Words and Photos by Kyle Bergfors
UP THE IRONS
Iron Maiden…. the name itself bears a multitude of meanings from guitar shredding solos to arena-sized productions to high flying stage theatrics to the Ed Force One, and, obviously, the living definition of heavy metal. At almost 45 years into their career, Iron Maiden continue to be both pioneers and living legends in heavy metal all while being some of the greatest musicians and live performers any music fan will witness. With great talent and skills comes a laundry list of experience that consists of the band discography growing to thirty-nine albums, including sixteen studio albums, twelve live albums, four EPs, and seven complications. What baffles me is how very little radio and television spotlight (and support) in comparison to other artists, Iron Maiden has received while still being one of the most successful and popular heavy metal acts in the world having sold over 100 million copies of their records worldwide, as reported by the Sunday Times in 2017, winning the 2002 Ivor Novello Award for international achievement, playing over 2000 live shows as of 2013, inducted into the Hollywood RockWalk while touring in the US in 2005, Iron Maiden were ranked No. 24 in VH1’s “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock” No. 4 in MTV’s “Top 10 Greatest Heavy Metal Bands of All Time” and No. 3 in VH1 Classic’s “Top 20 Metal Bands”, and the iconic Eddie gracing the cover of just about every album, EP, single, mobile phone video game, comics, and piece of memorabilia, possible while also appearing during their live shows. This is only the scrapping the surface of the accomplishments and impacts Iron Maiden has had over the genre, pop-culture, and music.
Immediately, from my car entering the parking lot to when I Ieft, the atmosphere and energy were, for lack of a better explanation, heavy metal. Seas of leather clothing, denim jackets with various patches, long hair and mohawks, and more. It reminded me heavily of when I saw Judas Priest and Deep Purple last summer, especially the borderline motorcycle rallies in the parking lot, tailgating, and old friends crushing beers with each other just like old times making you feel as if you stepped into a time machine into the ‘70s and ‘80s of rock ’n roll and metal.
Kicking off the show were the young kids on the block, The Raven Age. The Raven Age (featuring George Harris, Steve Harris of Iron Maiden’s son) released their debut record in 2017 skyrocketing them to play some of the world’s biggest venues with some of the world’s biggest bands. The Raven Age continues to wow fans with their cross-over of decades of metal with their newest release, Conspiracy. The technical musicianship of The Raven Age was on full display in their live performance due to their ability to balance both heavy classic metal with newer modern influences while mixing a bit of alternative rock in there to spice it up while walking listeners through a long & intense narrative of a ruined, dystopian world. The Raven Age was a perfect opener to pair with Iron Maiden both in style, sound, and music technicality.
The Raven Age
I often state how a artists’ live performance was amazing, phenomenal, indescribable, etc., but an Iron Maiden concert is a true, living definition of an experience that every heavy metal, rock ’n roll, and all of the various sub-genres’ fans NEED to experience at least once in their life, even if you’re not a fan. The sheer magnitude and impressiveness of Iron Maiden’s performance and their stage production is the highest tier of perfection, attention-grabbing, and off-the-walls. What band does multiple wardrobe changes during a set, has a fighter jet/bomber hanging and moving over the stage, set changes, the most recognizable mascot in metal running around and interacting with both Iron Maiden on stage and the fans, & pyrotechnics? No one other than Iron Maiden. The only aspect of Iron Maiden missing from their Legacy of the Beast Tour was having Ed Force One do a fly-over over the amphitheater.
Recognizing, the extremely large discography they have, Maiden made a point to play a little bit from each era of the band and from just about each album to provide the most universal Iron Maiden experience possible for fans. Introducing Maiden to the most robust roar of a crowd I’ve ever heard. They began the show with an ominous intro featuring their popular and well-known intro “Doctor, Doctor.” Having every fan singing along before Maiden even hit the stage along with an audio recording of Winston Churchill (taking it back to their British roots). The audio was coupled with old, vintage B&W video footage from World War II of fighter jets racing through the sky, foot soldiers engaging in field maneuvers during combat, and more candid instances of small, intimate moments caught on video of the young men who served. Shortly to follow, Maiden explodes onto the stage, opening their performance with Aces High; consisting of the largest stage spectacle humanly possible with high leaps into the air energizing the crowd all the while small scale fireworks and pyrotechnics are exploding behind them with a huge fighter jet with a real, operating propeller hanging and swinging over their heads giving the impression of flight. Powering through the set without skipping a beat, Maiden continue to play fan favorites such as The Trooper, 2 Minutes to Midnight, Number of the Beast, Run to the Hills and more while small-scale explosions occur around them adding to the big scale, arena stage production and Eddie runs around on stage sword fighting Bruce Dickinson, air-guitaring with Dave Murray and Adrian Smith, and jumping up on the drum mantel with Nicko McBrain.
Overall, Iron Maiden continues to set the bar higher and higher both musically and for live performances providing the most one-of-a-kind and astonishing live concerts in the world making sure not to hold back because what it all boils down to is, were the fans happy? Did they get their money’s worth and would want to see us live again? By maintaining this mentality, Iron Maiden has always made it a number one priority to engage with their fans in any way possible from live concerts to concert DVDs to a mobile app expanding the Iron Maiden brand beyond just music and into the realm of their fans’ daily lives through new media and merchandise channels. This notion, of course, impacts their live performance where it’s obvious they don’t want to see a single fan leave the show dissatisfied or disappointed.
Make sure to catch the Legacy of the Beast Tour at a city near you. I promise you won’t regret it!
If you wish to see more Iron Maiden photos click HERE