This recording from the Hammersmith gig during the
Beast On The Road tour is very representative of Iron Maiden's energy and exceptional musical
ability on stage at that time. It was the first tour with Bruce Dickinson at the helm and, quite sadly,
the last one for Clive who wasn't going to professionally survive the playing/partying schedule
they had during the North American leg of the tour. This particular gig took place toward the
beginning of the tour – even before the release of the
Number Of The Beast album – and their energy hadn't yet been spent on
For those who didn't know Clive's drumming skills live, this is a perfect album that highlights
the differences between him and his successor, Nicko McBrain. Although Nicko is technically
superior to Clive, Burr's drumming is raw, fast and direct, and I personally tend to prefer it,
mainly on the "pre-Nicko" compositions (I do not like the way Nicko "simplified"
the drum-line on 'Running Free', for instance, or how he modified that of 'Hallowed Be Thy Name'
in order to speed it up), but this is just a matter of taste – both Clive and Nicko are
brilliant drummers in their respective styles.
It should be noted that Bruce had at first a hard time stepping into Paul Di'Anno's shoes and that
the critics were not exactly tender with him. This recording shows that Bruce had indeed a different
voice than the one we know now, and that the power he built up during his years with Maiden
was not quite there at the time – although it is obvious that the first germ of this
power was already present and that, with some work, he was going to attain this perfect
way of singing that gave Maiden's final personality touch. The fact that Bruce was not as perfect as
some people tend to think, mainly having trouble with some Di'Anno songs, should be stressed
and should put to shame all those who were bashing Blaze Bayley during his tenure with
Iron Maiden (and still do now, sadly enough). Bruce's songs were difficult for Blaze to sing
– and sometimes for Bruce himself too! – because of a different register
of voice (just listen to Bruce singing some Blaze-era songs, they fitted Blaze's voice much better).
Both Bruce and Blaze have talent, but Bruce had years with Maiden to perfect his voice whereas Blaze
only did two tours with them. New kids on the block should be treated with a bit more patience and
In any case, Beast Over Hammersmith is a real gem and probably the best album
that can be found in Eddie's Archive. A "must have" for every Maiden fan.