Maiden United

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
@MrKnickerbocker
I went to this gig and it was one of the most wonderful concerts I've seen. Everything was just brilliant. The venue! Empire of the Clouds was done in 4 sections spread over the show. I loved the organ and piano combination. There was a nice rendition of The Evil That Men Do with Sharon den Adel.

The arrangements of the songs, the fun and musicianship of everyone involved, often I forgot I was looking at a tribute/cover band. Despite knowing the songs so well, this was something different enough to feel the value and fun of it.

Damian Wilson was stunningly good. Tone perfect, reaching high notes, singing with power. Empire of the Clouds and Aces High were sung by Wudstik (Jermain van der Bogt). I did not know him but he is a a very talented guy with an expressive voice and insane range.

Apocalyptica's lead cellist Perttu Kivilaakso is a master. What an addition to this gig. I love his soloing/improvising but also his aggressive riffing. That's was very cool in Empire I thought.

Last and absolutely not least. Dennis Stratton. Man, was I impressed. This man is very musical. I loved his backing vocals (at least as good as Adrian's) and guitar solos. Very, very nice. it also felt as if the atmosphere was enriched because of him sitting there and talking in between the songs interacting with Damian.

Dennis Stratton joined the band in:

Remember Tomorrow (incl. solo)
Strange World
Charlotte the Harlot (incl. backing vocals)
The Trooper (incl. solo and backing vocals)
Children of the Damned (incl. backing vocals)
Wasted Years (incl. solo and backing vocals)

When he introduced Charlotte the Harlot Dennis said he never liked how it was done in the old days. Way too punky and fast. He prefers Maiden United's version emphasizing the emotional performance of Damian. It was cool to see him doing later Maiden songs. His backing vocals contributed so much in these I thought.

Nice that the band did a Blaze-era track: Futureal

Other songs in the setlist I've never seen performed by any band (next to the already mentioned Empire of the Clouds, Strange World, Charlotte the Harlot):
Sun and Steel, Infinite Dreams and Only the Good Die Young.

Complete setlist: https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/maiden-united/2018/koninklijk-theater-carre-amsterdam-netherlands-6beea6ba.html
Final song with everybody on stage: Wasted Years. Not exactly my perspective because I was in a very high section of the theatre with a great view:
 

GhostofCain

Ancient Mariner
I remember that post, guess I glossed over the note about Wudstik. Hope this single lives up to the Wilson recordings!
I really like the Mind the Acoustic Pieces and Across the Seventh Sea, but must admit I found Remembrance underwhelming.

I have just listened to the Empire of the Clouds EP (Spotify). It is nicely done, but the singer is certainly not up to Damian Wilson's level (the accent is slightly off-putting too). I wonder why they did not record this with Damian; perhaps things are not going swimmingly with him.

Anyway, I would probably buy a physical copy of the EP to complete the collection.
 

Randalf

Ancient Mariner
I really like the Mind the Acoustic Pieces and Across the Seventh Sea, but must admit I found Remembrance underwhelming.
I pretty much agree. Strange World is pretty amazing though and Futureal is another outstanding arrangement; nothing too tricky, but very effective and Blaze nails it there. But otherwise, it's not quite as amazing record as it's predecessor(s).
 

Black Wizard

Cereal Litigator
They have a couple of shows in London next year. One in March and another at the Cart & Horses, the scene of a Maidenfans gathering last year. I may go to one if I still live close to London.
 

evil_ash

Trooper
Wow, I just listened to the ep. Amazing version of the song. For the first time I consider a cover to be superior to the original Maiden recording. They have put so much effort into this release, brilliantly melding the music with story telling. Wudstik sounds fantastic too! So much emotion in his vocals.
 

Diesel 11

Und die Welt zählt laut bis zehn...
Well, as you all probably know by this point, I'm probably the biggest (or at least most outspoken) fan of "Empire of the Clouds" on this entire forum. I consider it one the pinnacles of human creativity and certainly the finest song ever written and recorded. So when @Travis The Dragon posted in the commentary thread that Maiden uniteD had made a 40-minute cover of it, I was all ears. Well... he was actually wrong. While the entire EP may indeed be over 40 minutes in length, the actual cover is merely 23 minutes and 38 seconds. Still longer than the original, but not nearly as epic as I was hoping for.

