Bruce Dickinson - Anthology (3 DVDs)
Heavy Metal
Disc 1: 30 songs (2 hrs 10') Disc 2: 12 songs (60') Disc 3: 16 songs (2 hrs 30')
Release year: 2006
Bruce Dickinson, Sanctuary
Reviewed by Marty
Major event
Although Bruce Dickinson made a commitment to Iron Maiden upon his return to the band in the late 90's, he still managed to find the time to collaborate with long-time writing partner Roy Z in releasing another solo album with last year's Tyranny Of Souls. Bruce has released a fair amount of music during his solo trek in the 90's; releasing 5 studio albums and touring hard in support of them. Besides the live material released in the form of Alive In Studio A and the Scream For Me Brazil albums, very little video has been available of any of Bruce's solo performances except for limited distribution in certain parts of the world. With this new 3 DVD release by Sanctuary Records, we finally get lots of live material from Bruce's solo tours including a raucous L.A. club gig during the Tattooed Millionaire club tour while still a member of Maiden with an even wilder than now Jannick Gers on guitar. Also included is a concert recorded in Spain during the 1996 Skunkworks tour and the video portion of the Sao Paulo performance that was used for the live album Scream For Me Brazil that featured both Adrian Smith and Roy Z on guitars. These performances span two of the three DVDs with the third DVD containing the entire collection of all of Bruce's videos as a solo artist complete with short introductions by the man himself. As well, we get an in depth interview whereby Bruce describes his writing relationship with Roy Z and a very rare and campy short film from 1980 directed by Julian Temple (The Great Rock 'N Roll Swindle) called Biceps Of Steel and features Bruce along with Samson (his band at the time) performing two tracks.

Disc One features a gig from the Tattooed Millionaire club tour. Portions of this performance were also used as video footage for Bruce's Dive, Dive Dive and Born In '58 videos and shows Bruce in a rather agitated state. The whole show was set up to be recorded but sound and production troubles as well as other things like the crowd not being served liquor during the whole performance really sets him off and he seems to write off the whole thing. Nevertheless, he and his band rip through a rousing set that includes a fair chunk of Tattooed Millionaire material as well as Riding With The Angels (a Samson track), covers of Mott The Hoople's All The Young Dudes, AC/DC's Sin City and Deep Purple's Black Night. We even get Bruce's version of Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter, a track that was supposed to be on Tattooed Millionaire but was saved for Maiden's No Prayer For The Dying album. The quality of the video is decent as well as the sound but Bruce's voice is a little high in the mix (no surprise since he overlooked the entire process of putting this package together). It had seen limited release as Dive, Dive Live but has been unavailable for many years now.

Also found on the first disc of the set is live footage from shows in Girona and Pamplona Spain during the Skunkworks tour in 1996. This was an experimental era of Bruce's career that was met with mixed results. Besides material from Skunkworks, we get great versions of Laughing In The Hiding Bush and Tears Of The Dragon from the Balls To Picasso album as well as a rather enemic version of Maiden's The Prisoner. The sound quality is decent for this one as well and originally released as a four track video release for Japan only, here we get the whole version.

Disc Two features the show that was used to record the Scream For Me Brazil live album from 1999. Using video footage from the crowd screen feeds, this one's a great show but suffers from poor camera shots and really bad sound. Sounding little better than bootleg quality, sound interruptions and dropouts really hamper this performance. The set list includes a healthy chunk of both Accident Of Birth and Chemical Wedding material as well as versions of Laughing In The Hiding Bush and Tears Of The Dragon.

With the third disc in this collection, we get all 14 of Bruce's videos (some directed by Bruce himself) from Tattooed Millionaire right up to Abduction from Tyranny Of Souls. Both Tattooed Millionaire and All The Young Dudes have all the corny trappings of typical heavy metal videos at the time with Tears Of The Dragon really standing out above them all with it's very emotional and imagery laden editing and camera work. Inertia is a bizarre one and features a beheaded Bruce singing from a plate on a dining room table! The videos for Accident Of Birth and Road To Hell are filmed in a live setting with Man Of Sorrows being shot in an old warehouse. As mentioned earlier, we get short commentaries by Bruce about each video as well as an in depth interview in which he talks about the writing process with Roy Z and a track by track breakdown of the concept behind the Tyranny Of Souls album.

Biceps Of Steel is a rather odd and corny piece that was filmed at the Rainbow Theater in London and features Bruce with Samson in a 15 minute short film about a rock concert and a Samson "super-roady" played by the band's drummer Thunderstick. It never was released but was originally planned to accompany the theatrical release of Hazel O'Connor's Breaking Glass. The whole thing is incredibly silly and funny at the same time. Having since become a collector's item due to its unavailability, people have been paying big money to get a hold of copies of this. Now here for the very first time, we get to see this abomination!

With this Anthology collection, Bruce Dickinson gives the fans everything that there is to give; all the live performances, videos etc. that are available as well as some great interview footage and who could forget Biceps Of Steel!! Although Bruce has plans to continue to release solo albums outside of Iron Maiden, the chances of any solo tours are pretty slim with his busy schedule that also includes hosting a BBC radio show and his other career as a commercial airline pilot. Value priced, we get almost 6 hours of footage and video that pretty much covers all of Bruce's solo era. Despite the shortcomings with the sound of some of the live concert footage, this is an awesome package that every fan of Bruce's should not hesitate to add to their collection.

Killing Songs :
Videos for Tears Of The Dragon and Man Of Sorrows as well as the entire club gig with Jannick Gers.... and who can forget Biceps Of Steel!!
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Other albums by Bruce Dickinson that we have reviewed:
Bruce Dickinson - The Mandrake Project reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Bruce Dickinson - Balls To Picasso reviewed by Goat and quoted 79 / 100
Bruce Dickinson - Accident of Birth reviewed by Goat and quoted 92 / 100
Bruce Dickinson - Skunkworks reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Bruce Dickinson - Tattooed Millionaire reviewed by Ben and quoted 69 / 100
To see all 9 reviews click here
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