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Iron Maiden



Date: 03/14/08
Venue: Izod Center, East Rutherford, NJ
Reviewed By: Rich Catino
 

Setlist:

Intro (Churchill Speech)
Aces High
2 Minutes To Midnight
Revelations
The Trooper
Wasted Years
The Number Of The Beast
Can I Play With Madness
Rime Of The Ancient Mariner
Powerslave
Heaven Can Wait
Run To The Hills
Fear Of The Dark
Iron Maiden

Encore:
Moonchild
The Clairvoyant
Hallowed Be Thy Name

This “Somewhere Back In Time Tour” gives Iron Maiden, and their loyal fans, a chance to relive and celebrate the golden era of their career (1980 – 1990) with a setlist comprised of nothing but hits like “Number of the Beast”, “Run to the Hills”, and “Wasted Years”, to anthems “The Trooper”, to gems “Revelations” and “Hallowed Be Thy Name” from that decade (with 1992’s “Fear of the Dark” the exception). Further enhancing the experience was a show that combined all the visual elements from the “Powerslave”, “Somewhere in Time”, and “Seventh Son” tours. The main layout of the stage is based on the “Powerslave” Egypt theme and a close recreation as seen on the “World Slavery Tour” (which was documented for the “Live After Death” concert album/video in 1984 recently released in 2008 on DVD). During the performance backdrops changed featuring settings and artwork from “Somewhere in Time” (Cyborg Eddie also appeared from that album during the song “Iron Maiden”), “Powerslave”, and “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” for songs ‘Can I Play with Madness”, “Moonchild”, and “The Clairvoyant”.

Even for the back to back epic and monstrous “Powerslave” and “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, with arrangement and riffs being just so powerful and heavy they far exceeded my expectations leaving me (and my brother) applauding and breathless. And to boot, “Mariner” featured almost the exact same smoke and explosions first seen on the “World Slavery Tour”. Definitely a show highlight and if possible one moment that could have crumbled the walls to the Izod Center. .

The band still features original members Steve Harris on bass and Dave Murray on guitar, joined by long time alumni Adrian Smith on guitar (since 1981), frontman Bruce Dickinson on vocals (since 1982), Nicko McBrain on drums (since 1983), and third axeman Janick Gers since 1990.

After a five minute intro film documenting some of the band’s visits thus far from the tour, the video screens played the short clip to “Churchill’s Speech”. The speakers filled the air with the sounds of bombing planes and the crowd’s excitement for the show could be clearly heard and felt throughout the arena. This was what us Maiden fans have been looking forward to for some time (and it is unfortunate that the previous “Early Years Tour” was limited to only its run for Ozzfest), and Maiden delivered on all accounts. “Aces High” followed as all six members hit the stage like rabbits let loose from their cages. Dave and Adrian on guitar were from the crowd’s view stage left, Bruce took the center backed by Nicko, with Steve on bass and Janick to the right. When the time came for guitar harmonies Dave, Adrian, Janick and Steve rather often would converge unified center stage as if they were on the frontline to war, and then break apart returning to their stations.

Dickinson continues to be the conductor constantly running around, making grand gestures with his hands assuring everyone in the crowd felt welcomed as he sais “Scream for me Meadowlands”, the chills run down the spine. And through it all he maintains a strong voice never appearing to run out of steam.

Steve Harris as always is a madman on the bass as a player and showman singing to the crowd just about every song. You can tell this man lives and breathes his band and loves every minute of it to this day.

I’m gonna say that Iron Maiden may be the best Heavy Metal band of all time (well tie with Judas Priest for their own reasons). This is why. And before you start throwing stones or preparing the witch hunt don’t think I am taking anything away from the rest of the Metal Masters (Sabbath, Kiss, Ozzy, Dio, Metallica, Slayer, etc) because they are all Gods in their own right. Everyone has earned their place in the history books.

But Maiden have the entire package and posses qualities others do not. First noteable fact is Iron Maiden are one of the few legendary names whom have consistently to this day made records (over 20 years), and have proved by playing their entire last album “A Matter of Life and Death” on tour that they don’t have to rely on just their past to be successful or relevant artists.

This fact, being something few bands can own because as we all know many only still tour purely as a nostalgia act, but I am not mentioning any names.

Secondly, Maiden not only are musically respected, but having a iconic image like mascot Eddie appear consistently on albums covers, become a major part to your live show, and adorn every piece of merchandise has made Iron Maiden well rounded artists. Maiden’s ability to combine the music with the theatrical stage show is what raises them heads and shoulders above others.

Think about how many Heavy Metal artists has something iconic that compliments their music and is a synonymous with their name? Not many if any really.

Thirdly, when all is said and done, Iron Maiden will have completed two successful retro themed tours (“The Early Years” and “Somewhere Back in Time”), and after will continue to tour without having to play music just from their past. They will remain in the public’s eye not because they became part of reality TV or having followed some current music trend, or because they rehash their back catalogue twenty times on Best Of collections or have the Iron Maiden name on everything from coffee mugs to toilet paper, but because they continue to make quality new music.

In the end it will all have been done on their own terms, the music will speak for itself, and Iron Maiden will be looked at as the Best Heavy Metal Band Of All Time. If I had the award I would give it to them now myself.

Can’t wait to see the next two shows in June at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Jersey and at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

 

Maiden Poster
Iron Maiden

 
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