Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Iron Maiden

  Went to see Iron Maiden at the Comfort Dental Amphitheater formally known as Fiddler's Green (why corporations need to own then change the name of venues is beyond me, and rather pathetic.  Why not keep the name and add, "sponsored by" at the end of it?)  Ah, well.   Iron Maiden can neither be fought, nor sought.

  The opening band was pathetic: Coheed and Cambria.  One sole girl with blue hair, probably age 16, danced alone, looked around, and surrendered and hid to our glowering head-shakes.  The lead singer brings out a double-neck Epiphone and fails at it so badly I wanted to punch him in the mouth-face.  The band made me actually angry at their bad songs and concepts.  They finally gave-up and played Dio's "Heaven and Hell" to the interest of the crowd before escaping.  They suck forever.

  I got tickets on a whim at the last minute.  I've seen them every time they've been in town since 1988.  I wasn't impressed with a lot of their newer material, though it's pretty good stuff, it's a bit heavy.  Their latest album was very good, however, The Final Frontier, not to be confused too much with Star Trek V.  I had seen the setlist on the BluRay release En Vivo! but I wasn't too much of a fan of that.  America was stiffed with the Somewhere Back in Time tour, only getting one show in Los Angeles before Europe got to see a rehash of their albums from 1984 to 1988.  When they arrived two years ago, they played a very modern setlist which alienates older fans a bit.  Iron Maiden has a lot of albums spanning from 1978 to present.  Twenty-five full albums and seven compilations, all but two studio releases going gold or platinum.  They've been very successful, overall, and most of the band members haven't changed much, though there's been a few shake-ups.

  Iron Maiden is what's known as a "thinking man's metal".  Concepts are often war-oriented, such as the Crimean War of 1853.  The artwork is always top-notch with hidden little references such as Dr.Who's Tardis or Blade Runner "cafe" in the background or some such.  Often, Death or a Black Cat hang-out in the background, and a symbol of a circle with a few points coming off it which is the artist's "signature" symbol.  The band also touches base with pro-religious themes, and the main character on every album is "Eddie" who's sort of undead but trying to defeat Satan of his doings on earth.  The musicians of the band are legendarily good, and the singer, Bruce Dickinson, flies his own Boeing 777 to each concert and is a bronze-medalist fencer.

  The setlist was not of their new material, however.  Instead, they treated us to a bit of their Flight 666 tour.  This is excellent, and the songs were played masterfully, particularly the song Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, complete with an actual church pipe organ ensemble, Phantom of the Opera in its entirety, and The Clairvoyant.  They brought back their Seventh Tour of a Seventh Tour set, complete with Nicko the drummer encased in a block of ice, and the pyrotechnics were top-notch.  Eddie himself (20 feet tall) makes two appearances, once as General Custer and plays Janick Gers' guitar for a while, and later as the disintegrated Eddie from Seventh Son circa 1988 with laser eyes.  Quite a performance.  Janick also is covered with the Union Jack so he can't see by mischievous Bruce Dickinson and has to play blindfolded for The Trooper.  Video footage of The Prisoner from the famous BBC show was also shown during the eponymous song. 
  1. Doctor Doctor (UFO song) - Iron Maiden always plays this over the intercom before they start 
  2. Encore: Churchill's Speech
  3. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (Monty Python song from Life of Brian)  - always played over the intercom at the end

  Overall, very good.  Solos were extended as they should be and done tastefully.  Crowd was energetic and Bruce had them engaged.  All good fun and at points, pretty epic!

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