Iron Maiden-A-Thon was presumed dead after the final album review went up on Friday afternoon. Much like Eddie and the rest of the band, Iron Maiden will never die. Iron Maiden-A-Thon is going into overtime for one last review. On Saturday, September 14th, 2019, Iron Maiden played a show in Los Angeles at the Banc of California Stadium. It was near the end of their North American leg of the Legacy of the Beast tour. Here are some of my thoughts on that show.
Before the Show
To start off, Banc of California Stadium is incredibly nice. It’s a brand new soccer stadium in the heart of Los Angeles for the LAFC football club. It seated 22,000 people for this sold out show. Getting there in a car might be a pain in the ass, as it’s in the heart of Los Angeles. Getting there by Metro was a different story. Not only was it incredibly cheap to get there (like 5 bucks round trip), my friend and I got to meet with some of the other Maiden fans on the voyage.
After taking the Los Angeles Metro to the stadium, it was a short walk to the stadium. Immediately upon arriving, you could see and hear the hallmarks of a heavy metal show. People wearing black shirts, leather jackets, denim jackets, and lots of patches. In 95 degree weather. Only a heavy metal show will bring out that kind of devotion to the look. I was on the floor, so we were shown to a different part of the stadium to wait for the gates to open. Gate time was supposed to be 5:30pm, but they were around 15 minutes late opening the gates. So after baking a bit in the sun on a parking lot floor, we finally got let in.
The Stadium Itself
This might as well be a review of the Banc of California Stadium for a metal show in addition to a Legacy of the Beast tour review. The stadium was beautiful. Walking in, the floor ticket holders were sent down to the floor. Iron Maiden’s beer, The Trooper, had their own booth, which was awesome to see. After procuring a beer and some water, my friend Eli and I were ready to camp for our spot. Too bad the floor was made of plastic that was just flexible enough to mess up your legs (My legs and lower back were jelly after this show).
The stage was front and center with everyone else behind us in the pit. I’m not going to go too deep into the opening acts but they were: The Raven Age and Fozzy. Raven Age started at 6:50pm and the show was off. They’re Steve Harris’s son’s band, they weren’t awful, but not anything really special in my mind. Good as an opener to get the crowd ready but not something I’ll check out in the future. The concerns I had about sound quality were assuaged with them at least.
Fozzy was up next and they were a real treat. Chris Jericho (Of WWE, AEW, and Film fame) is their frontman and the crowd really came alive for their performance. They were perfect for an opener. The entire building could feel their energy and how excited they were to be opening for Iron Maiden. If you get a chance, Fozzy is a must-see.
The Main Event: Iron Maiden
Being that this tour is supposed to advertise their mobile game, Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast, the show started off with the familiar sounds of “Transylvania” over the speakers and a small advertisement for the game. Simple enough. Then the show started for real. At every Iron Maiden concert, whether it’s your first or your fifteenth, they open the show with a tape of UFO’s “Doctor Doctor”. It’s a rite of passage to hear this tape and not know what the hell is going on if it’s your first show. People around you are screaming “DOCTOR DOCTOR, PLEASE!”, I can imagine it would be confusing. Once that tape is over, it goes dark for a bit. You’re standing around wondering what could be going on. Then you hear this.
1. Aces High
Everyone went nuts for the beginning of this song. The entire pit in the front started swaying and jumping. I think it’s a bit inconsiderate of the people who got there two hours after me to try to worm their way to the front of the pit, but it’s a rock show, not much you can do. Your personal space during this song went from like half a foot anyway around you, to zero real quick.
If you reference the picture at the top of the article, that’s a spitfire that this song is referencing. On stage. With the band. It was the coolest thing I’ve seen live from a band. “Aces High” is always a treat when Iron Maiden opens with it because you know what you’re getting. High energy, blistering speed, and Bruce running around in a pilot’s uniform.
2. Where Eagles Dare
The coolest thing about seeing Iron Maiden is that they have cloth backdrops behind the band that show art. So during a Maiden show, before the song they change the backdrop for almost each song. You get to play a little guessing game with yourself about what song it’s going to be. This time is was a backdrop looking very similar to the film Where Eagles Dare starring Clint Eastwood. Then there was the opening drum fill by Nicko McBrain and we were off again. More of the spin cycle from the crowd in the pit.
