Iron Maiden Live: Liverpool Arena, 20-05-17

I had stopped doing live reviews because I found that I was spending more time concentrating and trying to remember stuff than I was enjoying myself, but I thought I’d make an exception the day one of the big beasts rolled into town.

I’m a cynical difficult-to-please sort of chap when it comes to big bands playing big shows but I had to go see Iron Maiden in Liverpool, because I’ve never seen them before and they were playing so near that it would be rude not to go.  The last thing I’d want this morning would be to answer my door to six cross men of a certain age demanding to know why, if they can be arsed running around for a couple of hours and giving it loads at their time of life, why I couldn’t be similarly arsed taking a 10 mile train ride to see them.

Alcohol was consumed.  War stories were swapped, two of our party had seen Iron Maiden in 1981* and a good time was had by all.  The Baltic Fleet pub, always a good one, was very cannily having an Iron Maiden event which seemed to involve an awful lot of Trooper beer and a queue of about 50 people in the gents.

We got to the arena, grabbed our standing tickets and got as close as we could, maybe about 20 folk from the front (close enough not to have to look at the screens at all) and waited for the boys to arrive.  The hairs on the back of my neck stood on end when UFO’s ‘Doctor Doctor’ hit the PA and we all bounced up and down to it, then Boom! the backcloth fell and the full Mayan stage set was revealed as band piled into ‘If Eternity Should Fail’ which was a fine, dramatic way to start the gig and a real statement of intent.

What was evident right from the off was how hungry Maiden still are for all this and how much fun they have with the audience and with each other on stage, that was very heartening.  The three guitar line-up was sublime at times as they harmonised and reeled off solos and Bruce was in very fine voice, more so than I’ve seen him in some recent live clips too.

Following up with ‘Speed of Light’ was a great way to undercut the seriousness of the opener, I’ve always liked the way the ‘hard rock’** sound of this track stood out on the album and I have to give total credit to Janick Gers here.  He was great to watch, he wasn’t still for a second, throwing his guitar around, putting his foot up on his speakers and just clearly rocking out and having a whale of a time.

I swear my legs went all wobbly as soon as I heard that bassline, as Steve Harris gives it some real welly and ‘Wrathchild’ blasts out loud and still menacing even after all these wasted years.  It’s probably my favourite track of the night, comparatively short and punchy in this set and we all bounce up and down as one in appreciation.  ‘Children of the Damned’ was another interesting set choice, I like the track but it’s never come close to being an essential Maiden track for me but last night, live it was brilliant and you could see how much the band enjoyed playing it out too.

In a set heavily weighted towards The Book of Souls^ ‘The Red and the Black’ was the one most rapturously received, the one that looks the most like it was here to stay – the audience really getting into singing the melody back to the band.  Some folks were a little disgruntled at the fact the band played so many new numbers but I really liked it a) Because the tracks came over a lot better than they did on the album^* and b) as my friend Andy put it, ‘it stops them becoming their own tribute act’.  It also shows how strongly they back their new material, which probably also feeds back into how much fun they looked to be having.

I’m pretty proud of this one

I won’t give you the full track by track but obviously ‘The Trooper’ was a real highlight, Bruce draping his Union Jack over Janick Gers’ face from above as he played his solo and Steve Harris doing that cool pointy-bass-thing; ‘Fear of the Dark’ was a really unexpected highlight too – great tune; ‘The Book of Souls’ where Eddie took to the stage was an epic to end all epics, yet didn’t overstay its’ welcome; ‘The Number of the Beast’ was a great choice for the encore as was finishing the set with ‘Wasted Years’, that guitar line just gets me every time.

In between tracks Bruce was on great form, telling us it was far too long since they’d played Liverpool, wondering how many of us were conceived to ‘Iron Maiden’, giving his speech on ‘unity’ before ‘Blood Brothers’ and talking football.  Oh and there were a good few ‘scream for me, Liverpool!‘s too.

Maiden really exceeded all my expectations last night, I thought they’d be really good but they were great and I enjoyed being part of such a big, friendly crowd for the first time in many years.  I departed all happy and sweaty into the dark vowing to see Maiden again as soon as I can.  Maybe they’ll even play ‘Women In Uniform’ for me next time around?

Women in uniform, sometimes they look so cold
Women in uniform, but, Oh! They feel so warm

760 Down (still)

PS.  ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ was replaced by ‘Wrathchild’ and ‘The Great Unknown’.

PPS:  Check out the ‘Soup of the Day’

*1981!! That’s like back in history before iPhones, when there were still knights and dragons and Churchill was prime minister.  It was in the Metro Club apparently, Samson were on the bill (possibly Marseilles too) and Eddie was a man wearing a mask.

**as opposed to metal, I mean.

^6 tracks from it here, the only other LP contributing more than one track was The Number of the Beast.

