Archive and Search
« In Case You Missed Cinderella This Summer... | Main | Crashdiet in Los Angeles - Live Review »

Iron Maiden, A Live Review and Different Perspective

Credit: Christian GrausIt's well documented that I am a major Iron Maiden fan. It should come as no surprise that I saw the last two shows on the current tour, and got to the barrier in Houston. What's a little surprising, is that I didn't love it as much as you might expect.

The first night I was plain jetlagged and was three rows from the front ( i.e. no barrier to lean on ) so I held out for "Phantom of the Opera" then went to sit down, and then after I'd sat for a bit, I saw  lightning and decided to bail.  I was at the barrier the next day, right?

For Houston, I got on to the fan club and found someone to go to the barrier with me, but it seems they had a low number of entries, because the folks who had been looking for a spot had won themselves, that afternoon.  That was fine as we were told we'd be escorted so we wouldn't have to run, but that turned out not to be true, and as I was at the front, I was in the group that got lost. Still got the barrier, but closer to the center than I wanted. (I try for guitarist Adrian Smith's side).

Coheed and Cambria were actually pretty good. I hated them the first night, but I think that's because I was on the right, the mix to the left and you could hear them better.  The one thing is, they did "Heaven and Hell," which was great, but it made clear that nothing they write is close to "Heaven and Hell."

So, the show starts with a video of lots of icebergs. I guess they look like the Seventh Son album cover. The first song is "Moonchild," which does not work for me as an opener, but is an OK song.  Next up was "Can I Play with Madness" and "The Prisoner."  So far, so good.  For me, "2 Minutes to Midnight," the next song, lost them momentum.  It's a song they played on the last two tours at least (I didn't check further back), and I could have done without it.  "Afraid to Shoot Strangers," on the other hand, was epic, a definite highlight.  But then they did "The Trooper."

I think you're getting the idea here. I love Maiden and I love that they mix their set up so much, I just wish they'd mix it up more. Run to the hills was OK, but "Number of the Beast," "Fear of the Dark," even "Running Free" is not a good enough song to be played two tours in a row. I thought they were doing "Wrathchild?" How about "Children of the Damned" or "22 Acacia Avenue," or "Die With Your Boots On," or "Stranger In A Stranger Land?" Basically, the highlights were the songs like "Phantom" (and the crowd went nuts for that, both nights) and "Seventh Son of A Seventh Son" and the lowlights were the same old songs they do every time.  A bit more adventure in the setlist would have been great. Long view - if they had not done Seventh Son songs on the Somewhere Back in Time tour, then this setlist would have been even better (and so would that tour).

For the first time, I am thinking that the tour two tours from now, I'll think about not going. The next tour will be on a new album and should be lots of new songs, and I'm always up for that. The band has alienated the mainstream with these "new album" tour cycles, and I know from experience, they play more shows in bigger venues on a "classics" tour, but if they are not scared to play to their hardcore fans, then why not do that all the time ? And where do they go next? Surely not a Fear of the Dark tour, as on this current tour they've played two of the best songs from it already.  "Be Quick or Be Dead" is the only song from this album I could see them adding. They've done these cycles and I wonder if they are coming to a logical end for the band as a whole? Certainly if they do a tour off of Fear of the Dark and No Prayer for the Dying, there's no way they can do a Futureal tour after that.

Reader Comments (23)

Compared to bands like Poison, Kiss and Motley Crue I think it's pretty clear that Iron Maiden change their setlists a lot. Yeah Christian, if you're complaining that Maiden chose to play a couple of the classics on this tour that you've heard/seen them do on previous tours you need to sit one out.
August 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSnoot
That set list sound great! You might want to skip ALL of their tours.
August 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGeo2
ROTFL - I should be clear here, I see most tours 4-5 times, not just once. I travel to the US and see them 2-3 times, and see them as many as four times when they come to Oz.

