Aw, Yeah! I caught the IRON MAIDEN show this past saturday night in Irvine! It was their last show of the U.S. Tour. Holy crap, it was absolutely INCREDIBLE! So much so, I regret using the word "incredible" so haphazardly in the past! They played the entire album "A MATTER OF LIFE & DEATH", plus some classics like "2 Minutes To Midnight". However, we were all shocked that they ended the show without playing "The Trooper" nor "The Number of the Beast." WTF? Bah, regardless the entire experience rocked beyond belief. I cannot recall the last time I've been with so many UNITED people! And Bruce Dickenson proved once again that he is the best current Metal frontman!!
The set kicked ass; the stage looked like they were playing down in a WWI trench, the drummer embedded in the trench wall behind the rest of the band. Above and behind the "trench" was silhouettes of bombarded building walls, back lit with an eerie red glow. During the concert, a giant tank rose from behind, turning its large barrel towards the audience. The tank canopy opens and a large Eddie emerges while the band rocks out. Below the giant tank prop, on each side of the drummer were 2 large tapestries with the print of tank treads and they rotated down and forward, giving the illusion the Eddie Tank was moving forward on the battlefield with the band jamming in front. It was fucking awesome!
They sounded amazing and I'm digging this new era of Maiden; their sound is more complex and mature, yet still keeping with their traditional sound, storytelling, numerous time changes and lengthy instrumental sections. I recommend picking up their latest album "A MATTER OF LIFE & DEATH" (It's actually in the top 10 US charts! Can you recall the last time a metal album did that?!). Listen to it loud and in one sitting as its a semi-concept album. I wish they were still on tour, because I'd take some time off and follow them around!
JIM'S VIEW OF MAIDEN ERAS:
1) FLEDGLING ERA - This was pre-Bruce Dickenson. It's classic early Metal with a foot in Punk. Albums: "Iron Maiden" and "Killers"
2) CLASSIC ERA - Bruce Dickenson joins the band and they ascend to the top of the Metal Pantheon as far as I'm concerned.
Albums: "Number of the Beast", "Piece of Mind", "Somewhere In Time", "Powerslave", "Live After Death" and "Seventh Son of A Seventh Son". Buy all of these now!
3) BLAH ERA - After "Seventh Son", Maiden was tired and needed a creative break, IMO. They released 2 albums that were ok, but the magic was gone. Then Bruce left the band to pursue some side projects. He left under good terms, it was just time to move onto other things for a bit.
Albums: "No Prayer For The Dying" and "Fear of the Dark"
4) PRETENDER-TO-THE-THRONE ERA - Bruce was gone doing his thing and Nirvana had officially killed and buried Metal. But the rest of Maiden kept going and doing their thing as best they could with a new singer. Maiden without Bruce just isn't Maiden. This era isn't even worth checking out, as far as I'm concerned.
5) RESURRECTION - Like Maiden's mascot, Eddie, they returned from the grave! Bruce came back in 2002. The band evolved and grew. Their "new sound" is more complex and with a new level of maturity and wisdom that comes with age and experience. I fucking dig it!
Albums: "BRAVE NEW WORLD", "DANCE OF DEATH" and "A MATTER OF LIFE & DEATH"
Another aspect of why Maiden is so fucking awesome is that they've always had killer album art, usually by Derek Riggs. Below are some of my favorite album art by Riggs, whether it be the album cover, inside with the liner notes or a single record.I always wanted a book showcasing Riggs' Maiden art and they are just now finally making my wish come true! Run For Cover: The Art Of Derek Riggs!!!
You can Pre-order the book now, for shipping in early December.
If you're in Europe, order from www.eddiesmegastore.com for cheaper shipping from the UK.
If you're in America or Australasia, order from www.derekriggs.com for cheaper shipping from the US.
Iron Maiden official site.