We don’t normally do reviews of concerts here, mostly because AMG and myself are old (especially me) and don’t go to shows as often as some of you whipper-snappers might. Regardless, since I just caught the legendary Iron Maiden on their Maiden England North America Tour, AMG  demanded a review and loyal cog in the blog-wheel that I am: here it is and you’re welcome [The best part about exploiting workers is how they’re still polite in the process! AMG]! I should note upfront, I have a very long running relationship with Maiden. They were the first band I ever saw in concert (way back on the Powerslave tour in ’85) and I’m a fanboy and always will be (hell, I even liked The X Factor!! [Anyone with taste likes the X Factor. — AMG]). There’s something else I should get off my chest too: I totally missed Alice Cooper‘s opening act. While I respect the man’s role in the annals of metal history [Heh, you said annalButthead], I never much cared for his music, and since it was a beach concert on a beautiful, sunny day in New York, I opted to drink beers on the beach with friends instead of going in early for his set. I regret nothing, though I suppose it makes a me a sub par concert reviewer. So, with all my cards on the table and housekeeping done, let us proceed.

Before I even got into the stadium, I learned from the kindly drunk guy at the urinal next to me that Maiden would be using the set design from their Seventh Son of a Seventh Son tour and would be featuring a lot of material from that album in the set list. Since that’s my all time favorite Maiden opus [And my all time favorite heavy metal record – AMG], this excellent news almost made me turn and hug the guy, which would have been awkward (and messy) for obvious reasons. Decorum prevailed and I later blessed that kindly drunk when the lights revealed the blue ice set from Seventh Son as they opened with “Moonchild” and “Can I Play With Madness” back-to-back. Brilliant stuff!

Despite some initial sound problems (likely because the stadium is an odd, open-air amphitheater surrounded by water on three sides), the band sounded great and the golden pipes of Lord Dickinson the Ageless seemed in particularly fine form. He was his usual manic bundle of energy and ran from one side of the stage to the other and up and over the ice self sets while singing his little heart out. Keeping to habit, Adrian Smith and Dave Murray didn’t move around much and played their riffs and solos with a stoic, “no bullshit” kind of attitude. Of course, Janick Gers ran around, spazzed out, twirled his guitar more than he actually played it, and generally acted like a clown with ADHD. I personally find his antics annoying and I try to avoid looking at him most of the time, but I suppose some people like that kind of stuff.

Because this tour isn’t in support of  a new album, it’s essentially a “greatest hits” show covering only material up through the Fear of the Dark album. They wowed the crowd by uncorking classics like “Running Free” and “Iron Maiden,” but completely skipped Killers and only played one song from Piece of Mind (“The Trooper”). While I’m not a hater of Fear of the Dark, I don’t think we needed two cuts off there (title track and “Afraid to Shoot Strangers”) at the expense of classics like “Flight of Icarus” and “Revelations.” I was also bummed they didn’t play “Hallowed Be Thy Name.” [Remember that tour where they didn’t play anything later than Powerslave a few years ago? Quit yer whining. — AMG]

The highlight of the show was the big, bombastic airing of “Seventh Son” and “The Clairvoyant,” which included several large-scale Eddie sculptures, fireworks and enough dry ice smoke to hide all of Long Island from the hated tax collectors. Bruce really sounded great and the songs crackled and hummed with electricity and power. Other standout moments included the powerhouse performance of “Ace’s High” and a speedy rendition of “Phantom of the Opera.”

Ever the consummate performer, Bruce had the crowd eating out of his hand from jump. He gamely argued the merits of New Jersey with a partisan New York crowd [Taking his life into his own handsAMG], questioned why the stage was surrounded by water and why we were all gathered on a glorified sand strip, and even made light of the legal troubles Nicko got himself into last time they played Jones Beach (he ran over a parking lot attendant). On a personal note, the over/under on wardrobe changes by Bruce was set at three by my friends and I wisely chose the over and won big. The final count was up near seven or so, in case you were wondering.

Overall, a great performance by a legendary band and a fun, nostalgic show, even if they skipped some crowd favorites. It’s somehow comforting that I still get goosebumps when I hear certain songs live and to realize these magical compositions have been the soundtrack of my life for thirty long years. Wow, there’s some fanboy gushing for ya (there’s a lot of that going around at AMG this week)! I’m already looking forward to the next tour, likely to be dubbed Maiden the Stone Age, but until then, all hail Iron Fucking Maiden!

  • Madam__X

    You two old guys need to get out more and write more of these type reviews.  This was a great read!

  • Was at the Massachussetts show a few days back. Same thing – initial sounds problems (mainly the drums) but really – Maiden are untouchable. Fantastic set and yes! no Halloweed Be Thy Name was a shocker.

  • HohenheimOL

    They’re coming to Texas around August. I can’t bloody wait.

  • nuiski

    “While I’m not a hater of Fear of the Dark, I don’t think we needed two cuts off there (title track and “Afraid to Shoot Strangers”) at the expense of classics like “Flight of Icarus” and “Revelations.” ”

    Well, I AM a hater of “Fear of The Dark” (the album) but “Afraid to Shoot Strangers” is one of the best ever Maiden songs and it doesn’t get played enough.
    That’s the great thing about Maiden; even on their worst albums there’s always one or two classics.

  • They had sound problems at first in the Charlotte show too. They got it fixed but it seems like the sound problems stem from more than just the venue. Maiden put on an awesome show despite the initial trouble.

  • I saw them in Charlotte as well and drove up to northern Virginia to see them again last night at JiffyLube Live Pavilion with m son [Worst named facility ever?]. Again they put on a fantastic show. Maiden never disappoints. 

    • LOL @ Jiffy Lube Live Pavillion. Sounds like a place unsuitable for children.

      • What can I say? When corporations buy the naming rights to a venue the end results are more often than not rather revolting. The previous name was Nissan Pavilion. Ugh…I would rather attend a show at ‘Molten Metal Arena’ m/

  • Martin L

    I’m gonna see them in about a week! Can’t wait! :D

    Seventh Son had great songs but did not benefit from a great recording production. As such, I think Maiden truly only do these songs justice when they are played live. I’ve been waiting a long time to see Maiden perform the title track LIVE!

    • I still hope for the day we get to hear ‘Alexander The Great’ live. 

  • Erik Johansson

    It’s OK to like The X Factor, as long as you don’t like Virtual XI :)

  • MusashiX09

    Caught it in Jersey and it was the funnest time I’ve had at a concert.

    Cooper was really great too, but it wasn’t as fun, about half the audience that maiden had..

  • I am going to see them in 3 days, and I was curious about how long the show lasted.

    • They played 16 songs so I suppose roughly 2 hours. It wasn’t as long as the 2003-2004 tour but it was a decent length.

  • Saw Iron Maiden last night and supremely epic.