8th May 2000
1. The Wicker Man (Smith, Harris, Dickinson)
2. Futureal (live) (Harris, Bayley)
3. Man On The Edge (live) (Bayley, Gers)
---The Wicker Man (video) (Smith, Harris, Dickinson)
This was the first single to be released prior to the release of the Brave New World album that marked Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith's return in Iron Maiden. The front cover shows a photograph by Dean Karr of the newly re-united band, with Bruce holding a torch, presumably to set alight the giant wicker man that can be seen in the background. The back cover shows a photograph of the wicker man itself burning in the night.
An interesting feature of this single is that the European release contains a beermat, would you believe! Now, I personally don't see the point in adding this particular kind of item to the single. I am a beer-drinker but I would never use this very special mat as I would be worried to damage it, as it is after all a collector's item and should be treated as such with the care it deserves (there are also Iron Maiden condoms and I wouldn't use those either!). One side of the mat shows an illustration by Mark Wilkinson, who had also done the cover of the Donington '92 live album of Iron Maiden and who has done cover art for many bands, including Judas Priest and Marillion. The illustration itself represents a burning wicker man Eddie several feet tall in front of a crowd wearing animal masks like in the film, and depicting the ancient pagan ceremonial of the burning of the wicker man. The reverse side shows the yellow smiley-looking Eddie face as could be seen on the official website at the time.
The Wicker Man (Smith, Harris, Dickinson)
This is the same version as the one that appears on the Brave New World album.
Futureal (live) (Harris, Bayley)
Recorded during the Ed Hunter Tour, this is the first live recording of this song with Bruce Dickinson at the helm. Some may argue that this is a way of getting definitely rid of Blaze Bayley and wiping off his memory. It may also be seen as some sort of insult to Blaze, as he also wrote the song. Those who think this kind of nonsense are wrong. Blaze and Iron Maiden parted in amicable terms and I personally see this as a tribute from the band to their former singer, selecting for the single two songs co-written by him and subsequently sung by Bruce in concert. The band has no resentment whatsoever towards Blaze вЂ" otherwise they wouldn't have linked his website to the official Maiden site anyway. The song itself is quite good live, but I found it strange to hear Bruce's voice instead of Blaze's. Although Bruce does a great job, I was more used to Blaze's darker singing.
Man On The Edge (live) (Bayley, Gers)
This live version of 'Man On The Edge' was also recorded during the Ed Hunter Tour and features on the single as what I see as a tribute to Blaze Bayley. Except for Bruce's vocals, it sounds basically the same as on the original studio album and admirably showcases the band's energy and musicianship.
The Wicker Man (video) (Smith, Harris, Dickinson)
This video was made by Dean Karr, who is also famous for the videos he made with Marilyn Manson. It portrays a suit-and-tie-wearing man (a banker, a politician, a lawyer?) whose car is stopped by an eight-foot tall Eddie as he's driving along a deserted road (David Vincent anyone?). Eddie seems to cast some kind of spell on him and he leaves the car to intrude on a very small Iron Maiden venue after much stumbling and falling. The audience of the concert doesn't seem to be too pleased by this sudden invasion of their gig and every single member transforms into a normal-sized Eddie. They then drag him to a wicker man who is subsequently set ablaze, presumably with the suit-and-tie man inside. The video clip closes on Eddie driving away in the man's car, or is it the man himself who transformed into Eddie after his ordeal? In any case, a decent video.