Iron Maiden is one of the most underrated bands in rock history. Sure, in the metal community, the British veterans are utter gods and are recognized by fans and other bands alike for their long-lasting greatness. But the mainstream doesn’t really understand how impressive the “Mighty” Maiden’s career really is.
Check out what the band with Bruce Dickinson accomplished this week in the first of their two sold-out shows at the Honda Center in Anaheim. Yes, the band, who released their debut album in 1980, sold out on both nights, over 35,000 tickets.
Here are a few of the other artists that have been around for over 40 years and are still constantly selling arenas or stadiums – Bruce Springsteen, U2, Depeche Mode, Paul McCartney, Roger Waters, Elton John, Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne.
That’s the kind of company you’re in. And do you see a big difference between Maiden and all those other acts? When was the last time you heard an Iron Maiden song on the radio? Probably mid 80’s.
Maiden has remained a consistent live draw since they scored their first US platinum album 40 years ago with Number of the beast, still one of the top 10 heavy metal albums of all time. And they did it without the support of the radio.
So how did they do it? As they showed night one at the Honda Center, by putting on a true rock spectacle in the best sense of the word. Like AC/DC, Alice Cooper and KISS, Maiden gave a SHOW.
After coming out for UFO’s “Doctor, Doctor”, the band launched a full-blown blitz with three songs from last year’s critically acclaimed Senjutsu album, opening with the title track, “Stratego” and “The Writing On The Wall.”
Over the next nearly two hours, Maiden took you into their fantastic world, one of flamethrowers, fireworks, sword fights, seven-foot-tall demons and monsters, and most importantly, musical passion and intensity.
At the heart of the spectacle are insane guitar riffs and a frenzied fury that made fans mosh, crowd surf, get pulled over the barricade and pump their fists into a synchronized union of 20,000 hands that would have won an Olympic gold if synchronized fist pumping were a sport.
Dickinson pointed out at one point, as an idiot was led out of the building through security, that the vast majority of the crowd there were in peace and camaraderie.
“At a time when the world is falling apart for some reason, you’re all part of one big family,” he said, preluding a spectacular “Blood Brothers.”
As with the theater, the admiration was propelled by the songs. Among the numerous highlights were “The Trooper”, “Number Of The Beast”, “Flight Of Icarus”, an encore version of “Run To The Hills”, “Iron Maiden”, which concluded the set, and “Aces High”, the final of the evening.
But the centerpiece of the show was an awe-inspiring seven minutes plus “Hallowed Be Thy Name”, from the Number of the beast album. Epic in scope, the song encapsulates the brilliance of the Maiden live show. It’s theatrical, thought provoking, musically inspired, flawlessly performed and made with a musical build that sends fans delirious with joy and enthusiasm. Like I said, it’s the Maiden live show in seven perfect rock ‘n’ roll minutes.