Iron Maiden - Stuck in the Present?
by Keavin Wiggins
Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson had a few harsh words for journalist during a recent stop at the Verizon Amphitheater in Irvine, Ca. In his tirade he explained how the press is comprised of puppets of corporations and how they try to dictate what is fashionable. According to Bruce every five years the press proclaims metal dead, but Iron Maiden keeps on rockin.
Being a journalist I found myself in a state of self-loathing because you know, Bruce is right. The music media is primarily a group of pompous asses who think they are the be all and end all of the music world. While I've never felt that way myself, like everyone else who writes for the sites on iconoFAN network I think of myself as a fan first and foremost. And if you look over the sites you will find very few examples of any of our writers slamming or bashing artists. I wanted to get this out in the open before I begin this review, because I am in the precarious position of having to give Iron Maiden a bad review for their concert. So you know at the outset this is not sour grapes, I do write this as a long time fan who was utterly disappointed in the performance that I simply walked out after an hour.
Rob Halford opened the show with his new band called you guessed it, Halford. He rocked through 40 minutes of new material from the Halford debut "Resurrection" plus some great Judas Priest classics. The Metal God is back and better than ever. Rob seems to be reinvigorated with his new band and stands proud as he stepped back into the metal world where he is beloved. The music went over great with the crowd, even the new material that some fans were not familiar with rocked hard enough to captivate most of the audience. Even some of the security personnel could be spotted rockin out. Welcome home Rob!
Queensryche took the second slot and explored music from their whole catalog of songs dating back to their earliest "Queen of the Ryche" to a few of their latest songs. Overall, the band put on a great show with Geoff playing the frontman with a precision that leaves little doubt of his credentials as a rocker. Curiously absent from the set was the band's biggest hit, the ballad "Silent Lucidity". Perhaps the band felt that the crowd was there to rock and they didn't want to slow down the momentum with a ballad. None the less, Queensryche gave the southern California fans their money's worth.
Iron Maiden took the stage with their current single "The Wickerman". The crowd roared through the song but soon the enthusiasm dissipated as Iron Maiden played one track after another from their latest album "Brave New World". Soon people were taking their seats waiting for the band to play some of the classics that made them fans in the first place. The fourth song into the set, the band gave the fans what they were after with a energetic rendition of "Wrathchild" followed by "2 Minutes to Midnight" only to be followed by a string of new songs. The crowd got back to their feet when Bruce introduced "The Trooper". After a sensational performance of "TheTrooper" Bruce proclaimed that Iron Maiden was not there to relive their past nor the fans. He then announced that the band was about to launch into a 12-minute version of "Dream Of Mirrors" from "Brave New World". At this point many fans started heading for the exits and we were not far behind.
It is easy to understand why a band would not want to live in the past. However, they must realize that the fans do pay their hard-earned money to hear not only the new music, but also the old songs that made them fans in the first place. Ozzy understands this, Metallica understands this, and hell even Rob Halford understands this. While the Brave New World is a great album, it does however lack the power and drive of the earlier albums up to Powerslave, three guitar assault aside. The songs lack the punch of Bruce screaming "6-6-6 The Number of the Beast" or the power of the fast paced "Where Eagles Dare". The closest they come to their old energy is "Wicker Man" which did go over well.
It was the past that put Iron Maiden where they are now, that made them one of the most popular metal bands of the past twenty years. What is there to be ashamed of in that? Then again, I am just one of those a-hole journalist that doesn't get it, right? I can tell you as an Iron Maiden fan, I was disappointed. I know I am not alone, as we walked to the parking lot, many fans expressed the same sentiment. "We wanted to hear the old stuff", and "This sucks, I'll never go to an Iron Maiden concert again". Perhaps this is just a southern California phenomenon? Def Leppard fell into the same trap after they successfully crossed over into the pop world with Hysteria only to alienate their old fans by ignoring their early hard rock music. It was no surprise when Def Leppard came through town the next time, the amphitheater was only a quarter filled. You can look hard and not find one southern California Def Leppard appearance this year. Why? Because they know and the promoters know that the fans won't come to the show. Will Iron Maiden repeat this mistake? Will they turn away the fans that gave them four sold out nights at Long Beach Arena that was captured for eternity on the "Live After Death" album?
Iron Maiden may be wise to adhere to a new spin on an old adage, those who do not know history are bound to not repeat its success.
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