Iron Maiden @ Hisense Arena – 23/02/11

Three years ago, Bruce Dickinson promised us that he and his chums would return to our shores soon. And return they did, with the same energy and enthusiasm that has become synonymous with Iron Maiden shows.Bringing with him a few wisecracks about the recent Ashes series, Bruce was leaping around on stage like a man 30 years younger. His aged vocal cords are no obstacle to being able to belt out both the new material and the classics with precision and gusto in a performance punctuated with cries of “Scream for me, Melbourne!”As usual, Nicko McBrain was almost invisible behind the drums, though his presence could not be hidden as he dealt out flurries of percussive sonic blows, and the performance of Mr Maiden himself, Steve Harris, could not be faulted.The guitars of Adrian Smith, Dave Murray and Janick Gers thundered under the vocals and sang during the solos, with Janick, good old Janick, throwing his guitar around and imbuing his side of the stage with an energy all of its own.The futuristic set was nothing short of massive, as always, with numerous iconic Maiden backdrops and a couple of rocket-esque towers on either side. And of course, no modern Maiden concert would be complete without a stage invasion by the 12-foot animatronic version of their mascot, Eddie.They opened the “intimate soiree” to a packed house with Satellite 15…The Final Frontier, before launching into El Dorado and 2 Minutes to Midnight. As you’d expect from a band with a new release in a long line of impressive records, there was a smattering of new material and a large body of older works. Other songs from the new album were Coming HomeThe Talisman and When the Wild Wind Blows. The older material was in no way neglected, with such classics as The Evil that Men DoThe Wicker Man and the self-titled Iron Maiden. Personal favourites were Fear of the DarkDance of Death and Blood Brothers. This was followed by an encore of Number of the BeastHallowed be Thy Nameand Running Free to round out the night.As the customary Eric Idle/Monty Pyrthon tune, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, came on over the PA to mark the end of the show, I think it’s safe to say that we all ended the night on a high. by Mike Young

February 24th 2011
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