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Beast Over Hammersmith – Commentary
 
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Beast Over Hammersmith

16th November 2002


Eddie's Archive

CD 1
1. Murders In The Rue Morgue (Harris)
2. Wrathchild (Harris)
3. Run To The Hills (Harris)
4. Children Of The Damned (Harris)
5. The Number Of The Beast (Harris)
6. Another Life (Harris)
7. Killers (Di'Anno, Harris)
8. 22, Acacia Avenue (Harris, Smith)
9. Total Eclipse (Harris, Murray, Burr)
 
CD 2
1. Transylvania (Harris)
2. The Prisoner (Smith, Harris)
3. Hallowed Be Thy Name (Harris)
4. Phantom Of The Opera (Harris)
5. Iron Maiden (Harris)
6. Sanctuary (Harris, Di'Anno, Murray)
7. Drifter (Harris)
8. Running Free (Harris, Di'Anno)
9. Prowler (Harris)

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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 all-night bashes.

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 understanding!

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.

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