I’ve been around live music for a long time. In 1978 SAMMY HAGAR opened for BOSTON. This was my very favorite concert and it remained that way for the next 30 years. Although I had never seen them live, in 2010 I got to experience for the first time, that little ole band from London, IRON MAIDEN. They left me with my jaw on the concrete floor. If you’ve not seen these guys onstage, you’re really missing one the the best live musical performances in the world.
I have followed IRON MAIDEN since their first album Iron Maiden with the unique vocals of Paul Di’Anno all the way to the Blaze Bayley days in the mid 90’s. His vocals totally turned me off of MAIDEN, and I left them for dead. But when Bruce Dickinson came back the group became exceptional again. Dickinson is the Archfiend front man of this band of demons who is supported by Steve Harris (bass), Dave Murray (guitar), Adrian Smith (guitar), Janick Gers (guitar) and Nicko McBrain (skins). Like a steamroller, these guys will run right over your ass and leave you flattened. They have a sound like no other band and if you know \m/etal, you know them within the first several measures. They are my favorite mega-band on stage.
On June 23 the boys from London made an all out assault on the American Airlines Center in Dallas. My third time to see them and the eleventh stop on their United States trek, they brought The Book of Souls Tour to Big D. Promoting their newest release The Book of Souls, six of their 15 songs were off that album. Opening with “If Eternity Should Fall”, the guys pounded the new tracks “Death or Glory”, “Speed of Light”, “The Book of Souls”, “The Great Unknown” and “The Red and the Black” down the fans’ throats.
Bringing their fantastic Mayan themed stage, with lots of fire and explosions, the production included numerous backdrops representing various songs. The backdrops are reminiscent of their highly recognizable album artwork and seemingly change with every song. The remaining tracks were from a variety of records including The Number of the Beast, Brave New World, Fear of the Dark, Iron Maiden, Killers, Piece of Mind, Powerslave and Somewhere In Time. With never ending energy, MAIDEN played well known tunes such as “Wasted Years”, “Powerslave” and “Wrathchild”. Popular songs that most of the packed house knew the lyrics for included great tracks such as “The Number of the Beast”, “Fear of the Dark”, “Iron Maiden”, anthem “Blood Brothers” and one of my favorites, with Dickinson donning an old British “red coat” and swinging the Union Jack, “The Trooper”.
Of course the band’s international mascot “Eddie” made a brief appearance as an 8-foot tall mechanical monster harassing the band mates across the stage. Dickinson rips out his heart on stage and then feeds pieces of it to the audience. It’s not all serious business, however. During “Death or Glory” part of the lyrics are “cry like a monkey” and Dickinson comes on stage in a monkey mask and a banana while the crowd tosses 3 or 4 stuffed monkeys around the standing room only floor.
I’d be remiss if I did not mention opening act GHOST from Sweden. I felt they were a bit odd to open for MAIDEN and even though I had not heard any of their songs before, they definitely have their following and an interesting show, but quite honestly, I’ll pass. Although they definitely have an “anti-pope” theme with satanic masked bandmates, which I’m not opposed to, they just seemed out of place. A heavier metal band would have probably been a better pick.
The last two weeks in the Dallas area have been fantastic. With METALLICA on June 16 and IRON MAIDEN the following Friday, I’m feeling very satisfied and very grateful. Two great bands in seven days. It almost doesn’t get any better than this. Salude’
LIVE WORDS: MARK “\M/ETAL \M/ESSIAH” EHRLICH
LIVE IMAGES: M EHRLICH PHOTOGRAPHY