There is no other metal band quite like Iron Maiden. The British heavy metal institution is still going strong after almost forty years, counting from the very early days, and the band is showing no sign of slowing down quite yet, touring ferociously still, alternating between album promotion tours and classic era themed tours. Like this Maiden England Tour being based on the late eighties’ 7th Tour of a 7th Tour, and the Somewhere in Time Tour before it (that one based on the legendary World Slavery Tour).
In all fairness, the band did bring a support act (Voodoo Six), but because of traffic jams on the way to the Amsterdam venue and the basic human need for food, I have only heard the last few notes that were played by the band. Maiden supports have a tendency of being as memorable as clouds in the sky though, and I severely doubt we will have missed anything of great importance here.
After the mandatory Doctor Doctor by U.F.O. blasting through the PA, the lights go down and Moonchild kicks things off with a blast. From the very start, it’s very clear that Maiden is in top form tonight, with vocalist Bruce Dickinson warranting special mention. He might be 54, but he’s in better shape than ever, darting over the podium like a mad man, and is able to hit high notes his younger, eighties’ self was obviously not capable of on the various older live albums and videos out there.
The band works its way through a very tight set, firing hit after hit at the audience with deadly precision. To say this is a real greatest hits set is probably even understating the matter, with songs like Can I Play with Madness, The Trooper, Fear of the Dark, 2 Minutes to Midnight or Wasted Years firing the crowd up further and further by the minute. There is also more than enough to see on stage, with band mascot Eddie turning up as General Custer during Run to the Hills, a devil statue during the obligatory The Number of the Beast, and the massive scribe during the epic rendition of Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, as well as a host of pyros and explosions.
The regular set is, of course, rounded off by the song Iron Maiden, and the big recreation of the Seventh Son album’s artwork Eddie at the back off the stage, before we dive off into Aces High (of course preceded by the famous Churchill Speech), The Evil That Men Do and finally Running Free, before the show comes to a halt after an hour and forty-five minutes that are both immensely rewarding and far too short.
Personally, I would have loved to see Fear of the Dark being substituted for Infinite Dreams, which was on the original Maiden England set, but you can’t have everything. In the end, Iron Maiden delivers a neat, well-rounded and slickly oiled package for the fans, like they always do, and it’s hard to be disappointed after a set list and performance like this. The band is still very much at the top of their game, and bigger than they ever were. Let’s hope they can keep this up for a couple more years.
- 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
- Churchill’s Speech
- Aces High
- The Evil That Men Do
- Running Free
- Bruce Dickinson – lead vocals
- Dave Murray – guitar
- Adrian Smith – guitar, backing vocals
- Janick Gers – guitar
- Steve Harris – bass guitar, backing vocals
- Nicko McBrain – drums, percussion
Review by Ralph Plug