And I just won't see Poison or Motley again, because their setlist never changes. I am still going to Maiden.
August 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
I saw maiden with opening act alice cooper in Indy this summer. It started one hr late due to heavy rains and lightning, but What a great show. alice played 1 he and Maiden played for over 2 hrs. enjoyed ever second of it. They never stopped and sounded great the entire show. I agree with snoot, geo2 and christian esp geo2. If you dont like a few classics then dont go!!! at least they dont play the same set list like motley or boring old poison!!!! I hate to say it, Poison needs to hang it up!!! I will see 100 show like maiden before 10 shows of poison P.S This is the show in which Bruce call the guy, who was on the cell phone, a wanker. That was great.
August 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdale
It's well known and well advertised that this is a "Greatest Hits/Classics" Tour reflecting the Maiden England tour (7th Son timeframe). I find it pretty funny that someone is complaining about hearing Number Of The Beast, The Trooper and Running Free on a Greatest Hits tour, let alone complaining about playing 7th Son songs when it is known that is the tour that they are throwing back to.

I agree with the previous poster. If you are gonna complain about Maiden playing arguably three of their greatest and most famous songs, then you are probably better suited to stay home and listen to the new stuff.

It truly amazes me that with the crap music out there today, that people will actually complain about Iron Maiden still kicking it out better than ever after all of these years. I saw the show in Virginia and it was fantastic. Did Bruce pull a bit of a Vince Neil and skip a few words and a few high notes...sure. But it's 2012 and I am seeing a full sold out Iron Maiden show instead of Lady Gaga and Nickelback. Anyone who wants to complain can shut the hell up. Be grateful that we still have a few bands who will go out there and give the fans (the MAJORITY of the fans...not just those who think they are bigger fans and special because they have the newest album) exactly what they came for.
August 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChuck
Well, you're welcome to your opinion. Talking to fellow fan club members waiting for the barrier, they almost all agreed with what I've said, so I don't feel like I'm alone in saying it. The highlights of each show ( classics or newer ) is the songs they don't play so often. It follows that, for a hardcode fan, something like 'Where Eagles Dare' would go over a lot better than
'The Trooper'. It was 'Phantom of the Opera' that got the biggest cheers, both nights, not The Trooper or Number of the Beast.
August 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
Of course Chuck, your comment IS kind of funny, given how many of the non hardcore fans were up in arms when they started this cycle of one 'new album' tour and one 'classics' tour. They are in a middle ground, trying to please the fair weather fans every second tour, and the hardcore with the new album tours. I think they should go all out, and given the real fans what they want. I think there's enough of us for them to do that.
August 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
I saw them for the first time ever in July and I loved them. I loved the set list and there was probably only one song I wanted to hear that they didn't play.

The energy was fantastic and it was one of the best shows I've seen in a while. The crowd was pumped the whole time and Bruce sounded fantastic.

Christian, I agree with the other guys. You might be Maidened out. Same thing happened to me with KISS. It became way too routine so I stopped going. Will see them for the first time in about 10 years next month with Crue, and I'm actually looking forward to it (for a change).
August 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRita
Rita, I think you're right. My first Maiden show was AMOLOD, and I was disappointed they did not play 'the trooper' and amazed that other fans said they could live without it, but like I said, I see them several times in the US and Australia on each tour, some other hardcore fans see them 15+ times on the one tour, and we all seem to say the same thing, those of us who see them that often, would like more variety in the setlist. If they did the same set over and over like Poison, I just would not go at all. Metallica do it right, they play a different set every night. Maiden has the 'theme' thing going on, and it's great, but there's room for improvement. I probably won't see them in Australia if it's next year and the set list is the same.
August 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
I think Metallica are the kings of mixing up set lists while on tour, and they are always throwing in gems that you likely haven't heard before. But that said, they are still playing Sandman, Master of Puppets, Seek & Destroy, etc. every night. Just like Maiden is going to play Number of the Beast, Hills & Trooper.

