Sorry I wasn’t here to post on Friday but I was busy flying out to Detroit for an Iron Maiden concert. And let me tell you it was worth the combination of flying and having to deal with the fact I was in the Detroit area (I was north of Detroit in a nicer section of town).
I’ve been a huge Maiden fan since I was in high school but never managed to make it to one of their concerts. Thankfully the combination of a full time job (hence real money) and too much vacation time allowed me to head out to this metal invasion of Michigan.
First I want to say that besides fellow gunnies fellow metal heads are my favorite group to hand out with. It’s amazing whenever you can have a group of diverse people come together for a common interest and get along so well. The group was very diverse ranging from old men in wheel chairs to you kids and every age range in between. There were people from California to New York (strangely enough not one person I talked to was actually from Detroit).
The show itself was just pure metal. Dream Theater played for the first hour. If you haven’t heard of them you should check them out, they’re pretty bloody good. But the real excitement came after Dream Theater left the stage and the roadies started moving off the band’s equipment. This tour is for Iron Maiden’s new album The Final Frontier which appears to have a science fiction theme to it (as many of their songs have). Iron Maiden came out to a song which I couldn’t quite recognized but knew it was from a science fiction movie (it was a song from Star Wars as I later remembered). The stage itself was setup as a spaceship landing site and looked absolutely awesome.
At this point every seat in this outdoor arena was filled as was the entire lawn behind the covered seating area. The energy from tens of thousands of screaming Maiden fans was indescribable. Maiden opened with the song Wicker Man which really is one of the best songs they could have possibly opened with. Once it started playing pretty much the entire venue started headbanging, pumping their fists into the air, or simply threw up the horns. The energy didn’t stop until Maiden left the stage and the show concluded.
What surprised me was Maiden played The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg, my personal favorite song of theirs. I didn’t expect it simply because the show would have been too awesome had they played it. Well they show was too awesome because they did play it and it was great to hear the song live. Most of the music they selected was from their newer albums although they did throw a few classics in there like Wrathchild, Iron Maiden (the song), and Number of the Beast. Maiden’s last tour focused on their best of titles so it was refreshing to know they were willing to focus on the new stuff and not fall into the trap many older bands do by sticking to playing their well established classics.
From what I estimate to be around the middle of the show (I didn’t look at my watch at any point during the show so I can’t be sure) Bruce Dickinson did a nice tribute of the late Ronny James Dio. In his memory Maiden played the song Blood Brothers which I thought was very appropriate. Everybody went crazy (Hell I think even the people in wheel chairs were jumping up and down) during this as most of us remember the contributions Dio made to the genre of metal.
Eddie also made an appearance of course. Instead of opting for a pure animatronic this time Eddie was done via a man in a suit. The guy in that suit was pretty articulate as he was able to throw up the horns and even pick up a guitar and pretend he was playing.
Those were the main highlights of the show. Needless to say it was probably one of the most metal events in history. I was glad to hear that Maiden’s recent tours have been the largest attended. It’s always good to hear a band as old as Maiden is still gaining in popularity. Most of this is thanks to the kids whom give me hope for the next generation. Yes a good chunk of the audience were teenagers who seemed to know the ropes well (they dressed and acted like true metal heads, obviously they had good parents). Usually when I hear the music younger kids listen to these days I become depressed but some hope has been restored in my mind after seeing this show.
I can honestly say this was the best damned show I’ve ever attended. If you ever get a chance to see Iron Maiden in concert do it.