Iron Maiden

First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre

Tinley Park , IL


By Colonel Angus

I've been an Iron Maiden fan since first laying eyes on the Killers album cover. I've pretty much stuck with them even through the lean Blaze-era and they have never really had a problem delivering on stage.  Sure, there were songs I liked more than others but seeing them performed live somehow made them sound better.  For those of you who saw the last "Somewhere Back In Time" World tour, then you saw the band delve quite a bit into the back catalogue and give an updated "Powerslave" tour.  This time out, they did what I was hoping they would do: ditch some of the older tracks and focus on the newer material off the last 3 Bruce-fronted discs. Of the 16 songs performed, 10 were from the post-reunion era.

They opened up the show with a couple from Brave New World, namely "The Wicker Man" and "The Ghost of the Navigator". At this point, I knew they were going to weigh the set heavily towards the new material. In fact, it wasn't until the end of the set that they went back to their older tunes.  They teased the crowd with "Wrathchild" early but that was it for the older classic songs. Since Iron Maiden really didn't tour the States with the Dance of Death record (sorry, but playing 3 shows in New York does not count as a tour), they performed a number of tracks from that disk. Even though "Wildest Dreams" was sure to make an appearance, I was happy they played the title track along with "No More Lies".  Back in 2006, the band played the entire A Matter Of Life And Death CD but on this tour, they held it off to only 2 tracks: "The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg" and "These Colors Don't Run". I'm glad they still decided to keep tunes from that under-rated disc in the set.  Brave New World got the most songs in the set with the 2 previously mentioned songs along with "Blood Brothers" and the title track to make it an even 4. Even thoughThe Final Frontier is not out yet, they played "El Dorado" and it fit in nicely with the other songs in the set. If you were looking for the greatest hits, then you were waiting for the end of the show where they closed with "Fear of the Dark" and "Iron Maiden". Of course, 'Arry and the guys would not leave the crowd (which Bruce said was the largest Chicago crowd they ever had) without playing a few for an encore. They predictably played "Number of the Beast" and "Hallowed Be Thy Name". They finished up the set with a tune that hasn't been played in quite a while, "Running Free". It had a bit of a singalong part but that was kept to a minimum. Aside from the songs, I really enjoyed the stage show. Maiden has always given value for money in this respect that this tour was no different. What I really enjoy about their shows is that they keep everything old-school by not utilizing those jumbo screens and relying on them to keep the people entertained. The band (even though they are not in their 20s anymore) still managed to use the large stage with Bruce running all over the place. I wish I had half his energy. The set changed from song to song with a different backdrop to coincide with the song or lyrics. The lightshow was first rate also...they utilize some new technology but manage to keep the feel old-school.

I have to give this show high marks not because I am a fan but because Iron Maiden is a band that always moves forward. They don't rely on the usual "greatest hits" show with one new number. They manage to be relevant in a time when it would be easy to rely on old tunes.  The guys still come out with new material (and really good material, at that) and they are going to play perform these songs live. If you are one of those fans out there that complained they didn't play "Run To The Hills" and "Two Minutes To Midnight", then you really don't get this band. They make their own rules and are happy to take us along for the ride. Just be warned that you may need to open up your mind past the hits and embrace the new stuff. I for one am happy to go along on the journey as long as they keep touring.