How did you feel when the reunion was announced in 1999?

GhostofCain

Ancient Mariner
The latest issue of Classic Rock (#257, 20th birthday issue) features interviews with artists that were featured in their very first issue. There is an interview with Nicko McBrain by Henry Yates. Nicko talks about the Legacy of the Beast tour, praises Bruce, Rod and Steve for coming up with the concept of the tour, and then talks about the reunion...

Classic Rock Magazine issue #257 said:
Q: How were things going for Maiden in 1998?

Nicko: Obviously it was a bit of a lean period for the band, in the respect that Bruce had gone off to pursue a solo career, we had Blaze in, and we did two great albums with him. The Virtual XI tour was mixed emotions for me: some nights it was absolutely amazing and other nights it wasn't so.


Q: Critics were hard on that Virtual XI album.

Nicko: Well, we kind of expected the reviews. When you change the profile of a band - especially when your frontman leaves and you get a new guy in - you're always going to have some criticisms. I've got to be honest with you, we do care. Don't get me wrong, we are selfish. We do the stuff that we do for us, primarily. We're very blessed to be in that position... But as you say, there was a bit of a downer in terms of the Virtual XI album not being received too well, and the critics slating it a bit. I'd be lying if I said it didn't make a difference, but we shrug it off.

Q: Bruce and Adrian came back in 1999. What are your memories of that time?

Nicko: Well, it was twofold. First of all, Bruce decided that he missed the band as much as we did miss him. The added bonus was that after we had the first meeting after we got back from Japan on that Virtual XI tour, and it was decided that we couldn't carry on with Blaze, it all fell into place. All the stars aligned. I still believe it was divine intervention.

Q: What was your reaction?

Nicko: I've got to be honest with you, when I first was told, I was sitting in a sake bar in Roppongi, Japan, with Rod and Janick. And Rod turned round and told me that Adrian was coming back with Bruce and asked what did I think about it. I said: "I don't think that's a good idea". Janick said: "We're traditionally a two-guitar band. Three guitars? I don't get that. I'll step down." Rod said: "You're not going anywhere, mate." Then I looked at Rod and I said: "By the way, are you going to cut your comission down?" And he said: "What the fuck do you mean, cut me bloody comission down?" I said: "Well there's six of us in the band to be paid now." He just looked at me: "Fucking typical drummer!"

Q: It all worked out, though, didn't it?

I laugh about it, but to he honest we had the icing on the cake with Bruce deciding to come back, and then there was the cream and the cherry on top of that. It was a complete win-win situation. Really, if that hadn't happened, I don't know whether you and I would be having this conversation. We are very blessed Bruce came back.


And on that note, I would like to wish you all a very happy 2019, in which I will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of that reunion that has brought me countless hours of happiness, 5 good-to-fantastic studio albums, and over 30 great live shows. :edmetal:
 

Zare

Automaton Sovietico
So yeah, reunion happened in fall of 1998 actually and that's why Virtual XI VHS/DVD that was shot in Buenos Aires got ditched. They obviously wanted to show they're still a live force with Blaze, shooting one of the biggest gigs in tour and it was the last one so the band is as tight as they'll get. If I recall correctly the performance is actually very good but I remember Janick absolutely slaughtered 2MTM solo in a way that sounds like someone is pumping water into circuits of the amplifier throughout. Blaze pumped out the crowd on Sanctuary very good. But Bruce wanted back so that was redundant.

We may see ratification of the situation in February 1999 and you may celebrate that date but it seems to me that decision has already been done and presented to Nicko and Janick.
 

Lego

Shadows in the stars, we will not return!
So yeah, reunion happened in fall of 1998 actually and that's why Virtual XI VHS/DVD that was shot in Buenos Aires got ditched. They obviously wanted to show they're still a live force with Blaze, shooting one of the biggest gigs in tour and it was the last one so the band is as tight as they'll get. If I recall correctly the performance is actually very good but I remember Janick absolutely slaughtered 2MTM solo in a way that sounds like someone is pumping water into circuits of the amplifier throughout. Blaze pumped out the crowd on Sanctuary very good. But Bruce wanted back so that was redundant.

