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Iron Maiden: Three Shows, One Review














Editor’s note: When I found out our very own Christian had tickets to three Iron Maiden shows in the same week, I just had to ask him to write about his experience. Here’s what he had to say of Maiden’s tour of Texas. - Allyson

OK, let’s get this out of the way first: Iron Maiden played almost all songs from the last three albums, and will do so for all of this tour. If you have tickets and expect the set list from the last tour, then you’re going to be disappointed.

I’ve been an Iron Maiden fan since 1981, but I only saw them for the first time in Toronto on the A Matter of Life or Death tour (the one where they played the whole new album and a few songs at the end). I was at the barrier for Somewhere Back in Time (I am on the full concert disc section of Flight 666, in "2 Minutes to Midnight"). So, when I found out that the world tour for 2010 was starting in Dallas, I knew I had to fly over from Australia to be there. I saw the first three shows of the tour: Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, so what follows is a review of all three shows. I won First to the Barrier for Dallas, which was even better. The staff at centre had no idea what was going on, so, following their directions, I ended up missing the line and thus being the last FTTB person admitted. I run pretty fast though, so I secured a spot right in front of Adrian and Dave. I’d seen the merch, which included images from the last three albums, and we could see a set list from where I was, so I had a fair idea what was coming before it started. I’ve always loved "The Wicker Man" and had guessed they may start with it, and they did. It’s a great, high energy song to start a concert with. From there, the set ran through songs like "Ghost of the Navigator," "Brighter Than a Thousand Suns," "Paschendale,""Blood Brothers," "No More Lies" and more.

As new song followed new song, I’m told that further back, the crowd got restless, and some people even walked out. I’ve read posts in the fan club of people saying they’d never see Maiden live again. I suspect that the SBIT tour has given people so much of what they want that they expect it to stay that way. I also suspect a lot of people couldn’t see Maiden on that tour, which only did a few US cities, but saw the DVD and decided to go next time. However, where I was, at the front, a lot of people were singing along to the new songs. I wasn’t as "Wicker Man" was the only new song I knew well. Some of the songs they’ve chosen are not really that strong (everyone I’ve seen discuss it, singles out "Wildest Dreams" as a poor choice, for example ).

In Houston they swapped out "Brighter Than a Thousand Suns" for "Wrathchild" and "Paschendale"for "Dance of Death." There was speculation that this was because Adrian messed up the intro to "Paschendale" on the first night, but given that the band uses the big backdrops for each song, it was obvious they came prepared to do these extra songs. I think "Wrathchild" is not a strong choice, but that the set list needed a song people know earlier on, and both nights I saw them do it, the crowd visibly got animated when it started. In San Antonio they did "Wrathchild" and "Paschendale," and Adrian played it fine.

Dave tends to throw out a lot of picks, and all four people in a row including me, got one. The guy next to me, caught two, AND a Dave wrist band. The girl next to me caught an Adrian wrist band. I’m not sure I see the point, I mean, Bruce threw out his Maiden beanie and it left a TRAIL of sweat over the crowd as it flew out. I love Maiden, I’m not sure I want something soaked in their sweat, though. What is the etiquette here, do you wash it, or keep it as it is?

Once the new songs were done, Maiden move in to the ‘classic’ songs that never seem to leave their set. First was "Fear of the Dark," then "Iron Maiden" to close the first set. I think that "Fear of the Dark" is a good song, but a little played out. "Iron Maiden" is not even a great song, but I see why they do it. The Eddie who walks out during this tour looks like the graphic currently on the Iron Maiden site to promote the new song, "El Dorado." It looks more like the Predator than an Eddie, which is a little sad, I think. He fights with Janick, then comes over, is handed a guitar, and pretends to play it before walking off.

Of course, there is an encore. Previous shows I’ve seen had two Eddies, one that walks on during "Iron Maiden" and one that ‘unfolds’ during the last song. This time, the first encore song is "Number of the Beast" and it’s the devil that appears in a corner and looks back and forth. NotB is another song that I think they could drop, if they are playing a set list designed for hardcore fans, they should be replacing these perennials with songs like "22 Acacia Avenue," "Children of the Damned," "Flight of Icarus" or "Revelations." "Hallowed be Thy Name" was next, and the last song was "Running Free" during which Bruce puts on a policeman’s helmet and does a "Hello, hello, what have we here" routine, ending in the obligatory sing along. When the band left the stage, the lights stayed off long enough that I thought they may come out again, but then they came up, and we walked out to the tune of "Always look on the bright side of life."

A couple of things I will mention: one thing I love about Maiden is that Bruce actually talks to the crowd: it’s not scripted. In this case, over the three nights, he was pretty worked up about the US/England soccer game that was coming up (and ended up being a draw). I am not sure at this stage if they are going to alternate the set list to give something extra to the many fans who will do more than one show, or if they were just experimenting before settling on the set list I saw in San Antonio. I suspect the latter, although I think the former would be a cool idea. I am willing to admit that I would have preferred more classic songs, or at least, more obscure classic songs. I also think that at least a couple of the songs they ARE doing are not very strong Maiden songs. But, I really enjoyed hearing some more obscure songs, hearing a very different set list to the last tour, and getting another chance to consider songs that frankly I bought, listened to twice, and put on the shelf. I buy so many CDs nowadays that it’s rare for one to really ‘stick’, there’s always something new to hear. Maybe that’s one reason the old albums are so ingrained, I’ve not just had longer to listen, but back then, to buy a record was a big deal, you saved up, and chose carefully. The best song of the lot is the new one, "El Dorado," in my opinion, which means I’m excited for the album release, but "Benjamin Breeg," "Paschendale," "No More Lies," "These Colors Don’t Run" are all songs from the recent albums that I had disregarded and that have been running through my head these past few days. I am still in the US, getting ready for M3 this weekend, but when I get home, before I listen to CDs that came while I was away, I’ll be listening to those three albums again and, I am sure, appreciating them more now that I’ve heard some of the songs live.

