Lights, Camera, Maiden!!!
Legacy of the Beast Tour 2019:
Words by: Andrew Conde | Photos by: Luke Jamroz
At last, the day of reckoning was upon us. It was Christmas in July for most metalheads like myself. Every one of us has a similar fond memory of the first time we experienced Iron Maiden. For me, it was hearing singer Bruce Dickinson’s soaring high notes at the end of Maidenʼs classic “Run To The Hills”. As I approached the parking lot, a sea of band tees and blue jeans awaited. Many concert-goers were already tailgating, blasting music and slamming a few beers. It legitimately felt like I had taken a time machine back to 1985 and I definitely felt at home.
Finally inside, Iʼm eager to headbang the night away. There was plenty to excite the kid in me with vendors selling everything from posters, comics, T-Shirts, flags, and of course Iron Maidenʼs very own Trooper Ale with their mascot Eddie on the can. If you’re unfamiliar with Eddie, he is the iconic cartoon that graces the cover of every Iron Maiden album. Eddie is reimagined with a different theme each album and is just as essential to Iron Maiden as the band members themselves.
I ran to the hills as the sound of The Raven Age blared from the P.A. Talk about perfect freaking timing! Many were probably unfamiliar with The Raven Age’s music but I knew beforehand that it was Iron Maiden bass player/mastermind Steve Harrisʼ sonʼs band. I was highly anticipating their performance that evening. Bearing a somewhat similar style musically to Iron Maiden, though vocally singer Matt James gave them more of a modern metal sound in the vein of bands such as Bullet For My Valentine and Avenged Sevenfold. The Raven Age spent their set ferociously proving to an unfamiliar crowd that they werenʼt to be taken lightly. Iʼd definitely suggest checking them out onYouTube/Spotify.
There was just enough time in between the two sets to check out the merch table again, hit the bathroom, refuel on drinks and food, and get my butt back to my seat. Finally, again… The lights go out as British heavy metal band U.F.Os song “Doctor Doctor” plays through the P.A. The seats are now packed to the brim with eager fans anticipating the heavy metal titans. As the song comes to an end, the excerpt from the famous Winston Churchhill speech “We Shall Fight On The Beaches” plays as the crowd erupts in deafening cheers.
Here we go!
Wasting no time at all Iron Maiden came roaring out the gate with “Aces High” from their 1984 album Powerslave. A giant prop airplane swung high over the stage. They came prepared to unleash a full-on assault as they tore through classics such as “Where Eagles Dare” and “2 Minutes to Midnight.”
Charismatic lead singer Bruce Dickinson darted across the stage maniacally and engaged the crowd with great command making the declaration that there will be no new songs played tonight, only fan favorites. The crowd roared back in approval. Iron Maiden then broke into “The Trooper”, a song thatʼs one of my personal favorites. Contained within this tune is one of the most recognized and iconic heavy metal guitar riffs of all time. A life-size, 8-foot tall version of Eddie appeared on stage engaging in a jousting duel to the death with Bruce. Luckily, Bruce came out victorious!
Each song in the set had its own visually stunning backdrops, gigantic stage props, WW2 sized explosions, and a light show that could easily give Shutter 16 alumni Trans Siberian Orchestra a run for its money. The three-guitar attack was also in full force as Dave Murray, Janick Gers, and Adrian Smith traded blazing guitar riffs and solos.
Steve Harrisʼ galloping bass lines and Nicko McBrainʼs powerful and precise drumming gave Iron Maidenʼs sound that sense of urgency, like riding a horse into a war zone during the Revolutionary War. It was a brunt in your face example of musicianship honed over four decades.
“For The Greater Good Of God” and “Sign of The Cross,” which were originally performed by the Blaze Bailey incarnation of the band, were brought into a new light by singer Bruce Dickinson. Keeping up with the fast-paced set, Maiden thrashed through classics such as “The Clansman,” The Wicker Man”, “Flight Of Icarus”, and “Fear Of The Dark”. Dickinson equipped himself with swords and a flame thrower. I donʼt care how old you are, a flame thrower will always be freaking cool.
As the giant-sized devil-like version of Eddie appeared high over the stage, we all knew what time it was! The intro to “Number Of The Beast” started with horror legend Vincent Priceʼs iconic and familiar lines“ Woe to you oh earth and Sea. For the devil sends the beast with wrath because he knows the time is short Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the beast. For it is a human number. Itʼs number is six hundred and sixty-six.” It’s a song that features one of the most iconic metal wails of all time. The ultimate heavy metal masterpiece preceded by the title song “Iron Maiden” off their self-titled first album the only Paul DiʼAnno (singer on Iron Maidenʼs first two albums) song to be featured in the set. It was the band’s calling card and a perfect lead up to the encore.
Iron Maiden reentered the stage to the roar of the crowd. Wasting no time as they broke into “The Evil That Men Do” from 1988s Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son, followed by “Hallowed Be Thy Name” which was noticeably absent from the second stint of the Book Of Shadows Tour, due to a pending lawsuit over supposed copyright infringement. The tune made a very much welcomed return to the set and is a definite fan favorite! Most would agree that it was one of the best performances of the night.
Ending the devastating and action-packed set was “Run To The Hills”’ a song that was Bruce Dickinson’s debut single with the band. Every fan in the amphitheater chanting “Run to the hills, run for your life!!” in unison brought that feeling you can only describe as concert-gasm. As the band took their final bow, fans were left in awe trying to take in what they had just witnessed. Minds were blown and voices will most likely be gone the next morning, perhaps for a week. There is no doubt in my mind as to why Iron Maiden is crowned the undisputed heavy metal kings. They undeniably put every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears into their performance and music; 40 years and still going strong.
“Oh well, wherever, wherever you are. Iron Maiden gonna get you, no matter how far.”
The band has stated this is the biggest production they have ever put on for any tour. Get out there and see what it’s all about, you will NOT be disappointed!