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Iron Maiden - Death On The Road
Another release from Iron Maiden, do we really need that? Yes, I say that we do need this one. Some foul tongues state that Iron Maiden is ripping their fans of their money with all the stuff that they are releasing in terms of live albums and DVD's. However, what you have to understand is that their DVD's are not just simply put out there for the sake of it, and you always have the choice not to buy it, even if the last one does not exist for me.
A DVD with Iron Maiden equals quality and money value and Death On The Road is no exception as there is some serious work done with the live footage recorded in Westfallenhalle, Germany in December 2003 on the Death On The Road Tour. And you get the concert in two versions, one disc features the concert in full 5.1 sound while the second disc only has stereo sound so you can enjoy the concert no matter what kind of equipment you have to play it on at home.
The first thing that strikes me is that the sound and picture quality is simply outstanding and by the great sound it almost makes you feel as you are actually present at the gig. And the picture is sharp as a knife and the cameras have managed to capture the performance really well. With Iron Maiden you always get an amazing performance even if here there is a trembling start with Wildest Dreams which isn't exactly the strongest song from the band, although it gets the thing started. But with Wrathchild it gets better and with The Trooper it really gets going and the delivery from the band is just as good as you want it to be.
I sense there is no point of telling you about the old classics, you ought to know about them already and rest assured that these versions are top of the line as always with Maiden. So instead, let us focus on the material from Dance Of Death since those are really the only things that are new. The songs Dance Of Death and Paschendale are two new live favourites of mine that is going to be future classics in their live set just as Hallowed Be Thy Name or Fear Of The Dark if my guessing is correct. Take my word for it; these two songs alone are worth the costs of this DVD, these versions go straight in to your soul and I got goose-bumps from how great they are.
The stage is set up to look as a medieval castle and there are ramps build along the stage behind the drums where Bruce Dickinson can have his way running around. In Paschendale it is decorated with barbed wire and dead soldiers as the backdrop displays a battlefield, add to that Bruce dressed in a war coat and helmet, a dynamic performance from the band and a crowd that sings along, and just simply feel the magic that is present.
Dance Of Death sees Bruce dressed in Venetian masks delivering his best, but it is the explosive guitar performance from the trio in Smith, Murray and Gers that makes this song something special. The acoustic ballad Journeyman is the first song of the encore and that kind of songs is not part of the usual from Iron Maiden but with the singing from the crowd it creates a good moment and deserves it place in the live set. And there is no show without Eddie, is there? In The Number Of The Beast he, dressed as the Grim Reaper, joins the band on stage before Run To The Hills brings it all to its end.
So is this the best live DVD Iron Maiden has done? No, concidering the songs that they play it isn't and if you want a better retrospective of the collective works from Iron Maiden there are better choices. But if you want to see a great live concert with one of the absolute best live bands performing an explosive concert based on their latest album, this is it.
The extra material for me is just a bonus, I never usually pay that big attention to it but it is always nice to get some more value for your money. And the big thing here is the Death On The Road documentary which is 75 minutes long and gives you a look at the recording of the Dance of Death album and a look at the life on the road and those things are always interesting to me, and especially when they are as professionally done as is the case here. Moreover, you have two other documentaries, one about their road crew and a rather pointless one about their fans, with an addition of a couple of videos and galleries.