Reader Comments (13)

Ugh. I have tickets to see them in Toronto on July 3 and I really hope that they mix in a bit more older stuff. I've never seen Maiden before and was really hoping for a healthy dose of classics.
June 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbryon
UP THE IRONS! After seeing Maiden for the first time in 2003 there was no doubt the coolest show I'd ever seen. I SO WISH I could have made the SBIT tour but it didn't work out. So there was NO WAY I was gonna miss out on this tour. I'm a big fan of Brave New World (prob due to the fact that I can't get enough of Rock In Rio) so I was glad to hear songs off that album. I just thought the middle portion of the set was a bit of a buzzkill. I just thought they could have shifted songs around a bit but overall MAIDEN RULE! Blood Brothers! These Coulours Don't Run! Fear of the Dark!
Christian, I know you said you weren't really a fan of Wrathchild live but the view from the lawn when that song came on was nothing short of just PURE INCREDIBLE!!!
I'm not pretending to be hard core MAIDEN but I've grown to respect this band and love their music over the last 10 years (even if I am a late comer). I think if you are a hard core MAIDEN fan than you are grateful the band changes up their set. I wish so many bands that I'm hard core about would do this!

I'll always stand by my word that MAIDEN truly is the best live band I've ever seen!

great review christian. See ya this weekend!
June 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkari
Good review Christian. I am looking forward to hearing the songs off the newer albums and can't wait when I see them in Virginia. M3 this weekend wahoo.
June 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKixKixass
one of the main reasons why maiden did not tour here was because they are tired of playing the same songs....
american audiences want all the old material...
maiden wants to play the newer material which goes over big in other countries....
i understand their point.
June 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterj haynes
i agree 100% with j haynes. the american audience only wants to hear the hits.i dont blame maiden for primarily playing in europe, were they can play a setlist of these non hits.
June 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbumblefootboy
Call me A-typical because I am all for the old catalog. SBIT was ideal tour for me ! I love all the nostalgia !
June 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdamnp78
Byron, like I said in the review, I get it, b/c my first tour was AMOLOD, which was a whole album I'd only had for a week !!! But, while it's a shame for people who get on the Maiden wagon on the wrong cycle ( and I'd been a fan forever, just never had a chance to see them ), I do see the point of these alternating tours. Bands like Poison or even AC/DC release an album, play some songs from it on the tour, then never play them again, and basically play the same set of 'classics'. Maiden have always made their own rules.

Kari - I felt the wave of excitement when Wrathchild started, it went right through the crowd, and a roar went up for it. I was happy to hear a song I knew, too. I just think a different song would have gone over even better, esp with the more hardcore fans, who they seem to be trying to please.

To whoever said they didn't go all over the US with SBIT because the US fans want the hits, I think that doesn't make sense. I suspect that as their draw has risen in recent years, they have found they can make money on a longer tour again, they can get booked, and they are doing it. I don't think they didn't tour the US to be churlish. They did Ozzfest all those years ago b/c they felt their brand in the US needed building, although we all know how that turned out.
June 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
Iron Maiden added The Trooper and Run to the Hills in New Mexico. I think that's sad. As I keep saying, I'd love some more obscure classics, to the same old songs. But I guess people who want more classics will get what they want now.
June 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
Setlist from New Mexico - No Trooper or RTTH by the way:

The Wicker Man Play
Ghost Of The Navigator
El Dorado
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
The Number of the Beast
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Running Free
June 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeff
Thanks Jeff. I saw the setlist in an online setlist site, then I posted here, then I went to the fanclub forums, and noticed that no-one was talking about it, so I figured it was bogus. I guess the first three shows were working out the setlist, so I'm glad I got to see Dance of Death and Brighter than a Thousand Suns on this tour as well.
June 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
the comments about not wanting to constantly play the older material came right out of bruce dickinsons mouth.....
it was on a vh1 classic interview...
he said us audiences just want to hear the classics...
June 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterj haynes
Great review and that is so killer you flew from Australia to see these shows! I saw the band in Washington and really wish they had played Brighter Than a Thousand Suns but was glad to miss out on Dance of Death, which is so Stonehenge to me it's funny. I was cool with the set list but knew it was coming. Posted a review with video and photos here -
June 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterIsorski
I was at the Houston show and enjoyed it to the max. After seeing them twice on the epic Powerslave tour, then once during Seventh Son and then once more again during the last go around Somewhere Back In Time I was stoked to see so much of the new material in the set list. Maiden continues to evolve and those last several albums are tremendous. Sorry for the folks who wanted all the classics but I was burned out on that stuff and ready for the new music. Can't wait for the next album to drop...or download rather LOL.
July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

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