My apologies for the delay in posting a review of Iron Maiden at the Comcast Center in Mansfield, MA. The morning after the show, groggy from too little sleep and too much beer and loud music, I left for our annual vacation to our family's summer cottage in NH where internet access wavers between extremely spotty and utterly non-existent. By some miracle I have a decent connection so here goes...
It seems that more and more I appreciate the pre-game warmup to concerts as much as the event itself. That was the case with Maiden, as I attended the show with four other friends and Maiden fans. None of them knew each other (I was the common thread connecting them all) but we had a great time nonetheless. Four of us piled into my Chevy Cobalt and drove to Mansfield where we met the other dude (Falze), who had a 3 1/2 hour ride up from NY. The drive and meet-up proved to be an adventure, as after a longer than expected, traffic-snarled ride we found ourselves parked a mile away from Falze in Mansfield's enormous parking lot. And we had a large cooler packed to the gills with ice, beer, water, and half a cherry chocolate cake to carry. But, walking the heavy cooler in two at a time shifts, stopping to reorient ourselves with our cell phones over the din of blasting radios, we made it across the battle-torn, pot-smoke obscured, heavy metal parking lot to Falze.
June 26 also happened to be my birthday and as we stood on the Comcast Center asphalt I remarked that there was no other place I'd rather be for the first day of the 39th year of my life than at an Iron Maiden concert with a cold beer. I don't require much from life, you see, which is the secret to staying happy, incidentally. I had a blast bullshitting and chit-chatting with my friends, and accosting passers-by with concert T-shirts or tattoos that caught my eye. Falze packed us some subs from a place called DiBellas and man, they hit the spot. You were right Falze, they were worth it.
Inside the show I did something I hadn't done in probably 15 years--purchased an Iron Maiden concert t-shirt. It was my favorite Derek Riggs image, Eddie in cowboy hat at a card table from the Stranger in a Strange Land
single. I used to buy a concert T at almost every show I attended "back in the day," but that was a different era when they cost $15-20 and I had ample opportunity to wear them. This shirt was--cough $40 cough
--but arguably was worth it, as I will undoubtedly be wearing it to any and all future concerts, Iron Maiden or no.
Alice Cooper was the opening act and old Alice was very good. Even in his heyday he had a raspy, scary sounding voice and I detected no difference in his singing style. He played all the usual hits you'd expect ("School's Out," "I'm 18", "Hey Stupid," etc.). "Poison" made an appearance, a song that holds powerful nostalgia for me (Cooper's Trash tour back in 89 or so was the first concert I ever attended). Good stuff.
Maiden was great. Really my only complaint was that Bruce's mike was a bit low in the mix and the guitars too loud. But they played an exceptional setlist, blasting out of the gates with "Moonchild" and never letting up. Some highlights for me included "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son," "The Evil that Men Do," "Wasted Years," "Run to the Hills," "Fear of the Dark" and "Aces High." I was really pumped to hear "The Phantom of the Opera" which works exceptionally well in concert. The only headscratcher (and it was a complete puzzle why they played it) was "Afraid to Shoot Strangers," an obscure song off one of their lesser-regarded albums (Fear of the Dark). Dickinson dedicated the song to the late Charlton Heston. I scooted out and grabbed a beer during "Afraid," returning just as the band kicked it back into high gear with "The Trooper." During the beer break I attempted to get the Comcast Center employee to admit that $9.25 was very expensive for a single 16 oz. Coors Light. She smiled, and almost caved, but she had to toe the company line. She wished me happy birthday and my mouth sagged open in surprise as I asked her by what brand of evil sorcery she knew that fact--until my buddy Scott dope-slapped me.
"She's holding your driver's license, you dummy."
Hey, what can I say, I was riding a buzz.
So yeah, fun night, and if you can get out and catch a stop on the Maiden England tour I recommend it quite highly.