Archived Concert Review:
June 20, 2008
I remember being stoked to learn Iron Maiden was heading out on what would be called the Somewhere Back in Time Tour. A big Maiden fan since the 80’s, for reasons here and there, I had never seen the band live before. Now, here they were announcing a show that would roughly resemble the epic World Slavery Tour, with its illustrious and elaborate staging, complete with modern upgrades. I bought a pair of tickets for the show in Mansfield, Massachusetts. I was not disappointed.
Anyone who has been to a Maiden show or has read concert reviews knows that the band is notorious for taking the stage right after UFO’s Doctor Doctor plays on the PA. It’s the audience’s warning to get to their seats. As to be expected, the house lights dimmed, and the stage and amphitheater became thick with darkness, the only light being the road crew’s flashlights leading the group from the back of the stage. As was the case with 1985’s Live After Death release, Winston Churchill’s famous We Shall Never Surrender speech played overhead, before the band launched into Aces High and Two Minutes to Midnight. I was 13 all over again!
Iron Maiden was (and still is) a six-piece outfit. When old guitarist Adrian Smith rejoined the group in 1999, his replacement, Janick Gers, stayed on, giving the group, along with veteran Dave Murray, a three-guitar attack. The trio worked tirelessly, producing a string of wonderfully incorporated guitar harmonies. Drummer Nicko McBrain, barely visible behind his monster kit, pounded out the beats and rhythms he is known for, especially showcasing his rapid-fire single bass drumming talents. Meanwhile, bassist Steve Harris, one of the best in the business, perched in the front of the stage, one foot on a monitor, leering over the crowd, lip synching every word back to the audience.
A benefit of the nostalgia tour is that the band will play songs that haven’t seen the light of day in decades. Iron Maiden was no different. Revelations, Wasted Years, and Powerslave all made their way back into the setlist, along with old standbys, The Trooper, The Number of the Beast, Run to the Hills, and Fear of the Dark. Personally, the highlight for me was the 13-minute Rime of the Ancient Mariner, complete with enough fireworks to make a Disney Fourth of July event proud.
Singer Bruce Dickenson is a timeless soul. Even in 2008, at the age of 50, he was sprinting from one end of the stage to the other, jumping from catwalk to catwalk, dressing in period clothing to represent a particular song, and proudly waving the British flag. Vocally, this man amazes me. At an age where bands routinely must lower song keys so the singer can properly hit the notes, Dickenson can easily and comfortably reach the high ranges he nailed decades prior. Clone him.
The band’s title track, from its 1980 debut closed out the main set and featured iconic mascot, Eddie, for the first time. When the group returned to the stage, the treated us to a triple shot of Moonchild, The Clairvoyant, and Hallowed Be Thy Name. The show was complete. Iron Maiden had delivered. When McBrain emerged from his drum set to throw sticks into the crowd, many of us were getting our first visible look at him.
Iron Maiden Setlist:
Two Minutes to Midnight
The Number of the Beast
Can I Play With Madness
Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Heaven Can Wait
Run to the Hills
Fear of the Dark
Hallowed Be Thy Name