FROM THE VAULT: Live in Birmingham 1988


Well, this isn’t really a deep dig, but early 2014 was the time for a final appraisal of the original Maiden England greatness.

Many of us were going to see Iron Maiden live that summer, on what they said would be the last of their period-specific History tours. It had been a tour of several firsts: It was the first time Maiden toured a concept for three years, and it was the first time their set didn’t change at all during a 9-month interval between the 2012 and 2013 legs.

For the 2014 leg there would be setlist changes. According to manager Rod Smallwood this was in order to take advantage of the 1980s in general. Some of us scratched our heads and wondered how the 2012-13 legs didn’t already do that.

We’ve praised the Maiden England concert feature as one of the best the band ever released. Many fans feel that it could have been utilized much more in creating the 2012-14 setlist, but it was not to be.

So, to hammer it home, let’s remind ourselves of the greatness that was Iron Maiden’s last leg on the Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son tour in 1988, when brand-new greats like Infinite Dreams were combined with rarities like Still Life and Killers in one of the band’s best ever setlists. Here’s the show as filmed and recorded at the Birmingham NEC on 27 and 28 November 1988:


The Evil That Men Do
The Prisoner
Still Life
Die With Your Boots On
Infinite Dreams
Can I Play With Madness
Heaven Can Wait
Wasted Years
The Clairvoyant
Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
The Number Of The Beast
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Iron Maiden

There was also an encore of Run To The Hills, Running Free and Sanctuary, which can be savoured on the 2013 DVD release.

12 thoughts on “FROM THE VAULT: Live in Birmingham 1988

  1. Shameless reminiscing time…
    First time I saw Maiden live was Donington ’88, followed by Wembley Arena later that year. Still got this on VHS (and all four 12″ singles off the album). So, the SSOASS era feels like ‘mine’. The setlist and stageset were better back then than the ME revisit now, but give me the sound and pace of the six-piece band any day. Even back then, the live recordings were sounding very thin, especially compared with the crunch of some of the thrash that was breaking ground. Looking forward to Knebworth…

    (You can all come back now, I’ve finished).

    • Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚ Seventh Son was the first Maiden album I bought. Couldn’t possibly agree with you more, both when it comes to the setlist and the six-piece band.

  2. Argh, relistening to this setlist makes me mad at how amazing ID and Still Life would sound with 3 guitars and a modern Bruce on vocals… missed opportunities of the decade….

  3. Also My 1st Maiden gig. Aug 1988. Amazing time in my life and looking back it was an Amazing set.

    The Evil That Men Do
    The Prisoner
    Infinite Dreams
    The Trooper
    Can I Play with Madness
    Heaven Can Wait
    Wasted Years
    The Clairvoyant
    Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
    The Number of the Beast
    Hallowed Be Thy Name
    Iron Maiden
    Run to the Hills
    22 Acacia Avenue
    2 Minutes to Midnight
    Running Free

  4. I really do hope they release a DVD and CD of this Maiden England tour, so we can all get ‘both ends of the spectrum’ in terms of this tour and the original SSOASS tour. I know comparisons have been made in terms of stage set, performances etc, but they’re both snapshots of ‘that point in time’ for Maiden.

  5. I feel that the band has gone great with any of these historical tours, but for me personally biggest dissappointment has been the absense of “Infinite Dreams”. Its the single greatest mistake I feel the band made in the last 9 years as far as the historical tours have gone.

    I just cant believe any valid excuse for not taking it to the setlist.
    The song would sound awesome with current lineup and Bruce’s voice is anyways in top form today, so there wont be anything to worry about.

    Ever since they announced these aspects of revisiting old albums and started the Early Days stuff, I hoped that once we get to the SSOASS and ME things, they would surely play ID, but no they didn’t! FOTD is great song live but its been too stable and played on tours where it surely would not belong at all.

    My life and dreams have gone through as I followed Maiden since ’86 (or something), but I would so like to hear “Infinite Dreams” live someday as I could not see them live on ’88 tour (as I was so young back then etc).

    Wasn’t ID even listed on some test setlist, when they rehearsed for the Maiden England 2013 tour, but somehow both ID and HBTN were dropped off…

    • HBTN was the final song on the setlist that Davey held up in a rehearsal video. (First third of the list was obscured). And both HBTN and ID were on the display screen of the lighting desk as the tour started, which means they were rehearsed and dropped.

      ID is a difficult song to play and a bloody difficult song to sing, so there could be a combination of reasons why it was replaced with the much simpler Afraid To Shoot Strangers. Bruce did struggle quite a bit with Hallowed in 2011 though, so I wouldn’t discount vocal issues as the reason for dropping both of them. He’s only human, although I like to think he’s not.

      • Christer, sorry for being pernickety, but ‘Run to the hills’ was the final song on the setlist that Davey holds in the video ( @ 1:18). ‘Hallowed be thy name’ appears mid-set, between ‘Phantom of the opera’ and ‘Wasted years’ (i.e. in the place where ‘Run to the hills’ was played during the 2012-2013 Maiden England tour).

  6. @Ghost: Haha, yeah I mixed it up. And none of that has anything to do with the point in question. πŸ˜‰

  7. Pingback: FROM THE VAULT: Live in Paris 1986 | maidenrevelations

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