Sound — 10
The DVD is a double disc set that features live gigs on one disc and a 90 minute documentary on the other. The gigs then: 01. Live At The Ruskin Arms 1980: effectivley a home movie. Shot on just one camera the line-up is Steve Harris/Dave Murray/Clive Burr/Paul Di'anno/Dennis Stratton. The sound quality as you might imagine is not the best but the gig itself is really good and worth watching to see what Maiden were like in the very early days. 02. Live At The Rainbow 1980: Dennis Stratton replaced by Adrian Smith. This is a really good gig and the band play pretty well. The sound is excellent. It's full on but not mind blowing if you know what I mean. The bass sounds great as do the guitars. The drums are good and Paul Di'anno is on top form. He made up the lyrics he uses for "Killers" just before the show. Stand out songs are Phantom of the Opera, Wrathchild and Remeber Tomorrow and Killers. 03. Beast Over Hammersmith 1982: Paul Di'anno replaced by Bruce Dickinson. Bruce Dickinson is amazing here. The sound is much better than the Rainbow gig and there is a real sense of showmanship from the band. Dave Murray and Adrian Smith's guitar solos just bounce off each other in songs like Number of the Beast and The Prisoner. Bruce delivers songs such as these and all the rest with fantastic energy. Steve and Clive of course are also excellent. 04. Live In Dortmund 1983: Clive Burr replaced by Nicko McBrain. This show probably has the best sound. The Piece of Mind material sounds superb - The Trooper, Revelations and Flight of Icarus. The sound is much more complete than the Hammersmith show and Nicko's drumming is great. The band play the best out of the four gigs here I think.
Content — 10
5 hours focusing on the first four Maiden albums. The gigs shown are not full sets but if they were the 2 disc would probably be about 7/8 hours long. The documentary has interviews with current band members Steve Harris, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, Bruce Dickinson and Nicko McBrain. There are also interviews with ex-members Clive Burr, Paul Di'anno, Dennis Stratton and a few people that were in the band before it broke through - Doug Samson, Ron Matthews and Terry Rance for example. I wish that the gigs contained full sets. In Dortmund during Iron Maiden the band 'murder' Eddie but this is not shown. Also I think that some Piece of Mind tracks are missing. I'm pretty sure they played Where Eagles Dare and Die With Your Boots On on that tour but again they're not shown. One thing that surprise people is at the Beast Over Hammersmith gig during 22 Acacia Avenue a girl dressed as Charlotte the Harlot comes and walks around the stage. As well as the documentary and gigs there are some TV appearances and the promo videos of all the singles in that time.
Production Quality — 10
The production for this DVD is as good as it could be. The footage of the live shows is as it was back then and the editing and stuff on those shows is good. The documentary is also produced really well and is really interesting. At the Beast Over Hammersmith show the lighting is not great but nothing can be done about that now. There is some computer graphics and stuff with Eddie and this looks pretty cool.
Overall Impression — 10
Compared to other Maiden DVDs such as Rock in Rio and Visions of the Beast I think that The Early Days is really good. Better than Visions and similar to Rock in Rio. I was really impresed by the documentary myself and I was amazed that so mant ex-memebers and old record company execs took part. I like everything about it. Simply there is nothing to knock the band for except maybe the awful taste in dress in the early gigs. Ah well spandex isn't going to be forgotten yet. I would definitely replace this if it were lost/stolen becuase it's great to watch and it's a piece of Maiden history.