Bruce Dickinson a better singer in 1986 or 2016?

CriedWhenBrucieLeft

Meme Only Account
That's basically my point. To take Foro's example, it's like asking me who is the better Fantasy writer, J. K. Rowling or Tolkien. You listen to me slate Rowling & heap praise on Tolkien; I sound incredibly knowledgeable about Middle-earth. You find out I do know a lot about Middle-earth & Tolkien. You take this entire opinion as well informed. You then find out I've never read Rowling...
 

JudasMyGuide

The resident reactionary
I would just like to point out that "great to many" is a very so-so argument at best. Is Frampton Comes Alive! one of the bestselling albums of the 70's? Sure it is. Do I enjoy it in the least? Apart from some guilty-pleasure swooning to Baby I Love Your Way... no way in hell. There is a lot of bands/albums/songs that are beloved by many, but I still fail to see their appeal (Blue Öyster Cult or Black Flag for the Band, Metallica's Black Album for the Album, We Are the Champions or We Will Rock You for the Song and I could go on and on).

TNOTB is the best known and probably even the best-beloved Maiden album out there. And it's pedestrian, sorry. (EDIT: You guys ovetook me, anyway)

LAD gets a lot of its popularity precisely because - as it has been pointed out above - it was the first Maiden live album and any Maiden live album is about to win over the non-believers. The tracklist gets on my nerves, honestly - the amount of the lowest-common-denominator-crowd-pleasers is probably the highest here overall. In fact, I'd rather have Beast over Hammersmith, 'cause it might not have Rime or Revelations, but also doesn't have Icarus and sh** and offers some of those early days nuggets with great Brucie vocals.

That said, I believe that the approach "try to enjoy it as the period audiences enjoyed it" is rather new and modern in itself. I don't think anytime before in history people were approaching any kind of art as "those before them have". Either it stands the test of time or I simply move on to other stuff. And if it is colossally important from the historical point of view, well... it might be, but when I'm not in a "historian" mood, I'd rather have me something that I'll get my kicks out of, too, if you know what I mean.

So, since this was the title of the thread and all, Bruce's vocals can really make a difference with that particular album. And they do.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
I would just like to point out that "great to many" is a very so-so argument at best.
And I would just like to point out that I have not only made just that argument. I'm not liking something because it is liked widely. I am not just promoting it because it is liked widely. Yet, I do happen to think that I understand fully why it is liked and I felt the need to mention its status. I thought it is interesting that it had such a success despite not having a superb vocal performance. I have argued a bit why I like it. I have put the attention to the music, to sound. I have compared it with recent releases. Well that's about enough brought in against the idea of another live album having a higher status, because Bruce sings better on it, or because it was not the first album, or because it has a different tracklist.
 

CriedWhenBrucieLeft

Meme Only Account
Okay, I feel slightly to blame here for focusing, this already side-tracked discussion, on this "widely regarded" (for wont of a better phrase) argument. I totally accept that it's widely regarded. I also accept, Foro, that you totally understand the nuances of this; you take all this into account when forming your opinion(s) in respect to this thread discussion. From a personal point of view, maybe I need to go back & actually listen to LaD. I agree with your earlier point, Foro, that DotR isn't that good a vocal performance either. I'm curious as to how you do compare all the live releases though; is it a marginal call in favour of LaD?
 

Mosh

Powerslave
Staff member
I definitely prefer LAD to DOTR. Bruce's performance on DOTR isn't as bad as LAD but the setlist isn't as good and the whole band seems tired to me. It is lacking a lot of the energy that LAD has.
 

matic22

Ancient Mariner
LAD is visually great. All the $ that Rodney was saving was thrown into production of that tour. But sound-wise Hammesmith 81 is easily the best live concert that Maiden has recorded in the 80's. And returning to my previous post Ullevi 2005 would probably be my favourite IM live album if it was released. The band sounded amazing even on the TV stream. With a little bit of production... And LAD is not my least favourite IM live album. That is Donnington 92, easily. The only Im album I have listened to only once or twice. Jan's butchering of TNOTB solo is something else.
 

Mosh

Powerslave
Staff member
We might be due for a live album survivor. :p

I'm not sure what my least favorite is, I can get some enjoyment out of all of them. En Vivo is one I never gone back to and was underwhelmed when I saw it the first time. Not sure why, I guess I built up Rock In Rio level expectations and it falls pretty short.
 

soundwave

Educated Fool
LAD is really interesting....because it's admittedly not Bruce's finest hour, yet it still gets lauded by various fans and critics as being a 'classic'. I'll still listen to it because of nostalgia, and there are some good versions on there.

I personally think Beast over Hammersmith crushes it in terms of actual performance, but....the epic visuals, the sheer awesomeness of the guitar tones, Steve's bass...the rest of LAD rocks. The band was definitely on fire when they recorded it, and in many ways, carried Bruce even when he was having a mediocre run. Now if only we could have gotten 82 Bruce with 85 Band.....
 

SixesAlltheway

Ancient Mariner
I think Live After Death is one of their best live albums personally but I'll admit that some of the magic surrounding that album for me is more in the history behind it than the actual performances (because yes, Bruce sounds worn out in places although I don't think it's as bad as some of you say...." this was Maiden pretty much at the pinnacle in the mid eighties. The "We've finally made it" live album - an unheard of 4 nights in a row Long Beach Arena, California and their biggest tour yet.

