|Iron Maiden, Iron Maiden
- Iron Maiden’s second coming: Mumbai, 1st Feb 2008 -
|By:- Ringo Pebam *
Yes, they are coming back, and they are not coming just for the sake of it, they are kicking of their first leg of their 'SOMEWHERE BACK IN TIME' World Tour at Mumbai on 1st Feb 2008. Maiden will then tour on through Australia, Japan, Los Angeles, Mexico, Costa Rica, Columbia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Puerto Rica and New York, before finishing in Toronto, Canada, on March 16th.
'SOMEWHERE BACK IN TIME', will revisit the band's history by focusing almost entirely on the 80's in both choice of songs played and the stage set, which will be based around the legendary Egyptian Production of the 1984-85 'Powerslave Tour'.
This will arguably be the most elaborate and spectacular show the band have ever presented, and will include some key elements of their Somewhere In Time tour of 1986/7, such as the Cyborg Eddie.
Steve Harris comments; "On the last tour we opened the show by playing our new album 'A Matter of Life and Death' in its 80 minute entirety. We thought we needed the challenge and it proved the right thing to do.
However, it can be hard on the fans playing so much new material and we really appreciated the superb support they gave us. So now l guess it's payback time. It's tremendous to be able to use the profile of the DVDs to do what is effectively an 80's show.
It will be enormous fun and by changing the approach to the songs we play tour by tour it keeps it fresh and interesting for both the band and the fans alike. l think 'Powerslave' was an incredible show with the Egyptian theme and look forward to seeing it all again myself."
They are expected to play to well over 400,000 fans in 21 cities in 10 countries, in 45 days period. Maiden with their 60-strong crew and support staff and over 12 tons of equipment, in a specially commissioned and converted Astraeus Boeing 757 decorated with Maiden and Eddie designs! Vocalist Bruce Dickinson, who is a qualified Airline Captain flying for Astraeus Airlines, will pilot the plane on its epic mission, flying over 50,000 miles.
Iron Maiden’s heavy metal thunder at B’lore: Revisited
Thunderous and blistering yet melodic threesome guitar works of Adrian Smith, Dave Murray and Janick Gers, Steve's galloping stormy heavy bass, awesomely thumping beat of Nicko McBrains and Bruce Dickinson's operatic vocal power and stage presence created history unleashing heavy metal mayhem at Palace Grounds, Bangalore on March 17.
Maiden fever had gripped Bangalore. Fans in descended down in bulk by bus, train and flight to Bangalore from all over the country and even abroad. On nights before the concert, it was all Iron Maiden videos that were played in pubs, there wasn't even a place to stand leave alone the chance of getting a mug of beer.
Even when the price sky rocketed to double Maiden T-Shirts were all sold out. Long queues for tickets at various outlets could be seen, the scene that was hardly seen for any foreign acts.
On the day of the show groups of youngsters donning black Iron Maiden T-shirts, painted faces, with banners and flags could be seen walking on the roads leading to Palace Grounds. There were traffic jams and elders plying the road looked on in amazed as if Aliens have invaded - it was like Martian troops in black Iron Maiden T-Shirts patrolling Bangalore.
Hard core Maiden fans in 100s camped at the venue from 6 am onwards though the gates were to be opened by 3 pm. Like warriors capturing a camp after a hardly fought battle, the fans stormed in towards the stage screaming in excitement once the gates were opened at 2:45 pm.
Being in the front near the stage barricade for hours before the show was real tough, leading to near dehydration and suffocation – the hot sun converted the little energy left into perspiration, the pushing and moshing from the left to the right and from behind made it hard to even breath, leave alone the scare of falling down and getting crushed in the sea of humans, much before the show commenced.
FTN came on stage at around 5 pm, and belted out couple of their originals and covers of Korn, they weren’t that bad but the heavy metal hungry crowd booed them off. Parikrama took over the stage; playing a set of all original numbers, mostly brand new ones that included some catchy tunes, violin and acoustic guitar works. They wowed the crowd from their first song till the last. Lauren Harris, daughter of Steve Harris, was the last opening act; she did her best, but could not much impress the crowd who couldn't wait for the metal lords.
When Lauren Harris’s show wrapped up, everybody knew that the Gods could anytime come on the stage. At around 8:10pm, lights on the stage went off to a total blackout. A suspenseful instrumental intro came on the speakers with dim red flashlights blinking over the stage.
Once the intro quieten down powerful riffs erupted over thumping bass and pounding drums, with bright lights falling over the metal lords on the stage. Came running and leaping over the stage monitors Bruce opened the punchy lines “You lead me on the path, Keep showing me the way... ”. Those first few moments some 30,000 or so fans that gathered there went numb; it was near hysteria, they were seeing the Iron Maiden in flesh performing right in front of their eyes.
“These colors don’t run” and “Brighter Than A Thousand Suns” followed back to back. Soft intro with explosion in the middle and slowing at the end, the typical Iron Maiden trademark can still be found in these numbers from their new album “A matter of life and death”.
After three songs in quick succession, Bruce started talking welcoming fans coming from far and wide, appreciating the energetic crowd, and went on saying that they come back in a year’s time, which drew huge screaming from the crowd.
Maiden indeed were taking the deserving fans to a different world like never before. The backdrop was the war scene album cover of “A matter of life and death”; there were dummy bodies of soldiers over barbed wire at both sides of the stage.
