Iron Maiden is one of the world’s most famous metal bands and it’s always a big deal when they come to town. They played at Jiffy Lube Live (formerly Nissan Pavilion) on Saturday June 30th as the DC area stop on the Maiden England Tour and of course I was there. It was a scorching hot day and it stayed hot even after dark. There was a massive storm that swept through the night before and many people still didn’t have power so this show was a bit of an escape for people who were getting cabin fever. Iron Maiden draws a bunch of metal heads from across the genre lines and this show was no different. Since they’re one of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal bands they’re old school enough that parents bring their kids and everyone enjoys the show. There was also a big draw from places like Richmond and Virginia Beach since the tour wasn’t stopping anywhere closer to those areas.
The parking lot opened at 4pm and the gates at 6pm but opening act Alice Cooper didn’t start til almost 7:30pm. In other words, there was plenty of time to grill and drink a few before in the hot sun before the show. I saw Alice Cooper in 2010 opening for Rob Zombie at Merriweather Post Pavilion and I was really blown away by his live show then (check out my review of that show here). However this performance wasn’t even close to as good as that one. They didn’t have nearly as elaborate of a stage set up and other than Alice’s trademark decapitation by guillotine they didn’t really do any of the entertaining stunts on stage. This left a heavy focus on the music which, let’s be honest here, is a bit dated. I liked his 2010 show so much that I had high hopes for this one but it was a total let down. At least he played Feed My Frankenstein, the song everyone knows of his after being in the movie Wayne’s World, which always gets me to chuckle a little.
OK so surely Iron Maiden wouldn’t disappoint right? Long time readers of the site will remember my review of their last concert in the area (read it here) back in July of 2010 wasn’t exactly glowing. Back then the set list wasn’t great and the weather was awful on top of it all. This year’s tour is a sort of throwback theme to the Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son era of the band and the set list was probably the best thing about this show. They played five songs off of Seventh Son, including the title track which they hadn’t played in over 20 years before this tour. They also played a ton of crowd pleasing classic tracks like The Trooper, Run To The Hills and Number Of The Beast. They also played some more obscure songs for the old school fans such as The Prisoner and Afraid To Shoot Strangers. There were a couple hits I’d have liked to have heard that weren’t played, Hallowed Be Thy Name is a personal favorite of mine they chose not to perform, however they did play a 14 song set with a three song encore and really nothing they played wasn’t worth including in the set. You can check out the set list for yourself below, keep in mind the covers and Churchill thing were recordings.
So aside from the set list, the show itself was fun as hell. There were lots of back drops and Bruce Dickinson costume changes (I always jokingly hope he’ll come out in a gold plated diaper just once for the lulz!). Of course there were strategic pyrotechnics and a few Eddie appearances as well. Basically it was the action packed show you’d expect from Iron Maiden. Bruce Dickinson was running around the stage, well, mostly on the big raised up stuff on stage. My only problem with his performance was his voice seemed a bit off in a few places. He seemed very conscious of this though and while his voice kept up on most of those classic chorus lines it was on some of the verses that his voice seemed to waver a bit. Still, he handled it like a pro and kept his best moments for when everyone was really paying attention to his lines the most. Maiden’s triple guitarist shred fest was in full effect as well, switching seamlessly between leads and solos, even when they shifted to different band members. Aside from some of the nuances of the set list, there wasn’t much at this show you wouldn’t expect to see if you’ve seen Iron Maiden a few times before, but that isn’t a bad thing with a band that is known for consistently having great performances. For newer fans this was a great show to catch for a first Iron Maiden concert. Sorry I don’t have any photos, the band wouldn’t give me a photo pass because they have some policy about not giving them to online only publications. That kind of sucks doubly because I haven’t seen a live review of this show with photos from any of the local newspapers either, so I guess everyone loses on quality photos at this concert. Before the show I ran into one of the DC Brau guys, a local brewery in Washington DC, and it’s great to know some of them are metal heads. This also might explain why some of their beers have metal names like On The Wings Of Armageddon and Burial At Sea. I ran in to a lot of friends at the show and it’s always nice to see so many of the area’s metal heads all out like this. After the concert I drunkenly handed out a bunch of stickers to people stuck in traffic in the parking lot. In all, it was a hell of a lot of fun and totally worth the hang over the next day. If you’ve got some cool pics or videos feel free to post links to them in the comments below, or even if you’ve got a fun story about your experience there. Sorry it took so long to get up but my internet still hasn’t been restored since the storm which makes running a website kind of hard to do. Until next time, keep it metal everyone and support the scene you’re a part of!