Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
Southern California is a second home for the British based heavy metal legends, Iron Maiden. Their classic live album, Live After Death was recorded at the Long Beach Arena. It is chalk full of Bruce Dickinson's orders to the crowd that they “Scream for me Long Beach!”
A super sold out Verizon Wireless Amphitheater made Dickinson proud when they maniacally screamed as the lights went out. Utilizing a stage setup from their Seventh Son of a Seventh Son album era, fireworks exploded onstage and so did Iron Maiden. It was an unrelenting visual and auditory assault of seventeen songs that were performed by a band that seemingly get even better with age.
“Moonchild” ignited the crowd with its firestorm of guitars courtesy the three-headed Hydra of Adrian Smith, Dave Murray and Janick Gers. Lead singer Bruce Dickinson continues to defy age and logic with his agile speaker-leaping ability and distinctive lead vocals that still soar to hit every note.
The audience went mad for “Can I Play With Madness” as drummer Nicko McBrain pounded away despite being obscured by his massive drum kit. Bass god Steve Harris assassinated the audience by pointing his bass at the crowd as his fingers clipped his strings with machine gun speed at the end of “The Prisoner.”
It was a barrage of hits as “2 Minutes to Midnight” and “The Trooper” pummeled my eardrums. Their zombified, lon- time mascot Eddie came out on stage in Confederate soldier attire and pounded on Gers' guitar. My face literally almost melted from the heat waves coming from the stage during the demonically themed “Number of the Beast”.
My brain nearly exploded after the double shot of a galloping rendition of “Run to the Hills” and the frantic guitar pull-offs of “Wasted Years”. Iron Maiden really flexed their muscles with the sonic push-up of “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” as all three guitarists had their turn in the spotlight accompanied by some icy keyboards.
The biggest singalong of the evening went to “Fear of the Dark” as Dickinson stepped back and smiled and let the crowd handle a few bars of the song. Digging deep into their discography, “Iron Maiden” closed out their main set. Winston Churchill's speech segued into the blitzing “Aces High.”
It seemed like a matter of minutes had passed as Iron Maiden finished their set with “Running Free”. If you were not at this show, you have one more chance to see them again tonight. Do not miss this opportunity to see some legends still at the top of their game.
Critical Bias: I think I may need to purchase a Dave Murray Fender Stratocaster. Anyone have a connection at Fender?
Crowd: A multi-generational mass of long haired, denim-wearing, dedicated Iron Maiden fans.
Overheard: “Dude, that was the best show ever! Better than Roger Waters!”
Random Notebook Dump: Iron Maiden are so unique that they manage to transcend the number one concert rule of etiquette in that you can safely wear one of their t-shirts and not be “that guy.” In fact, I felt out of place for not wearing an Iron Maiden shirt.
“Can I Play With Madness”
“2 Minutes to Midnight”
“Afraid to Shoot Strangers”
“The Number of the Beast”
“Phantom of the Opera”
“Run To The Hills”
“Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”
“Fear of the Dark”
“The Evil That Men Do”