The stage setup was a war zone like combat trench with sand bags and high walls with walkways over it. The walkways of the trench which was right behind Nicko’s drum kit stretched the full length of the back portion of stage, and both sides of the stage. The walkway was Bruce playground for the whole show – running from one end to the other encouraging the crowd, he had everyone singing along.
These humble super stars dedicated the next song “Warthchild” to Leon Ireland, vocalist of the local band Moksha, who passed away recently of heart attack. What followed next was the galloping opening riff and the lead solo of “The Trooper”, which made our adrenalin run high.
Tears could be seen coming out from the eyes of Vivek Sharma, guitarist of Phoenix/Phynyx, who spent days and nights spent figuring out the lead solos listening to audio cassettes back in the 80’s. It was a touching moment for him to see the Gods themselves playing it right in front of him.
The backdrop of the screen changed to the one which had Eddie in the battle field with a Union Jack; so was Bruce almighty attired in a red British soldier’s jacket with ran all over the stage like an attacking soldier with a Union Jack in hand.
The critically acclaimed "The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg" came next, followed by the thought proving epic "For The Greater Good of God". Beginning with a kind of tuneful spoken word vocals, Bruce quickly leaped and his vocals soared.
Spreading words of love, he went from one end of the stage to the other singing in his 'rock-operatic' voice the powerful chorus “Please tell me now what life is, Please tell me now what love is, Well tell me now what war is..”, asking the crowd why there are hate, wars and religion fanatism - a question too often ignored.
Those who labeled Maidens as satanic should now give a better thinking. Much to our amazement, a group of young Bangalore girls were singing every line of these relatively new numbers, mind you those teenage girls were singing Maiden’s numbers and not Bryan Adams’s.
The mighty Iron Maiden belted out our high school anthems that needed no introduction - "The Number of The Beast", "Fear of The Dark", "Run To The Hills", "Iron Maiden" one after the other.
As they oozed out these lengendary songs with such power and energy, the headbangers jumped up and down, the screams became deafening, and everyone one sang along estatically with Bruce. Those at the Rs 900 section could no longer hold back, knowing no fear of the security they broke the barricade and ran towards the Rs 1500 section up front.
The backdrop of the stage changed with pictures of album covers of every songs, making the show very theatrical, the lighting rig and stage show were world class. The band’s crews who flew in 20 tonnes of stage gears and equipments, was worth the effort.
The three lead guitar blending of Adrian Smith, Dave Murray and Janick Gers’s played every note crystal clear with Steve and Nicko giving a rock solid rhythm section backing for them. Steve’s trademark galloping and ever smiling Nikco’s high energy single bass drum/pedal drumming never went unnoticed.
Besides showing all his vocal power in his trademark operatic style Bruce Dickinson was always on the move - jumping and running about on the stage, climbing up the the metal scaffolding on the stage, moving the focus lights on the stage towards the crowd; he never let anyone settle down even when the three axemen were busy with their blazing guitar solos.
He would say “Scream for me Bangalore, scream for me Bangalore...” and had us all scream with every calorie of energy left in us. Maiden never stopped to leave us amazed and spellbound - a huge war tank came up on the stage from behind when “Iron Maiden” was played. We had to pinch ourselves to make us realise that the concert it was for real and not a dream.
They took a break for few minutes and returned back to do the encore. The encore kicked off with “2 minutes to midnight” making the crowd go wild. We did not need to try to jump, the sea of people on the left and on the right moved us rythmically-automatically without making much effort.
When Adrian Smith started to play the melodic intro lead solo of "The Evil That Men Do”, every Maidenhead screamed; the first rythmn beat drove the crowd on their feet and everyone got sucked into the song.
During this song the the lid of the war tank opened and the 15-foot Eddie popped out with binocular looking straight to the estatic crowd, he could then be seen walking on the stage in WWW-II soldier’s attire holding a machine gun. Every metal heads that came for the show had the real Edd-Fest.
Everyone went beserk when Dave Murray started to play the opening lead solo of “Hallowed Be Thy Name” – the greatest metal song of all time. In the lead solos that followed at the end the flamboyant Janick Gers’s had his fingers doing magic on the fret board and spinned his guitar around his body while still playing.
The crowd sang along throughout with Bruce in the slow and fast tempos of the song. That was the final number, the six lords came up to the crowd - threw plectrums and drumsticks, waved and thanked the 30,000 strong die-hard metal heads who gave them a true rocking audience, which they never expected. We also had our time of our lives with one of the greatest heavy metal band on the planet, words aren’t just enough to express.
It’s been over 30 years since bassist Steve Harris first started Iron Maiden, and they remained true to their music, when others were committing commercial suicide. What better way than Iron Maiden themselves to have brought back heavy metal to the forefront. Any doubt about good old heavy metal fighting a losing battle in these days of hip-hop, pop, nu-metal etc can now be put to rest.
** “Iron Maiden’s heavy metal thunder at B’lore” appeared in the North East Sun - MAY 01 - 15, 2007, Vol XII, No 19, by the same author.
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* Ringo Pebam, a Software Engineer in Bangalore, and a Free and Open Source Software enthusiast, contributes regularly to e-pao.net. The writer can be contacted at ringo_pebam(AT)yahoo(DOT)com. This article was webcasted on November 27th , 2007
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