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4.5 out of 5 stars
Maiden England '88 [DVD] [2013]
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 26 March 2013
This double DVD, is in many ways a bona-fide 5-Star worthy product.

Some of the content has been previously available on various VHS releases (Maiden England, 12 Wasted Years) and other DVD releases (Visions Of The Beast). But there is also plenty of 'new' archive stuff (3 concert encores) and the continuation of the 'History Of Iron Maiden' documentary with part 3 of the series.

The main feature is a visually spectacular Iron Maiden concert from 1988 with a fine, and now complete, set-list boasting classic tracks and rarely played gems. It also features a couple of documentaries in the form of the decades old '12 Wasted Years' and the more enlightening 'History Of Iron Maiden Part 3'. Then, there are also the 5 promotional videos from 1986 - 1988 including the fantastic concert performance of 'Stranger In A Strange Land'.

However, there are flaws and missed opportunites too.

The concert staging and set list are all great, but the performance is, by Maiden standards, a bit below par. The songs, in my opinion, are played too fast for their own good and Bruce, one of the greatest frontmen of any genre in music, is not having his best night as he struggles with a cold.

There is also the fact that the the promo video for SIASL aside, there is very little footage here of the equally spectacular 'Somewhere On Tour' from 1986/87. This is a sad omission by Maiden given that their previous DVD releases were not just reissues of an old VHS but also a paltform for presenting previously overlooked tours. For example, the 'Number Of The Beast' and 'Piece Of Mind' album tours were previously given very little exposure until their appearance on the excellent 'Early Days' DVD release. One would have hoped that since this release continues the 'History Of Iron Maiden' documentaries, footage for the 'Somewhere On Tour' concerts could have been located and used. Yes, it was shockingly never professionally filmed, but there appears to be some not too bad footage on YouTube so, one wonders....

And as for the promo videos, fine. But they have been seen before on 'Visions Of The Beast'. Instead, more TV performances from the era would have been a nice treat (as can be found in the 'Early Days' DVD)

And as for the documentaries, '12 Wasted Years' was probably great in its time but is now very much of little use as subsequent releases (notably the 'Early Days' DVD) have covered the contents far better.

And as for 'Part 3 of the History Of Iron Maiden', it reveals very little new information over a rather restricted 40 minutes. All Maiden fans know that Bruce presented some accousitc tracks for the Somewhere In Time album and these were rejected, it's been documented with any reference to the 1986 album for the last 25 years. So, how about letting us Maiden fans know or hear those songs - now that would have been of interest!

And that really sums up this release. It is, as a stand alone product, bloody amazing! It's just that whatever is presented here has been done better by the band elsewhere and there really was the scope for the band to have done better here too. Frankly, the care and attention given to this release falls short of what the Early Days DVD release achieved.

So, I find myself in the odd position of really enjoying this release, whilst also being somewhat frustrated.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 1 April 2013
After awaiting for the next instalment in this early days serious, delighted when it arrived.
First up the 40 minute documentary, good but too short would have loved to see more of the somewhere in time footage.

Second the extras are good great to see the 12 wasted years video again.

Third the main concert, arguably maidens best live video, not as iconic as live after death, but better footage and better performance maiden at their absolute all time peak.

The whole DVD is let down by the lack of quality re mastering but sound and vision.
I have this and 12 wasted years on video and converted both to DVD and although this is better quality it's not massively superior, I was not expecting hi def just a better clean up.
Hopefully when they do the next one (donington 92) they will scan the original film cells onto hi def. and add longer documentary
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 25 March 2013
After Somewhere in Time and the Somewhere on Tour..er..tour, there was great anticipation for Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (SSOASS). SSOASS sounded much more commercial than even the synths of the previous album had hinted towards, but I always felt the songs never really matched the concept in a way that an Operation Mindcrime or a Floyd record could.

This seems to translate through to the live dvd (I guess the original video quality couldn't hold up to a blu ray transfer), the album artwork (arguably Derek Riggs' last great cover) translates nicely to the stage set , as always with Maiden, but the album concept is picked up and put down at random through this live set of songs. Leaving this as a great document of the '88 tour, but a missed opportunity to create a focused, coherent representation of the concept, it wouldn't be until A Matter of Life and Death that Maiden would play a full albums worth of songs live (strangely one of the only tours not captured, packaged and sold to the fans on what seems to be an ongoing cycle of new album, best of cd, live cd, new album, best of cd, live cd and on and on...).

My first live Maiden experience was Somewhere on Tour in 'October '86 and the dvd extra, The Early Years Part III, covers the absence of any substantial tour document from this time, surely there must be live recordings of that period, even if there's no live footage? The 90 minute Wasted Years doc is an ok-ish trawl through Maiden's history, captured at the tail end of the 80s. Nothing that fans don't know by heart and more of an interesting artefact to fill out the dvd than anything essential. The videos are fun and don't take themselves too seriously and are good to have collected in one place.

