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Iron Maiden Rock In Rio DVD

By Sefany Jones, Contributing Editor
Tuesday, August 20, 2002 @ 1:52 AM


(Columbia)

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I was never an Iron Maiden fan. I just couldn’t bear to allow myself to give a chance to some short, wiry Brit singing these historical epic compositions. I mean, Maiden songs were almost (gasp!) educational -- no thanks!

In 2000, I was more or less forced to spend some journalistic time at a few Maiden gigs in Europe – Nijmegen, Holland, Paris and London. Let me tell you about the Dutch show… after a full day at Dynamo’s Open Air festival, last thing I was in the mood for was to watch these guys – it’d be my first time to witness them. Overhead grew dark and eerie, and a humid chill set in the air. Suddenly, the sky split wide open and unleashed a flurry of freezing rain as lightning bolts chiseled angrily through the mist, just inches above the massive metal stage scaffolding. Just then, when it almost became intolerable, the Maiden six took the stage in conditions just a few degrees shy of purgatory, erupting with an unyielding force and fervent volume, ripping into their then-new single, “The Wicker Man.”

Bruce Dickinson stood spread-eagle across two amps, overlooking the 65,000 plus fans, drenched and muddied, pumping their fists in the air with every ounce of strength. The pouring rain didn’t matter, the dangerous lightning didn’t matter: Iron Maiden was cranking out true, pure metal in perfect motion! Where the hell have I been! Obviously wrapped up in denial of the inevitable. I was instantly a fan.

So, naturally after my amazing experience, I wanted to be the one to review this double-disc live DVD, filmed at the Rock In Rio Festival on January 19th, 2001. I guess it’s the second best thing without being one of the 250,000 lucky fans that attended this sold-out show in Brazil. This was their very last date on the Brave New World tour, and their biggest crowd on that tour.

Disc One starts off with a little intro to the Rock in Rio festival… the typical filling in of the fans, running for the best spot, beautiful aerial shots from a helicopter of the amazing venue, and a little backstage footage of the band members warming up. Then you get the entire concert from beginning to end (sans rain and lightning), starting with guitarist Adrian Smith kicking off “The Wicker Man,” all the way through to the classic “Run To The Hills.” Here you get front row access to this incredible performance, filmed with 18 cameras for a close-up view you’d never get standing in the middle of a crowd of a quarter-million people! The stage is an enormous contraption in which only major musicians, such as Iron Maiden, could fill the space without looking like ants.

Between the passionate crowd chanting of “Maiden! Maiden! Maiden!” the band spews out more their newer tunes of “Ghost of the Navigator” and “Brave New World.” Dickinson intros the next song with his trademark ominous storyteller-type scowling voice, “Something old… something new… Something from our Jurassic period… ‘Wrathchild’!” The crowd’s going crazy, bobbing up and down. Bassist Steve Harris edited the DVD content, and does a great job and keeping the pace moving and flowing. It’s during this song where you begin to get this occasional up-close camera view of Bruce Dickson’s face, almost as if it’s harnessed around his neck – pretty cool!

“How the fuck are you Rio De Janeiro?!” Bruce inquires across the masses, as if it weren’t clearly apparent they were having the time of their lives. “Scrrrreeeeeaaammmm for me Brrrrazil!” and a sea of two-fingered hands lunge forward in synchronicity as they break into “Two Minutes To Midnight.” Guitarists Dave Murray and Smith trade solo licks back and forth, Harris pogos up and down, and Dickinson cruises on the camera trolley across the front of the stage, making evil faces.

“Blood Brothers” comes next, followed by “Sign of the Cross, “ which slows things down almost a little too much. But no worries – they kick it into high gear with “The Mercenary,” and then “The Trooper,” in which Dickinson proceeds to prance about the stage waving a British flag, dotted with bullet holes. For “The Clansman,” Harris uses some metallic-twangy bass, which has a beautiful sound. Drummer Nicko McBrain decides to bust a move and gets his groove on behind the drum kit with some wacky little dance!

“The Evil That Men Do” gets the crowd riled up and leads them into “Fear of the Dark,” in which the audience begins singing, “Ohh ohh ohh OH ohh ohh oh,” during the intro. Finally! You get a split second of the famous “Janick Gers March!” I was really hoping to see more of it throughout, but alas, the guitarist sticks to his one-legged-stretch stance – sometimes up on an amp, sometimes down on the floor. They finish up with Murray introing the opening licks of “Iron Maiden,” and the crowd goes wild. Dickinson sings from inside the belly of the beast, Eddie, surrounded by billowy Goddesses dancing around him. As they “finish” their set, McBrain stretches his legs by running the full length of the stage, thanking the fans all the way across.

After a brief break and the audience pleading “Maiden! Maiden!” “Number of the Beast” tears through the amps with furious energy. “Hallowed Be Thy Name” lines up all three guitarists, interspersed with Harris, and they rip through the song like no other metal band could. The three-guitar attack is so amazing here. Then onto “Sanctuary,” and lastly the Iron Maiden anthem, “Run To The Hills.”

If you’ve got the capability of listening to this DVD in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, you’ve got it made. This is super-clean and concise, but with enough of the crowd noise to make it feel really live. An amazing concert!

Disc Two has the bonus goodies, in which I won’t spill too much. “The Band” gives you a menu option to choose a band member, in which each one has a camera following them on a day off (in Brazil) and you get to watch Smith fish, Dickinson fence, McBrain shop along the shoreline and play golf with Murray, Harris plays some ‘fut bol’… what have you. Personally, I could have used a little more footage. It’s fun, but each segment is fairly short. You definitely won’t find your typical rock & roll antics here – nothing but gentlemen-like fun. They do a feature called “A Day In The Life” where you get a little look inside what goes on in the band during the course of a day. Insightful, but definitely on the tame side. Then last of all, their official photographer, Ross Halfin, goes through a slide-show type series of photos, in which he narrates the pictures with its significance and some background info. Again, interesting, but it’s a little mellow. Nonetheless, Disc Two offers up a nice chunk of every band member that you wouldn’t really get to see anywhere else!

Over all, the Rock In Rio DVD is a fantastic collection of the band onstage, performing some of their finest work, and backstage just being themselves. The DVD itself is very basic and easy to navigate. This is Maiden’s first-ever DVD, so it’s a must-have for the true metal fan!

DISC ONE: * * * * *

DISC TWO: * * * *


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