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"Can I Play with Madness?" was the next feat of endurance and kept with the band's Seventh Son theme. The triple guitar attack of Adrian Smith, Dave Murray and Janick Gers harmonized perfectly as bassist, founder and main songwriter Steve Harris commanded the stage with his point-the-bass-at-you-like-its-a-gun-or-something thing that he's been making look cool as shit for almost 40 years. All sound issues seemed to have been resolved and everything sounded warm and clear, with guitars, bass and vocals sitting perfectly in the mix with Nicko McBrain's drums punching their way through it all.
The anthems where unleashed, one after another, as various backdrops graced the stage, often accompanied by matching costumes, props and incarnations of band mascot Eddie to sync with the theme of each song. "The Number of the Beast" featured deep red lights and towers of flames reaching the roof, with an animatronic devil that looked like it could have come from the more expensive side of Johnnie Brock's Dungeon. An enormous lobotomized Eddie emerged from the stage with flames shooting from the top of his head and some kind of fleshy sack with a creature fidgeting around inside for "The Clairvoyant," also from Seventh Son.
And when a twelve foot tall civil war Eddie began staggering around the stage during "The Trooper," the girl next to me was so thrilled that she had tears in her eyes. This is church for metalheads. And while who is more "real" -- Jesus or Eddie -- could be up for debate, I can pretty safely assume that Dickinson easily could have convinced the audience to dance with live snakes around their necks to prove their faith in Iron Maiden, had he simply asked.
The set list was unreal. The newest song was from 1992 and nothing but fan favorites were played. Maiden has released four new studio albums since reuniting with Dickinson in the year 2000, the most recent being 2010's The Final Frontier, but the band stuck to all the classics that fans were itching to hear rather than promoting more recent work. That's pretty unheard of for a band so huge that it could play nothing but new songs on a tour and sell out crowds wherever it goes.
But this was a setlist that could have been lifted right off the stage of a tribute band. With over the top energy and enthusiasm, a circus of a stage show, a flawless performance and a bulletproof set list, Iron Maiden easily lived up to its reputation as one of the greatest live shows in rock music. The hour and a half set felt more like a celebration than a concert and the band seemed to have a genuinely great time while performing. It was truly the perfect big scale heavy metal show. May Maiden continue on for another 40 years.
Megadeth Hangar 18 Wake Up Dead In My Darkest Hour Sweating Bullets Kingmakers Tornado of Souls Symphony of Destruction Peace Sells Holy Wars... The Punishment Due
Iron Maiden Moonchild Can I Play With Madness? The Prisoner 2 Minutes to Midnight Afraid to Shoot Strangers The Trooper The Number of the Beast Phantom of the Opera Run to the Hills Wasted Years Seventh Son of a Seventh Son The Clairvoyant Fear of the Dark Iron Maiden Aces High The Evil That Men Do Running Free
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