HOWEVER, side 4 of the original album is definitely the most interesting The songs are not as pedestrian - 22 Acacia Avenue, Children of The Damned, Die With Your Boots on, Phantom of the Opera and also all of side 4 was recorded on the UK leg of the World Slavery Tour at Hammersmith 1984 and Bruce sounds much better here.

If only Murders in The Rue Morgue and Losfer Words (Big Orra) that came out as live singles also recorded from the Hammersmith 1984 show would have made the Live After Death album, then it would have been even stronger.
 

SixesAlltheway

Ancient Mariner
Yeah the original vinyl version had all 4 sides ie. both the Long Beach show and the five songs from the Hammersmith show but on the original CD version they only released the Long Beach show, which is big mistake/shame IMO...For the CD version they also cut out all of the crowd participation in Running Free. It's like 3:50 on the CD version but around 8 min on the vinyl version.

On the 1998 remasters they released it as it should have been on CD the first time around even though Sanctuary is still missing from the Long Beach shows and we still don't have all of the Hammersmith songs in one place yet....:p
 
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Ruflux

Ancient Mariner
Sanctuary still not being included is the biggest crime of the version on iTunes (it's the newest CD version, I think). I had no idea they even played it at the Long Beach shows until I first saw the actual show on video over a year later!
 

SixesAlltheway

Ancient Mariner
Right. It makes no sense not to include it now when they can. I guess before the problem was the time length of a normal CD...but that shouldn't be a problem now. There's definitely nothing wrong with the performance.....Or Bruce's performance if you ask me....

 

GhostofCain

Ancient Mariner
I think Live After Death is one of their best live albums personally but I'll admit that some of the magic surrounding that album for me is more in the history behind it than the actual performances (because yes, Bruce sounds worn out in places although I don't think it's as bad as some of you say...." this was Maiden pretty much at the pinnacle in the mid eighties. The "We've finally made it" live album - an unheard of 4 nights in a row Long Beach Arena, California and their biggest tour yet.

HOWEVER, side 4 of the original album is definitely the most interesting The songs are not as pedestrian - 22 Acacia Avenue, Children of The Damned, Die With Your Boots on, Phantom of the Opera and also all of side 4 was recorded on the UK leg of the World Slavery Tour at Hammersmith 1984 and Bruce sounds much better here.

If only Murders in The Rue Morgue and Losfer Words (Big Orra) that came out as live singles also recorded from the Hammersmith 1984 show would have made the Live After Death album, then it would have been even stronger.

You have summed up my thoughts! I think Live After Death is a great album and could have been outstanding had it all been recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon gigs in 1984 when Bruce's voice was not so strained.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
This is kind of irritating, particularly as the youtube video has comments disabled. The song is being played far too, and in fact absurdly, fast. The singer in a band has to breathe; he or she has to inhale air while singing, and to do so within the parameters of the song's structure. If you play a ridiculously speeded up version then it will be all the harder (in this case impossible) to manage the vocal lines. So the failure has less to do with Bruce and everything to do with Mr McBrain, and Steve's indulgence of his constant over fast playing in the late eighties.

Absolutely, tempo control was a big part of Bruce having a tough time, but the actual quality of his voice there is still quite bad.

Joey Belladonna is superb live*.

*As superb as is possible for Joey Belladonna

FTFY
 

Frosst

Prowler
NOTB-Powerslave was his peak voicewise IMO and nothing can touch it.

His voice nowadays is good, better than what it could have been but he will never get back to the peak he had when he was young.
 

matic22

Ancient Mariner
Bruce's peak in the 80's -> Beast On The Road Tour
Bruce's peak in the 2000's -> Early Days Tour

World Slavery tour was 3rd worst in the 80's vocally.
 
Bruce sounded wonderful on his first three Maiden albums, but live is a different story:

He's a natural/gifted singer with a great voice and a great range - but back in the early days, he didn't have his technique refined nor had the discipline to keep his voice intact. That's why his voice went to shit in the live environment in the 80s.

What nobody has yet written is that Bruce's voice got worse with each tour Maiden did in the 80s (up to the Somewhere In Time Tour). When he first joined Maiden in late 1981, his voice was extremely flexible and was fresh in the live environment. He didn't have problems reaching the higher notes and when he first sang Run To The Hills at that Ruskin Arms show, he was going for pretty much every key note. He sounds awesome on all the 1981 shows.

On the 1982 tour, his voice was slightly weaker. While his tone was intact and the range was good, he just couldn't hit the high notes on songs like Run To The Hills (and others) and started yelling/forcing/straining his voice into the upper notes. As the tour progressed, he started cutting notes short and started having trouble reaching higher pitches.

Through the rest of the 80s, his voice further deteriorated in the live environment. He misused his voice and didn't have a reliable technique to keep it intact. There's so many rough shows from 1984-1987 that finding a good night (by tour standards) is a treasure in itself!

I'm glad he started looking after his voice and found better techniques during his 90s solo run. The Accident Of Birth era is the start of an amazing Bruce Dickinson voice-wise (especially in the live environment).
 
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