Holy smokes, we're already in August, and this was only my third
gig of the year! Of course, being heavily pregnant is not the ideal condition in which to go to a metal concert, so thank the gods that we had wrangled tickets in a VIP box. Normally I'd prefer to be in the mosh pit for Iron Maiden, but given the circumstances having comfy sofas in our box, plus a bar and toilets close by was ideal. The box had a side-on view of the stage, which was a bit odd, but interesting in the respect that you get to see some of the behind the scenes mechanics of the show. If it had been The Wall
then it would have been an atrocious stage-view, but giant inflatable/animatronic Eddie figures presumably look much the same from the front as from the side.
The hilarious thing was, in the box next to us was none other than British broadcasting legend BRUCE FORSYTH! (If you're not British, you probably won't have a clue who he is... I'm trying to think of an American equivalent and failing. Basically he's a game show host who has been on TV here pretty much continuously since the 1950s.) Bruce is 85 years old, and we were joking about him being an Iron Maiden fan. I said, in jest, that maybe he was a fan of the support band, Voodoo Six. Then when Voodoo Six came on, Bruce and all his family went APESHIT! And immediately after the Voodoo Six set had finished, they fucked off home! We later found out that the singer of Voodoo Six is actually Bruce's grandson.
Voodoo Six were shite, by the way. All empty posturing and stock riffs. Sorry Brucie. The other legs of the tour had top-notch support bands, but for some reason London, Maiden's home turf, got lumped with these bozos. I spent their entire set lamenting that we weren't watching Ghost, Anthrax or Megadeth.
Anyway, enough of that... Bring on the Maiden!
Maiden, I must say, have a more fan-friendly approach to milking the nostalgia market than Roger Waters does. Whereas Roger is now in his fourth year of touring The Wall
, following three years of touring The Dark Side of the Moon
, Iron Maiden vary the themes of their seemingly endless tour from year to year. (Most of the gigs I go to are in smaller pub/theatre sized venues. Roger Waters is the only artist I've seen in recent years that plays arena gigs, hence I only have his shows to compare to.) So as this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Seventh Son
tour (which, coincidentally, was the first time that Paul saw Iron Maiden), they are revisiting it with an updated version of the stage props and set list. Of course, Iron Maiden still release new material, so their tours tend to alternate between touring in support of a new album and the more nostalgia-based tours. Though I imagine that the new album tours still contain a significant proportion of "best of" material. The set list for this particular show, as it was based on the show from 1988, was mostly classic-era songs. I wouldn't say that I'm a hardcore Maiden fan, but I've heard the majority of their albums, and there was only one song played that I didn't know well.
Something of note about this particular concert was that it was a ticketless event, meaning that only those who purchased tickets directly from the promoter could get in - thus, no scalpers! And the tickets for the 20,000 capacity arena sold out in less than twelve minutes, meaning that the vast majority of the crowd were genuine fans of the band. Or hipsters... is it a hipster thing to like Iron Maiden now? I have no clue. Anyway, most of the people there were wearing Iron Maiden t-shirts and appeared to be bona fide fans. The warm atmosphere and fact that every seat was filled would also suggest this.
To any gig goers/metal fans on my friends list, I urge you to see Iron Maiden live if you get the chance. You might be skeptical and think that they've based their entire career around big hair and galloping riffs, but they genuinely do offer value for money and fan satisfaction! In terms of showmanship, musicianship, set design, authenticity and a back catalogue of well-crafted songs, these guys have the full package tucked inside their skin-tight jeans.
Some photos of us hanging out in the box prior to the gig, and a ton of photos I took of Maiden...( Photos...Collapse )