A World Slavery Tour tinha terminado em 05/07/85 em Irvine e Nicko se sentia meio entediado!! Então, chamou Adrian Smith que chamou alguns amigos dos tempos de Urchin e decidiram fazer alguma coisa. Eles alugaram um estúdio e fizeram algum barulho por lá. E em 19 de dezembro de 1985 rolou um show secreto no Marquee em Londres com a banda The Entire Population of Hackney. Além de Smith é Nicko a banda tinha Andy Barnett (um dos compositores de That Girl para o FM) na guitarra, Dave Colwell (que compôs Reach Out) na outra guitarra e Martin Connoly no baixo. Na jam, músicas do Urchin, composições que seriam o embrião do ASAP de Smith, covers de ZZ Top e Bob Seger e o grand finale com Harris, Murray e Dickinson sobindo ao palco pra alguns clássicos do Maiden.
O show rendeu não só essa excelente bootleg, mas também a inclusão de Reach Out, That Girl e Juanita nos singles do 7th Son!!!
The World Slavery Tour had finished on July 5th 1985 in Irvine and Nicko felt kind of bored. So, he called Adrian Smith who called some friends from the Urchin era and decided to do something. They rented a studio and made some noise around. And on December 19th they performed a secret gig at The Marquee in London under the name of The Entire Population of Hackney. Along with Nicko and Adrian, there was Andy Barnett (one of the writers of That Girl to FM) on guitars, Dave Colwell (who wrote Reach Out) on the other and Martin Connoly on bass. On the set list songs from Urchin, pieces which would be the embryo of Adrian's ASAP, songs from ZZ Top and Bob Seger and the grand finale with Harris, Murray and Dickinson going up on stage to play some of Maiden classics. The gig brought to life this great bootleg and also the B sides of Reach Out, That Girl and Juanita in the upcoming 7th son singles!!!
EDDIE'S ESSENTIALS 2/6: Piece of Mind (5/5)
The Number of the Beast deserves all the praise it can get for many reasons, but Piece of Mind is one step up from it, and that's saying quite a lot. It has a great, recognizable sound and unbelievable rhytmic section, accompanied by some of the most iconic guitar patterns. Bruce Dickinson's soaring vocals carry to unbelievable heights, even literally. Most of the songs were played live with a lot faster tempo, especially back in the 80's, and arguably even too fast. Piece of Mind – at least the original mix – has one of the best dynamics on any Maiden records so it doesn't feel too slow at any point. Even with a little drop in quality during Quest for Fire, the album maintains it's recognizable sound and atmosphere from the thundering start to it's epic end. It never strays anywhere it shouldn't go and the musicianship of the then very young band really impresses you. The Number of the Beast and Powerslave are both amazing albums, but Piece of Mind ,released between the two mentioned classics, might be just a tad bit more coherent. The first output of the "classic lineup", which many consider as their definite one, couldn't have been much, if any, better. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5)
EDDIE'S ESSENTIALS 2/6: Piece of Mind (4/5)
Even with Quest for Fire's more or less lackluster quality, two shorter and straightforward numbers definitely balance the album very well between a tad bit more meandering Still Life and epic, mystic and beautifully constructed To Tame a Land, which was supposed to be called simply "Dune", as the novel it is based on, but the author Frank Herbert didn't like the idea quite as much as Mr. Harris did... Oh well, To Tame a Land turned out to be a fantastic album closer with beautiful melodies and a couple of ingenious and even surprising parts you often find from 80's Harris-songs. I like most of the newer stuff he's written, but his pattern has also become a less surprising than back then, but then again, it's only natural to form some sort of formula and comfort zone for your songwriting after being decades in the music industry. To Tame a Land is on the long list of songs many fans would love to hear performed by the current lineup and it's absence from the setlists ever since World Piece tour is sad, but I guess it'll be never dusted off again, due to it's challenging nature.
EDDIE'S ESSENTIALS 2/6: Piece of Mind (3/5)
Die With Yout Boots On is another live favourite from the album and the first official result of the co-operation between three dominant songwriters Adrian Smith, Steve Harris and Bruce Dickinson. It is one of those songs that really come alive in the concert setting and it wouldn't hurt to give it another go in some of the future sets. The Trooper, an all-time classic, opens the side B of the record, if you're listening to the vinyl version, obviously. The pacing of the album is brilliant indeed: Where Eagles Dare and Revelations really take you into with a more "sophisticated" approach it and then you got three more straightforward, unrelenting songs to keep things fresh.
It tells a lot about the overall quality of the record that the first five songs have been played several times live on subsequent tours following the Piece of Mind tour. I wish this was the case with Still Life (Murray/Harris) too. Opening with the famous Idi Amin imitation by Nicko McBrain, Still Life is definitely one of the saddest setlist omissions ever since the original Piece of Mind tour; it returned for a couple of shows for Seventh Tour and there's a brilliant live version of it in Maiden England concert video, but after that... nothing. It's one of those songs that arguably should have been featured on Eddie Rips Up the World or Maiden England tour setlist. Quest for Fire and Sun and Steel are the only songs on the record that have never been played live. On another album, Sun and Steel might have made it to the set, for it's a great little rocker with catchy chorus, it's just often outshadowed by the outstanding quality of the other songs on the record – except Quest for Fire, which is clearly the weakest link here. It's not abysmal song, but the lyrics are pretty poor and it just doesn't live up to what the rest of the album is. In other words, it's pretty much the "Gangland" of this album.
EDDIE'S ESSENTIALS 2/6: Piece of Mind (2/5)
Speaking of Bruce, the second track, Revelations makes his first official writing credit in Iron Maiden; it is more or less confirmed that he was a part of the writing process for The Number of the Beast album, at least for the songs Children of the Damned, The Prisoner and even Run to the Hills, but due to his former contract regarding the band Samson, they couldn't officially credit him for that stuff. Revelatios is musically on the simple side, but lyrically quite the opposite. Dickinson is definitely in his comfort zone, both vocal- and writingwise; his performance is strong and the lyrics are mysterious and elaborate, pondering religion and it's effect on humankind. As he stated in 2003, "Aleister Crowley, ancient Egypt – black magic and shit – Revelations!" It is also one of those many songs that sound even better with the current line-up and "mature" Bruce – his recent performances of this song as well are phenomenal.
Flight of Icarus is another song where Dickinson's role was huge; co-written with the guitarist Adrian Smith, they held their ground with the tempo even though Mr. Steve Harris insisted that they should play it faster. In concerts, they did, before burying it for over thirty years after a couple of Somewhere on Tour gigs. Nevertheless, Icarus is considered as their breaking in single for United States market. And after all this time, it got resurrected on stage too for the recent tour. And it sounds magnificent.
EDDIE'S ESSENTIALS 2/6: Piece of Mind (1/5)
After the departure of Clive Burr, a new drummer, Nicko McBrain stepped in. What happened with Clive was rather sad story, it's not like the other guys in the band didn't mess up with things during The Number of the Beast days, as Bruce Dickinson stated in the book, but what was done was done and while Clive definitely deserves all the praise you can give him, Nicko fitted the band exceptionally well. The classic line-up was born. And mind you, one does not simply make a better entrance as a drummer than the iconic drum intro of the amazing opening track, Where Eagles Dare, which was also gloriously dusted off after 13 years for the current The Legacy of the Beast tour; I wish we got a proper concert release from that show. The set is pretty Piece of Mind heavy with four songs from the album, so it's more or less related to this feature too... Anyway, Where Eagles Dare is a great opener song with a strong rhythmic section thorough and soaring vocals by Bruce Dickinson.