After a long seventeen years of waiting, the legendary Iron Maiden returned to Atlanta this past Saturday night on their ‘Maiden England’ North American tour and performed one of the best shows I’ve ever seen in my lifetime! I have been praying to the Metal Gods to bring this band back to Atlanta before I die, and I finally got my wish! From the set list, to the band’s energy, the crowd response, and numerous tailgating stories, this was a night I will never forget! Bear with me as I try to put this experience into words for you! Up The Irons!
After a great opening set by Alice Cooper, the buzz was felt throughout the arena as we waited for the return of Iron Maiden. What would they play? What will Eddie look like? Do I need to get more beers? Those were the main conversation points around me before 9pm. As the clock struck 9pm, “Doctor, Doctor” hit the air and the lights went out to a roar from the crowd like I’ve never heard before! After years and years of waiting, the legends took the stage to “Moonchild” and it was ON! Don’t stop now! Iron Maiden then breaks into “Can I Play With Madness” and the fans erupted! No time to breathe as they then played my all time favorite “The Prisoner” and I completely lost my mind! From headbanging, to playing air guitar and screaming every word, my voice was in serious trouble by the third song! Bruce grabbed the microphone after this track and remarked “It’s been a long time my friends.” Then he said the words I have been waiting to hear in person my whole life. “Scream for me Atlanta!” “SCREAM FOR ME ATLANTA!” Once the first note hit of the next song, we all knew it was “2 Minutes To Midnight” and the crowd exploded in cheers. Bruce had the crowd chanting every word and he ran around the stage like he was a teenager again. It was unbelievable! He is NOT HUMAN!
At this point I could barely breathe! I needed a melodic break and of course they granted my wish! “Afraid To Shoot Strangers” was next and a time to raise your arms, close your eyes, and sing along until the end. With an evil smile, Bruce said “Are you ready Atlanta?” “Scream For Me Atlanta!” At this point we all knew what was about to happen, and the next five songs ripped through the crowd like a violent storm. As I reveal these songs titles, remember they were played back to back! “The Trooper”, “The Number Of The Beast”, “Phantom Of The Opera”, “Run To The Hills” and “Wasted Years!” Who plays those back to back and expects the crowd to live! IRON FUCKING MAIDEN DOES! Throughout this onslaught of hits, I could not help but lose my mind in the seats and realize that this was not a dream, I was actually watching this live!
As they went into “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son” and “The Clairvoyant” the band kept the energy alive on the stage! It’s hard to find a band that has more fun on stage than Iron Maiden. They were running around all over the place and they were all smiles the entire time! As “The Clairvoyant” ended, the lights went out, and the all too familiar opening part to “Fear Of The Dark” began and I broke down. This was a moment I have waited to be a part of my entire life and it was about to happen. You watch the videos online of the crowd singing along, but I was about to be part of that moment, and it took everything I had to sing along with my arms raised to the sky. This was the loudest I’ve ever heard fans in Atlanta and the band seemed to be surprised by the volume as well! That my friends was a moment I will never forget! Oh and then Iron Maiden said they had one more and broke into “Iron Maiden” without warning! Just when you caught your breath after “Fear Of The Dark” and needed to chill, you were back to thrashing in your seats and breaking your neck! The band promptly thanked the fans and the lights went black after this classic track. As they left the stage, we all knew it wasn’t over. Nobody moved until the band charged back on stage for the encore which included “Aces High”, “The Evil That Men Do” and “Running Free.” At this point, we knew it was truly the end. The lights came on and it was a horribly sobering moment. Iron Maiden came, they conquered, and I was honored to be part of that crowd.
With the long wait finally being over, Iron Maiden delivered a set that no one there will ever forget. Bruce was a true performer and lead singer, and sounded absolutely phenomenal all night long. The three guitar attack of Dave Murray, Adrian Smith and Janick Gers put on an onslaught of riffage, solos and pure entertainment! Nicko McBrain kept the heartbeat of the show going with the legendary drumming he is known for, and the huge smile never left his face either! And of course, the mighty Steve Harris was on point the whole show as well! Being a bass player and finally seeing this legend live is a whole other blog I could write eight pages on. He is a living legend and to finally watch him in person is a moment I’ll be thankful for my entire life. As I look back on the show and remember the anticipation, Iron Maiden was everything I expected and more! When I returned home my neighbor said I looked like I was in shock, and I probably was. I finally saw Iron Maiden live and my life will forever be changed. Hailz!