History of Iron Maiden (part 1: the early days) - DVD
released through Sanctuary Records on November 23, 2004
Biography from 1976 to 1983:
Iron Maiden broke into the heavy metal scene in the late seventies as part of the new wave of British heavy metal. Taking the name from a medieval torture device, Bassist Steve Harris formed Iron Maiden after leaving the pub band "Smile".
The early years of Iron Maiden between 1976 and 1979 went through several different line-up changes. In November 1979 the members of Iron Maiden made the decision too add a second guitarist by the name of Tony Parsons to the band. Nevertheless, Dennis Stratton replaced Tony Parsons when the time came for the band to begin the recording sessions for their debut album. The current line-up of Iron Maiden now consisted of vocalist Paul Di'Anno, bassist Steve Harris, drummer Clive Burr, along with guitarists Dave Murray & Dennis Stratton. It would be this Iron Maiden line-up that became the first band since The Who to play on the show 'Top of the Pops' live.
Even though Iron Maiden's self titled debut album was roughly produced, it reached #4 on the UK charts and scored the band an opening slot touring with Judas Priest. "Killers", Iron Maiden's second release, has more of a superior production and sound quality to that of the first album. It also saw the replacement of Dennis Stratton with guitarist Adrian Smith. The hiring of Adrian Smith would prove to be a great asset to the band. After the tour for "Killers" Paul Di'Anno also made the decision to leave the band to pursue a solo career. Iron Maiden's third release, "Number of the Beast", will be the first Iron Maiden album to feature new vocalist Bruce Dickenson (Samson). 'Number of the Beast' with songs like "22 Aracia Avenue", "The Number of the Beast", and "Run to the Hills" propelled the band into heavy metal stardom. And are still today a very big part of the band's set list. During the recording sessions of the band's fourth L.P. drummer Clive Burr was replaced by Nicko McBrain. "Piece of Mind" was released in 1983. Singles like "Flight of the Icarus" and "The Trooper" showcased the strong twin-guitar playing of Dave Murray and Adrian Smith, coupled with memorable vocal lines and a sound that perfectly fit with the up & coming metal scene of the eighties.
This two DVD set is part one of a three part series that recounts the history of Iron Maiden from 1976-83 as told by ex-band members, current band members, management, and label representatives. Disc one contains three full length concerts. I was completely shocked by how well the VHS footage cleaned up. Aside from the guys in the band looking so young and the clothing that the fans are wearing looking outdated, there is no evidence that these concerts where taped between 1980 and 1983. The first concert was filmed at the Rainbow Theatre in London on December 21st, 1980. The concert features original Iron Maiden vocalist Paul Di'Anno and original drummer Clive Burr. The band performed classic Iron Maiden songs like "Wrathchild", "Phantom of the Opera", and "Iron Maiden". All though Adrian Smith was still considered the new guy you can already begin to see glimpses of the great chemistry. Two of the songs the band performed that night "Wrathchild" and "Killers" are actually on Iron Maidens second release which was released in 1981. During the song, "Iron Maiden" several Eddies come out carrying smoke machines, and are blowing smoke out over the stage. It is interesting to note that the version of "Killers" the band performed that night was written in the bands' dressing room just hours before the show. The second concert on disc one was filmed in March of 1982. Less than a month on tour with new vocalist Bruce Dickenson the band used this opportunity to film a full length feature. But because of major technical issues due to lighting problems caused the end product to be practically unusable. This DVD is the first time Maiden fans will get the chance to see the footage. The footage fans due get to see is some of the best concert video recording from that era. With Bruce leading the band there isn't much if any difference from the way the songs sound in the studio compared to the way the songs sound live. The set list that night included such maiden classics as, "Murders in the Rue Morgue", "Run to the Hills", "The Number of the Beast", and Iron Maiden" just too name a few. The way the smoke rolls across the stage makes the band members look like generals leading the Iron Maiden army into battle. Personality and vocally Bruce fits right in as the vocalist in Iron Maiden. This performance proves this!!! Paul original lead vocalist Di'Anno had this to say about Bruce Dickenson, "I still think to this day Bruce is the better Iron Maiden singer". During the last song "Iron Maiden" two demons come out and stand on top of the Marshall stacks. Eddie also comes out at this point and stands beside Bruce. The final performance on DVD one was taped at Rock and Pop Festival in Dortmund. Iron Maiden headlined this event that consisted of such great bands as The Scorpions and Michael Schenker. The performance included three songs from the bands' 1983 release "piece of Mind" those songs where, "Flight of the Icarus", "The Trooper" and "Revelations". This was also the first taped performance that shows new drummer Nicko McBrain. At times during the song "The Trooper" you can hear the crowd singing along with the lyrics. During the chorus Bruce gets the audience to participate in the singing of the song. Bruce plays guitar on "Revelations" this is something you don't see often. A grim reaper comes out onto the stage for the Vincent Price intro of "Number of The Beast". During the guitar solo Bruce picks Dave Murray up on his solders. The band close the performance with "Run To The Hills".
Disc two is set up more like a early history on the band. I found, as much as I'm sure Iron Maiden fans to find, the documentary portion of disc two, to be very interesting and even humorous at times. I really liked the fact that not only did the label decide to put the all the video's of Iron Maiden from that era on disc two, but also all the performances from the band's television appearances. All the television appearances where aired in Europe only, so now fans across the world will get the chance to see those early television performances. There also is a home movie taping of one of the band's early performances, which Steve did not even know he had until going through stuff to add to the DVD. Outside of the Easter Eggs the DVD has you can click here and see the entire DVD content.
I does not matter if you are a fan of Iron Maiden or not. Every metal fan world-wide needs to own a copy of this. This DVD sets the standard of what concert/documentaries should be.