Sanctuary Records
Release date: June 19, 2006

User Review
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Bruce Dickinson is a name that needs no introduction. Having spent the best part of a quarter of a century, give or take a couple of years, fronting one of the biggest bands not just in Metal, but in music in general, he has staked his claim to legendary status as lead singer for Iron Maiden. It is however, the “give or take a couple of years” that is now under scrutiny.

This 3 disc DVD collection brings together a number of shows from the very beginning of Dickinson’s solo career right through to the time just prior to rejoining Maiden, together with all of his solo promotional videos and some additional bonus features.

Back in 1990, Dickinson decided to take his first foray into the world as a solo artist during a hiatus from the punishing Iron Maiden schedule. After enlisting former Gillan and future Maiden six-stringer, Janick Gers, Dickinson released his first solo disc in the shape of Tattooed Millionaire before heading out on the road in support of his new creation, and it is on this tour that the first section of the DVD, Dive Dive was filmed.

Recorded back in August 1990 at The Town and Country Club in Los Angeles, Dive Dive sees Dickinson playing a more intimate show than the arenas and stadiums during his Maiden days. Featuring a set obviously leaning heavily towards his debut platter, with a sprinkling of covers, including “Black Night” and “Sin City,” complete with Dickinson on manic tambourine! Other than “Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter,” a Dickinson original later re-worked on Maiden’s No Prayer For The Dying, no material from his day job is featured in the set, with Dickinson preferring to tackle a more varied collection of songs. Both Dickinson and Gers are lively throughout, with Dickinson, in particular, relishing his new found freedom. The camera work is sharp and clear throughout, giving some good close up shots and panoramic stage views, giving the viewer the feeling of actually being in the audience … a good move for a live DVD.

Part two of the first disc features Skunkworks Live, and sees Dickinson now as a full-time solo artist after departing the Maiden camp after Fear of the Dark. Recorded in Spain in 1996 with Alex Dickinson (no relation!), replacing Gers who had himself become a member of Maiden back in 1992. Dickinson seems a little more reserved performance-wise on this section, however, his voice is in fine form throughout and the material suits his range perfectly with “Tears of the Dragon” particularly impressive.

The camera work on Skunkworks Live is rather more ambitious than on Dive Dive, with more modern camera angles and more use of camera trickery. The grainy picture effect and quick changing camera shots and obtuse angles may be a little distracting to some, never the less this does not detract from a solid performance by Dickinson and his band.

Disc 2 features the 2 hour performance of Scream For Me Brazil, recorded in 1999 on the Chemical Wedding tour, which saw Dickinson reunited with old bandmate and now former Maiden guitarist, Adrian Smith, and also featured the talents of Roy Z (Rob Halford and Tribe of Gypsies) on guitar. The two guitarists combine effectively to give a hard edge to the darker material on display from Chemical Wedding and its precursor Accident of Birth.

With its dark picture and minimalist production, this show has an almost bootleg, low budget feel to it but this honest, “warts and all” approach to the show stripped of all gloss actually benefits the performance with Dickinson and his band on fine form. Smith in particular seems to relish his reunification with his old Maiden mate. Dickinson and Smith were obviously rejuvenated by their solo experiences and within months of this show both would be back within the Maiden camp where both of them remain to this day.

Disc 3 completes this collection by bringing all of Dickinson’s 14 solo promo videos together for the first time. Each video is linked by a short commentary from Dickinson, giving an intriguing observation into the making of the video and its background in general. These range from archetypal English tongue-in-cheek of the Storm Thogerson (Pink Floyd) produced “Tattooed Millionaire,” to the overblown mini-epic of “Tears of The Dragon,” through to the more straightforward performance videos of the likes of “Dive Dive Dive.”

By way of bonus material is a 50-minute interview with Dickinson talking about his latest release Tyranny of Souls, and rounding things off nicely is the long sought after “Biceps of Steel” video featuring a youthful Dickinson’s video debut as Bruce Bruce, with his first band Samson, also featuring the caged and masked mad drummer, Thunderstick.

Anthology is a comprehensive collection of Dickinson’s solo output over the years and provides a well-packaged way of owning his complete works outside of Iron Maiden. Highly recommended for completists and fans of quality Hard Rock in general.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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