Sunday, 6 July 2008

Iron Maiden, Twickenham, 05/07/08

So on Saturday, we set off early for the long drive to London, to see Iron Maiden play at Twickenham, the home of English rugby.
Much fun had on the way down, Skum and myself started drinking pretty early (this led to us falling asleep almost as soon as we got back in the car on the way home, leaving SJW with a five hour drive on his own. Sorry lad, won't happen again) and there was much fun listening to compilation CDs of Maiden B-sides (Reach Out being surely the best song never to appear on a Maiden album), drinking more tinnys and just generally being all excited.

The reason for the excitement, for me at least, was that we knew that on this tour The Boys were playing a full greatest hits set from their "Golden Years", basically from 1982 to 1988 with a couple of other tracks thrown in, and whenever I have seen Maiden in the past they've always been touring in support of a new album and their refusal to play classics on these tours is the stuff of legend.

We met up with the Northy Clan in some pub in Hounslow, had a few pints and something to eat and then headed off to the stadium, taking in a few more pints on the way.
Twickenham truly is an impressive stadium, from the outside it looks like one of the Italian football stadiums like the San Siro, and it's got a capacity of 82 000 seats, so my guess is that full, for a concert, you could probably fit around 90 0000 people in there.
This was also the first time Maiden had played an open air stadium show in the UK.

So, it was buy some shirts (and a scarf that I insisted on wearing over my face like some scally bandit... I thought it was funny at the time), and head inside to see the end of whatever shit band were on and boo them, and then wait for Maiden to come on.
It must be one of the hardest jobs in the world to be a support band for Iron Maiden, similar I imagine to when supporting Slayer and having their name chanted all the way through your set, and having bottles lashed at you constantly.  People were actually filming the stick being handed out to the support bands on their cameras.

So...the stage is set, Doctor Doctor by UFO comes on and we wait for Maiden to take to the stage.
There's a short video showong the band travelling around the world on this tour, shots of Ed Force One and stuff, and then the voice that sends a shiver up the spine of any Maiden fan...
We shall go on to the end.
We shall fight in France
We shall fightover the seas and oceans.
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air.
We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be
we shall fight on beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight on the hills.
We shall never surrender!
 ...and with a huge bang of pyrotechnics, the band run on stage going straight into Aces High. 

It was classic Maiden track after classic Maiden track, highlights for me being Revelations, Wasted Years (yes, I did go all misty eyed) and strangely, Rime of the Ancient Mariner which I had thought would bore me rigid but was actually pretty cool; the lighting rig at the top of the stage was swaying slightly during the quiet bit, and the with the sound effects of the mariner's ship creaking, it gave the effect of being on a listing ship in the ocean, albeit one with a huge stage and ninety odd thousand people on it!  Bruce running around in a cloak singing this song!
Powerslave was an unexpected surprise, a little bit more theatrics here with Bruce delivering the song in a mask, followed by a trip back to my favourite album, Somewhere in Time for Heaven Can Wait (complete with Bruce Air singalong bridge and a fucking awesome backdrop based on the album cover).
During Iron Maiden a huge mummy Eddie burst out of the back of the stage with sparks flying out of him, and a ten foot tall cyborg eddie came onstage and had a mock fight with the band.

Another nice surprise to round the night of, a one-two from Seventh Son of a Seventh Son  that I didn't expect, Moonchild and The Clairvoyant.

All in all a great day out (apart from upsetting SJW by falling asleep on the way home) but still a few too many I've-heard-this-song-every-time-I've-seen-Maiden-can-I- get-to-the-bar-and-back-before-the-next-song type moments for me.

Twickenham Setlist in Full: 
Transylvania/Churchill's Speech
Aces High
2 Minutes To Midnight
The Trooper
Wasted Years
The Number Of The Beast
Rime Of The Ancient Mariner
Heaven Can Wait
Run To The Hills
Fear Of The Dark
Iron Maiden
The Clairvoyant
Hallowed Be Thy Name

1 comment:

Rocks said...

I was there, too Incredible gig. Remember they played Can I play with madness, don't know wether it was after The Number of the beast or after Wasted Years. Cheers