However, all of this doesn't take away from the fact that it is wonderful to have this released, capturing the band before their slow decline and rebirth with Brave New World (sorry Blaze fans, but it's the truth). Listening to Still Life, Heaven Can Wait and Wasted Years takes me right back. Bruce's voice is a phenomenal instrument, then and now and the energy from the rest of the band is non-stop (are the songs played too fast?), Nicko has to have been one of the best drummer's in the world at the time, even as the thrash gods of Ulrich and Lombardo were edging through.

The lack of content from Somewhere on Tour as extras and the slightly grainy quality knock off a star, I bought the CD as well which sounds amazing in it's digitally remastered state.

A fantastic companion to Live After Death, new fans could do worse than pick this up to see what a world class rock band at the height of the powers are capable of. Up the Irons...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 March 2013
Im not going to ramble on about the concert and setlist in this review as others have done that for me. What I will do is give some new fans that are not familiar with the footage because they either missed it first time or erm werent born, some idea. If your idea of a Maiden concert is Blu ray full glorious HD then you may be disapointed. This was originally released abridged in 1989 minus the encore. The team behind this dvd have done a great job in trying to remaster the original footage, which WASNT filmed in HD back in the day nor was it filmed in 35mm (like Live after Death). So for example if you compare with "EN vivo" or even "Live after Death" then you will notice a significant difference in the way it looks and feels. It was also directed by Mr Harris himself to portray the aspect of a fans eye pov. HOWEVER, it is a great example of Maiden during their Seventh tour of a seventh tour and reflects a significant and classic period in their career. It also includes the excellent documentary "12 wasted" years which was released back in the VHS days. Its kind of a more condensed version of the episodic "History of Iron maiden" up until 87, insidentally the third part of the History of Iron Maiden is also included here albeit is shorter than the previous 2 episodes but essential for continuity with the other two which featured on the dvds Early days and Live after Death. Recommended
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 April 2013
It is great to have this concert as part of the collection and it does contain some songs live that are rare. Nevertheless it is for me very clear, most especially shown by the voice of Bruce that he was (they were) extremely tired, as it is also stated in the documentary, because of the years of studio/touring/studio/touring. I like much more the way they play their concerts today - they only tour so much that Bruce can keep his amazing voice at a very high standard and the three guitars give an uncomparably full and deep sound which is absolutely mindblowingly fantastic. The tiredness makes this concert for me one that will not be listened to or watched all too often. I advise "beginners" to rather buy Rock in Rio or Flight 666, maybe En Vivo to hear what these guys are capable of live. As for the sound quality, well it's again not as good as on the above mentioned records and the picture quality... well it was filmed on video tape in '88 so the quality reflects that. I consider the documentaries as bonuses to this release and so I am quite happy with them.
To summarise, a good buy for your collection but if this would be "the" concert from Maiden for you I would advise you to go for something else.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 27 March 2013
Maybe I'm old school, but I miss the Maiden classic line-up. This show is the Mighty Maiden during the tail-end of their extended musical peak. As many of you all know, a few short years later, we'd lose Adrian, then Bruce, and by the time these guys returned, Iron Maiden were a band of 6. Still rocking and going strong, they're simply not the same as they once were.

But the best reason to buy this DVD release, is for the concert editing of years past. How I miss the days when camera angles were limited and shots lingered enough for my eyes to actually focus on the image. Steve Harris, notorious for hyperkinetic editing, apparently took the reigns on this one, but it may have been one of his first projects and he certainly didn't go nuts (like he has in videos of late). For example, its refreshing to actually see Dave and Adrian strut their stuff during their solos instead of seeing an unnecessary split-screen close-up of Nicko's bare feet during that time. Watch this video in comparison to En Vivo, and you'll understand, what I'm referring to. It's such a pleasant change. Yeah, it's in lack-luster "standard def", and presented in 4:3 aspect ratio, which to me is the worst part, but I'll take these shortcoming over the ADD editing anyday!

As for sound quality, the concert audio itself is a little disappointing, particularly the 5.1 surrounds of both the Dolby Digital and the DTS. I honestly expected better. Not knowing what they had to work with as a source, all I can tell you is that it certainly doesn't impress like modern day recordings. No speaker work-out here. If anything, I actually found the PCM stereo mode to be the most enjoyable and a step-up from my VHS version.

Lastly as for the extras, I always enjoy the "History of Maiden" installments, as they give us a nice if not nostaglic look at the days long past and a peek into what the band was feeling and thinking back then. I don't think this one was done as well as Part 2, (This one has an over-abundance of slide-show style pictures of the era) but it was still fun to watch. Oh, and you get a nifty folded poster too, great for your bedroom wall if your like...uh..twelve!!

Overall, a fantastic effort. Not quite full stars due to the lackluster audio, but still worth every penny. Cheers!

