What can I say about an Iron Maiden show? If you are a fan, there is nothing I can say that you don’t already know. If you are not a fan, nothing I can say is going to change your mind.
Iron Maiden are one of the biggest bands in the world (arguably the biggest metal band ever) and their fans are loyal to an extreme. This band flies around the world in their own 757 with their logo and mascot “Eddie” painted on the side. This plane, dubbed Flight 666, is piloted by the current and most successful lead singer, Bruce Dickinson, and jets them to sold-out shows in faraway places suck as Mumbai, India and Yokohama, Japan. Maiden fans are almost a cult. They have a uniform (black shirt with various incarnations of Eddie and jeans), they have a motto (Up The Irons!) and they have a unified voice…a voice that scream out lyrics to songs like Iron Maiden, Fear of the Dark and The Trooper louder than the band itself!
You either belong or you don’t. You either get it or you hate it.
I get it…so last night’s stop on The Final Frontier Tour was the best show I’ve ever seen at the shitty, shitty venue they now call Comfort Dental Amphitheatre.
We met up at CB Potts for some beers and bar food before the show. The place had been converted to a heavy metal bar. Hundreds of people out front, in the restaurant and the bar wearing nothing but black shirts and metal playing over the speakers. It has been a long time since I’ve seen that many Maiden shirts in one place. On a side note, I still say it’s ok, maybe even required, to wear Maiden shirts to Maiden shows. In my opinion, this is not alright for any other band.
Fiddler’s (sorry, Comfort Dental) is always a pain to get into. The long lines had already formed, so we got in place and moved along like cattle. One interesting thing is that the VIP line was much longer and slower. Luckily the line did move pretty quick so we got in just in time to grab a $50 round of drinks and catch Dream Theater‘s last song, Pull Me Under. Our seats were in the last row of the front section to the left of the stage and to my surprise the sound was actually really good. Wish we would have caught more of their set.
Maiden took the stage just after 8:30 with The Wicker Man from Brave New World. It was a great song to kick off the night. I have to admit I had seen the setlist ahead of time and was prepared for a set of mostly newer material. Usually I would be disappointed when a band decided against playing their classic hits, but last night was an exception. Maiden did the Somewhere Back In Time Tour a couple years back where they focused on all their 80’s material. I caught this tour on it’s first leg in L.A. and on it’s second leg in Concord. These shows were amazing and I can’t even explain how cool it was to see the Powerslave themed set and to hear the songs like Aces High, The Trooper and Number of the Beast...songs I grew up on but was too young to see live back in the day. That being said, I saw it. I saw it twice. So a set of new material was alright with me. Especially material from albums as good as Brave New World and A Matter of Life and Death.
The stage gave a good preview of the theme of the upcoming album, The Final Frontier. It was a futuristic space-station set with plenty of room for Bruce to run back and forth on platforms like he always does. The backdrop changed from star filled space to images of Eddie depicting the characters for songs like The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg, These Colors Don’t Run and the crowd sing-along Fear of the Dark. The artwork on these backdrops was amazing as always and just added to the experience that is Iron Maiden. This was not just a concert, it was a show, an epic show.
Bruce was in good spirits through the night as well. Joking that they would be rapping on the new album. Talking about the USA/ENG World Cup match..“screw the yellow card, we should have been given a ‘Green’ card”. Also thanking the crowd for their support because there were more people than there were last time they were in town. I do have to say that every time he said “scream for me Denver!” I just heard “Long Beach!”…but maybe that’s just me.
I’m sure there were people disappointed in the set. I did hear some guys hoping for some Powerslave material when I went to the bathroom during my least favorite song of the set, No More Lies. And I will admit I could do without the Dance of Death material. But overall I don’t think anyone could have left the show disappointed. Even though the first 11 songs were entirely from the past 10 years (with the exception of Wrathchild), it was a good mixture of rockers, anthems and epics. I do think they could have peppered the set with a few classics instead of holding them all for the end, but that’s a minor suggestion rather than a complaint.
Fear of the Dark started out the classic ending. It was followed by Iron Maiden, which closed out the main set like it always does. It was during this song that the new Eddie came out on stage. A cyborg Eddie that was more alien looking than the Somewhere in Time cyborg. It cruised around the stage for a bit, picked up a guitar and jammed before leaving the stage along with the band
The stage was bathed in red lights when the chant started for Number of the Beast. It was no time before the band joined the pagan statue on stage and drove the crowd into a frenzy. Hallowed Be Thy Name followed…one of their best live songs and as much as I loved seeing it, it did make me miss The Trooper. They ended the encore around 10:20pm with a sing-along rendition of Running Free. I’m sure there will be quite a few people without a voice today because of that particular song. But it was a perfect ending to another perfect performance by a band that has stayed relevant against all odds…a band that is as good today as they were when I first heard them.
Free Download of new song, El Dorado, by clicking above image
The Wicker Man
Ghost Of The Navigator
Dance Of Death
The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg
These Colours Don’t Run
No More Lies
Brave New World
Fear Of The Dark
The Number of the Beast
Hallowed Be Thy Name
pic and video I took during Somewhere Back In Time Tour: