BLAZE BAYLEY – Live in Czech
- by J.N.
- Posted on 08-02-2020
I fucking love Blaze Bayley! His songs and records are so ridiculously underrated and overlooked that it hurts. The two LPs that he did with Iron Maiden (“The X Factor” and “Virtual XI”) are magnificent and the ones released under the Blaze and Blaze Bayley monikers are generally pretty damn fabulous too. This upcoming “Live in Czech” CD/DVD release was recorded at the Melodka venue in Brno in September last year in front of a hugely enthusiastic audience, and there is no faulting the set list here as it contains stellar cuts from the brilliant “Infinite Entanglement” trilogy (2016-2018) as well as a select number of tracks from the Iron Maiden years and even a couple from the excellent “Silicon Messiah” album (2000). There are no Wolfsbane tracks, but I can live with that.
As to the great man himself, that strong, booming, and powerful voice of his is awe-inspiring as usual and it is so loud at times that I honestly think that the guy would do just fine in a live setting without a microphone. Overall, the band is most definitely competent and deliver the song material with energy and a sense of determination, but the actual sound and production of the thing is neither the most impressive nor thunderous one that you will come across in the Blaze Bayley discography and it does leave something to be desired. It is decent and you can clearly hear what is going on and so on, but it is lacking a bit of bombast and crunch. Having said that, the rousing renditions of “Calling You Home” and “The Dark Side of Black” are superb and there are loads of great tunes on display throughout with the only real letdown being the anti-climactic “The Day I Fell to Earth”. In general, the songs lifted from the “Infinite Entanglement” discs are simply begging to be played live with their big choruses and even bigger riffs, and it is a treat to listen to them here despite the aforementioned sound being slightly uneven and lackluster.
In summary, “Live in Czech” is neither the greatest nor the most noteworthy example of what Blaze and his talented cohorts are capable of pulling off in a live setting, but again, that has nothing to do with the performance by any of the members or anything like that; it simply has to to with the fact that there are much more potent and utterly heavy live recordings featuring Blaze out there than this one. “As Live as It Gets” (2003), “The Night That Will Not Die”, and to a lesser extent “Live in France” all possess a captivating atmosphere that immediately sucks you in and “Live in Czech” does not quite reach those stratospheric heights. Still, if you are a fan or if you were there the night that this one was captured on tape, then you obviously ought to invest in the package as soon as it hits the street in early April.
Please note that this review only covers the CD/audio files and not the DVD.