The Iron Maiden army came out in full force in Melbourne last night to watch the Book of Souls world tour. The bulk of the set contained a lot of the new material, which I think is a true benchmark of a great band. It seems to many bands these days focus on a retro themed or greatest hits set. But not Maiden, they played 110% without playing some of the more obvious classics you think they would need to play by default Run to the Hills, Stranger in a Strange Land, Running Free, Sign of the Cross etc. When a band has so much material to pull from and such a long career I think putting together a set list would be almost impossible if you tried to please everyone.
I was lucky enough to get a backstage pass for the gig, which as an old school Iron Maiden fan and huge fan of Steve Harris was nothing short of a dream come true.
Had a chance to have a quick chat with Steve after the show and he did say they were a bit rough and it wasn’t one of their better shows as Nicko and Bruce were both a bit ill. I think this was only really obvious during Fear of the Dark, but hey its Iron Maiden, and if the band can do one thing well it’s deliver an energetic show no matter what the circumstances. I also asked him whether they would be playing Empire of the Clouds, the 18 minute epic from the new album, anytime soon live. However he said Bruce’s piano work wasn’t up to speed to pull that off so probably not gonna happen for a while.
The band opened with two new songs, the opening album track from Book of Souls, If Eternity Should Fail and then followed by the first single Speed of Light. The band was giving 110% from the first note. I did notice a little more energy in the new songs compared to the old however the third track they played was Children of the Damned a classic tune from The Number of the Beast album and clearly one of the crowds favorites.
Next they played two more new tunes Tears of a Clown, a song that was written as a tribute to the late great Robin Williams and The Red and the Black. The band then stepped it up another notch as they dropped two more classics The Trooper and Powerslave. It was great to see Maiden in full flight and I really enjoyed Bruce wearing his mexican wrestling mask and Janicks messing around on stage, doing guitar stunts and just having a bit if fun.
Death or Glory came next I think this track is going to be a regular in the maiden set from now on, it is definitely one of the best new songs that translates live really well, especially for a crowd sing a long. Then it was time for the title track, The Book of Souls but to anyone who has been following the tour, it was time for the giant Eddie to come on stage, I fumbled for my GoPro, I don’t like filming gigs, but I made an exception and brought my camera for this exact moment. It was almost like the crowd had a rest during the start of the tune, it had been going flat chat up till this point. Eddie came out and it was back on again.
Now unfortunately, not quite sure what happened but the FOH sound start playing up during Hallowed Be Thy Name, the bridge was a mess, which was a shame I think it is one of the great Maiden guitar solo bridge sections, Bruce still did fire up the crowd during the outro. It also became obvious Nicko was not 100%, tempos started to drift a little and fills were out of time. When they went into the next track Fear of the Dark
it was all over the place, you could see Bruce struggling to get the vocals in the right spot. Was good to see an experienced and locking in eye contact dragging back a potential train wreck. The crowd did love it all the same, and aside from muso’s I don’t think a lot of people would have noticed. Then in true Iron Maiden fashion after soldiering on for a few songs they then brought out the A game with the classic track Iron Maiden. This song you either love or hate, its old school tune from the first album, they play it nearly every gig. Was talking to a few people after the show and they all seemed to think this song needs to be dropped and Run to Hills put in its place. I’ve been working on a dnb cover of this tune for the past few weeks it’s one of the great classic Maiden tunes IMO. It has to be played. Thats the thing about Maiden and their material, it is so popular everyone would have different expectations and a different wishlist of what they would like to have seen played live.
So that almost wrapped it up . . . . . .wait then the encore.
A giant inflatable Satan popped up behind the back of the set, yes we new what was coming, The Number of the Beast. Circle pits, hard moshing, the crowd went nuts, as they should. The band played this with absolute precision and commitment.Classic Maiden on top of their game. The next song I found was a bit of a weird pick for second last, Blood Brothers, I was never a huge fan of this song, sounded great last night though and I’ve changed my opinion with a relisten to the album version this morning. It also included some very interesting dancing thank-you very much Janick and Bruce. As a finale they dropped Wasted Years a fitting classic, with a great message, to finish what was all in all a great gig.
Drummers you gonna hate me for this. Now we were all on our phones once the gig ended, and furiously texting a meeting point and Nicko threw his sticks into the crowd and it landed right between myself and Arcane Saints drummer, Tim, I caught it with my pinkie, I weren’t even looking I was on my phone. Bloody drummers, nearly took my eye out. Anyway Tim ended up with the Nicko stick, and will hold a prized place in his drum collection.
A big thanks the Michael and Graham for hooking us up the Backstage pass and tickets and a opportunity to meet Steve Harris, and until next time.
Up the Irons \m/