It's fair to say that we've had quite a few live videos from metal's finest over the years, from 85's classic Live After Death to 09's excellent live/ documentary film Flight 666, but I have to say that En Vivo! is a cut above. To put it briefly, this is a tremendous performance in a massive venue before a fanatical audience, coupled with spot-on editing and production to make a truly tremendous package.
The concert opens with a heart pounding build up through the first half of Satellite 15... The Final Frontier, showing the band and crew prepare for the show while ecstatic fans fill Santiago's Estadio Nacional, before Maiden take to the stage and launch into "The Final Frontier". As the excitement continues through "El Dorado" and "2 Minutes to Midnight", it's made perfectly clear that this is a band on fire- an immense performance which puts groups half their age to shame. Each member is on top form, with Dickinson in particular giving an overwhelming show, turning challenging numbers such as "The Talisman" into astonishing spectacles.
The setlist itself is a masterpiece of ebb and flow, with the smooth intros of "Dance of Death" and "When the Wild Wind Blows" erupting through to high paced numbers like "The Trooper" and "The Evil That Men Do". Being The Final Frontier World Tour, there is a large amount of newer material here, but that is absolutely no excuse for complaint- recent tracks fit comfortably between old favourites remarkably well, a true testimony to the band's consistent song writing prowess. In any case, if you really can't give the new stuff the chance you know it deserves, then you really should have bought Flight 666 instead.
The editing present is wonderful. In the past, Maiden videos were subject to almost dizzying cuts by Steve Harris, but those days are long gone. Andy Matthews, who also cues the video screens in all the band's live shows, adds a fresh perspective to the live footage, showcasing the concert with split screens which, while not being at all intrusive as first feared, gives the viewer all the action without cutting every millisecond to another shot. On top of this, the soundtrack is possibly Kevin Shirley's best live mix to date.
As usual with Maiden videos, it is accompanied by a massive supply of extras, the highlight of which is the "Behind the Beast" documentary. For years I've been praying for a proper behind the scenes doc, showing just how each concert is really put together, from post-production to every show night, and am happy to say that this hour and a half long film goes beyond my expectations. Where Flight 666 spent all of its time on the band and their fans, this film instead shows the crew in action, a massively important part of the tour completely overlooked in the past. Another first for a Maiden doc is footage of the band in rehearsals and the stage set being built from concept to production rehearsals. If this isn't enough, there's another fascinating documentary going behind "The Final Frontier" promo video.
To sum up, this is probably the best concert video I have ever purchased. Each minute is thrilling and is the closest to actually being at the concert as it is possible for a film to be (and I should know having seen the band live dozens of times).