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Iron Maiden/ Dream Theater

Date: 7/11/10
Venue: PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, New Jersey
Reviewed by: Rich Catino

Dream Theater made the right decision sticking to shorter less prog, more metal tunes for this Maiden tour. 'Pull Me Under', 'Panic Attack', and 'Constant Motion' could easily win over new fans who may be ignorant to the Theater's less intricate side and 'Rite of Passage' was a great selection from the new album "Black Clouds & Silver Linings" with its peaks and valleys and wild solo section. With 45 minutes to work with, the guys stuck to the music without too much talk.

Two months prior to the release of their new album "The Final Frontier", Maiden hit the road and comprised (and have been sticking to) a setlist that for now, only includes one new tune ('El Dorado') from the new album and mainly focuses on music from their recent ten years. Opening with the one-two punch of 'Wicker Man' and 'Ghost of The Navigator' works well based on the reaction from tonight's sellout crowd. Including something old next was just fine but man am I TIRED of 'Wrathchild', and I'm not the only one complaining. Maiden have become as predictable as Kiss with their choice in classics. How about the title track to "Killers" or 'Murders In The Rue Morgue'? Equally good and classic.

With a new stage design incorporating the outer space theme to "Final Frontier" and keeping the music post "Brave New World", new single/video 'El Dorado' got a great crowd response (it is a good tune). 'Dance of Death' and 'Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg' take a few minutes to get going given their slow build and progressive structures. Singer Bruce Dickinson gave a short patriotic speech including the line "You don't need to be a soldier or fight in some fucking war to be a warrior. You can be a warrior of peace. You can be a warrior for your family. But one thing that all warriors have in common is that they never fucking give up" prior to 'These Colours Don't Run'.

When it comes to the band (now 30 years in) and their performance, I love watching guitarists Dave Murray and Adrian Smith and their graceful harmonies and unique solos that flow like a brush to canvas. And what can you say about bassist Steve Harris that hasn't already, he attacks the stage like a lion banging his head, singing the lyrics, and pointing the bass at the crowd like a machine gun. Bruce continues to run around while he sings like a gymnast without getting winded, third guitarist Janick Gers is like a bunny rabbit and never stands still, and if you can't see Nicko behind all those drums you surely can hear his precision.

As mascot Eddie made his grand entrance to the stage during the song 'Iron Maiden' I thought to myself "Man, that is just awful looking". In this latest incarnation he looks like Swamp Thing (and not in a good way) with all that greenery. And what is it with the exaggerated eye bone (also see the album artwork)? Artist Melvyn Grant's interpretation on "Fear Of The Dark" was great, "Virtual XI" was pretty bad, and "Death On The Road" DVD was decent.

But really after this hack job on "Final Frontier" and his obviously jealous fueled comments towards Derrick Riggs no one should ever allow Grant to draw Eddie again.

Back to the setlist, I'll take 'Brave New World' over 'Blood Brothers', and 'Wildest Dreams' from "Dance of Death" is just enough. 'No More Lies' is average and can get dropped. Yeah yeah yeah, I know 'Fear of The Dark', 'Number of The Beast', and 'Hallowed Be Thy Name' are classics, but is anyone else tired of hearing them all the time? I know I am! 'The Trooper', 'Run To The Hills', '2 Minutes To Midnight' are not always in. How bout giving these others a rest? 'Running Free' is nice for something different but with so many great songs on the first seven albums (Iron Maiden through "Seventh Son") things should be rotated more. If hearing several of the deeper cuts on the Early Years and Somewhere Back In Time tours will be a one-time shot its gonna be VERY disappointing.


Dream Theater setlist:
As I Am
A Rite of Passage
Constant Motion
Panic Attack
Pull Me Under


Iron Maiden setlist:
The Wicker Man
The Ghost of the Navigator
El Dorado
Dance of Death
The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg
These Colours Don't Run
Blood Brothers
Wildest Dreams
No More Lies
Brave New World
Fear of the Dark
Iron Maiden
Number of the Beast
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Running Free


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