July 22, 2017

Concert Review: Iron Maiden w/ Ghost (Barclays Center 7/21/17)

It has been a handful of years since i was a regular concert goer. There have been a number of factors that led to my general lack of concert going, like the fact I don’t really care to travel long distances to go to a show and the lack of quality shows coming to my neck of the woods. Well, one of the bands that could and should get you out of your concert-going funk is Iron Maiden. When I learned they would be marking a stop in Brooklyn and were bringing Ghost with them, well, I knew where i had to be. And there I was and they did not disappoint whatsoever. In fact, the show sold out so fast they added a second date.

So, it was a given, I was going to see Iron Maiden. It would be the fourth time I’ve seen them live. Yes, I know many of you dwarf me in that count, but tell me, and be honest, how great is it to have the experience and then be able to share that with a Maiden virgin? Pretty great, right? In this case I was able to introduce my girlfriend to the singular experience of the Iron Maiden live show. The band came out and tore the roof off the place for nearly 2 hours and left us all sweaty and exhausted as we were spat back out into the heat of the night.

We arrived at the Barclays Center about an hour before the show was to begin. Just outside was a sea of Iron Maiden fans, die-hards that have been there of years, decades. It felt like home, a sold out arena of like minded individuals ready to raise a beer and bang a few heads all for the love of Maiden and metal.

We found our seats, regrettably distant, but still with a great view of the stage. As 7:30 rolled around, the lights went out, the crowd cheered and Ghost arrived on stage, led by Papa Emeritus in full papal gear. The opening song was “Square Hammer”, they tore through it with reckless abandon and the crowd was into it. This was the first time I have gotten to see them live, and despite their legal struggles, they put on a hell of a show. It did make me sad that I did not see them when I had the chance at a small club a few years back.

Ghost setlist:
1. Square Hammer
2. From the Pinnacle to the Pit
3. Ritual
4. Cirice
5. Year Zero
6. Absolution
7. Mummy Dust
8. Monstrance Clock

After a 40 minute wait, the lights went out again, the arena was completely packed at this point and the main event was about to hit the stage. As with every other time I have had the pleasure of seeing Iron Maiden, there was an electricity in the air, an excitement that cannot be described to those who have not experienced it. There is nothing quite like seeing the limitless energy, the heavy metal flavored pageantry, and hearing the timeless music in person.

Iron Maiden opened with a pair from their latest release, The Book of Souls. The songs were “If Eternity Should Fail” and “Speed of Light”. I have to admit, I am not as familiar with these new cuts as I should be, but it didn’t matter, they played them with an energy that made you think you were listening to a classic. The may sound like a backhanded compliment, but even though the new albums are not as classic-loaded as their 80’s releases, they are damn fine songs.

The setlist alternated between two new songs and two classic songs. So, for every song I didn’t know, I got “Wrathchild” or “Powerslave”. It didn’t matter what song they played, they band kept the energy up, there was never a lapse in the electricity in the air. Bruce Dickinson never slows down, running around the stage, jumping over speakers, battling Eddie, changing costumes, climbing on the stage riggings, the man has limitless energy. Meanwhile, my girlfriend was enamored with Janick Gers and his guitar slinging acrobatics. Yes, the guy knows how to sling a guitar!

I will say, of the new songs, I think my favorite they played live was “The Red and the Black.” There is something about it that vaguely reminds me of “Fear of the Dark” for its crowd participation elements. There really isn’t much else to say about Maiden, they have been doing this at such a high level for so long and so much has already been written about them, you really just need to see them live and in person.

I think the biggest surprise was, and I don’t know why, but I did not expect an encore. So, when the opening notes of “The Number of the Beast” pierced the darkness after the band left following “Iron Maiden” put a huge smile on face. Watching the band come out for another three songs was just icing on the cake. Frankly, I could have stayed for another 10 songs. It was just amazing. I can never get enough of these guys.

Iron Maiden setlist:
1.If Eternity Should Fail
2. Speed of Light
3. Wrathchild
4. Children of the Damned
5. Death or Glory
6. The Red and the Black
7. The Trooper
8. Powerslave
9. The Great Unknown
10. The Book of Souls
11. Fear of the Dark
12. Iron Maiden
13. The Number of the Beast
14. Blood Brothers
15. Wasted Years

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