During Metal Wraps episode 39 there was a discussion pertaining to Metallica and Iron Maiden both playing too many new tracks live, versus playing hits. I get the fact that no one wants to see Maiden play a new album beginning to end like they did on the A Matter Of Life And Death tour, but I personally don’t have an issue with bands playing five to six new songs live. Check out some classic live albums, and look at how many tracks we love to hear off of these albums that were being played by the band for the first time on tour.
Looking back at Iron Maiden’s Live After Death, 20 minutes are dedicated to songs off of Powerslave, tracks like Aces High, 2 Minutes To Midnight, Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, the title track, appear on the album. You can also throw in Losfer Words, which ended up being a single for the album, that’s five tracks total. Look at the old Kiss VHS, Animalize Live Uncensored, it had Fits Like A Glove, Heaven’s On Fire, Thrills In The Night, and Under The Gun, that’s four. If you look at Alive II it had five new tracks, Love Gun, Christine Sixteen, Shock Me, Tomorrow And Tonight and I Stole Your Love. And the Alive album/tour the band also played five new tracks, with C’mon And Love Me, Rock Bottom, Rock And Roll All Night, along with two other tracks Ladies In Waiting which you could see on the old Kissvision VHS, and Two Timer which ended up on the You Wanted The Best live compilation.
Bands have historically played new songs on tour to try and sell their new albums, but that mentality changed around the turn of the century when bands started saying “the place goes quiet when we play something new”. I get that, it is impossible to have the same emotional connection to Atlas Rise as you might have to The Four Horsemen. But at the same time, wouldn’t playing tracks off of your new album push people to buy it (unless you’ve already forced fans to buy it like Metallica)? Kiss has notoriously only played one track off of Sonic Boom, and Monster, and expected people to go out and buy the album off of that? Gene Simmons can blame fans for not buying albums all he wants, but if they’re only playing a greatest hits show, won’t that just push the soccer mom that somehow received a papered ticket to only buy a greatest hits compilation? If Kiss had played four tracks off of Monster would that have pushed more people to buy the album? I personally think it would have, and there is still time to play some hits, and rotate some of the other live staples as well. Honestly, do you think anyone is going to go nuts over not hearing Let Me Go Rock N Roll for the millionth time, and hearing Shout Mercy instead?