I caught the last DT/Iron Maiden show of their North American Tour last week.
I took my 19 y/o son, who is a monster Maiden fan, just like I was when I was 19. It was the first time seeing them for both of us, and we had pit ticks!
As we were walking through the nasty gravel lot in Bristow, VA, a crazy thunderstorm blew in. DT starts playing while we're still in line to get in. Hail starts pelting us in the head, and there's no cover to stand under. (Quite an ominous start for the show, lightning and hail, eh?)
We get in and head straight for the pit to get our bracelets before the piece of paper we're holding turns to mush. We stand back and don't push. Just taking in the spectacle. And spectacle it was too.
Sorry to you DT fans out there, but their performance was uninspired and disappointing. For some reason, the singer left the stage whenever he wasn't singing. At least 4 times on the first song. He wasn't as bad as I remembered him however, I give him that much credit. The guitarist, who looks like Dave Groehl on steroids, is a great player. I know this. But his talent was not on display this night. Lacklustre is the kindest description I could attach to his performance. OK, and the keyboardist needs to shave that beard because Scott Ian has a patent on it. No one wears beards like ZZ Top, right? Ian is in this category. As for his playing, he was so low in the mix I didn't really hear him that much.
The bright spots were the bass player and Portnoy, who played w/ a great deal of zest. Those two were the only ones that looked like they wanted to be on stage. The bass player was playing a Chapman stick for the entire set. Portnoy was more interactive w/ the crowd than the singer.
Truly, I apologize to you DT fans out there, but they were hopelessly bland. I didn't even bother trying to get the set list, as I recognized none of what they were playing, and didn't really care for any of it.
Then for the main event, my son and I pushed up very close to the stage (we started up there as soon as DT stopped playing.) Every time the crowd started pogo-ing, we got even closer, until we were about three tightly-packed rows back.
In contrast to DT, Maiden delivered the goods, big time. It was extremely hot, everyone drenched from rain and sweat, including the band. Gers looked a little pale, but everyone else was hitting on all cylinders. Bruce was everywhere, constantly jumping around and interacting w/ the crowd.
Spoiler alert for European fans! Do not continue.
Additionally, the set list was fantastic:
1. The Wicker Man
2. Ghost of the Navigator
4. El Dorado (new)
5. Dance of Death
6. The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg
7. These Colours don't Run
8. Blood Brothers
9. Wildest Dreams
10. No More Lies
11. Brave New World
12. Fear of the Dark
13. Iron Maiden
14. Number of the Beast
15. Hallowed be thy Name
16. Running Free
Great and long set list. Met lots of really cool people. Many of them drove long distances, SC, NC, GA, etc. This venue was the southernmost of the tour, excepting a few dates in TX. Just like my son and I, most of them were seeing Maiden for the first time and were pumped. It was a blast. Everyone in the pit went over like dominoes when the band threw their various paraphernalia to the crowd. It was pretty funny, primarily because everyone went down, and nobody got hurt.
All you Maiden fans in Europe, don't miss this tour.