I saw Maiden with Alice Cooper this past summer, and really liked the set list. Granted, I've only seen them once before, so I was ecstatic to hear a bunch of classics.
August 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBryon
Yeah, Metallica has a handful of 'set piece' songs they keep in. The point is more that if you're hardcore and go to 8 shows, you'll see 8 setlists. I dunno, the repeat songs might get just as old, I've never followed Metallica around the way I have Maiden.
August 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
I don't really get the complaint. It was known when the tour was announced that this was going to be the Seventh Son tour. So this was going to have those songs. While it may have been a mistake to play those on the Somewhere tour, that was 4 years (?) and I don't think they were planning this far ahead back then. Plus all that time has passed and and there were people that missed that "hits" tour. Besides, most fans want to hear the hits. Tours like this are for people who are 40 to feel like they are 22 again. You must be high to think that they should skip Number Of The Beast. When did you buy your tickets? In this day and age you can find bands setlist online the night after they played.
Lastly, bands like Maiden that have a lengthy catalog are kind of stuck because they have so many iconic songs but only a certain time to play.
August 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterscott whitt
TOTALLY off the Maiden subject - Today, August 20th is Allyson's birthday, so I want to wish her a HAPPY BIRTHDAY & thank her for such a kick ass website to hang out at.

ALLYSON - Happy Birthday, Sweetie!
August 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAce Steele
I saw 3 shows in 23 months. They played 48 songs total and 32 were different songs. That's only repeating a third of their material over 3 tours. What are you expecting, maybe an epics only tour? As a fan, you already know that the setlist does not vary from show to show,( with few exceptions). That's Maiden in Concert. It amazes me how the self proclaimed "hard-core Maiden fans" are alway flinging the criticism around about the band they love. These guys are in their 50's (Nicko 60) and have just finished a tour that kicked ass and took names. Compare it to other acts on the road right now. No one comes close. Why are you complaining? If you are looking for a different set list each night, you would probably be better off following some jam band like Phish around.
August 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoe
I was at the Dallas show (in the pit) and the people around me were going crazy. I have seen the last 3 Maiden tours and each one has been incredible. I personally had no problem with the set list. They dusted off Phantom of the Opera, Afraid To Shoot Strangers, and The Prisoner for this show. Not to mention Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. Out of a 17 song set, at least 5 songs haven't been played live for years. That's a pretty good ratio to me.
August 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChris
Great review, Christian. Some of the funniest sh*t I have read in recent memory. Oh, the comedy! A Monument to Maiden Madness bordering on obsession. No wonder you're almost fried on 'em.

Still, as much as I despise these greasers (As the London Britpop crowd refer to them), gotta hand it to ol' Steve -- constantly churning out an endless sea of mindless Neanderthal Rock, one is bound to accidentally write some great tunes, particularly "Can I Play With Madness".

As far as their dilemma with being out of sorts about what to do about the whole Oldies vs. Newbies Tours, well, like I said, your dealing with Neanderthals, so don't expect any sound decision making here.

So, I strongly suggest you pick the set lists for them, Christian.


Here's an idea: Pick their coolest favorites -- a combination of unexpected and reknowned classics plus your favorite newer songs, making up a well blended set list that can withstand some variable juggling from show to show.

Since Maiden is so huge, kinda like how Faux (Fox) News is huge, which only means there are more idiots in the U.S. population than originally anticipated and growing every minute, the band can do the best set lists and tell their fans to take a hike if they don't like it. Believe me, just like Republicans voting early, the fans will still pack, stack and rack into the arenas for these shows.

A Belated Happy Birthday, to Madam Glam, the one, the only, the Glammiest and Most Metal of all Glamistresses, Ms. Allyson B. Crawford!

Here's your present, Al!!!...

Keep on Rockin' to Bring Back Glam! Forever!
August 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Coheed and Cambria Kick ass. The Maiden show was my 4th time seeing them, and they never disappoint.

When they opened for Heavan and Hell in '09, they covered "The Trooper", so I thought it was pretty cool that they played H&H while opening for Maiden.
August 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike

August 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
The shorts on your boy, Steve say it all.


p.s. There's only a few times in Rock History where shorts are cool and this is not one of them...

AC/DC: Angus Young's Shorts = Cool

LITA FORD: Lita donning Hot Pants in The Runaways

LIFE SEX & DEATH: The Lead Guitarist wore Black Vinyl Shorts


GUNS & ROSES: Axl's white Spandex Shorts (UNROCK)

SCOTT IAN: Hahaha!!!
August 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
"LITA FORD: Lita donning Hot Pants in The Runaways"

Ahhh... those silver lame' hot pants & the silver boots! One of my teenage years happy memories... Rock on, Lita! May your hot pants never rot!
August 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAce Steele

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.