9th March 1998
1. The Angel And The Gambler (Harris)
2. Blood On The World's Hands (live) (Harris)
--Afraid To Shoot Strangers (video) (Harris)
This is part I of the Angel And The Gambler single from the Virtual XI album. This particular single also contains a poster, with the "Virtual XI Fixture List 1998" on one side and the band posing in Maiden football gear with some of their favourite players on the other side. The number 11 seems to have been regarded вЂ" by Steve Harris at least вЂ" as symbolic and as a link between Steve's main interests in life: music and football.
The most noticeable thing about this single is that both Part I and Part II contain a video instead of the usual third audio track we'd been used to so far. It is pompously called "enhanced multimedia section" and constitutes the first time that Maiden put material that can be read on a computer on a single. This was probably all part of the "virtual" theme of the album, but Maiden were one of the first bands to have those "enhanced multimedia sections" on their CDs, as well as an official website on the Internet. This is certainly a band that adapts to its time.
The Angel And The Gambler (Harris)
This is the same version as the one that appears on the Virtual XI album.
Blood On The World's Hands (live) (Harris)
This live version of 'Blood On The World's Hands' was recorded on 1st November 1995 in Gothenburg, Sweden, during the X Factour.
Afraid To Shoot Strangers (video) (Harris)
The original studio version of 'Afraid To Shoot Strangers' appears on the Fear Of The Dark album, sung by Bruce Dickinson. This video is a mixture of images taken from the X Factour and footage of the First Gulf War. The fact that Blaze Bayley is at the helm highlights that another singer could replace Dickinson without affecting the quality of the song.
The video itself looks a little bit like pro-war propaganda, condoning the useless bloodshed and misery that was the First Gulf War. It most probably wasn't the intention of Iron Maiden to pose as supporters of such a ridiculous conflict, whose aim was merely to protect the oil fields of Kuwait, but the images do not seem to correspond the original depth of the lyrics. The song deals with the fears of a soldier who is about to go into combat, whereas the video shows what a great job the allied troops did at wrecking a place for economical reasons the soldiers were not involved with. As much as can be said about the valour of those who fought during the conflict, as despicable were the original intentions by the politicians who started it. And this is certainly valid for either side concerned.