It's a challenging task indeed to attempt to to encapsulate the Iron Maiden show in New Jersey's Izod Arena in a single post. But overall, it's safe to say that the experience was grand, and Metal Inquisition staffers have put their thoughts together in this post for you, the reader. Yes there were some flaws (backdrops only? No huge mummy version of Eddie in a coffin behind Nicko?) but overall it was a satisfying experience. Here are some thoughts, observations and memories tied into the event.
Right as we came into the arena, I was amazed to see a guy with no forearms (just tiny, tiny hands at elbow level) throwing the horns and sticking his tongue out as his friends screamed "Maiden!" I knew this would be a memorable event.
Seeing a young kid, maybe 18 years old, with a very new-looking tattoo of the cover of Repulsion's "Horrified" was a breath of fresh air. If metal is still alive, it's alive within that kid. Sadly the kid looked like he had fetal alcohol syndrome...but beggars can't be choosers.
After the show ended, after drinking beer, and chanting "six, six, six, the number of the beast!" all the metalheads rushed to the Mrs Field's cookie stand by the door to buy warm cookies. Talk about reverting to their youth! It's odd to see a dude with an Overkill "Fuck You" t shirt run up to the cookie stand and say "two chocolate chip, and ... oooh oooh! Two oatmeal ones!"
As I expected, there was a large number of older fans that clearly had well paying jobs, and had (in a way) moved beyond their metal roots. The award for most together fan goes to the guy who cut us off as we drove into the parking lot, as he drove a new Lexus LS 600L. Driving a $100,000 car to a Maiden show is a nice choice indeed. I admire the guy for driving the same car that some of the band members he was going to see may have. Not to brag, but I remember doing the same thing back in the day. I drove my Ford Festiva to a Deicide show in the mid-90s, which I'm sure is what the Hoffman brothers were sharing at that point in their lives. Perhaps they still share that car. Lastly, allow me to point out that Festivas are great cars due to their "one key opens all" approach, by which I mean that the key to your Festiva will open nearly 80% of other Festivas. This is true, not safe, but true.
Celebrity sighting? Well, uh...sorta. Was that King Fowley and the guitar player from Deceased in front of me at the show? It totally was!
Security, being the usual uptight dopes that they are to metalheads (are they jealous of metal's free spirited attitude? I don't know), asked a guy in front of me to stop headbanging! I'm not even kidding! Dude was going crazy and getting WAY too into it. But still. Security dude shined his flashlight on him, and yelled at him to stop. What? It's Maiden man! Damn.
Dave Murray's hair looked like it died sometime during the Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son tour. I don't mean it all fell out...most of it is there, but it's dead, expired, kaput, out of order. Look at it in this picture, it looks exactly like the Cryptkeeper's hair, who was supposed to be a corpse! Even Eddie would be looking at him thinking "man, what about some conditioner?"
Jesus, Bruce...those are some pants! He looked like godamned Big Bird.
I know the Eddie-walking-on-stilts issue is a serious one for Maiden fans. You see, some fans get mad when you point out how awkward and cheap it looks. Is it cheesy? You bet. Does the guy in that outfit and stilts move awkwardly as hell, making for a comical moment of stupidity in the show? Yes. But would we all miss it if it weren't there? Yes. Hey, at least they're not busting out the weird dancing couple or Chewbacca from the "Number Of The Beast" video.
This concert had further proof for me that metal is indeed an equal opportunity sub-culture. Right as we came in, a fat midget (okay, okay... little person) was chillin', talking to his friends with a swagger normally reserved for top-of-the-pecking-order individuals in most sub-cultures. This guy was badass, talking about "some chick dude, I don't even remember who she was". I was amazed. Here was this lil' guy, wearing a vintage "Killers" t shirt talking about "some chick." I was happy for him, and for all of us. Metal, the great equalizer.
Though only shown quickly from time to time on the big screens on either side of the stage, Nicko's face has obviously gotten even more grotesque over the years. What happened to his nose? It looked like a pug was playing drums.
A sad, sad fact dawned on me while the audience rocked to "Fear of the Dark". I looked around and noticed there were a lot metal chicks. Most of them weren't that hot, but the point is that they were there with their dudes. Some guys out there ended up with metal chicks, but none of us did. We were an 8-dude sausage fest. I never thought about it, but NONE of my friends ended up with a kick-ass girl that wears rad Testament tees. All our significant others are pretty square and dull. What a bummer. I wish my lady had bad tattoos on the cleavage.
Most embarrassing moment of the evening: As Steve Harris played the first few notes of The Clairvoyant, I turned around and yelled "Fuck yeah, TAILGUNNER!" Uhm, I have no excuse, I confused a song from 7th Son with a song from No Prayer. I'm pretty lame, I know.
Opening for Maiden has to be a tough job. Who wants to see a band before Maiden? I paid my money, let me see what color spandex Harris is wearing NOW, dammit! Dude, Steve Harris' daughter's band opened for them. I don't even know where to start with this bunch of fucktards. Wow! They sucked... Every song was generic with terrible generic lyrics, generic riffs, generic solos... BARF! The one good thing is that they only played 5 songs. If they ever come to your town: RUN!
I don't know why, but where we were standing the sound wasn't that loud. So I could hear everyone around the singing. Ew! They all sounded terrible! "Hey, bro, just 'cuz you are wearing a Somewhere in Time tee and know the words, it does not mean you can carry a tune!" That's when I realized the guy in front of me was probably thinking the exact same thing. "I'm sorry, dude, I guess I should practice what I preach" Let me illustrate may point:
Moonchild is a fucking amazingly metal tune and I owe it my sore neck and throat.
We all know that Maiden are big soccer fans. I was aware that they were West Ham supporters, but they really took it to the max on this tour. Not only was Steve Harris wearing his WH wristbands and bass strap with the Hammers sticker, but Nicko's Whole drumset was WH colors. I think that's awesome. I wonder if Frodo hangs out with them <--Really, really obscure reference. Anyone?