Iron Maiden - _En Vivo!_
(EMI, 2012)
by: Johnathan A. Carbon (8.5 out of 10)
I am obviously not going to give a background history for Iron Maiden. It is like trying to introduce Led Zeppelin or Queen. Iron Maiden ranks in the top 10 artists of all time. I was very enthusiastic regarding the band's last full-length _The Final Frontier_. In fact, this 2010 release caught Iron Maiden on with enough energy and spirit to make it their best records since _Brave New World_. At the time of _The Final Frontier_ I made whispered predictions Iron Maiden was entering into some fabled second age or silver period. While not as powerful as their early '80s incarnation (1982-1988), _The Final Frontier_ showed the world that the band needed no sympathetic retrospective nor quiet accolades for lifetime achievement. Their time is not over nor will it be for quite some time.

_En Vivo!_ is a live album/DVD which was filmed during the South American leg of the 2011 _Final Frontier_ tour. The same production behind 2009's documentary "Flight 666" returned to make _En Vivo!_ into something special. There are many things this live album/DVD intends to do. Most importantly, the record intends to package an experience much in the same way concert films did in the past. _En Vivo!_ fails to live up to the caliber of "The Last Waltz" or "Stop Making Sense," yet the performance captured is one of the finest put to digital tape.

The track list for _En Vivo!_ is the first indication of dense quality. The first set is with tracks from _The Final Frontier_ with only sparse instances of fan favorites like "2 Minutes to Midnight" and "The Trooper". The second set reaches further into the past, even pulling from the band's self-titled debut. Regardless of the number of hits, Iron Maiden never feels comfortable to rest on the laurels of the past. _En Vivo!_ attempts to make _The Final Frontier_ every bit as classic as _Powerslave_ or _Somewhere in Time_.

Before I made mention of a band attempting to capture some sort of moment in time. Whether or not Iron Maiden intended, _En Vivo!_ shows an act flawlessly running through renditions of their songs without even a moment's pause regarding their age. Dickinson's voice cannot register at its previous height, but this limitation never slows any of the performance. _En Vivo!_ is a fantastic live album which defines what a live album and concert film was and should always be.

The accompanying DVD is equal in its scope and dedication. While the idea of split screen action cameras sounds silly, they become necessary, allowing the viewer to get caught in the excitement. There are a dozen extra features and not one seems superfluous and unnecessary. _En Vivo!_ allows the viewer to become immersed in a band and its legacy. At points I wonder if this is how people experienced metal back in the early '80s. Iron Maiden's continual effort transcends time and allows for an exciting experience until the band stops playing.

Because _En Vivo!_ will not make it to any sort of end of the year list, it comes with a playful and fun atmosphere. It is just a great live Maiden record. Nothing more and certainly nothing less. I feel like I should be high-fiving someone right now. Fuck it, I'll high-five myself.

(article published 6/5/2012)

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