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Ten Things That Occurred to Me While Watching Iron Maiden’s Incredible Show Last Weekend

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1. The #1 rule of concert-going holds that thou shalt not wear the t-shirt of the band you’re going to see… except when it’s Iron Maiden! As such I was decked out in Maiden gear head to toe, and so were thousands of my fellow brethren.

2. How is it that this band is still so good live? Every time is the best time. I’m always on the fence as to whether to go see Maiden yet again — I’ve already seen them so many times! and it ain’t cheap! — but every single Maiden show delivers and then some. I left feeling energized, whole, and stoked on life.

3. The crowd reaction when Bruce announced the setlist would contain only old songs was appropriate: sparse cheers. When Bruce went on to explain the importance of the band’s new material, it was all-in applause.

4. Songs from Brave New World, which came out 19 years ago, are now firmly in the band’s “legacy” setlist, proof positive that continuing to write and perform new material has been a crucial element of Iron Maiden’s continued success. It wasn’t long ago that songs from that album sent fans to take a piss or get beer, but “Wicker Man” had the Barclays Center riveted and amped. Don’t be surprised when tracks from Final Frontier make the band’s classic setlist five years from now, as they should.

5. Bold move playing stuff from the Blaze Bayley era! Those songs don’t do much for me, but I respect the flex.

6. The inflatable prop plane that hovered over the stage during “Aces High” was undoubtedly the best visual gimmick of the night.

7. Bruce’s nightly battle with Eddie, always a treat, was less climactic than some in the past — watching him rip out Eddie’s heart two years ago was incredible — but it’s never not fun to watch Bruce have a sword-fight with a giant monster and run between his legs like a wily cartoon character. The climax came when Bruce “made” a pyro blast go off in Eddie’s face, thus defeating the dastardly monster once and for all.

8. The bootleg t-shirt scene outside the venue, both before and after, was unreal. Not only were dozens of guys selling two different varieties of Maiden tour tees (one very close to the band’s official version), but they were selling tie-dyed Metallica shirts. Anyone out there snag one of those? How quickly did the colors run?

9. Janick Gers is unquestionably the second most entertaining member of Iron Maiden. Purists give him shit, but I’d argue that Maiden shows would be at least 50% less fun without him up there on stage kicking his foot up onto the monitor and spinning his guitar behind his back with reckless abandon.

10. There were so many young kids at this show with their parents! Not teens, actual kids, as young as five years old. It makes sense, really: the visual spectacle of a Maiden show has appeal to children, although a two-hour set is definitely a long one to sit (stand!) through. Regardless, I love that Maiden shows have now become a family event, ensuring the band’s legacy will live on long into the next generation.

Iron Maiden’s North American “Legacy of the Beast” tour continues through September, then heads to South America in October; get dates here. Don’t miss it if the tour comes anywhere remotely near you!

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