Live After Death is Iron Maiden's first live album since the 1981
Maiden Japan EP. Most critics agree that Live After Death is one of the best
live metal albums of all time. Maiden has always been a "live" band whose power
and energy seemed to come really alive on stage, and this power and energy virtually explodes out
of the album. The mixing is absolutely superb. Murray's guitar is on the left and Smith's on the right,
and each can be clearly and distinctly heard but at the same time they both seem to blend together
and complement each other. This album must definitely be experienced with good headphones!
The concert intro, with the sounds of aircraft engines and the voice of Churchill, fits perfectly well
to the first song of the set. 'Aces High' is a song about the battle of Britain and
Churchill's speech was pronounced on 4th June 1940, at the beginning of the conflict,
encourageing British resistance in the face of a potential Nazi invasion after the rout experienced
by the British and French troops at the Battle of Dunkirk (26 May – 3 June, 1940).
Live After Death was released as a double-LP, which was too long to fit on a single CD.
Consequently, the last five tracks ('Wrathchild', 'Children Of The Damned', '22 Acacia Avenue',
'Die With Your Boots On', and 'Phantom Of The Opera') were not included on the original CD
release. This was a major complaint. Those live versions are rare and brilliant, and should have
been included, even if it meant a double-CD. At the very least, the extra tracks should have been
released as a bonus disc.
The mistake was eventually corrected. Live After Death was re-released in September 1998
as a double-CD, and the second CD contained the five missing tracks from the Hammersmith show.
Also, the gaps between some of the songs that previously existed have been smoothed out with
crowd noise, improving the album's sense of continuity. And finally, the 'Churchill's Speech' intro
is a separate track on this re-release.
A little piece of trivia: many Maiden fans are a bit too young to know this – or are not
familiar with British culture – but when Bruce, just before 'Revelations', says,
"Nice to see you, to see you is nice", he's actually quoting another Bruce –
Bruce Forsyth, a British TV entertainer famous for his catchphrases. Forsyth was hosting
The Generation Game in the 1970s and was known for saying this particular sentence
at the beginning of the show. Why does Bruce Dickinson say this to an American audience is not
clear, but it certainly makes him laugh.