UPDATE: I've since been able to significantly improve the DOLBY DIGITAL audio quality by changing the settings on my PS3 to output in "bitstream" rather than PCM, thereby allowing my receiver to do the decoding. Big improvement. But DTS and Stereo options were not affected by this change. (Since I watch Blu-ray 99% of the time, I have my PS3 outputting in PCM since it's the only way to obtain lossless HD audio. Bitstream output from PS3 will give you truncated data from an HD source such as blu-ray's DTS-Master Audio. However, you'll get the full bandwith of anything (DD or DTS) encoded onto just standard DVD). Understanding that everyone's equipment differs, your experience may vary!
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on 15 June 2014
I remember this; the tour, in the winter of '88 after they headlined the Donington 'Monsters Of Rock' Festival. The 'Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son' tour and album.....

Iron Maiden were at the peak of their powers. They were in support of an album that, until their recent incarnation, was their apex. They would creatively drop down a notch or two....

Famously this was directed by Steve Harris, as a complete antithesis of their '85 'Live After Death' film.....that one was filmed like it was in an arena, which it was. This? Well, the NEC can hold around 9,000 on a good day, depending on production, and Steve filmed it so it appears more like a club gig. That's my only gripe with it. Still, a very commendable job....

The songs? Well, Maiden was just off the back of 3 Top 10 hits in the UK, so it was all strong stuff; 'Moonchild', 'The Prisoner', 'Can I Play With Madness', 'Heaven Can Wait', 'Wasted Years', 'The Number Of The Beast' and 'Hallowed Be Thy Name' are just some of the heavy hitters.....

As per usual with the Maiden DVD's, we get bonuses; the on-going 'History....' Is fascinating, covering the years '86-'88, a documentary of the first 12 years and promo vids galore.....

A great package. A bloody good show....just wished there were a few more wide/crowd shots in the mix too....
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 March 2013
What a great DVD, I owned this on VHS but the quality is superb, I saw the band at Donington that year and this brings back memories of that era.
Worth every penny!!
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on 27 May 2014
I've been a fan of Maiden and this era since... well, 1988! And this double DVD is like first class time travelling.

The show must have been awesome. The video recording is quite unique in its directing and editing, for its time. I believe it was all done by Steve Harris, the band's bass player (a first for him at the time). The audio rocks, now on 5.1, like it should and it takes me there. Great!

All the extras are metal candy for fans. The new instalment of their History documentary is pretty good, pretty interesting. The 1987 doc "12 Wasted Years" is somewhat rare and absolutely precious. And the music videos are a must for collectors.

For those who want to get to know Maiden live on their home theatre, this might not be the best starting point... but it will not disappoint at all. It's Iron Maiden at their best, rocking the 80s!

There are some tracks that were not available on the '88 VHS edition, new 5.1 mix, great extras from the past, preserved in digital. This is a fine DVD to own, if you like true British heavy metal...

Up the Irons! :)
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 26 March 2013
Finally released on DVD after 25 years,thank god,total triumph.Cards on the table,this is my favourite era of the band.I know many prefer the Di'Anno years,or Beast to Powerslave,all are fine,fine albums ,but 86-88 is the era that is my favourite.Filmed at the Birmingham NEC as part of the 7th son tour,so therefore unsuprisingly, that album dominates the set.Top nuggets in the set are Still Life,Killers & The Prisoner,brilliant ,brilliant stuff & the then current album material is performed fabulously too.Unlike the original VHS,the main feature includes the 3 prong encore of Run to the Hills,Running Free & Sanctuary.As for film quality/HD/3-D,whatever,no idea, but I think it's aged really well all thing's considered,sure technology has evolved since,but this is fine to me.Sound quality is very good too,considering the awful reputation the NEC had back in the day for it's sound,so turn it up loud!Personal highlights??All of it!If pushed 'Hallowed be thy name!',ultimate version in my humble view.Great to see Adrian RIGHTLY playing his solo's,alas after this tour,things would never be the same again,Adrian left,Maiden's star dimmed as time's changed musically .The 2nd disc contains History of Maiden part 3 86-88,most of which we already know pretty much.Also on there is '12 Wasted Years' the old VHS History of the band from the Ruskin Arms to the Somewhere on Time tour,good stuff & finally the promo videos for the singles off the 'Somewhere & 7th Son' albums.As for value for money ,only fair to point out that with the extra 3 songs that were not on the original VHS,of the 18 tracks from the gig, 6 can be found on Live after Death DVD.Personally,I couldnt care less,this really is brilliant!I'm not ashamed to say,as an old metalhead, I have honestly shed a tear watching & reliving this again,great great memories brought flooding back!Following lean times,in 1999 Maiden re-grouped as Bruce & Adrian returned.Today, Maiden are a major force again,but they are not as great now as they were here back in 1988!Remember them this way,or as the force they were from the amazing Live After Death!!
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