NIGHTS OF THE DEAD, LEGACY OF THE BEAST: LIVE IN MEXICO CITY
Released on November 20, 2020 (Sanctuary Records)
Wow! That’s all that I could think as I opened the book sized “CD case” for Iron Maiden‘s latest live release Nights of The Dead, Legacy of The Beast: Live In Mexico City. Iron Maiden get an A+ for providing a great package for anyone interested in purchasing their latest live release. The only downer was that I was expecting to get a DVD with the CDs that I purchased but whatever, I would have likely only viewed the DVD a handful of times at best in any case. One thing that is annoying with Nights of The Dead, Legacy of The Beast: Live In Mexico City is the extremely long album title. Clearly, a shorter album title would have been nice but that’s a minor issue. For brevity, I will call Nights of The Dead, Legacy of The Beast: Live In Mexico City as Nights of The Dead for the purposes of this review.
Nights of The Dead follows Iron Maiden‘s very successful Legacy of The Beast Tour which saw the band celebrate its back catalog by essentially doing a greatest hits set with a few “newer” songs. Well, the “newest” song — “For The Greater Good of God” dates back to 2006’s A Matter of Life and Death — with the next most recent song from the setlist (“The Wicker Man”) dating back 20 years ago to 2000’s Brave New World. So for the most part, Iron Maiden really delivered a very ’80s era based setlist with one song from the album Iron Maiden (1980), three from The Number of The Beast (1982), four from Piece of Mind (1983), three from Powerslave (1984), one from Seventh Son of A Seventh Son (1988), one from Fear of The Dark (1992), one from The X Factor (1996), one from Virtual XI (1998), one from Brave New World (2000) and one from A Matter of Life And Death (2006).
If you’re a long-time Maiden fan, you’ll know that since the return of Dickinson to the band more than 20 years ago, Iron Maiden have released live albums on a regular basis. It’s actually more than one live album per studio album since Rock in Rio (2002) followed Brave New World (2000), Death On The Road (2005) followed Dance of Death (2003), Flight 666 (2009) which was another greatest hits type tour followed A Matter of Life And Death (2006), En Vivo! (2012) followed The Final Frontier (2010), and finally The Book of Souls: Live Chapter (2017) and now Nights of The Dead (2000) follow The Book of Souls (2015). Despite being a big Maiden fan, I stopped buying each and every one of their live albums after En Vivo!. Although some people might be annoyed with the amount of live albums that Maiden seem to be pumping out — which reminds me of KISS since their 1996 original line-up reunion — the reality is that if you don’t like it, you don’t have to purchase their live records.
I didn’t end up purchasing The Book of Souls: Live Chapter despite being highly tempted by the sheer presentation of it because I have never been able to get into The Book of Souls. That being said, I now feel that the track “For The Greater Good of God” is a solid one and although one of the weakest on Maiden‘s latest live album, it’s still a good one. And that’s the beauty of Iron Maiden‘s live albums. They offer quite a bit of variety from one live record to the other. Incredibly, Nights of The Dead only has four songs that were on The Book of Souls: Live Chapter. Even Flight 666, which is another greatest hits type live album only has 10 tracks (out of 18) that show up on Nights of The Dead.
After seeing Maiden during their Legacy of The Beast Tour stop in Buffalo, New York back in August 2019, it was a no brainer to purchase Nights of The Dead given that the band put on such a great show in Buffalo and presumably throughout that entire tour. The setlist was simply fantastic. You simply can’t go wrong with any of the better known material from The Number of The Beast, Piece of Mind or Powerslave. The songs are there and that’s for sure. The only questions become the execution of the songs in a live setting and whether you can feel the live energy on the record. Maiden succeed on both counts. It seems that the songs are played slightly faster on Nights of The Dead than what can be found on the band’s studio albums. Surprisingly, Dickinson‘s voice sounds a bit hoarse but even a slightly below par Dickinson is better than 90% of the singers still out there from the ’80s era. One thing that I really respect about Dickinson is that he sings material from all of Maiden‘s eras including songs from the Blaze Bayley era. Not only does Dickinson sing Bayley era tracks but he really makes them his own. More singers should drop their egos at the door like Dickinson has done. Imagine David Lee Roth singing Sammy Hagar era Van Halen tunes?
Overall, Nights of The Dead is a very good live album and a great way to relive Iron Maiden‘s spectacular Legacy of The Beast Tour. If you’re an Iron Maiden fan, you’ll definitely want to pick up this live release.
01. Churchill’s Speech
02. Aces High
03. Where Eagles Dare
04. 2 Minutes To Midnight
05. The Clansman
06. The Trooper
08. For The Greater Good of God
09. The Wicker Man
10. Sign of The Cross
11. Flight of Icarus
12. Fear of The Dark
13. The Number of The Beast
14. Iron Maiden
15. The Evil That Men Do
16. Hallowed Be Thy Name
17. Run To The Hills
Bruce Dickinson – lead vocals
Steve Harris – bass
Dave Murray – guitar
Adrian Smith – guitar
Janick Gers – guitar
Nicko McBrain – drums
Michael Kenney – keyboards
Recorded, produced, engineered and mixed by Tony Newton
Co-produced by Steve Harris
Mastered by Ade Emsley
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, December 2020
Iron Maiden‘s “Aces High” track (from Nights of The Dead, Legacy of The Beast: Live In Mexico City):