Iron Maiden: Rock In Rio

Iron Maiden: Rock In Rio (2002)
Sony Music
Extras: Interviews, Featurette, Photo Diary

I first saw Iron Maiden live in 1981 on their "Killers" tour, and from that point onward for many years it became an almost religious pilgrimage to go see the band every following year. Anyone who’s seen the band live, will understand why. The energy, the perfectionism, the stage production, the music and the virtuosity makes any Maiden show a memorable event. This band rocks!

Fast forward over 20 years, and Iron Maiden is still around, now celebrating their latest release "Rock In Rio", a concert DVD that was recorded in January 2001 in front of an 250,000 people strong crowd. What you get is amazing. This band still rocks!

From the opening riff of "The Wicker Man" all the way through to the closing chords of "Run To The Hills" the band leaves you little time to breathe. As a matter of fact, they won’t give you any. At a furious pace the band rocks through their set list that includes old and new tracks alike. Classics like "Iron Maiden," "The Number of the Beast" or "Two Minutes To Midnight" are part of the program alongside newer tracks like "The wicker Man" or "Ghost of the Navigator."

The DVD features a beautiful <$PS,fullscreen> presentation of the concert. The image is absolutely clean and free of noise or grain. The level of detail is breathtaking, putting this in league with some of the best-looking music releases I have had the pleasure to witness. Colors are vibrant and produce beautiful hues to reproduce the intricate lighting of the stage, and the transfer’s blacks are always solid and free of noise. The result is a dimensional image that is sharp and well defined with very good visual depth. The transfer is also free of compression artifacts, adding to the impressive quality of this release.

The audio on the DVD, well, rocks! In many ways. The music, of course, but the DVD contains a <$5.1,5.1 channel> <$DD,Dolby Digital> track as well as a full bitrate <$DTS,DTS> version of the audio. Finley delineated, the track contains every nuance of the band’s play. The three guitars are very well separated, making it possible to hear every part very distinctly in the mix. Iron Maiden mixes have never been very voluminous in terms of the bass response and this live mix is equally restrained in the bass section. It is a result of bassist Steve Harris’ style to play in the upper registers a lot but still the track always feel well rounded with plenty of energy.

Very atypical for a music release, "Iron Maiden: Rock In Rio" comes as a 2-disc set with the second disc featuring a number of great supplements. Complemented by superb animated menus, the second disc is a treasure trove for Maiden fans.

"The Band" allows you to get a closer look at each band member. With candid backstage footage as well as relaxed interviews on their days off, this is a true gem. You hardly ever get the chance to hear these guys talk about themselves in their own words, and this feature does exactly that. It is a pleasure to see them play golf, go fishing, training their fencing skills or going out for a soccer game.

Up next is a featurette that follows the band for one day to show you what living on the road is like. While the featurette manages to capture some of it, I assure you, it is even more wrangling in reality than it appears in this feature. But once again, it offers a rare glimpse at what is going on behind the scenes of a touring rock band in pictures and words that you don’t see or hear very often.

Long-time band photographer Ross Haflin is featured in his own photo diary, where he talks a lot about the tour, the band and the events, while also showing us some pictures he took throughout the South American Tour. Like a diary, he covers the tour on a periodical basis, getting across a good deal of information.

Hats off to Columbia Music Video who have turned what could have been a simple concert video into a collector’s item that every Iron Maiden fan should see. The video and audio on the release is splendid to say the least, matching Maiden’s own perfection when it comes to live performances, while the bonus materials add a very rare and personal look at the band itself. This disc is clearly a must-buy for every Maiden fan!