Style: prog metal, heavy metal, NWOBHM, live, British
Members: Bruce Dickinson ~ vocals
Dave Murray, Janick Gers ~ guitar
Steve Harris ~ bass/b. vocals
Nicko McBrain ~ drums
Additional: Michael Kenney ~ keyboards
I'm not one of those great IM fans that know every album, has fond memories of the Powerslave tour & defends Bruce Dickinson's singing against the other IM frontmen. I enjoy some of their stuff & the hits, but am not that familiar with their music generally. By the time I was in my youthful musical prime (i.e. high school) they didn't have the impact on the charts as they once did. Like Kiss, I just missed their big moments & their last years are memories where I'm a distant observer, i.e. interested in other bands & only finding their music long after the fact. A Real Live One is the first of three live albums released in 1993. It consists of songs released after 1986, or more properly from the album Somewhere in Time through 1992's Fear of the Dark, performed on their latest tours. Later in 1993 came the companion album A Real Dead One of pre-1985 or classic songs from 1975 through 1984's classic Powerslave with the latest line-up. A month after this release came Live At Donington 1992 that duplicated A Real Dead One's track listing but with stronger performances. The pattern would now be set for a live album after every couple studio albums climaxed by the much publicized Flight 666 in 2009. Living in Donington 1992 was originally released only in selected countries but later made generally available, while the other two albums were reissued as a combined A Real Live Dead One. A Real Live One is the highlight of this trio of albums, it's companion album the low point. The criticism of its companion is that the older studio versions remain the superior versions, whereas on this first album the newer songs translate more smoothly to the stage with less arrangement changes to reflect a different band line-up & vocalist. Sadly, as a non-fan I don't find myself becoming a fan of the band. The problem for me is the half the songs I know I don't like these live versions. The issue really comes down to production quality. Maybe my ears are more adjusted to 2013 as the litmus test & I've forgotten that this hasn't always been the standard, but this is one of those live recordings where not everything comes through clean. IM is for me a band that has a textural element to their music & I feel it loses some of it here. For example, "Can I Play With Madness" has out of tune backing vocals, a cloud of guitar distortion the original doesn't have that wrecks havoc when the keyboards come in, & while Bruce Dickinson really might be a strong factor in IM's success having his voice not perfectly clean & out front in the mix does change some of the focus of the songs. I lose some of the detail in the IM live setting. But, on the other hand & where this album is good for fans, it paints an accurate picture of what a IM concert sounds like & that has a lot of value in itself. If you're a casual fan like myself I would recommend none of the above albums but instead go for a DVD. IM really must be seen live to be enjoyed fully, then you can venture into the audio only. I'm not at that point yet, so excuse me.