[This is the second of a two-part review. To see Jim Schwab's review of The Only Way To Know For Sure, read part one.] From that article: “First a word about live CD’s:
I LOVE live recordings. Everyone I know who listens to Rock ‘N Roll agrees with me on this one point, live is the absolute best way to see, hear and experience rock. Barring being able to go to the shows and see the bands I like every single night of the week, I buy the live CD’s. Some of my favorites & basis for most comparisons are George Thorogood’s Live and Let’s Work Together, Iron Maiden’s Live After Death, Iced Earth’s Alive In Athens, Whitesnake Live… In the Heart Of The City (That was before they were a “glam” band, when they played REAL blues rock… check it out!), The Who Who’s Last, AC/DC If You Want Blood, You’ve Got It Metallica Binge And Purge, Black Sabbath Reunion and many others. If you name a band I like, chances are I have at least one live CD, either an official release or a bootleg.”
Iron Maiden – Rock In Rio I’m not fully sure why I bought this, to be honest, other than the fact that I snagged a used copy. I was severely disappointed with the last two live recordings by Iron Maiden that I bought, A Real Live One and A Real Dead One. The first was their newer stuff and the second was the older stuff. They were recorded just before Bruce Dickinson left the band. I just wasn’t into them after that for quite a while. While Blaze Baily was a good singer, he just didn’t sound like Maiden. So I stopped listening to them, until Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith returned, and they released Brave New World. I liked that disc very much and was back into Iron Maiden, big time. I went to see them, and honestly I was blown away all over again.
Back to the disc itself. I was not very eager to get this one, since I already have what I consider the ultimate Iron Maiden live set, Live After Death. All of the other live sets haven’t lived up to that one, in my opinion. The newer live sets don’t vary the track listing very much, except to throw in just enough of the newer material to show that they have newer stuff. Songs like “The Trooper,” “Sanctuary,” “Iron Maiden,” “2 Minutes To Midnight,” and “Run To The Hills” have appeared on every live release since Live After Death. They don’t even vary that much, even though the current lineup has 3 guitars instead of the 2 that were on the previous recordings. That being said, the newer material that does appear here, such as “Brave New World,” “Wicker Man,” and “The Ghost Of The Navigator” are solid, and sound great live. The redeeming quality of this disc, I think is that they did “The Clansman” and “Sign Of The Cross” with Bruce on the vocals and they sounds GREAT. When I got back into Maiden, I picked up the two discs they did with Blaze Bailey, The X Factor and Virtual XI. I didn’t feel that I missed much, except for “The Clansman” which is fabulous. So hearing it sung by Bruce on a live disc is great. There is also multi-media stuff on the discs that was cool to check out, a live video of “Brave New World” and a mini-documentary, “A Day In The Life.”
Overall, I am glad I didn’t pay full price for it. It’s a good live recording, the sound is great and the multi-media is neat, but I’m just not that into hearing “new” live versions of the same songs over and over again. I want Maiden to either wait until they have enough new studio material to do a whole live disc with new stuff, or to do a live disc of thier more obscure stuff that hasn’t made it onto the previous live discs. Songs like “The Prisoner,” “Women In Uniform,” “Still Life,” “Blood On The World’s Hands,” “Futureal” or “Only The Good Die Young” would be great. As a matter of fact it might be neat to see them do a live disc of stuff that they recorded with Blaze, only with Bruce doing the vocals. I am glad I got the disc and it will get some play, but not nearly as much as Live After Death does.