Artist: Iron Maiden
Venue: Nassau Coliseum (Uniondale, NY)
Opener: Bullet For My Valentine
Label: Sanctuary Records
Iron Maiden are indeed one of the true veterans in the Heavy Metal music genre and once again we find them returning to the States to deliver their time-honored style for their ardent supporters. The group’s return would be on the heels of their newest album “A Matter Of Life And Death” and would once again find them doing a headlining show. The bands last touring endeavor was on Ozzfest in 2005 where they supported the DVD “The Early Years”. Maiden’s appearance was met with approval but sadly, their visit would have a less than professional ending and be referred to forever as a black mark in Metal history thanks to the festivals coordinators (read Sharon O.). The new Iron Maiden album has been receiving a mixed amount of press with fans either loving it or not enjoying it all that much. Despite the division of views, it has been doing very well on the industry charts and since I have enjoyed it myself (giving it a positive review based on the solid content), I was looking forward to seeing the performance. It would also be a chance to enjoy the band at a venue I have not trekked to in some time. The Nassau Coliseum is a different vibe from Madison Square Garden or the Continental Arena but it did seem like many were out in force to support the Maiden once again. Given the new recordings recent release, I had expected Dickinson and company to focus some of their set on the album but here is where the band would change the way things were done once again. In many cases when a band releases a new album, it can go either way. The first manner of delivery is that the band touches upon the new material by featuring a couple of choice numbers, while the second is a stronger focus on the new amidst a healthy dose of the old. Tonight Iron Maiden would present “A Matter Of Life And Death” in its entirety, start to finish, song one through song ten and this was clearly not what a good majority of the fans would be expecting. Since their beginnings, Iron Maiden was always a band who defined the trends rather than followed them so leave it to them to mix up the status quo once again.
In their defense, the new CD is incredibly strong in the live sense and seemed to have the audience attention. I noticed that many of the people around me seemed to also know the words and were singing along when queued to do so by Bruce. Musically Iron Maiden is always a tight unit and seeing Steve Harris thunder across his bass holding together the insanity of Nicko and their three lead guitars players (Gers, Murray and Smith) is never a disappointing experience. The band truly works with this many axe-slingers and I remember the hesitation many people felt when they announced that all three players would remain in the reunited lineup. As I thought of the album and the songs I enjoyed most I have to say that I felt “The Greater good Of God” and “These Colours Don’t Run” would be the ones I favored during the concert. Bruce kept his crowd banter light but did stress that the whole record would be presented tonight as the band sought to begin the circle again or something like that. He also mentioned its chart positions, with the recording hitting number 8 in the US Billboard Charts and number 2 in Canada. I’m not sure he was happy with number 8 for the US but in a scene where Rap and Hip Hop hold sway it’s a pretty cool number by my estimation and it proves that Metal is still a vital form of entertainment here in the States despite what you hear to the contrary.
After the new CD had run its course, Bruce reminded us of the title before the band kicked into music that everyone in attendance would know. “Fear Of The Dark” would find the whole crowd on their feet singing as it led into the ever crowd pleasing “Iron Maiden”. The venue was electric when the pause came and the stage transformed into a giant tank and from the rising gun-turret rose Eddie, mascot emeritus. He would examine the audience around him and return to walk the stage during the first encore “The Evil That Men Do”. The closer for the show would be the fan-favorite “Hallowed Be Thy Name” and it seemed as thought the whole crowd was singing this one from start to finish. Once it was done you were led to think that perhaps one more song would happen but noting the time and being aware of venue union restrictions this would not be the case.
So there it was an Iron Maiden show with no “Number Of The Beast” or “The Trooper” in the set; no “Wrathchild” or “Sanctuary” or “Wasted Years” either. I observed the fans as they left and once again felt a strong 50/50 split. There were people that thought it genius that they did this and others who only wanted to hear the old tunes. I admit to being on the fence but finding myself leaning toward Maidens decision and here is why. The band has mentioned in many interviews that they plan to release live CD’s and DVD’s as each studio recording comes out. If this is the case then this was a necessary move as how many copies of “Run To The Hills” do you need in your music collection? I applaud them for charting a “Brave New World” in Metal concerts and think in time more fans will agree with them. The hardest part for me as a fan would be finding myself in full view of the NY Islander banners but despite this, my evening rocked.
1. Different World
2. These Colours Don’t Run
3. Brighter Than A Thousand Suns
4. The Pilgrim
5. The Longest Day
6. Out Of The Shadows
7. The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg
8. Greater Good Of God
9. Lord Of Light
10. The Legacy
11. Fear Of The Dark
12. Iron Maiden
13. 2 Minutes To Midnight
14. The Evil That Men Do – encore
15. Hallowed Be Thy Name – encore
Official Web site: www.ironmaiden.com