY special. The people of Brazil must have had a rather good night out, and it seems like Maiden enjoyed themselves as well.

Instead of putting out another “Live-greatest hits”, the set features a lot of songs from their last studio album(the excellent Brave New World), making it an essential purchase for anyone considering themselves fans of rock music. The three first songs are from Brave New World (The Wicker Man, Ghost of the navigator and Brave New World), before they pull out the the classic Wratchild.

The recording of the concert is of course first class, rivaling the atmosphere on Live After Death, while the performance of the band is inspired, tight and hungry. Check out the aggressive version of The Trooper, or the dark, spirited thrashing of Iron Maiden.

Live at Rock in Rio, is a perfectly balanced live album, including the classics as well as a lot of new material. Quite possibly the album of the year (I know it’s early yet, but….), and a must for every rock-fan. Highly recommended by yours truly , Live at Rock in Rio is waiting for you. Go get it!

Highlights: The Clansman, The Wickerman, Brave New World, Sign of the cross, The Trooper, Fear of the dark and basically everything on the album.


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