So, we’re back and it’s time to take a look at disc 2 from the Iron Maiden Rock In Rio gig. As I mentioned at the end of the first post this is my favourite of the two because it features some great performances of classic tracks like Fear Of The Dark and Hallowed Be Thy Name and it has a blistering performance of my favourite Iron Maiden track. So, without further ado, lets crack on.
Dream Of Mirrors:
I love Dream Of Mirrors, it’s a classic Maiden epic that slowly builds until a fantastic chorus kicks in. Starting with a very angular riff and a set of lyrical questions, the song then drops into an acoustic melody and the music develops and builds layers of texture. Guitar refrains pass in and out underneath the vocals which are setting the scene for the story.
This tight verse opens out into a pre-chorus with shimmering guitar chords and a hint of what is to come, “the dream is true”. As the band continues to build with another verse and pre-chorus the song then kicks into over drive and, at 3 minutes 20 seconds we get hit with a simple, effective yet brilliant chorus. The song then goes back to its slow build, making you wait for the next time around.
Once we hit the half way point of the track we go into a double time section with some incredible single pedal double kick work from Nicko McBrain, who is renowned for shunning double kick pedals. Solid playing from everyone here and yet another brilliant singable melody guitar line towards the end of the song. Solos are short and choppy, nothing flashy and the way the song just seems to fall back in to that half time swing is epic. A fantastic song, brilliantly performed.
Another track from the Blaze Bailey period, The Clansman starts with a lovely little clean lead melody. I’m a big fan of this track on this album, on Virtual IX it’s good but Bruce just brings so much more emotion to the track. I love the lyrics of The Clansman, they’re so evocative of the Scottish Highlands and the tracks theme of freedom as Bruce said “should be something familiar to you all, but which is sometimes not”.
“Wake alone in the hills
With the wind in your face
It feels good to be proud
And be free and a race
That is part of a clan
And to live on highlands
And the air that you breathe
So pure and so clean
When alone on the hills
With the wind in your hair
With a longing to feel
Just to be free”
The first part of the first verse of The Clansman – Steve Harris
The Evil That Men Do:
“The good that men do is often interred with their bones, but the evil that men do… lives on” -Bruce Dickinson adapting William Shakespeare
My favourite Maiden song of all time, just beating Somewhere In Time and Powerslave. For me the intro guitar harmony riff is perfect, I don’t know what it is about the start of this track but it gives me Goosebumps every time. The way the it then kicks in and the band just let rip is fantastic and, yet another devastatingly awesome Maiden pre-chorus and guitar solo. A simple song, clocking in at under 5 minutes but it’s pure metal perfection.
Fear Of The Dark:
You’re now starting to see why I said disc 2 was my favourite! Listening to the crowd at the start of this track just tells you why it is a staple of Maidens live sets. One of things I love about Maiden especially live, is that they sound so relaxed and loose playing and I think this really comes through on this track and, for me Nicko McBrain is the catalyst for the loose and relaxed feel of the band. He’s a phenomenal drummer nicked named “the Octopus” because his arms are everywhere, he just seems to play with a natural swing that the whole band locks in with.
The last track of the first Iron Maiden Album Iron Maiden released in 1980, it’s a track that has stood the test of time and sounds as fresh and relevant as it did nearly 40 years ago.
Number Of The Beast:
The song that gave its title to the first album of the classic Maiden trio including Peace Of Mind and Powerslave. Regularly featuring in the top metal songs of all time this performance of Number Of The Beast does not disappoint. With the famous spoken word intro from British actor Barry Clayton right through to the final howl from Bruce, this is a great performance.
Hallowed Be Thy Name:
Many Maiden fans favourite track. Hallowed Be Thy Name is about a man waiting to die by hanging, it’s a philosophical number with a real story feel to it and the tolling of the iron bell and that descending riff is truly haunting; providing a perfect back drop to some of Steve Harris’ best lyrics. The trio of guitars playing the main riff when the song gets going adds to the heaviness of the song and just takes it to another level.
Another track from their debut album, Sanctuary is a good track but for me it is the weakest cut on this disc and I would of like to of heard maybe Can I Play With Madness or Wasted Years in its place.
Run To The Hills:
A classic set finisher with a massive sing along chorus. Run To The Hills is Iron Maidens Seek And Destroy by Metallica, a fast paced song that features pretty much everything everyone loves about the band. Great story driven lyrics, galloping harmony guitars, ripping leads and that wonderful opening drum line. A great track to finish what was truly an epic concert.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these two posts about Rock In Rio, they aren’t meant to be reviews they are just my thoughts and opinions. If your Maiden fan I feel this album is essential to your collection and if you just like good old-fashioned metal and a band full of energy you can’t go wrong.
Hallowed Be Thy Name – Live at Rock In Rio (2001) song written by Steve Harris released via EMI