En Vivo! [DVD] review by Iron Maiden

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  • Released: Mar 27, 2012
  • Sound: 7
  • Content: 8
  • Production Quality: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.8 Good
  • Users' score: 8.8 (38 votes)
Iron Maiden: En Vivo! [DVD]

Sound — 7
Chances are that you've seen an Iron Maiden DVD before, but if you haven't then let me run you through the basics. Every few years the heavy metal giants embark on a world tour, documenting it with a concert film and concisely justifying their reputation as one of the best live bands on the planet. Some of these live releases are rightly celebrated as classics alongside their finest studio efforts and "En Vivo!" joins the catalogue as their twentieth unique live package. The Estadio Nacional in Santiago is the setting, with the band playing to 50,000 South American fans who can be counted among their most dedicated and energetic. With no overarching theme beyond an album to promote, the focus is on new tunes and "The Final Frontier" comes across very well here. The setlist is one that favours new material and the band clearly relish playing them alongside the likes of "Hallowed Be Thy Name" and "Fear Of The Dark". It depends entirely on your preference but fans of the album will be pleased to see it stand up to close scrutiny - with such typically electric performance, songs like "The Talisman" and "El Dorado" don't seem out of place at all. A particular highlight, though, is the epic "When The Wild Wind Blows", which ushers in the business end of the set and provides Maiden fans with a new concert moment' for the first time since "Blood Brothers" in 2000.

Content — 8
What really makes this DVD unique, though, is its "Behind The Beast" documentary, which takes an in-depth look at all the nuts and bolts, committees and planning teams that are required to pull off a tour as massive as this - travelling 60,000 miles in 66 days on a chartered aircraft, narrowly avoiding landing on an earthquake in Japan along the way. The sign of a great rock documentary is coming out at the other end with a greater appreciation of the band than you started with, and watching this you can't help but admire Maiden's 300-strong workforce and particularly their crew, who get about 3 hours' sleep a night to put on one of the greatest rock shows on earth. Things get a little dry when we're protecting earth wiring from rain or measuring flight cases for air travel, but classy editing along with some fun interjections from backstage characters keep things interesting on the whole. It will perhaps titillate geeks for organisation and logistics more than it will heavy metal fans, but it nonetheless remains a fascinating insight into what is an enormously complicated and rather stressful business.

Production Quality — 8
The concert video was produced by Banger Films Inc, who also oversaw the last Iron Maiden film, the wonderful "Flight 666", and they again deliver a top-notch HD package on DVD and Blu-Ray, with crisp 5.1 surround sound handled by the band's producer Kevin Shirley. Both films are put together to an excellent standard, but director Andy Matthews' heavy use of split screen falls short of tastefulness now and again - "He would look in the mirror/see an old man now" sings Bruce Dickinson as he stares into a mirror image of himself during "When The Wild Wind Blows". That said, it covers the action effectively and offers something a little different to the performances, some of which have been seen many times before.

Overall Impression — 8
With so many live releases under their belt it's clear that it would take a rather spectacular oversight for Iron Maiden to disappoint at this stage. They always deliver quality product and while "Live After Death" will forever be the definitive live album and "Flight 666" more or less perfected the documentary experience, these are two good films that diehards will absolutely eat up.

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