Scream for me, Long Beach!

Posted: November 6, 2013 by The Social Retard in Music


Generally, I don’t think very much of live albums. Usually, I only buy live albums from bands that don’t regularly put out great albums. I’m looking at you, AC/DC. The simply titled AC/DC Live is freaking awesome, though. Sorry, Queen. You had three greatest hits collections but no more than two great albums. Your Live At Wembley ’86 release, however, is the greatest live album of all time. A charismatic frontman like Freddie Mercury can only be fully appreciated in a live setting.

This brings me to the exception. Iron Maiden has made no less than six classic albums, They have also put out 11 (!) live albums, at least one in between their studio albums since Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith re-joined the band. Back in 1985, before they were obsessed with recording every concert they played, they had just finished their run of five albums in five years (three with Dickinson following two with Paul Di’Anno). 1985 was the first year of the 80’s that did not see an Iron Maiden studio release. To sate fans until Somewhere In Time, the band came out with Live After Death, their first (and best) live album.

I first became aware of Iron Maiden in junior high school. I had seen one of their videos from Fear Of the Dark (I think it was “From Here To Eternity”) and thought it looked cool, but the music was ridiculous. This kid Jim that was the resident metalhead in my honors classes wore torn jeans and he had a FOtD hoodie. I remember mocking it, making high pitched screaming “Fear of the DARK!” noises, emphasizing the last word as high as my voice would allow in a fashion that in no way mimicked the song itself. Ignorant little bastard, I was. You right about them, Jim. Also, it would be remiss to not mention the time you superkicked Chris Bergstrom in the face. You didn’t even have to back up or get into position. From a standing position, you just put sneaker to fucking chin. That was the best thing I had seen in junior high.

It wasn’t until high school when I met my excellent friend Joe in the best/worst English class ever. Dude was fucking awesome. As we got to know each other, we found that we were on opposite ends of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. I liked Def Leppard, he was into Maiden. We eventually got each other into our respective bands, even though I definitely got more out of that than he did.

As for the record itself, you are greeted by “Churchill’s Speech”. If you’re British, maybe that fires you up, I don’t know. Right after that, you instantly hear something you don’t hear in subsequent Maiden live albums (aside from the recently poorly transferred Maiden England): Bruce Dickinson’s voice at the height of its power. “Aces High” would never sound this good again. The band was in the midst of their creative apex, which began in 1982 and would end in 1988 with the departure of Smith’s crafty guitar, something they sorely missed with the terribly uninteresting Janick Gers. There’s a roughness to their sound here, a bit of danger.

There are plenty of classics that have been regularly part of their sets for decades like “2 Minutes To Midnight”, “The Trooper”, “Number Of the Beast”, and “Run To the Hills”. They also had the balls to play the 13 minute-long “Rime Of the Ancient Mariner”, which isn’t exactly a slow plodder. It’s not a marathon, but a long ass sprint. But it’s the criminally underrated “Revelations”, “Children Of the Damned”, and “Die With Your Boots On” that make this double record for me. “Revelations” offers the first “get your lighters out moment” with Bruce’s pretty soliloquy before the band goes back to pummeling you.

Up until today, I hadn’t owned any Iron Maiden vinyl. How, you might ask? That I have not purchased any wax by this mighty monolith? Simple, it’s fucking expensive. You can’t find any Maiden vinyl in any kind of playable condition for under $30. Today was no exception. I went to the gym and then took a bunch of books I got from publishers (that I didn’t really want to keep because they weren’t all that good) to Half Price Books in Naperville. For those, I got $35. Better than I thought, I thought. I also had a 40% off coupon for any one item. I thought about the Godfather collection on Blu-Ray that was $35. I saw the Walking Dead omnibus that was $48, down from $65. I could have gotten the additional discount on that, which would have easily been the best value.

Then, I walked over to the vinyl section. I though that I had seen a Mark Lanegan album the last time I was there. It wasn’t Bubblegum or any of his really great ones but Lanegan is Lanegan. Ss I looked along the top of the rack, I saw a trio of Iron Maiden albums. They had the debut album, Number Of the Beast, and Live After Death. The debut was $30 but that was never really into consideration. It was Bruce or bust. NOtB was only $20, while LAD was $30. This was heartbreaking since I had told myself that I would not spend a single cent over what I got from my trade-ins. I decided to go with the higher dollar item since that also meant the greater discount. It was also two discs instead of one and in better condition. I even went back over to the Blu-Ray section and grabbed the first Godfather by itself for $10. It’s, by far, my favorite in the trilogy anyway.

This isn’t over as there is still a 50% coupon for Sunday. I can only hope Number Of the Beast is still there and someone is willing to pick it up for me, as I have to work all day. Collecting would be so much easier if I didn’t have to earn the money to support it.

  1. Well, this is quite a post.
    “Die With Your Boots On” (or “Die With You Boots On”) is one of my favorite Maiden songs, along with “Run To The Hills”. My friend has this on vinyl. She found it at some record show in Ohio five years ago, she paid $75.00 for it but it’s shrink wrapped and in perfect condition. She will likely NEVER open it up. I cannot blame her.
    As for Sunday, we will discuss this. I have an idea. You will get your Maiden. You should also call and ask them to hold it for you. Pretty sure they do that.

  2. I should also add that I have never heard this, because I am very leery of live albums. Half are hit, half are miss, and half should never been released in the first place (my opinion). I must rectify this as soon as I am able to do so.
    Also, I did not get an email when you posted not sure if WordPress is on vacation today. Thought you might want to know.

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