Sound — 10
This DVD was recorded at Long Beach Arena, the main concert was filmed March 15th 1985; the second of four sold out nights of Iron Maiden headlining in Long Beach. The footage was previously available on VHS and Laserdisc, but the new DVD transfer is much improved. The color is quite vivid and looks fresh, which will be a nice treat for old fans who have worn out their old VHS tape. I can't comment on the 5.1 audio track as I don't have a 5.1 system, but all reports on it in reviews I've read have been nice. The band was spot on this performance. Often the live album is the same name is held in regards as one of the best metal performances in history, the DVD really shows it. Maiden were at the peak of their creativity in '85. Bruce's voice is a little whiny in spots, but they had also been touring for 8 months straight when this was recorded.
Content — 10
The DVD features well over 5 hours of Maiden. Disc one of the set is the concert video Live After Death. In over a 90 minute performance, Maiden rolls out their hits such as The Trooper, Run To The Hills and 2 Minutes To Midnight, as well as some less played gems such as Aces High, Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, Revelations and Flight Of Icarus. The stage was the most theatrical show Maiden have done to date, with an Egyptian themed stage in support of their 1984 album, Powerslave. The stage features a moving lighting rig, pyrotechnics and a two story Eddie whose eyes spark. Disc two begins with Part 2 of The History Of Iron Maiden, which is the follow up to the 2004 DVD, The Early Days. Part 2 of the series focuses solely on the writing and recording of Powerslave, as well as their 13 month World Slavery Tour in support of the album. The documentary is incredibly in depth, featuring interviews with band members, as well as management and technicians associated with the band. Next up is another documentary called Behind The Iron Curtain. Also originally released on VHS as a 30 minute long video EP, the DVD transfer is doubled in length with 30 minutes of never before seen footage. The video documents Maiden's tour of Eastern Bloc in 1984, making them the first western band to take a full production into Communist Europe. In addition of the document footage, there are 7 live videos recorded on that leg of the tour. An hours worth of footage from when Maiden opened for Queen at the very first Rock In Rio on January 11th 1985 is also included. The footage is low quality, and only half of the show was inculded due to the rest of it being too damaged to put on the DVD. The full show has been circulating among bootleg traders for years, however the footage on the DVD is cleaned up a lot from the bootleg, and the audio is a lot clearer. Filmed in front of 300, 000 fans, it is to date the biggest concert Maiden has played to date. There is a 15 minute promotional spot of the band in Texas on their 1983 World Piece Tour. It features footage of the band visting the Alamo, as well as Flight Of Icarus and 22 Acacia Avenue, and the band soundchecking Wrathchild in Austin. Finally, there are 2 promo videos, Aces High and 2 Minutes To Midnight and 5 or 6 picture gallerys.
Production Quality — 10
The thing that stands out the most in terms of production is it lacks the quick editing of later Maiden videos. Fans who have seen Rock In Rio or Death On The Road know what I am talking about. This is due to the fact that Steve Harris didn't do the editing on Live After Death. The camera angles on the main concert are quite innovative, and a breath of fresh air compared to more recent Maiden DVDs. The footage is much more crisp than the VHS release, and they really went above and beyond in remastering it. All in all the DVD was well produced and fortunately doesn't suffer from a lot of the technical issues on Death On The Road.
Overall Impression — 10
Live After Death is without a doubt the essential Iron Maiden DVD. The live footage captures the band in their prime and at the height of their popularity. The documentaries offer an insightful glimpse into the world of Maiden in '84 and '85. I don't really have any complaints, except for the inclusion of only half of the Rio gig. I have the bootleg of the whole show on a DVD somewhere, and the footage of the rest isn't too much more deteriorated than what was included. My guess is it was cut for time purposes. I would buy another copy no doubt if it were lost or stolen. Coming from a die-hard Maiden fan, the most impressive thing was that there were no promises about it not kept. The last few years in the Maiden world, everything has had something go wrong and they had to break a promise. I'm glad to say this is not like that. The DVD appears exactly how they said it would. Up The Irons!