Thursday, 21 July 2011

A night with my maiden of choice

So went to see Iron Maiden last night, was awesome. Firstly, we had to get to the SECC in Glasgow, however, and we went by rather a long, scenic route. Despite my worries, however, we got there just in time to miss Airbourne - not that we knew. We'd been worried about getting back to Edinburgh, and maybe missing the last bus, and standing there with it coming up to 9, we were getting a bit worried. The support isn't on yet? Then UFO's Doctor Doctor crashes out, and realisation hits: it's time.

Satellite 15...boomed out, and it was an odd intro, not really Maiden. Not bad. The Final Frontier was the official opener, a pretty simple Iron Maiden anthem. It's probably the most forgettable of Iron Maiden's such ventures, not particularly pacy or catchy. El Dorado was up next, and it is not what you call the best of their work either. The start was not the most convincing.

2 Minutes to Midnight kicked things into a higher gear: I've never been a massive fan of the song, but the crowd energy was up and everyone knows the lyrics. The Talisman was up next, probably the best recieved of the new Maiden songs - the momentum sweeps you up and, despite the length, it was a whole lot of fun.

Bruce then took a moment to talk to the crowd, but didn't really say too much. He led us into Coming Home, a fantastic song. Fantastic song. But much of the chorus was lost in the general sound, and the crowd didn't seem to know it, weirdly. I enjoyed it, but the crowd didn't seem to take to it. Dance of Death was up next, and for me it was one of the highlights of the night. It's a song that really succeeds at painting a picture with music, and it's got atmosphere and great riffs galore.

With the The Trooper, suddenly we're into the staples. The crowd drown out Bruce, and it's got the easiest chorus to sing in the world. The Wicker Man is up next, and holy shit is this a good song, which also served the purpose of killing my vocal chords. It was easily the best thing that'd been played to that point, and the crowd responded fervourously to it.

At this point, things took a turn for the odd. Bruce Dickinson decided he wanted to take a moment to do his Bono bit. Peace, love, don't discriminate. That stuff. So he talks about religion and race and then someone throws a Scottish flag onto the stage. Completely unprompted, the crowd bursts into "O Flower of Scotland", our national anthem. I'm not sure to be embarrassed or proud. The message was clear: don't patronise us, we're not gonna let go of our identities. Not that I disagree with Bruce, but you know, gotta pick your time and place.

The next run of songs was blisteringly good: Blood Brothers, When the Wild Wind Blows, The Evil That Men Do, Fear of the Dark. Some of my favourites, especially The Evil That Men Do, with Fear of the Dark being a live staple of the band. Really, what can I say? They were fantastic. When the Wild Wind Blows was an odd one, however, as it's not exactly a concert piece. It's a song that is atmospheric and not quite like anything else Iron Maiden has done. The music paints a picture, and is both big and small at the same time. Bruce gives one of the most restrained performances he ever has. The crowd was not exactly sure what to do, though.

Iron Maiden was their "closing" song, a different one from their earliest days. It's a lot more punky but energetic and very much crowd pleasing. The Number of the Beastpassed so quickly that I can barely remember it. It's an overrated one, but damn fun. Hallowed Be Thy Name came penultimate, another staple, and a song often considered by fans to be their best. No doubt, it's a great, great song. Atmospheric, fast paced, catchy riffs, with both energy and despair.

Running Free, their proto-punk first song, was an odd finisher, yet made so much sense. Listening to the original, it does not sound liek an Iron Maiden song, yet on stage there's no question that it fits and adds a welcome variety to their sound. It was a fitting end, and a great end.

So yeah, I enjoyed them a lot. The first two songs were somewhat of a weaker deal, but beyond that the setlist was the thing of dreams. It was not without darmatics, from Bruce's constant boardwalk running, to fighting giant costume Eddies, to a stage which turned into Eddie's head. The devil even made an appearance during The Number of the Beast. And Fear of the Dark live. Just Fear of the Dark Live.

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