We may see ratification of the situation in February 1999 and you may celebrate that date but it seems to me that decision has already been done and presented to Nicko and Janick.
I didn't know they actually shot a DVD... I hope that footage gets remastered and finds its way onto the next history doc (if there is one...)
 

CA Bryers

Nomad
I was definitely torn. I loved the Blaze era, even if I knew Bruce coming back was the best thing for the band. The biggest downside was that, with Maiden running with Blaze and Bruce running solo, we had double the output if you happened to like both entities. I knew Bruce returning would mean the end to the excellent albums coming from him and Roy Z. Yeah, we got one more in TYRANNY OF SOULS, but that statement remains otherwise true (until he puts out his half-finished new solo album, if that ever happens).

The other downside was that I was bummed for Blaze. I'd grown to like him a lot, and liked that he was the underdog who wound up in a legendary band. I figured on his own, he'd just disappear. Never could have imagined that he'd wind up putting out solo albums that I consider to be stronger than some of the reunion Maiden stuff. Sure, his career's been a bit of a mess since then and an album or two have certainly missed the mark, but even though his fanbase is pretty small, it's very dedicated. So in the long run, while we're not getting much in the way of stellar Bruce solo stuff, we are getting stellar Blaze stuff.
 

Randalf

Ancient Mariner
I didn't know they actually shot a DVD... I hope that footage gets remastered and finds its way onto the next history doc (if there is one...)
Yeah, it wouldn't hurt to have official live footage from some of the VXI songs they haven't done with Bruce afterwards and the show seemed to be pretty good anyway, at least in VXI tour standards. VXI tour is, looking backwards and judging by the interviews and bootleg footage, a very mixed bag; you can tell that there are nights where Blaze actually delivers pretty well and the band has a good flow going on. And then there's stuff that just falls flat right from the start and Blaze is as lost as you can get. They played the songs pretty fast back then and while the unrelenting pace might have helped to hide Blaze's troubles to some extent, it definitely didn't make his job any easier. A mixed bag indeed, since slower and heavier approach, not to even mention downtuning, might have benefited the overall performance quite a lot, but at the same time it might have killed some of the brilliant energy the guys had, which definitely makes the performances sound and look pretty energetic, even with all the vocal struggles.
 

The Flash

Dennis Wilcock did 9/11
To be fair, some forum members may have abused that system in the past by giving certain Malaysians -666 for fun and profit.
Sorry for responding to a 4 month old post, but I do wonder how things would look if we still had that system.
 

Zare

Automaton Sovietico
Well I guess it would be stupid because it doesn't do anything. Negative votes are often used to push those posts down and display them after ones with positive score. That's a bit unusable for the forum...
 

Ruflux

Ancient Mariner
So yeah, reunion happened in fall of 1998 actually and that's why Virtual XI VHS/DVD that was shot in Buenos Aires got ditched. They obviously wanted to show they're still a live force with Blaze, shooting one of the biggest gigs in tour and it was the last one so the band is as tight as they'll get. If I recall correctly the performance is actually very good but I remember Janick absolutely slaughtered 2MTM solo in a way that sounds like someone is pumping water into circuits of the amplifier throughout. Blaze pumped out the crowd on Sanctuary very good. But Bruce wanted back so that was redundant.
Listening to the video of it above, I really can't agree with the show being good. Blaze's voice is worn out and he's not even coming close to delivering a consistent, good performance on even the TXF/VXI songs. They're playing too fast and many of those songs have terrible vocal lines to begin with and it's obvious he's just blown his voice at that point from having to sing way out of his natural register every night. If they'd put that out as is the band would've been a laughingstock. All the speed in the world doesn't matter if your vocalist simply can't hit the notes and is clearly struggling to even get the lines out.

