This is a review of their 2010 concert at Jiffy Lube Live, for the 2012 concert review go here.
Whenever Iron Maiden comes to town you can bet most of the metal heads in the area are going to find their way to that concert. Tuesday the 20th of July 2010 was no exception when Iron Maiden played the horribly named Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia. The concert was fun as always, though there were several problems with it too. Also of note, it was the final show of the US leg of the Final Frontier Tour. I totally missed the opening act Dream Theater. This was partly because of the weather, partly because of some minor navigational issues getting to the venue, and partly because (or so I was told) they played a short set.
When we got to Jiffy Lube Live (formerly known as Nissan Pavilion) it was pouring rain, though by the time we actually got the car parked it had mostly let up. The rain never got that bad again, but it was still a damp and humid night, and the lawn area had a lot of mud on it that only seemed to get more slick as the night wore on. It’s been a while since I’ve been to a large venue concert like this one. Part of that is because there aren’t a whole hell of a lot of bands that play arenas and amphitheaters that I actually want to see, and part of it is because the experience kind of sucks. Sure seeing the band is fun, but paying $11 for a can of beer that would cost me $2 at a 7-11 is ridiculous. Leaving the venue is always horrible too, and Jiffy Lube Live is known for being one of the worst. Things like finding your friends can be tough in such large places, and of course these outdoor shows leave you vulnerable to the elements. On top of it all, the ticket prices are astronomical if you want to be anywhere halfway close to the stage. Now I understand the whole supply and demand part of it, but I’m sorry I’m just not willing to pay a few hundred bucks to see a band one night, I don’t care who it is. This concert expectedly had all the same problems, at no fault to Iron Maiden, though I suppose they could make tickets a bit cheaper if they wanted, but they were pretty typical in price. They did have a rather elaborate setup on the stage, and I like how they have a backdrop that changes for just about every song, and that stuff costs money to do. At one point they brought out some guy in a full body costume of the newest space alien version of the band’s mascot, Eddie. Kinda goofy and a bit Gwar-ish I suppose, but entertaining none the less. The band’s singer, Bruce Dickenson, is always entertaining on stage, jumping around and climbing on the elaborate stage sets as well as getting everyone to sing along with him on those classic chorus lines Iron Maiden is known for. At one point between songs he asked the audience who was there for their first ever Iron Maiden show. I don’t know if people weren’t paying attention and going along with the herd, or if they were all just n00bz or whatever, but most of the audience put up their hands and yelled. Bruce didn’t seem to believe it and made a comment about how this can’t be EVERYONE’s first Maiden gig. He also dedicated the song Blood Brothers to the late Ronnie James Dio which also pleased the crowd. The three guitarist attack of Iron Maiden is pretty fun to witness too, the guys really know how to make solos fun to watch AND listen to at the same time. If you’re not up close it can sometimes be hard to tell which of the 3 guitarists is playing the solo, especially when they start switching off, but that’s part of the fun of watching an Iron Maiden show. The stage was set up to look like the inside of a space ship along the lines of something you see in the Aliens movies. It had a door that Bruce would occasionally duck into to let the focus of the audience stay on the rest of the band for certain parts of songs, such as the aforementioned guitar solos. He’d later appear on top of the set materials above the band or run back out the door just before his next line. The showmanship was great and all, and the concert was really awesome except for one thing, the setlist…
The setlist was not what I had been hoping for, and I’d imagine many of the people in attendance would agree. If you’re a big fan of Iron Maiden’s material from the year 2000 on, you were in luck. If you wanted to hear lots of their old classics and maybe a few newer songs sprinkled in for good measure? Well, this wasn’t your night. Do you know how many people went to this concert hoping to get a chance to hear The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg instead of The Trooper? Zero. You’ll notice in the setlist posted above which was actually played though. This was the biggest problem with this show. Yeah, it was Iron Maiden and they are damn fun to see live, but where were all the songs? No Wasted Years? No Powerslave? They didn’t even play Run To The Hills and I thought for sure they’d play that one. They played ten songs that were released in the years 2000 to 2010, including the new single El Dorado which was expected, but come on! They played just one song released between the years 1983 and 1999, Fear Of The Dark. That’s a huge part of their discography that was completely ignored. They only played one song from 1980 to 1982 until they closed the show with four straight songs from that era, three of which were part of the planned encore. Those songs were great to watch live, don’t get me wrong, but aside from Wrathchild being played early, where the hell were these classic tunes during the first hour or so of the concert? When I last saw Iron Maiden, in 2003 at Merriweather Post Pavilion, they basically played their best hits CD live. That was an awesome experience, everyone knew all the songs and everyone sang them like they were in the shower or driving in their car alone. People were playing air guitar to songs they’d learned to play when they were growing up and banged their heads to beats they have loved for many years. That nostalgia, that’s what everyone (well, at least me!) wanted at this concert too, but unless you’d been following their more recent material, you didn’t really get that experience. As I said above, it’s always fun seeing Iron Maiden, but the set list really left me feeling glad I hadn’t decided to fork over a few hundred dollars for a spot up close. I did get to shoot a couple videos while there, and you can see them below. They’re a little shakey as I was doing my best to hide the fact that I was shooting video, though midway through The Number Of The Beast I grew some balls and tried to keep the camera steady. I hope you enjoy them! I know a lot of people who will read this were there, feel free to tell me about your experience at the concert in the comments below.