Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Concert Review: Iron Maiden



Iron Maiden is relatively new to me as compared to most of my favorite bands. Metallica and the re-united Stone Temple Pilots have been with me since middle school, tool followed soon after and so on and so forth. Being able to catch up on these metal legends have been a pleasure, and the one aspect I had been missing out on was the live concert. I have seen Maiden once before on the Somewhere Back In Time Tour, but Maiden just essentially played the entire new album. So when this opportunity to see them in a "throw back" concert in honor of their historic 1980's world tour. This is Maiden at their best. Playing all their old songs and putting on a huge stage show that glorifies all the 80's excess I missed out on.

Essentially, Maiden loaded everything onto a custom 757 for a world tour. That's every person, instrument, and piece of equipment needed for an entire stage show. Luckily, of the only two shows in the United States was in East Rutherford, NJ. So I gathered some of my friends in a 2008 stretch Charger we rented (for convenience) and we were on our way!

Getting there, it was sold out of course. But let's start in the beginning. The opening act was Lauren Harris (daughter of Maiden founder Steve Harris). I was initially bummed that there wasn't a more prolific band like Avenged Sevenfold, Helloween, or Iced Earth. However, when Lauren took the stage, I was fine with it for two reasons. First, see the picture to the right. She could have done a mime act for 35 minutes and I would have been fine with it. Second, I'm a sucker for female lead singers in rock bands. I don't know why this is the case, but it gets me all the time. Whether it is Nightwish, Flyleaf, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, or Paramore I'm a sucker. If I was a superhero, female lead singers in rock bands would be my weakness.

Just a quick word about Lauren's band. The drummer is 50...seriously. Then there is the bass player. Randy Gregg is his name and rocking the fucking house is his game. The guy is straight out of the 80's. He had the spandex, the hair, make-up and stereotypical rock star moves. He looked like a Motley Crue reject, but by the end of the show I was his #1 fan. Rock on, Randy!

On to the show. I was lucky enough to get VIP floor seats, that left me about 3 people back from the stage. Good times. Then came the Churchill Speech Intro, Aces High, and explosions and the concert was off and running. Maiden ran through many of their classic songs during the 2 hour show. The fans were crazy, and minus some obnoxious asses up front, things were great. The stage show was elaborate, but what really pushed this concert beyond the previous one I had seen (besides the set list) was the pyro. There were so many explosions that you really got a sense for what a classic rock show was.

Despite being essentially a bunch of old guys Maiden never stopped the entire show. Bruce Dickinson was running all over the place and the musicianship of the rest of the band was on point as usual. They still have as much energy as they had twenty years ago. It's a great thing to see as many rock bands are fading out into mediocrity or old age.

Maiden released plenty of more dates in the U.S. for the Summer and I'll be attending the MSG show in June, so I can't wait. Should be a blast. If you have any interest in seeing Maiden, take advantage.

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