Saturday, March 6, 2010

Iron Maiden - March 14, 2008

After finishing their world tour behind A Matter Of Life And Death, Iron Maiden went on hiatus and left their fans wondering what was next. While the album was a beloved one, the tour itself (though well attended) was not well received by the North American fans who did not think that hearing the new album in its entirety was the best plan Maiden had ever come up with.

In 2008, Iron Maiden decided they would make that up to their fans. They announced a world tour with multiple North American dates and a return to nothing but the classics. Dubbed the Somewhere Back In Time tour, Iron Maiden was recreating their world famous (and best known) Powerslave Tour and adding a few hits from the late 80s as well. The tour promised nothing but the songs from 1980-1989 (although they did include Fear of the Dark, which was released in the 90s) and the fans were excited.

Maiden was coming to East Rutherford New Jersey, on a Friday night. I was absolutely not going to miss this concert. I contacted Metal Eddie right away and he was oh so in. For this early part of the tour, Iron Maiden was offering their fans a unique opportunity to be in the documentary they were filming. All you had to do was send an email to the producers on why Iron Maiden meant so much to you. I, of course, filled out an email and sent it right away. If I ever get the ambition to dig it out, that email might be posted someday.

Unfortunately, neither Eddie nor I was selected, but that was all right. We were still going to see the show. We arrived to the parking lot early, did some tailgating, and prepared ourselves to see what was going to be one exceptional heavy metal concert.

The excitement that I felt for this concert was overwhelming. The last (and only) time I saw Iron Maiden in concert they performed all of A Matter Of Life And Death, which left me hungry for more Maiden classics. This tour was going to satiate every desire. I was grinning with giddiness when we entered the arena.

We had spent the extra money for good seats and were sitting in the lower section (127). No nosebleeds on that night. It was a great view of the stage and we were all set to see one of the greatest hard rock acts ever. The night began with the Churchill’s Speech intro made famous on Live After Death and a video screen showing old WWII footage. After the intro, the screens went dark, the first notes of Ace’s High filled the night, the arena went to an ear-splitting roar and Iron Maiden took the stage.

2 Minutes To Midnight was performed next and was followed by one of my favorite Maiden tracks ever, Revelations. It was 1984 all over again and Maiden was kicking ass! Revelations sounded just like it did on Live After Death. Dickinson’s voice had not lost a pinch of power. He still is one of the most amazing singers in rock and roll.

Running all over the stage like a madman, demanding the crowd get on their feet and scream their heads off, Dickinson was a leader in showmanship that a lot of other singers could take lessons from. Dickinson knows how to work the crowd. He’s honed his skills over the years, and is now absolutely perfect at working the crowd and showing them a great time. His energy makes you excited. Its infectious.

That night was all about classic Iron Maiden. The Trooper, Number of the Beast, Run To The Hills, and Fear Of The Dark were all played to perfection. It was a Maiden fan’s dream of a concert. When it came time for Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, Dickinson talked about how they haven’t played that song live in 25 years. The last time it was played was on the Powerslave tour, so a lot of fans had never seen it performed live, myself included.

Their execution of the song was flawless. All 13 minutes of the glorious musical masterpiece was played and I was in awe at the stage theatrics that went along with the tune. One of the longest songs in the Iron Maiden catalog, performing Mariner live was an ambitious idea by the band, but they pulled it off without error. I was mesmerized by their ability.

As they came out for the encore, Dickinson mentioned that the band had plans to return in the summer with more monsters and more power than they had already shown. The arena became an eruption of sound as the fans showed their appreciation for the idea of the band returning to the states. Eddie and I looked at each other and we knew that we would be going to see the band again that summer.

The encore included three of the strongest Maiden songs out there. It opened with the intro to Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son which segued right into Moonchild. Seventh Son was the first Maiden album that I really got into (being a child of the 80s), and to hear this live sent me into a frenzy. Chills broke out all over my body and all other thoughts of life were pushed away as I basked in the power of the music and performance. Iron Maiden gave me all of my money’s worth and then some.

The Clairvoyant (which has the best opening bass line in rock and roll history) and an incredible performance of Hallowed Be Thy Name closed out the night and when it was over, I was breathless and weak. Iron Maiden had kicked our ass all night long and proved once again why they are the masters of the stage even at their age. The power in their songs, the joy that they show on stage, and their ability to entertain like no other live band is unbelievable. To Iron Maiden I say thank you for one unforgettable evening. This was one of the 10 best concerts that I ever saw and when I cull the list completely, I know that it will land in the top 3. Thank you Iron Maiden, you are truly an experience like no other.

Intro/Churchill’s Speech
Ace’s High
2 Minutes To Midnight
The Trooper
Wasted Years
The Number Of The Beast
Can I Play With Madness
Rime Of The Ancient Mariner
Heaven Can Wait
Run to the Hills
Fear Of The Dark
Iron Maiden
The Clairvoyant
Hallowed Be Thy Name


Brian Basher said...

I've never seen Iron Maiden in concert, one of the few bands I've missed, but they are coming to Dallas on this new tour and I am going to do my damnedest to see them this time around because it may very well be the last opportunity I get

Brian Basher said...

I forgot to mention I've got a couple of Maiden related surprises this week on Hard Rock Hideout Radio

Ryo Vie said...

You DEFINITELY need to see Maiden when they come to your area. They are an event that is not to be beleived!

Can't wait to hear the Maiden surprises on Hard Rock Hideout Radio!