This song live is much fiercer than on the track. Most heavy metal bands live are like that. They just sound heavier, which is a treat to go from the upbeat sounds of the original track to a deeper sound live. This was one of the highlights to hear on this tour.
3. 2 Minutes to Midnight
Backdrop changes again. A familiar sight.
Janick Gers starts playing that opening guitar riff, the entire crowd goes nuts for the third song in a row. By this time, I’m sweating profusely. The product in my hair has been eviscerated. I’m surprised that my sunglasses and my tour shirt are still in my hands. This is one of my favorite Maiden songs, so I’m going nuts with the rest of the crowd on this one.
4. The Clansman
As you know from my reviews of The X-Factor and Virtual XI, I love Blaze Bayley era Iron Maiden. To go to an Iron Maiden show in 2019 on their Legacy of the Beast Tour and hear even one of his songs (let alone two, we’ll get to that later), was a joy I was not expecting. Bruce gave the crowd some time to rest before this one. Going on a speech about how we don’t have the freedoms we used to, why they would cast an Australian in a movie about William Wallace, and he even called out the three guys in the pit with the battle paint from Braveheart on.
If you haven’t heard “The Clansman” before, it’s a Maiden classic regardless of who’s singing it. This song is even more epic live with the entire crowd screaming “FREEDOM!” along with the band. It doesn’t matter where you live, this one is a crowd pleaser.
5. The Trooper
As soon as the backdrop changed from William Wallace Eddie to British Officer Eddie, I knew I was screwed. From a standpoint that the crowd would go back to the ravenous monsters from a couple songs before. “The Trooper” makes even the most docile crowds blow up and if my sunglasses hadn’t gotten lost during the first four songs, they would surely be lost during this one. Iron Maiden has the best stage production of any band out there. They brought out Eddie for this one. Bruce Dickinson had his fun playing around with him, dueling him with a sword and running between his legs. “The Trooper” isn’t complete without Bruce swinging a British flag around at the top of the stage, and he even got an American flag in there as well.
Before this one the stage also changed. It went from a battlefield with camo, barbed wire barricades, and leafy mesh to stained glass, chandeliers, and a church complete with stained glass Eddies from throughout time.
Iron Maiden’s “classic” tours are always themed around a classic album. The Maiden England Tour was themed around Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. The Somewhere Back in Time Tour was themed around Powerslave. The Legacy of the Beast Tour is themed around Piece of Mind. So them playing some deeper cuts off that album is a nice surprise. “Revelations” is one of the more deep and beautiful songs in their catalog. It translates incredibly well to a live atmosphere. Starts off slow to build the tension with the crowd, gets fast to pick up on that tension, then has slow parts in the middle where people can put up their lighters (or cellphones for today). Such a great song live or not.
7. For the Greater Good of God
People like to complain about how Iron Maiden doesn’t pull out songs from deeper in their catalog. “Wah, all they play is ‘Number of the Beast’, ‘Run to the Hills’, and ‘The Trooper'”. Well, for people going to their first Maiden show, they’d naturally want to hear those songs. Also, including this song from the A Matter of Life and Death album, proves they like to mix it up. “For the Greater Good of God” is an interesting choice off that album because they could have gone with a multitude of songs from this era for the Legacy of the Beast Tour. This one in particular is a fantastic choice from a live perspective because it’s a gigantic spectacle of a song. It has all the hallmarks of a modern Maiden classic. A wicked chorus, heavy guitars, and an orchestral sound. This was one of the many highlights for me from this show.
8. The Wicker Man
After such a long and intricate song like “For the Greater Good of God” the boys in Maiden just need a rocker to get the crowd picked up. Enter “The Wicker Man”. Usually reserved for opening concerts, here it’s used at the halfway point to get the crowd back into higher gear. This one didn’t get the crowd as energized as “The Trooper” but it was good enough to keep them going. Also, with all the craze of the concert, I still somehow had my sunglasses.
Check Back Tomorrow for Part 2 of The Legacy of the Beast
For such a lengthy concert and setlist, you didn’t think we could contain it all in one article, right? To get the conclusion of the show and the final eight songs in the set, you’ll have to check back tomorrow. Will I lose my sunglasses? What songs will Iron Maiden bust out for their encore? That and more tomorrow for part two of the Legacy of the Beast review. An encore of Iron Maiden-A-Thon.
All images and audio are courtesy of Iron Maiden.
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