In 2010 I told a friend to go see Iron Maiden when I learned they were playing near him. He usually trusts me but reported back saying, “I just listened to them and it sounds kinda weak. Kinda lame.” In response, I offered to buy back his ticket if he didn’t enjoy the show. A few weeks later I got the call. “That was amazing! Thank you so much!” The band has amazing energy and they run all over the stage while the entire venue belts out songs that really only come alive in a sold out arena.
It has been almost a decade since that conversation and little has changed. This ticket was burning a hole in my wallet for months and the day was finally here! They were playing the Prudential Center with Ghost as an opening act.
My friend and I only caught part of the Ghost set which was fine with me. My experience of Ghost is that their presentation is very different from their sound and many agree. Certainly, lots of bands don’t live up to their expectations based on their art. If you love disco and want to dive deeper into the Bee Gees based on Saturday Night Fever, you’re in for a surprise. Similarly, if you loved the Bee Gees and followed them since they were kids in Australia, Saturday Night Fever was a surprise. Ghost may not be the Bee Gees of metal but maybe they’re the Taylor Swift of metal.
Maiden came out after a short animated intro that had a Tomb Raider/ Indiana Jones vibe. Their mascot Eddie was escaping collapsing ruins looking for the Book of Souls (the new album title). Up come the lights, boom goes the music, and the energy didn’t stop all night.
The floor energy was far removed from the stands we sat in. There was a swell of energy and pushing to the front. There were voices singing along through the power anthems. There were quiet people sitting next to me all night as well. Most of our row and the one in front of us was seated all night. Some pictures and spilled beers but mostly tame overall. It certainly was different from the last time I saw them at MSG from the floor section. The Prudential Center holds 2,000 fewer people and the seats are close together. Usually, at a show, this isn’t a big problem if people stand all night. In this case, however, I had to contend with manspreading, interesting smells, and relative quiet (which I’ll take any day over talking).
Iron Maiden has been around since 1975 but the only original member is Steve Harris who is the bassist and primary songwriter. The band has been solid since the 1999 return of singer/ pilot Bruce Dickinson (also a brewer, broadcaster, author, and fencing champion). Many also feel they’re one of the few bands where it is ok to wear their shirt to their show.
If you are or are not a fan, I recommend watching the recent documentary about them where you can follow them on tour around the world, see them play to 250,000 (in one show), and see the full power of them live: