I bought this album when it first came out in 1985, as I was a huge Maiden fan back in the day. It's hard possibly for some younger fans to understand how huge Maiden was back then, 1984-85. It was definitely the biggest metal band in the world. Metallica was still largely an underground band prior to the success of Master of Puppets which was released in 1986.
Maiden sold out five nights at Los Angeles' Long Beach Arena on its World Slavery Tour, and three of the four sides of the original LP version of this album were recorded at those LA shows.
The song listings here feature material from the first five studio albums, but mostly from the Bruce Dickinson era that began with the Beast album in 1982. All the fan favorites are here and I admit I never much listened to Powerslave after this album came out, and I never bought Peace of Mind. (Note: I still listened to Beast, because great songs such as "Invaders", "The Prisoner" and "Gangland" appear on the Beast album only.)
Live After Death shows the band and the five members of what most fans consider the classic line up (Dickinson, Harris, McBrain, Murray and Smith) at their absolute peak in terms of creativity, energy and passion. They are much a better live band than they were in the studio, because the energy and the passion are raised to a much higher level but the technical brilliance of the musicianship does not noticeably suffer.
Dickinson is great on this album, and you hear him stirring up and chatting to the Long Beach fans for extended periods of time with the classic lines such as "When I go back to England, I want to say to the hearing doctor Doctor, Long Beach f***ed up my hearing for good, alright" etc. Vocally on the songs himself he is a powerhouse. Only Halford and Dio can compare in my opinion.
Another great feature of the original 12 inch LP version was the thick color souvenir photo booklet and the photos on the inside pages of the LP cover, which include large numbers of shots of the band taken on the World Slavery Tour. For serious and younger fans, it might be worth picking up a copy of the 12 inch LP version of Live After Death from a second hand shop for the tour pictures alone. Btw, if you live in Perth, Australia, you could probably pick up a copy from Replay Records in Royal Street, Kenwick.
By Jack Frost, first posted on Amazon.com 5 March 2005.