There’s nothing better than feeling that burst of excitement before an Iron Maiden show. They are one of the few bands out there when securing a ticket is more important than paying rent. No matter how many times you see these pioneers of NWOBHM perform, there’s never anything quite like it. It could be argued that their live shows surpass just about any other metal band out there including Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Slayer, and so forth. Iron Maiden goes above and beyond than giving it their all, as it’s evident they love doing this and have no plans to retire anytime soon. With that being said, after two North American touring cycles in support of 2015’s Book of Souls, these legends have returned to the continent to celebrate the Legacy Of the Beast. The trek kicked off on July 18th as we caught their sold-out show on Friday, July 26th at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The Raven Age
Arriving at the venue was easy; all you had to do was follow the heap of eager concertgoers wearing Iron Maiden t-shirts. While the show took place in Brooklyn, NY, fans traveled from different parts of the globe including Brazil to “up the Irons” in the city that never sleeps. The Raven Age featuring Steve Harris’ son, George Harris took the lucky spotlight to open for Iron Maiden as they warmed up the stage to the early-bird crowd. These English metallers were there to promote their latest effort, Conspiracy, as they put on an energetic performance. The group knew exactly what they were in for as they asked the audience to raise their cell phones in celebration for what’s next to come. The band’s setlist included: “Betrayal of the Mind,” “Promised Land,” “Surrogate,” “The Day the World Stood Still,” “The Face that Launched a Thousand Ships,” “Fleur De Lis,” “Grave of the Fireflies,” “Seventh Heaven,” and “Angel in Disgrace.”
At this point of the evening, Barclays was packed as this crowd was incomparable to their 2017 appearance at the same venue. In terms of the setlist, it’s almost as though anything goes knowing songs from their outstanding catalog consisting of 16 albums will be sadly omitted. However, there’s one classic track fans had their hearts set on to hear as the case against Iron Maiden’s “Hallowed Be Thy Name” was settled in March 2018.
When UFO’s “Doctor Doctor” erupted on the speakers, the audience knew it was getting real close for the legends to walk on the platform. Fans held their Maiden flags high as the crowd of over 14,000 continued to scream. Finally, the moment everyone has been waiting for as many tears were shed from the get-go: it was showtime. The television screens displayed the history of Maiden as the “Churchill’s Speech” presented itself, leaving thousands of palpitating hearts anxiously wondering: “are they bringing the plane out?” Sure enough, the 90% sized replica of an actual Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb registration number AA 853 from 302 Squadron that saw active duty in 1941, spread its wings that night. Steve Harris (bass), Dave Murray (guitar), Adrian Smith (guitar), Janick Gers (guitar), Nicko McBrain (drums), and Bruce Dickinson (vocals) raced to the platform and went straight into “Aces High.” Dickinson’s microphone had a few hiccups towards the beginning. However, that didn’t last long, nor did it stop him from giving yet another memorable performance.
Iron Maiden’s production quality excels over any other show as the theme for each song presents itself with a brand new backdrop as the theatrics continued to unfold. Dickinson spoke to the crowd shortly after performing “Where Eagles Dare” and “2 Minutes to Midnight.” The iconic vocalist raised his humorous voice asking if this was a rap concert, which was a play on the “rock is dead” conspiracy. Of course, his sarcasm didn’t last long as Bruce himself laughed it off, saying he was joking. Regardless, it was quite liberating seeing over 14,000 metalheads sharing the same room. However, Dickinson not only interacted for a comedic break, but he also alerted the audience that there will be no new music that night. While fans cheered in excitement, Dickinson continued with something along the lines of: “but soon enough, we will return with new music.” Perhaps, Bruce was trying to emphasize the band will be working on a follow-up to 2015’s Book of Souls. Either way, hearing there will be more Maiden live or on record, was the icing on an already glorious evening.
Moving on from discussions, the band went into “The Clansman.” As the set continued, brave fans found a way to inch closer to the stage. Nothing would stop anyone including their ticket stubs, security, an overcrowded venue, as many managed to find a more intimate spot. Unlike other metal shows, fans allowed to bunch closer together, allowing anyone and everyone share their row. Many were welcome as the Maiden family was in full force.
The classics continued as it wouldn’t be a Maiden show without “The Trooper.” At this point of the night, the audience had enough beer in their system to leave their troubles at home and would headbang even with a sprained neck. Nothing got in the way for living in the present moment as all were reminded of how epic metal shows can be.
The set continued to flow with songs “Revelations,” “For the Greater Good of God,” and “The Wicker Man.” A sea of raised cell phones occurred as many captured “Sign of the Cross” on video. Next up, fans gathered around to headbang and sang along to “Flight of Icarus.” Bruce gave an enchanting performance with “Fear of the Dark” as it’s always charming to watch him act out the track as well as sing. All good things must come to an end as this led to the finale with classics “The Number of the Beast” and “Iron Maiden.”
It’s been a while since Iron Maiden performed the title track to their overall seventh album, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. However, they managed to surprise the audience with “The Evil That Men Do” for the first encore tune. At this point, the moment has finally arrived for the New York crowd to hear “Hallowed Be Thy Name” live for the first time in three long years. It was a bold return that made everyone in the house not want the show to end. Unfortunately, the group concluded the spectacular evening with “Run to the Hills” as it was time for over 14,000 Maiden fans to say farewell to a near-perfect evening.
Bruce didn’t do his signature leaps and jumps across the stage that night, which was only a sad reminder of nothing lasts forever. With that said, the only adverse remark anyone would have from this show would be only to have one ticket and regretfully miss their second New York performance. Iron Maiden is well worth seeing more than once or as many times as possible. Their shows will always have a lasting impression even if it didn’t include the dream setlist. Everyone has a different favorite Maiden song from a variety of eras spanning the actual legacy of the Beast.
Overall, Iron Maiden is a band you want to see at least 10x in your life. If you haven’t seen them yet, what are you waiting for?