Paul Di'Anno was the first frontman for Iron Maiden. After Maiden replaced him with the now legendary Bruce Dickinson, Paul launched various bands most notably Killers which enjoyed progressively less success over the years. The Beast In The East records a solo gig he played in Krakow, Poland, in early 2003.
Flooding the market with reworks of two twenty-year-old Maiden albums has become a Di'Anno trademark, and eight of the thirteen tracks are lifted from that material. In fairness, though, Paul played an important role in Maiden's formative days and was a key part of the 1980s NWOBHM movement.
The concert starts in darkness and with the slow deep peeling of a church bell, followed by the instrumental "Transylvania" from Maiden's self titled album. This may be the best part of the DVD nicely played, and a great buildup to the concert.
Di'Anno comes on stage after 5 minutes, and his vocals are a high-pitched growl with plenty of aggression and little melody. The state of the singer's art is revealed in track 8, "Dream Keeper" from the Killers album Murder One. It starts with a soft ballad-like intro, and Paul is way off pitch! This is also true of much of his other singing but it is disguised with that growling. Paul is constantly yelling "I can't hear you Krakow", and "Are you ready Krakow", and he holds his mike for the audience to sing better-known parts and there's just
silence! The weak audience enthusiasm puts a damper on the DVD, and does little to credit Paul's energetic performance.
The band is good and plays well together and the dual guitarists are a treat although the weak production and unfortunate mixing keeps them way in the background. The picture quality is good, the camera work is adequate if unimaginative and limited by too few viewing angles. And don't reach for that alternative viewing angle button there aren't any. The DVD contains limited bonus material: There's an interview menued up to look like 8 small interviews, so you're constantly hitting remote to get the next section. There's a bio which is a piece of static text barely 100 words long, and there are bootlegs from concerts in Norway and Poland. Add a handful of old photos, and you're left with a disappointing set of extras.
Di'Anno now lives in Brazil, and is what Americans might call "an English redneck", rough around the edges, a cross between the ultimate bad-boy and an endearing "big teddy bear" kind of a persona. Shaved head, much tattooed and pierced, and wearing a polo shirt from "Los Fabulosos Titty Twister", nude entertainment 24 hours
Well recommended to collectors and diehard Iron Maiden fans.
(Di'Anno recently announced that he will tour with Italian Iron Maiden tribute band, Children Of The Damned.)