Amongst a sea of lit lighters and avid t-shirt clad fans, Iron Maiden took the stage at the Saddle Dome to a crowd that filled the room with much anticipation.
The energy was through the roof as fans of all ages (I stood side stage, next to a 5 year old donning an Iron Maiden T, clearly bought for him by his long time avid fan father, headphones on and rock hands in the air) head banged and played air guitar alongside the 60+ yr old rock band who has been blowing up the rock metal scene since the 80′s.
The stage was very simple, leaving it up to the guys to bring the heat with their guitar taming and stage presence. The set up was a banner of skeletons frozen in what looked like the Arctic while a slew of mural backdrops (suitable for any Iron Maiden fanatic) switched from one to the other through out the show. The pyrotechnics consisted of flames surrounding the stage and fireworks that went off closer to the end of their set. They also had a few carnival-esque statues that graced the backstage (one being a giant skeleton holding what looked like a beating heart that consisted of skulls). In an age where live music is becoming more and more about theatrics, it was refreshing to see a rock band require not much more than their pure talent and love of what they do.
Bruce Dickenson did a fantastic job of keeping the energy going, both on stage and within the crowd. Although I felt a bit lax on vocals for the first half of the concert, he came out swinging with every song. Hitting all the high notes and running from stage left to right, back to front, along the perimeter of the boxed in stage that had been created, Dickson kept the crowd guessing ‘what next’. He told the stories, conjured the flames and played the part, much like he’s done for the past 4 decades without skipping a beat. I was uber impressed with his screaming…man can that guy still hit a high note! The performance all in all sound wise, to me, was album quality…I really enjoy being able to see a band live and hear the same pitches and tones from vocals to riffs that I get to hear when I’m rocking out at home.
My favorite part of the show had to have been Janick Gers (lead and rhythm guitar). His energy alone was incredible. He never seemed to stop moving while manipulating his guitar and giving his all. He spun, he swung, and he played that guitar like he was 22 again and in my opinion put on a show of his own.
As Nicko McBain whaled on the drums with what felt like everything in him, Steve Harris, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith and Janick Gers ran around the stage killing the guitar solos and reminding the fans (new and old) what Iron Maiden is all about.
This being the first time I had seen these guys, I can only imagine it being like seeing them back in the 80’s (Dickenson being the only member sans head banger long locks). Even their wardrobe (cut off T’s, skinny’s and kicks) gave the feeling of being lost in time. For a metal band who has such a haunting reputation for the dark side, you could really feel the love (of/for the music, the fans, the whole experience) and gratitude Iron Maiden has for the fact that they can still kill it to a sold out crowd. Not knowing what to expect going into the show (but hoping for the best obviously) I was definitely blown away by the performance in front of me and I’m not sure the last time I smiled or rocked out so hard. This evening renewed my love of something old and to me something timeless!