Fourteen months ago I made the crazy trip on a Wednesday night to go catch IRON MAIDEN at Madison Square Garden. From Philly to NYC it was a lengthy ride but I saw my bestest buddies Joe and Mike back home which made being a zombie at work the next day totally worth it.
So when a second leg for The Book Of Souls Tour was announced I was all over the June 4 date right here in my Philly backyard. As soon as that news broke the fucking countdown was on in my head, believe me.
I arrived at Wells Fargo Center to witness the majesty that is IRON MAIDEN live for the seventh time. With an absolutely perfect seat and vantage point all I could do was wait for the house lights to go down.
And when they did, out came vocalist/resident maniac Bruce Dickinson to start off “If Eternity Should Fail” from new album The Book of Souls. The rest of the band (Steve Harris – bass, Janick Gers/Dave Murrray/Adrian Smith – guitars, and Nicko McBrain – drums) soon followed and we were off and running. “Speed of Light” was next and I tell you, this tune fucking slays in a live setting, Dickinson’s vocals carrying far into the night.
Over the course of a 15-song set IRON MAIDEN reminded us who rules live, and gave us fans a wonderful mix of old and new, with “Wrathchild” and “Children of the Damned’ up next, followed by “Death or Glory” and “The Red and the Black” two of the choicest cuts from the new disc. “The Trooper” was especially awesome because Dickinson flies all over the stage while waving about the Union Jack.
He then donned a Luchador mask for ‘Powerslave” which the crowd lapped up like a kitten at a saucer of milk. More new tunes were up with “The Great Unknown” (one of my favorites from Souls) and “The Book of Souls.” Both songs destroyed live, and the faithful who were with me in Section 113 screamed their heads off as did I!
One of the highlights of any IRON MAIDEN show is when they do “Fear of the Dark” (Mini-Amps’ favorite, for the few of you who didn’t already know that!) and this night was no exception. Of course “Iron Maiden” was next to close out the regular set, causing everyone to go completely batshit. “The Number of the Beast” kicked off the encore, and man alive, I don’t know how the fuck Dickinson is STILL singing like that all these years later! The band was on fire and there was no stopping them. At this point they could have played another two hours and not one person would have moved from the arena! The guitars may as well have been shooting flames they were so hot!
As he did last year, Bruce Dickinson made a passionate speech about how all of us, all us metalheads, we are all “Blood Brothers.” What made this even more special is that the guy in the row behind me reached out his hand and when I took it he embraced me and several others in our section, thereby proving Bruce’s point. Sadly all good nights must come to an end and when “Wasted years” started up I was both happy and sad. Happy to hear one of my favorites live again, sad that this fantastic show was coming to a close. But all in all it was a great night. I got to see one of my all-time favorite bands destroy Philly, and I made some new metalhead friends while doing so. And that’s what our music is all about, innit? UP THE IRONS!!
LIVE WORDS: THE MAESTRO
LIVE IMAGES: JOHN McMURTRIE