Saturday, August 3, 2019

A review of Iron Maiden, August 1 Mansfield MA

Wake alone in the hills 
With the wind in your face 
It feels good to be proud 
And be free and a race that is part of a clan 
To live on highlands 
The air that you breathe 
So pure and so clean 

When alone on the hills 
With the wind in your hair 
And a longing to feel 
Just to be free

Iron Maiden has been ignored by radio stations their entire career. Largely passed over by mainstream media outlets. And granted no consideration by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But on Thursday, August 1 they played in front of a sea of 19,000 fans at the sold out XFinity Center in Mansfield, MA.

I was one of them. And they kicked my ass.

It's unbelievable that these six dudes from England, now all in their 60s, can still sound this fantastic and draw such huge crowds. They've kept themselves in great shape, stayed off the drugs that got so many metal bands in trouble, and possess an incredible degree of artistic integrity. As a result they've built up an incredibly loyal fan base. Maiden requires no external, artificial support to sell tickets. Their music speaks for itself.

These days for me, concerts are in all honesty more about the friendship than the music. As great as
Tailgating trio. Me at left.
Maiden was, hanging out in the parking lot for a couple hours beforehand drinking beer and blasting Maiden CDs with a couple friends on a beautiful 80-degree night, was the highlight. Just an unbelievable amount of fun, you could not wipe the shit-eating grin off my face.

Take that Hitler!
Inside, seeing Maiden rip through Aces High with a full-size Spitfire over the stage, and Bruce in a leather pilot jacket, aviator goggles and leather helmet, had me grinning ear-to-ear. Hearing Churchill's speech over the PA always makes me want to scramble a fighter and shoot down some ME-109s.

I got to hear The Clansman and belt out the epic ass-kicking patriotic verses (see above). Where Eagles Dare had me air-drumming in a frenzy. For the Greater Good of God was unexpected, an excellent song from a great album (A Matter of Life and Death). I loved Sign of the Cross, the second song Maiden pulled out from the Blaze Bayley years. It's heart-warming that Bruce performs songs during the era he chose to leave the band to pursue a solo career.

Bruce was in fine form singing and is a smashing entertainer. He came out for Fear of the Dark in a dark trenchcoat, looking like Jack the Ripper, slowly swinging a sinister green lantern back and forth as he intoned the opening verses ("When the light begins to change; I sometimes feel a little strange; A little anxious when it's dark"). You know the rest. He battled a monstrous Eddie on stage during The Trooper.

What an encore. The Evil that Men Do, Hallowed be Thy Name, and Run to the Hills, back-to-back-to-back? Are you kidding me? Metallica or Black Sabbath could not match that trio of hits. I'd put The Evil that Men Do and Hallowed in my top 5 Maiden songs of all time.

You can find the complete setlist here if you're interested. If you're at all a fan of heavy metal you owe it to yourself to see Maiden on this tour. Of course I'd say that about every Maiden tour.


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  2. I saw the show the week before you did and had a great time. I loved the airplane flying over the stage during Aces High, and I'd always hoped to see the band perform the Blaze era songs. It was a really nice break for a few hours during a time when one of my dogs was suffering from an extremely aggressive cancer (she passed away only a couple of days later).

    They did have a bit of a rare miscue in that Bruce seemed to miss his entrance during Where Eagles Dare, so the song ended up being mostly an instrumental and he explained afterward that the noise backstage was so bad that he couldn't tell they had actually started playing *LOL*

    As a contrast, I took my wife to see 3 Days Grace and Disturbed earlier in the year and although Disturbed played fine enough, their live presence is almost nonexistent compared to Maiden. Lots of standing around and they felt distant from the audience (3 Days Grace isn't my type of band, but their performance was better). We also saw Judas Priest and Saxon this year and that was a freaking great show despite the disappointment of KK and Glen no longer being with Priest. Halford still sounds great and Saxon is one of the best live bands I've ever seen. So much energy from those guys and it's always a treat when they tour the U.S. considering they have such a small following here.

  3. Thanks for the comment Andy. Agreed that Maiden has an energy and presence live that few bands can match.

  4. Glad to see you back (just discovered you were active again today--been checking every few months or so)!
    Yes, Maiden is great. I've seen them many times.

  5. Thanks Jason! I’ll be posting more soon.