Sweeping into Glasgow on Ed Force One, for the first night of their sold out UK tour supporting recent album The Final Frontier, the anticipation from the crowd was electric. At just before 8:50 UFO’s Doctor Doctor started to blare out the PA; the crowd went wild. Unfortunately it took another almost 5 minutes to get themselves onstage as they insisted on playing the whole prog-rock portion (the first half) of opening track ‘Satellite 15…The Final Frontier’ over the amps before appearing to play the latter half of the song. It kind of killed the mood a little bit. However by the time they’d finished all was forgiven.
One thing I’ve always admired is that Iron Maiden insist on remaining relevant, writing new material and playing it live. Not “the token new single” as other bands with decades of history often do. Maiden play each gig with a strong support of new material, and aren’t ever looked upon as a nostalgia act. Tonight was no different, by the time they reached the tenth track on the set, half of them were from the new album. The remaining five tracks, three of those were recorded within the past 10 years. I know a lot argue this is boring and why don’t they play [insert complainer’s favourite track from Piece of Mind / Killers / Number of the Beast here]? But for me that would be boring as a fan who continues to see Maiden live on every tour. I don’t want to hear the same old songs every time, and I believe the band don’t really want to play them constantly either. The band write consistently high quality new material, and it should be played live, even if the album is now the second newest or such.
Generally the crowd don’t complain and I believe the majority of fans are more than happy by what the setlist consists of, however there is a portion of the crowd who don’t know the material, don’t want to hear it, or don’t rate it so then just talk through those tracks. Only when a song like ‘The Trooper’ comes on do they remember being 16 and through their beer-addled haze try to sing along. Maiden fans are loyal, and one of the best crowds of any live act, but for the sanity of all of us around you, try listening to and appreciate the new material as much as you did when you were 16. Just like those songs you now consider classics why can’t something from The Final Frontier become a classic on future tours?
Towards the end of the show – and definitely keeping every single member of the crowd happy – Iron Maiden blasted through their final six tracks; each one was a thoroughbred classic. Iron Maiden have been around for three decades, and they don’t seem to be getting any older. I don’t mean in looks, I mean in ferocity, ability, and capability. They just do not seem to be slowing down. Bruce still runs around the stage, leaping and sweeping and interacting with the crowd in a manner that makes you feel exhausted watching him! The rest of the band run and jump and pull shapes whilst playing entirely note-perfect renditions of true British Metal.
If you’ve never seen Iron Maiden you should try to. They are a powerhouse unit who never disappoint, no matter which songs are from which recent album, or otherwise – they consistently deliver.