Arguably one of the best bands to see live since the 1980s, Iron Maiden proves that age is irrelevant when it comes to heavy metal music. The band’s shows have aged like a fine wine, proven in this year’s world tour titled “Legacy of the Beast” — culminating in an epic display of fast-fingered shredding, sirenlike vocals and, well, actual fire.
The “Legacy of the Beast” tour doesn’t accompany the release of an album — although lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson did hint to a new album being dropped next year — nor is it a farewell tour. It’s nothing more than a tour for fans to simply come out and revel in the glory of their favorite Iron Maiden songs through the years.
Avid fans trickled in as supporting act The Raven Age worked through its set. The Raven Age satisfied the crowd until Iron Maiden came on, but fans were clearly waiting for the headliners to begin their set. As soon as the six members of Iron Maiden stepped on stage, the crowd rose as one unified body and filled the arena with cheers and devil’s horns hand signals. A whirlpool of moshers formed in the center of the arena floor and crowd surfers drifted their way into the hands of security personnel guarding the stage, who set them down and put them back into the mass of people.
The band’s set list was the perfect blend of old fan favorites, providing for an electrifying performance. Iron Maiden rumbled to life with “Aces High,” complete with an authentic British bomber replica suspended from the ceiling above. The energy radiating from the audience, belting out the lyrics with Dickinson, was palpable. Adrian Smith, Janick Gers and Dave Murray played in perfect synchrony in their triple guitar setup, pouring over the ears of the audience like sweet honey.
As per Iron Maiden’s usual live performances, Dickinson chanted, “Scream for me, Oakland!” at least 20 times over the course of the show. The audience members tried their best to fulfill this command, but unfortunately Dickinson wasn’t having it — clearly chagrined that the large amounts of marijuana in the stadium prevented them from giving it their all.
Iron Maiden paused after its namesake song, “Iron Maiden,” but fans knew the group wouldn’t leave without playing the iconic “Hallowed Be Thy Name,” which the band promptly did after a mere minutelong break backstage.
Iron Maiden fittingly ended their show with the galloping track “Run to the Hills.”
The only downside to the performance was that the band didn’t play “Wasted Years,” a song loved by fans during live shows.
If there’s one noteworthy aspect of the show to acknowledge, it’s the band’s theatrics in front of the crowd. It’s already difficult to give your all just playing your music, and Iron Maiden’s thundering discography must be played with vigor. The three guitarists and bassist Steve Harris pranced around the stage, whipping guitars around their bodies and their hair in wild circles.
Dickinson changed costumes multiple times between songs, sporting an aviator hat for “Aces High,” a white jacket for “Where Eagles Dare” and a medieval-style shirt to accompany the gallow’s pole for “Hallowed Be Thy Name.” Dickinson also engaged in a sword fight with Iron Maiden’s costumed mascot, Eddie, during “The Trooper.” He even lit up the stage with flamethrowers near the end of the original set — all while delivering one of his best vocal performances.
There’s something inherently connective about an Iron Maiden concert, from the crowd screaming out lyrics in unison to the ceaseless headbanging and chants of “Maiden” in between songs. For fans of all ages, this show was a trip down memory lane. Iron Maiden again asserts its timelessness, clearly highlighted by a powerhouse performance. Yet again, these icons have bolstered their legacy.
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