Friday, November 4, 2011

From the Vault: IRON MAIDEN

It's quite a while since I've dug anything out of my metal archives. Former Iron Maiden vocalist Blaze Bayley played Wednesday, November 2 at Station 4 in St. Paul, so I thought it’d be a fun opportunity to share some old Iron Maiden photos and stories although these are not from the time when Blaze was fronting the legendary band.

The first time I had the opportunity to see Iron Maiden was in 1988 on the Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son tour in Cedar Rapids, Iowa at the Five Seasons Center. The Five Seasons Center, now known as the U.S. Cellular Center, is a great mid-sized arena that holds about 10,000 people for concerts, and the great thing was that all concerts there had festival-style, general admission seating in the balcony with a completely open floor with no seats. Originally, Guns N’ Roses was supposed to support this leg of the tour, but about a week before this concert they bailed and Megadeth was brought in to open the show. Appetite For Destruction had been out for nearly a year at this point, and the album was just beginning to take off (“Sweet Child O’ Mine” hadn’t been released as a single yet) so people were really upset that G N’ R wasn’t going to appear. I was a bigger Megadeth fan, so I was excited since I had missed Megadeth opening for Alice Cooper on the Peace Sells… tour at the same venue a couple years earlier.

Megadeth took the stage 30 minutes late before proceeding to rip through a short 30 minute set that captured the band playing with reckless enthusiasm that their early shows were known for. Despite being out to promote So Far, So Good…So What!, Megadeth ran through the entire first half of Peace Sells…, “Wake Up Dead”, “The Conjuring”, “Peace Sells”, and “Devil’s Island”, with “Hook In Mouth” and “In My Darkest Hour” thrown in. “Hook In Mouth” is an amazing song live, and one that I wish the band would start putting back in their set. Iron Maiden had the stage draped in the winter-themed landscape from the Seventh Son cover art and played a number of songs from the album, including “Moonchild”, “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son”, “Can I Play With Madness”, possibly also “The Clairvoyant” and “Infinite Dreams”. Of course, all the classics you’d expect were played, but “Seventh Son” was the epic highlight of the show.

I first interviewed Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson by phone in 1998 upon the release of the amazing The Chemical Wedding solo album. Prior to the release of Brave New World in March or April 2000 I had the chance to interview vocalist Bruce Dickinson, who had recently re-joined the band following the departure of Blaze, in person at the Capitol Records offices in Los Angeles. Capitol was terrified of Brave New World getting leaked and posted on Napster, so advance copies were not made available and instead I was given 30 minutes in a conference room to listen to the album’s first four tracks and take notes immediately prior to interviewing Bruce. Bruce himself was cordial during the interview, but he seemed indifferent and distracted, almost like he didn’t want to be doing a day’s worth of interviews. Can’t say I blame him, but I expected him to be more enthusiastic upon his return to Iron Maiden.


The only other time I’ve seen Iron Maiden was in 2000 for the Brave New World tour with support from Queenrÿche and Halford at the Sports Arena in San Diego. Both Halford and Queensrÿche were great, but this was clearly Iron Maiden’s show. The arena must have barely been half full, quite disappointing for such a strong bill. Iron Maiden still brought their elaborate stage show, complete with an appearance by mascot Eddie, and their new material was mixed in well with their standards. All pictures here are from this show; click on any them or here to see more (35).

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