When Maiden released The Book of Souls I was thrilled by what I heard and therefore I was anxious for the new tour. I gotta admit, although they are my all-time favorite Metal band, it’s been a while since I felt such anticipation for Maiden concerts. Maybe because I was so disappointed they didn’t perform “Infinite Dreams” in the Maiden England Tour, or maybe it’s just age. The fact is, I was excited about hearing The Book of Souls songs live.
And this particular opportunity was capped by watching Anthrax as opening act.
And as it was expected, Anthrax didn’t let anybody down. With less time to play they opted for only two (great) new songs and all the classics that could fit: “Caught in a Mosh”, “Got The Time”, “Antisocial”, “Medusa” and “Indians” with “Fight’em’til You Can’t” from Worship Music for good measure. It was a one-two punch of Classic Thrash Metal, perfect to set the stage of what would come next.
First the only two bad things about the entire affair: when Bruce and Adrian returned to Maiden and did the Ed Hunter Tour, somebody in the much missed Metal Maniacs wrote that Janick Gers in the line-up was as necessary as Jar-Jar Binks in Star Wars. And that still holds true today (except they fixed the mistake in Star Wars). I’m sorry, there’s no sense in having Janick leaping across the stage like a frog. The second thing is Dave Murray changing solos live (specially “The Trooper”). This is ridiculous. Can’t you play the way it was on the record or at least on Live After Death? Yes, I’m a grumpy fan, but those were minor quibbles.
It’s amazing how for some time now, fans start singing already during the great “Doctor Doctor”, the UFO classic that serves as Maiden’s intro. They opened with “If Eternity Should Fail” (and it actually surprised me how well it worked live) followed by the first single “Speed of Light” and a rather nice surprise: “Children of the Damned”. It’s great when Maiden throw some surprises on their set-list because it’s rather unusual for that to happen. It pleases us: the most hardcore (and grumpy) fans a lot.
Another two great Book of Souls tracks “Tears of a Clown” (is it just me that think it sounds like a Bruce solo song?) and the epic “The Red and the Black”; then two more classics followed: “The Trooper” and “Powerslave” (another little surprise, it was not played since the Flight 666 tour, very good).
It was back to Book of Souls with “Death or Glory” (one of my favorites, it sounds like Maiden in the early Eighties) and the title-track. It’s worth noticing how Bruce is great. I mean the guy had a golf ball in his mouth some months ago and now he’s screaming and singing like he was younger, maybe missing a note or two, but that’s absolutely natural. He’s still the best.
Getting near the end it was a wealth of perennial Metal classics: “Hallowed Be Thy Name”, “Fear of the Dark”, “Iron Maiden”. At the encore: “The Number of the Beast”, a pleasant surprise (which I’ll talk about it later) and “Wasted Years” finished a brilliant performance.
Now, if I wanted to be grumpier, I would complaint about the absence of something from Seventh Son or “Run to the Hills” but I prefer to comment the second song on the encore.
It was “Blood Brothers”, which Steve Harris wrote to his deceased father, but over the years took on a much broader meaning. It means strong friendship, powerful bonds with those you love: friends, lovers, team supporters or, in this case Metal and a great Metal band. Therefore, when Bruce sings “We’re Blood Brothers” all you have to do is answer: Yes, indeed.
Tedeschi Trucks Band – Let me Get By
Monster Truck – Sittin’ Heavy
Abbath – s/t
Gehennah – Too Loud To Live, Too Drunk To Die
Baroness – Purple
Biters – Electric Blood
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Pronounced ‘Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd & Second Helping Live From Jacksonville at the Florida Theatre
Scorpions – Forever and a Day
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