One of the first of what came to be called the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Iron Maiden served as inspiration for many metal acts that followed, including Metallica. With a musical style that is almost like classical music that you can lose yourself in, and with lyrical content drawn from history, politics, social issues and literature, they are what I like to call the ‘thinking mans’ metal band. (You know, I once aced a history test by memorising the lyrics to their song Alexander the Great!)
The show opened with the haunting acapella intro of If Eternity Should Fail with the band joining Dickinson on stage in an explosion of pyros and sound. The 15 song set drew heavily from the new album and included the beautiful Tears of a Clown, dedicated to the late Robin Williams. My only disappointment was that the incredible album closer Empire of the Clouds was not included.
Of the “legacy” songs (not “old” according to Dickinson), concert standards The Trooper (about the charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War), Fear of the Dark, Iron Maiden, Blood Brothers and Number of the Beast were all included but fan favourites Run to the Hills and Two Minutes to Midnight were dropped. In their place was a lesser known Children of the Damned and Egyptian-inspired Powerslave which was a great surprise and fit well with the theme of Book of Souls. For me however, the highlight of the whole night was the song they chose to close with: Wasted Years. This is my absolute favourite song and one that I never thought to hear played live as it rarely makes it into the set.
With more energy than most bands half their age, Maiden actually perform on stage with costumes, pyros and a giant ‘Eddie’ (the band mascot). The show was everything I had hoped for and short of backing off from a couple of high notes, one would never have guessed that singer Bruce Dickinsen was being treated for cancer in his mouth this time last year!
At one point, the singer halted a song to berate a fan who was getting out of control (security would remove him from the arena). Dickinson went on to apologise reminding people that Iron Maiden is about the love of music, not getting wasted, and that a joint love of music made the fans and the band family.
(Now I have to get my hair cut…I promised my mum…)
Not familiar with the work of Iron Maiden? Why not have a listen to one of their many albums, or check out the live DVD from the Final Frontier or Somewhere Back In Time world tours, documentaries on the band and the New Wave of Metal, or read about their almost 40 year history.