The support act on this leg of this leg of, the third of IRON MAIDEN’s ‘Flight 666’ type world tour: THE FINAL FRONTIER, was Australian band AIRBOURNE. They did a pretty good job of getting the crowd going. Their energetic style suited the big arena pretty well, but once you’d heard a couple of songs you had heard the lot. I hadn’t heard of them before, but they were described to me as an AC/DC tribute act… I can see how that connection was made, with lead singer/guitarist, Joel O’Keeffe’s vocals sounding very like Bon Scott, but their sound is nothing like AC/DC. I must admit that towards the end of their set I did warm to them slightly, but I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to buy the new album just yet.
AIRBOURNE ARE: Joel O’Keeffe (Vocals/Lead Guitar) – David Roads (Rhythm Guitar & Vocals) – Justin Street (Bass Guitar & Vocals) – Ryan O’Keeffe (Drums)
And so to the main event, the roadies did a good job of quickly dismantling Airbourne’s set and preparing the stage for Iron Maiden. Sections of the set were visible, but well covered up and the main part of the stage was kept hidden behind a very large black curtain. During this period I sneaked off to buy the compulsory t-shirt… Maiden always do really great ones and I was pleased with my purchase.
Not long after re-taking my seat the sound went up with the UFO song ‘Doctor Doctor’ pumping out. The crowd knew something was about to happen and excitement levels grew. The show began with the arena going dark and a video projected onto two screens either side of the stage. This went on for a few minutes while the roadies finished preparing the stage. Cue the end of the video… lights up and IRON MAIDEN are on stage with ‘Satellite 15... The Final Frontier’. Unfortunately this track and the next one ‘El Dorado’ sounded really awful; almost like all the band members were playing different songs. On the plus side, by the time they got to the third track, ‘2 Minutes to Midnight’ these gremlins seemed to have sorted themselves out. I will put a full set list at the end, but needless to say the set included all the classics, a couple of appearances from ‘Eddie’.
I must say that the band put in a great show and it’s always a pleasure to see them, sound gremlins accepted. It was quite interesting to watch Bruce Dickinson when he went off stage. From our seats on the side of the arena we could see part of the back-stage behind the set. He got quite animated at times with some of the roadies… he knew the sound was bad and wanted it sorted out. Good on ya Bruce! Back on stage he ran and jumped all over the set singing the songs with that air-raid siren of a voice of his… It was a great sight to see! The rest of the band had a good time and played all the songs brilliantly. Between each song the back-drop was changed to feature an artwork appropriate to the song… I liked this little touch a lot! The last two songs ‘Fear of the Dark’ and ‘Iron Maiden’ come round all too soon and after a little encouragement they are persuaded to return to the stage, where they conclude the show with ‘The Number of the Beast’, Hallowed be thy Name’ and ‘Running Free’. All brilliant tracks, but, sadly the sound gremlins returned but not as badly as before… Finally we get the traditional closer… Monty Python’s ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’.
It’s a show that will stick in my memory for a long time I’m sure… Maiden are always good value. They really care about their fans and it shows. Not so long ago I did a review of the documentary IRON MAIDEN: FLIGHT 666 and I can believe the band is just as dedicated now as they were then. I really enjoyed the show and would very happily see Maiden again… and again.
Doctor Doctor (UFO song)
Satellite 15... The Final Frontier
2 Minutes to Midnight
Dance of Death
The Wicker Man
When the Wild Wind Blows
The Evil That Men Do
Fear of the Dark
The Number of the Beast
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (Monty Python song)
For those who don’t know… (can’t think who that might be, but anyway)…
IRON MAIDEN ARE: Steve Harris (Bass) - Steve Harris (Rhythm and Lead Guitars) - Dave Murray (Rhythm and Lead Guitars) - Bruce Dickinson (Lead Vocals) - Nicko McBrain (Drums & Percussion) and Janick Gers (Rhythm and Lead Guitars).
(apologies for the grainy photos - AjS)