BLAZE BAILEY – Live in France
The ever-awesome Blaze Bayley who fronted Iron Maiden between 1994 and 1999 has to be the hardest working dude in metal showbiz. His relentless touring schedule coupled with his ability to churn out amazing records somewhat regularly is both inspiring and admirable. As much as yours truly loves his studio albums, the live recordings by the great man are the true highlights of his career (along with Iron Maiden’s brilliantly dark “The X Factor”, mind you) as there is never any shortage of fire, energy, and passion to those offerings. Luckily, “Live in France”, which was recorded in May last year, is no different, and it contains some marvelous renditions of songs from the recent “Infinite Entanglement” trilogy as well as a long line of classic cuts such as “Silicon Messiah” and the Maiden gems that are “Futureal”, “Virus”, and the high-octane “Man on the Edge”. The set list is varied, and that strong and booming voice of Bayley’s infuses each track with depth and meaning while the remaining cast of talented musicians are solid all around. As with every live album out there featuring Blaze, the sound is perfectly raw and unpolished, which only adds to its honest, authentic vibe and feel. The guitars are a tad too low in places and “The Angel and the Gambler” does drag on for way too long, but other than that, everything else is in place and sounds good.
“Live in France” is neither the most exhilarating nor riveting live record by the great man, but it is a damn fine representation of just how intense and moving a Blaze Bayley gig is, and it is incredibly cool to listen to fantastic songs such as “Are You Here”, “Calling You Home”, and “Prayers of Light” in a proper live setting. Blaze always delivers! On a final note, this review merely covers the live album and not the DVD release of this show, so please keep that in mind.