Iron Maiden: Death On The Road (2005)

Rating: **
Review Date: 11/26/06
Cast: Bruce Dickinson, Steve Harris, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, Nicko McBrain, Janick Gers

I patiently waited more than a year for this concert video to get released in the U.S. before getting fed up and just buying it in Canada. As of now, it's been released in every country in the world except America, and there's still no domestic release in sight. This ironically reflects the non-existent American leg of their 2003 "Death On The Road" tour, which only stopped in two cities.

Sadly, the DVD is a frustrating collection of missed opportunities, spoiled by the overbearing hand of bass player Steve Harris. Someone needs to revoke his editing priveleges, as he single-handedly makes an otherwise well produced concert video nearly unwatchable. With only a handful of exceptions, all of the cuts in the ninety minute concert are less than three seconds long, which induces nausea and effectively doesn't let you see ANYTHING. It reminded me of watching the machine gun editing in a contemporary Hollywood fight scene, where all you see is frenzied arm waving. There's kinetic energy to be sure, but you can't identify the players or tell what they're doing. There's also no continuity or physical context, since you never get a chance to see the stage, acknowledge its scope, or place the characters in it. The DVD even comes with an epilepsy warning on the back, so you know you're in for trouble. In short, it's a complete visual mess, which is frustrating because the sound and video quality are actually quite good. If it had been edited by professionals (instead of on Steve's home computer), it would probably be the band's best concert video outside of their superlative "Live After Death" (1985). Only two songs make this DVD worth watching: the grim WWI epic "Paschendale" and the acoustic "Journeyman". The "Journeyman" performance is so breathtaking and inspiring that my heart ached for not being able to see it live - and then I was pissed off to see it ruined as the result of incompetent editing. While I appreciate Steve's dedication, enthusiasm, and hands-on approach to everything in the band, his video productions deserve better treatment and are a disservice to the fans.