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Iron Maiden - En Vivo!

Iron Maiden played a thundering set in Chile and invited the cameras in to record the show, and the rest of the whole damn tour. We investigated the results...

Thursday, 5. April 2012  -  by  Russ Thorne

The Live DVD has always been a curious beast. However many cameras you have and however good your sound mixing, it's still desperately tricky to get right. How do you capture the spontaneity and shimmering frisson of a live rock show? Very few directors manage to pull it off, with the possible exception of Scorcese with the Stones, and he's, y'know, Scorcese.

So the team charged with capturing Iron Maiden (no strangers to curious beasts) in their live environment in Chile faced a stiff task. They grapple with it manfully: the cameras get right in on the action, one moment peering over drummer Nicko McBrain's shoulder, the next creeping as close as is wise to flailing lead axeman Janick Gers; at one point you're underneath Bruce Dickinson as he leaps from the monitors.

It sounds exciting, and it should be, but somewhere along the line it falls just slightly flat. The sound is great but not electrifying. The visuals are slick but not spine-tingling. The accompanying 'making of' suffers the same problem: the main story is built around a custom built aeroplane decorated with a grinning zombie, yet still it doesn't quite take off. Chaos, thunderstorms, and earthquakes just come across as slightly ordinary.

Fans will love 'En Vivo' and it does offer some interesting insights, but it feels like too much order was imposed onto chaos in the editing suite. If events – and Maiden themselves – had been shown just slightly more off the leash, this might have been a thrilling ride. (They do rock the socks off 50,000 ecstatic Chileans, after all.) As it is, it's like being in the band's plane with Dickinson at the controls: calm and quite enjoyable, but no alarms and no surprises. And down here on the ground, that's not always a good thing.

Buy if: you're a Maiden completist or like seeing lots of flight cases being packed and unpacked

Skip if: Spinal Tap is on TV

Best bit: The blistering 'Hallowed be they name' and 'Running free' set closers

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