^*which can be a bit clunky I think.

46 thoughts on “Iron Maiden Live: Liverpool Arena, 20-05-17

    1. That’s interesting, it must be fun as a big band to mix up what you’re playing from tour to tour.

      I’m so pleased I saw them and I’ll definitely do it again.

    1. I still think my review was better than the ones in the Liverpool Echo and the Guardian from Saturday! That might just be ego though.

  1. Awesome! I’ve stopped doing concert reviews for my new blog as well. I found myself trying to hard to get great photos and write notes and think of things to write during shows that I wasn’t really enjoying. I still try to get some good shots but I probably won’t do many more reviews. Perhaps only when I show like the one you were at last night, a band you probably should’ve seen years ago but made up for it.

      1. I know what yer talkin’ aboot, eh, but it seems more like the ones that ain’t Canadian ‘r all polite and stuff c’os they wanna be Canadian, ya know? Yah.

      2. It’s a real slippery slope. First a Canadian asks for a concert review.
        Pretty soon you’re playing hockey and saying “EH” all the time.

    1. I can’t remember, did he do the ‘machine gun’ with his bass too? it must be a decade since I’ve seen it.

      I had several scoops of soup.

  2. It really says a lot when they can load a set with lots of new material. Nearly 40 years in and they can still put out solid new tunes. Makes my black heart skip a beat.

    I’m pretty limited on my Iron Maiden knowledge, so I can’t speak for the set list. It sounds like they did a fantastic job of filling it out nicely, and the pics speak volumes. Looks like an amazing show all around. And beer. I’ve yet to grab ‘The Trooper’ from my liquor store. Is it worth the cost of a 6-pk?

    Looks like Eddie and the boys lived up to your expectations. What more can you ask for? Maybe “Women In Uniform”, I suppose.

    1. It was a great show, lets face it these guys have been doing it at this level long enough to know exactly what they’re doing by now. The impressive bit was just how committed they are to it still.

      Trooper? it is a decent beer, not the best, but a very decent one. Worth having a 6-pk.

  3. Oh man, that looks like such a great show. The pictures are awesome as well. They are here on June 9th, but I can’t go. It is my oldest daughter’s 8th grade graduation before they go to high school. Maybe she’d forgive me if I missed it…naw…I wouldn’t be able to forgive me.

    1. Thank you, it was a great show and I really like the way they aren’t just lapsing into being a ‘heritage’ band and they’re still foregrounding all the new stuff.

      As for your daughter’s graduation, surely they should rearrange it for Maiden?!

    1. I was quite hungover this morning, I blame it all on the Trooper … the red wine and lots of Peroni beforehand had nothing to do with it at all. Honest.

      My neck aches like hell today too, too much ed bangin’.

  4. OMG, what a gig. You were so close to the stage too! So awesome. That’s a great setlist, definitely different than we saw in Toronto last year, and that’s all good.

    There’s something about that crowd too, everyone just in it for their heroes, not an asshole or rude person in the bunch.

    Just out of curiosity, who opened?

    You should definitely be proud of that one shite photie too, actually all of them!

    UP THE IRONS! \m/ \m/

    1. The openers were Shinedown but we were still drinking in the Baltic Fleet when they were on.

      And thank you very much, I had an absolute ball. All the new stuff was great that they played, I guess they’ve had an extra year of playing it out now too.

      It was a proper metal crowd, all ages and just a pleasant bunch of folk to be with.

      1. We had Harris’ son’s band, Raven Age, as openers. They were OK, but we were all there for one reason so just about anybody would’ve had a hard time holding anyone’s attention.

        I always this of this, it cracks me up every time:

  5. Wow…alcohol AND recollection. And photos!?!

    What a set too. Iron Maiden could make 3 or 4 completely different sets with all different songs…I’m glad they still focus on stuff like Speed of Light. Big time.

    1. Yup, I kept it all together … just. It was a great set and I was glad they didn’t just do the AC/DC thing – put 2 tracks in from the new LP and drop the 2 tracks from the LP before that. They’re properly invested in the new stuff and it shows.

      Only have to see them twice more and I’ll have caught up with Mrs 1537!

  6. What a brilliant review !
    Great pics great story….when I go see them in less than a month i’m just going to copy and paste and change the date of this review for my Blog!
    Highjack is the word!

    1. Well you are the one who persuaded me to write this. So thank you.

      This was a great show and I really liked the set they played, I’ve been revisiting ‘Book of Souls’ all day.

      1. Thanks again for sending me the pics last night…
        I know what you mean about trying to just enjoy the show without the intentions of reviewing it the next day! But I think I can speak for a bunch of us and say Thanks!
        I like your spin on what Maiden is doing currently by your friend and by keeping things current and not becoming there own tribute act!
        Once again great stuff!

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