Saturday, May 03, 2008

Iron Maiden LIVE Somewhere Back In Time by Erik Remec

My friend, and occasional guest reviewer, Erik Remec is back with once again. This time he brings us tales from the wilds of New Jersey and shares his first hand experiences with the triumphant return of metal gods Iron Maiden!

Iron Maiden Somewhere Back in Time Tour:
Meadowlands Arena (Izod Center), New Jersey Friday March 14th, 2008

“Scream for me Meadowlands!”

If you’re a metalhead like myself, well … you know that could mean only one thing. Bruce and the boys from Iron Maiden are back on the road; this time stopping at the Meadowlands in New Jersey on their current world tour.

And what a tour it is. To promote the release of Maiden’s live concert video Live After Death (recorded at Long Beach Arena, CA in 1985) on DVD, the band is on tour with a stage design and setlist that revisits their legendary Powerslave Tour (1984 – 1985).

Entitled the Somewhere Back in Time Tour, the stage design recalls the Ancient Egyptian motif from the Powerslave Tour and the band is playing songs almost exclusively from the albums: Powerslave, Somewhere in Time, and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.

The first leg of this tour is especially ambitious. The band has outfitted a Boeing 757, painted it with the Maiden logo and band mascot “Eddie” (Powerslave era), and loaded all their equipment and crew for a 2 month world jaunt. Starting in Mumbai, India, the band is playing dates in Australia, Japan, South America, and North America. Now here’s the really cool part … the airplane is being piloted by none other than Iron Maiden’s vocalist (and part-time Astraeus Airlines Captain) Bruce Dickinson. Yes, you heard right…the lead singer is personally flying his band and crew to each concert as they make their way around the globe. Let’s all hope Bruce gets enough rest after each gig, huh?!

Now, I guess it’s time for a bit of self disclosure. Iron Maiden was my favorite band growing up and they were the first band I ever saw in concert way back in 1987 at the New Haven Coliseum (New Haven, CT) promoting Somewhere in Time. If you grew up listening to Maiden’s live album Live After Death like I had, having the opportunity to see the band play these songs live and up close (I had a great vantage point in the GA pit at the Meadowlands) was beyond thrilling.

As the intro of the Winston Churchill WWII speech [that starts Live After Death] started to play over the PA there in New Jersey … “We shall fight on the beaches, … we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender!” … I got chills. The band then launched into blistering versions of “Aces High” and “Two Minutes to Midnight” from Powerslave and for the next two hours I was in heaven. From “Wasted Years”, to “Revelations” , to “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (all 13 minutes of it!), the band delivered the goods. Watching these guys perform, I was simply in awe. Bruce’s vocals were in top form and he and the band show absolutely no signs of slowing down. Close your eyes and you’re back at Long Beach Arena in 1985. Somewhere Back in Time, indeed.

Now there’s certainly a risk that this could have easily turned into some type of sad nostalgia act. Watching a band struggling to relive their glory days, no matter how enthusiatic the audience, is painful to watch. Fortunately, this is definitely NOT the case with Iron Maiden. They may have not played some of these songs live in over 20 years but at Friday night’s show at the Meadowlands, they played them with a sense of freshness and vitality that did not disappoint. To put it quite simply: the band kicked ass.

There as always been this fun tongue-in-cheek campiness to a Maiden show with the band’s mascot “Eddie” making his inevitable appearance, this time as the Cyborg version from Somewhere in Time. As Friday night’s show drew to a close, they did an encore of a couple classic tracks from Seventh Son and closed the show with a monstrous version of “Hallowed Be Thy Name”.

Iron Maiden may be looking back every now and then but they are certainly looking forward as well. After this tour winds down, the band is moving ahead with a new album and a tour showcasing the new material to follow. They have hinted that this may be the last time that they’ll be playing some of these classic songs live, so you have been warned.

Iron Maiden will be back here in the States this June. See this show.

See you on the road …


PS. Once again, a thousand thanks to Joe for letting me post on his site!

(c) 2008 Erik Remec

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