In 2001, aging metal pioneers Iron Maiden reunited for the Rock in Rio festival
in front of a massive 250,000 person, sold-out crowd. Not showing a day of their
age, their performance is easily one of the strongest of their career and shows
why they were such an influential force in the beginning of the Heavy Metal scene
in the early 80's.
The DVD begins rather blandly by following the group around back stage before
the performance. The show truly begins minutes later when the lights dim and
the band takes the stage to the roaring adulation of the crowd. They instantly
launch into "The Wicker Man" and don't stop until they've played all
the hits from their previous albums as well as a few from their latest.
Six members strong, the tear through the 18 song, 2 hour set with a ferocity
that shows that despite not being as popular as they were, they still perform
and give 100 percent. Vocalist Bruce Dickinson, long absent from the lineup,
recently returned to the group to record their first studio album in some years
and sounds every bit as good as he did years ago. Bassist Steve Harris is a
ball of energy that is constantly moving, leaping and exploring every crevice
of the stage while playing in the influential, three-finger, triplet style that
he pioneered. Drummer Nicko McBrain maintains the beat behind a massive drum
set, but never gets lost in the enormity of it all. With three guitarists on
the stage, one would think that sound of the individual would get lost. But
Janick Gers, Dave Murray and Adrian Smith have learned how to perform as a single,
monstrous unit when needed and still maintain an individual style as well.
The following songs are included on the DVD:
The Wicker Man, Ghost of the Navigator, Brave New World, Wrathchild, 2 Minutes
to Midnight, Blood Brothers, Sign of the Cross, The Mercenary, The Trooper,
Dream of Mirrors, The Clansman, The Evil That Men Do, Fear of the Dark, Iron
Maiden, The Number of the Beast, Hallowed Be Thy Name, Sanctuary, Run to the
Video: Shot with numerous cameras (18 to be exact), both fixed and mobile,
the footage is always on the move. The stage lighting is captured perfectly
on the video, which varies in quality at times depending on the camera being
used. For the most part color and sharpness are spot on with only a few distractions
now and then.
Audio: This is what really counts on the disc and you get a choice of
Dolby Digital 5.1 and 5.1 DTS. The Dolby mix is exquisite and adds just enough
of the crowd noise to the rear speakers in the right places to bring out the
live concert feel. The bass and guitars blast from the speakers perfectly and
only the vocals suffer a few spots of bad mixing with them sounding muffled
a time or two. Overall it's a great mix of the live sound that shows why DVD
is such a great medium for concerts.
Extras: Despite an entire disc devoted to extras, there are only a few.
The second disc has a lengthy feature entitled "A Day in the Life"
that follows the group around after the show and interviews the various members
of the band, their fans, and road crew. It's slightly interesting, but not as
entertaining as the actual concert. There are also single interviews with the
band members and both of these sections take up a total of almost an hour. Also
included on the extra disc is a photo gallery of the band with commentary by
photographer Ross Halfin.
Overall: If you're a fan of the band, or ever were, this is a disc to
get. Maiden sounds every bit as good as they did years ago and still put on
one great stage devoid of any pyrotechnics and effects. They come out, play
as hard as they can and the audience benefits. Combine this with the great sound
and picture on the DVD and it's a winning disc.