June 21, 2017
That’s all to say that an Iron Maiden show from 1987 isn’t really all that different from an Iron Maiden show from 2017. Sure, the technology is different and Bruce Dickinson dresses like he’s in an early-’00s nu-metal band, but if you’re looking for a show with a huge stage setup, a mascot that runs around and some ripping guitar solos, the Maiden you loved then is the Maiden you’ll still love now.
The reason to focus on formula here is to explain the difference between doing what you’re good at and being a nostalgia act, because even though the older songs got the bigger pops, this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill “play the hits and call it a night” performance. Maiden played six tracks off their most recent album, The Book of Souls, all of which they took to with much of the same passion that they did with “Powerslave” and “Children of the Damned.” While “The Trooper” may have gotten the loudest response and it was “Fear of the Dark” that really got the crowd moving, the highlight of the night might have been “The Red and the Black,” with its massive “whoa-oh” section and some amazing guitar pyrotechnics.
Iron Maiden show an amount of consistency in their live performances that you should wish on all bands you enjoy. In a world where heavy metal rarely packs arenas, it’s a shame that Iron Maiden isn’t the rule. They know who they are and what it is they do, and they are masters at that. I’ll take a winning formula over easy-to-digest nostalgia any day.
Personal Bias: Dance of Death has the worst album cover of all time. “BBF3” is my favorite song related to Iron Maiden.
The Crowd: You know the dumb rule about not wearing the shirt of the band you’re going to see? Yeah, Iron Maiden fans know that rule is garbage.
Overheard in the Crowd: One dude kept begging Bruce to stop talking anytime he said more than two sentences.
Random Notebook Dump: So many bands would be improved by switching to a three-guitar player setup. So many bands would be improved by having a mascot.