Iron Maiden is indisputably one of the greatest live acts of all time. Given that Steve Harris’s crew has been very forthcoming with some great live releases over the years, we assume it’s something they’re keenly aware of. That said though, there are plenty of live Maiden gems out there in the ether that have never been officially released to the public. In this week’s feature, we’re sampling a handful that shine a light on eras not represented in Maiden’s official live discography.
Beat Club, Bremen, 1981
While Iron Maiden’s The Early Days DVD does a decent job of documenting Paul Di’Anno’s tenure in the band, it is missing this 30-minute gem, filmed for Germany’s Beat Club program in 1981. Featuring a young and hungry Maiden in front of a studio audience, it’s a potent reminder of why the band made such an impact on the metal scene in the early-1980s. The up-close and personal nature of early ‘80s TV footage is also great for showing the boys, especially late drummer Clive Burr, in action.
Paris, France, 1986
Given that 1986’s Somewhere in Time album is considered a high point by many Iron Maiden fans, it is surprising that few recordings exist from the Somewhere on Tour shows that accompanied it. Paris 1986 is one of two known pro-shot performances from that tour in the ether, the other being from Philadelphia 1987, and is by far the best quality recording available. Paris ’86 certainly isn’t the best performance from the tour, owing in large part to Bruce Dickinson being unwell and having some troubles with his voice. But, it is notable nonetheless as a document of an underrepresented era of Maiden history, replete with rare performances of “Sea of Madness” and “Stranger in a Strange Land”
Santiago, Chile, 1996
Twenty years after the fact, Iron Maiden fans still remain divided on vocalist Blaze Bayley’s time in the band. While the former Wolfsbane singer has his champions, there are still those that look back on 1995’s X Factor and 1998’s Virtual XI albums with derision. Blaze detractors won’t exactly be thrilled with this footage from Santiago 1996, then, especially as his take on a number of Bruce Dickinson era classics sometimes leaves a lot to be desired. If you’re a Bayley apologist though, there’s a lot to like here, including rare run-throughs of “Fortunes of War,” “Blood on the World’s Hands” and “The Aftermath.” Not Eddie and the boys at their best, but a fascinated insight into a largely forgotten era of their past.
Ullevi Stadium, Sweden, 2005
I was always a bit disappointed that Maiden never released a concert DVD from their Early Days tour of 2005. With a setlist featuring plenty of early Dickinson era rarities, including “Die With Your Boots On” and “Where Eagles Dare,” as well as the air raid siren putting his unique stamp on a number of Di’Anno era deep cuts, there was a lot to like about those shows. Fortunately, this pro-shot television broadcast from Ullevi Stadium, Gothenburg in 2005 does a killer job of capturing the band. This one is worth the price of admission for Nicko McBrain’s insane footwork on “Where Eagles Dare” alone.