The cover isn't bad by any means. There's a lot there that I love - production, performance, all top notch - and I'll probably be going back to it again in future. The vocalist isn't perfect but he does a pretty great job. All the instruments sound lovely, and the narrator does a fantastic job. But... the cover itself is missing stuff. The narration pieces, while good, make it seem less of a song and more of a story with some music leading it. Not a bad thing necessarily, but it does hurt it in this case. The start and stop motion also detracts from it as well. There's also far to much stuff placed at the beginning, to the point where there's such an imbalance that the ending seems kinda bland.

But the most serious flaw of the cover is that they skipped all of the long instrumental section so crucial to the original epic. There's entirely too much stuff going on to just plainly leave it out, and yet they did it anyway. Where the song should have been growing and maturing and building until the crash when the storm hits, we just get it all eliminated, and go from the airship rising to "hey look a storm now whewwwww". There's so much build-up going on in the first 14 minutes it's outright stupid to just completely leave out the instrumental section. Doing so hurts the song and makes it seem far less impactful than it could have been. Should've just made it the 40 minute wonder that Travis was talking about, and I'd probably actually like it a lot more, despite the narration chopping it up in bits.

There's a lot of stuff the cover gets right, but there's just too much it gets wrong that it ends up falling flat. Interesting, maybe, but it comes off feeling like an outright failure when success was just so close in grasp. Had they left in the instrumental, this could have likely been on par with the original. Alas, it must instead be rounded down to a 5/10 - average, and in no way on the level of the original. I'm rather sad now. :(

(Cover is superb though. In that aspect they did top Maiden.)
 

Travis The Dragon

Rob Halford=Metal God/Bruce Dickinson=God Of Metal
I actually have not gotten around to listening yet, however, because of your review Diesel, I have lowered my expectations so it will be very interesting to see what I think. I just have to remember to check it out soon.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Wow, I just listened to the ep. Amazing version of the song. For the first time I consider a cover to be superior to the original Maiden recording. They have put so much effort into this release, brilliantly melding the music with story telling. Wudstik sounds fantastic too! So much emotion in his vocals.
:edmetal:
 

GhostofCain

Ancient Mariner
The cover isn't bad by any means. There's a lot there that I love - production, performance, all top notch - and I'll probably be going back to it again in future. The vocalist isn't perfect but he does a pretty great job. All the instruments sound lovely, and the narrator does a fantastic job. But... the cover itself is missing stuff. The narration pieces, while good, make it seem less of a song and more of a story with some music leading it. Not a bad thing necessarily, but it does hurt it in this case. The start and stop motion also detracts from it as well. There's also far to much stuff placed at the beginning, to the point where there's such an imbalance that the ending seems kinda bland.

But the most serious flaw of the cover is that they skipped all of the long instrumental section so crucial to the original epic. There's entirely too much stuff going on to just plainly leave it out, and yet they did it anyway. Where the song should have been growing and maturing and building until the crash when the storm hits, we just get it all eliminated, and go from the airship rising to "hey look a storm now whewwwww". There's so much build-up going on in the first 14 minutes it's outright stupid to just completely leave out the instrumental section. Doing so hurts the song and makes it seem far less impactful than it could have been.
You have summed up my thoughts quite nicely. :)

This is what I posted back in June:

I have just listened to the Empire of the Clouds EP (Spotify). It is nicely done, but the singer is certainly not up to Damian Wilson's level (the accent is slightly off-putting too). I wonder why they did not record this with Damian; perhaps things are not going swimmingly with him.

Anyway, I would probably buy a physical copy of the EP to complete the collection.
And here we are, nearly 4 months later and I have not bought a physical copy of the EP yet and I am in no hurry to do it. I guess that shows I have not been particularly impressed by their cover. Sadly, I should add, as I found their first two albums of acoustic covers to be excellent.
 

GhostofCain

Ancient Mariner
Well, it seems that Damian Wilson will not be singing with Maiden United on their forthcoming dates. Instead they'll have Frank Beck (Gamma Ray). Based on the clip they have posted, I think I'll pass.


The reaction from Frank Beck to the criticism is fairly pathetic...

Frank Beck replying to online criticism on that YouTube snippet said:
you are definitely not understanding the Intention behind Maiden United. It is not to sound like Bruce, it is not to Sound like Iron Maiden, it`s the magic of the lyrics and giving the Songs a NEW character with new Arrangements...go and listen to the 26785 Iron Maiden Tribute Band where everyone is TRYING to sing like Bruce, but no one can! and stop talking bullshit!! You don`t like my voice, ok, that`s a matter of taste, but hey..what is your Profession?
:lol: :lol:
 
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