And yeah, I've got no clue what Janick was doing but listening to many of the 90s era live takes (solos, mostly, although I am a little bothered by how out of tune Janick's guitar tends to be), I am definitely glad Adrian came back too, even if they were both rather apprehensive about it at first. The current lineup just works better for both consistency and creativity.
 

The Flash

Dennis Wilcock did 9/11
Well I guess it would be stupid because it doesn't do anything. Negative votes are often used to push those posts down and display them after ones with positive score. That's a bit unusable for the forum...
That wasn't the system we had and not what I meant. It worked as a credit score and was displayed under your user name, which was an indicator of your apparent popularity/credibility as a poster. I wonder what the scores for each poster would look like if we still had it.

IIRC, before we switched to the current forum, my score was a negative one. That was very early on though, I didn't even have the name The Flash and many of my posts were written with broken English.
 

Zare

Automaton Sovietico
Did they shoot that for DVD or was it just that it was on telly in South America?
I am probably wrong here. But it is also not a simple TV/sat broadcast, and Blaze's crowd shots never got published, which led me off. Seeing this :


And this


Slayer performance same shoots as Maiden performance. The above DT video is from Viva Zwei and from Sao Paulo. So I'm going with Monsters Of Rock owned video-on-demand. IM/Slayer bootlegger got the recording while Viva bought the rights to put in in their Virus show (rip :( )
 

Zare

Automaton Sovietico
That wasn't the system we had and not what I meant. It worked as a credit score and was displayed under your user name, which was an indicator of your apparent popularity/credibility as a poster. I wonder what the scores for each poster would look like if we still had it.

IIRC, before we switched to the current forum, my score was a negative one. That was very early on though, I didn't even have the name The Flash and many of my posts were written with broken English.
I actually can't recall that kind of forum.
 

Zare

Automaton Sovietico
Here is a bit from 1998 site

Due to problems with the Eissporthalle in Halle, Germany Iron Maiden have changed the venue to the Easy-Schorre Club.The date is STILL September 29th only the venue has changed.

The new Venue address is Easy-Schorre, Phillip-Muller Strasse. 78 , Halle 06110. Eisporthalle Ticket holders will be able to use their tickets at the Easy-Schorre Club.
Due to not selling enough tickets for the sports hall, Maiden is moving show to a small club :|
 

chaosapiant

Ancient Marinade
I have an audio bootleg of Blaze’s last show at Buenos Aires. I think a DVD would’ve been a good idea. Blaze is on fire and makes for his lack of range with energy and enthusiasm. It’s a really good set and makes me a little sad we didn’t get a third Blaze album before Brave New World.
 

Black Bart

Ancient Mariner
I have an audio bootleg of Blaze’s last show at Buenos Aires. I think a DVD would’ve been a good idea. Blaze is on fire and makes for his lack of range with energy and enthusiasm. It’s a really good set and makes me a little sad we didn’t get a third Blaze album before Brave New World.
Here it is in pro-shot (the sound is not brilliant though).
(EDIT Oops, Zare already shared it a few posts above)
 

Formula409

Invader
I was 16 when Virtual XI came out, and I listened to the album quite a bit. Maybe it's just nostalgia, but those were some really good years in my life, so I always associate Virtual XI with all the good things that happen when you're 16 and life is good. Had no problem with the album and still think it's perfectly OK (though not by any means near their best work).

So when Bruce came back I was kinda indifferent. I even saw them on the Ed Hunter tour, but to me the band wasn't all that great that night, and there was a weird sense of just going through old stuff, while Bruce didn't really fit the Blaze era songs all that well, in my opinion. I really didn't understand why they were touring at all, since there was no new stuff to play. It was like they were just trying to pretend Bruce never left and Blaze was never there.

Don't get me wrong, in hindsight the reunion was absolutely the right thing to do. I just didn't see the point at the time. Even Brave New World was very "meh" to me, and I still rank it among their worst albums. There are absolutely no classics on that album, and overall the songwriting is very mediocre. It wasn't until AMOLAD that I really saw them as a band with a future and still relevant in making new, exciting music.
 
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