Life On The Rail With Iron Maiden In Concord
“I don’t care. I just saw Iron Fucking Maiden.” Those were about the only words I could muster as I staggered about from Maiden’s show in Concord on Wednesday night. The Maiden Crack boiling the metal in my blood commanded a euphoria only available after two hours of pit combat at the center of the rail. My battered body was already starting to ache, and it hurt so damn good. Total fucking metal ecstasy. That feeling is one among many reasons why I conclude every review with: “Iron Maiden is the standard by which all metal should judged.” This writeup is more vignette than story -- I don't have time for the polish -- but over the two Maiden show and entires in the Permanent Record, you're going to understand why I write why I do, why METALSETLISTS even exists at all.
Maiden concert days are special ones, de-facto vacation. I work only to the extent that I absolutely must, if at all. Wednesday was more of the latter. After sleeping into midmorning, I jumped on my bass for a little practice: scales, exercises, more exercises, The Trooper, The Phantom Of The Opera, Run To The Hills… well, you get the idea. I can’t play all of the parts of those songs up to speed yet but I’m getting there. One not-so-distant day. I’ve got the speed but have to build up the endurance.
The Mickster and Sensei were headed up to Concord for this one. I know a lot of you went as well because I can no longer attend many Bay Area concerts without one of you beating me home to at least post the set list. You fuckers make me proud sometimes.
Sensei and I left the studio in Sunnvyale about 2:00PM with stops en route, turning me into a nervous wreck over the possibility of lack of rail. You see, in Inglewood a couple of months, I showed up about three hours early and only managed 40 feet on the GA floor from the stage. Fuck that. We arrived at the Sleeptrain Pavilion about 3:45 PM, with over an hour before any of the parking lots were scheduled to open. We proceeded up through the unmanned VIP gate up to the venue proper. Our battle plan called for one of us to headed to the gates, the other to queue up for parking. All my anxieties were for naught; only one fan was the turnstile.
Who was the first person in line? Our very own Cradle Of Maiden who had flown in from Florida with his dad for the show. Here we started this small thing called METLSETLISTS four years ago; there’s just a couple of us in line and our thing in common was this site. Minutes later, Dion from the IMFC walked up. We shared the rail at Maiden’s Denver gig for the Early Days tour a couple of years ago. It was great seeing him again; he gave me a 1981 Maiden boot from Japan. [Dion, I listened to it on the way home… incredible boot!] It’s a VERY small Maiden world indeed. I love being able to hit a Maiden concert and know people wherever I go. This is my tribe. Read reviews from other members of the fan club, and you’ll hear the exact same thing. Sensei remarked the whole thing felt very Grateful Deadish.
Doors opened a little before 6:00 PM. We all sprinted to get our GA/pit wristbands and then ran like hell down to the rail, the front of which filled up within minutes. CoM was pretty much dead center. Sensei and I were to the left of him. Dion was a few feet over to the left of CoM. The Man wouldn’t step off the Mickster’s testicles; he didn’t make until almost 7:30 PM and I never saw him the whole night. That was the one truly fucked up part of this gig. The Mickster and/or Motorhead Jeff belong at all my Maiden concerts. That's fucking mandatory. It should be part of The Law.
After standing outside for 90 minutes and on the rail for another 90, Lauren Harris and company took the stage. Let me say this as plainly as I can: Lauren Harris has no business opening for Iron Maiden. I don’t care if she is Steve’s daughter. It’s not that she or her band don’t perform their music adequately. I just don’t want to hear that shit before a fucking Maiden concert. Lauren Harris plays pop candy hair metal and should be opening for Cinderella or Winger.
Honestly, I don’t hate the Lauren Harris Band. In Inglewood, a guitar tech played instead of her actual guitarist. This time, he made the gig and was fun enough to watch, doing tricks like soloing with his Gibson on top of his head. Ditto for the hair metal bass player armed with a purple eight string Wizard bass. All of them sold their music with decent stage work. Lauren has a decent voice, and I’m not going bitch about her tight leathers or her back arching / titty thrusts combo.
Lauren must be making some in-roads with her touring. In Inglewood, the floor didn’t react well at all to her set and cheered her exit. In Concord, she had a couple of groups up front cheering the entire time on stage. Of course, a few drunks outshouted them at times. Lauren would yell “Let me see your hands” in a bid for some crowd participation. These assholes responded, “Sorry, our hands are on our cocks. We love your tits!” Advice to the younger metal generation here: girls hate that and it will not get you laid. Gawk like a fucking gentleman.
Thirty minutes after Lauren finished, Doctor Doctor came over the PA. I sang along the best I could, mumbling through the words I didn’t know. The crowd produced a cacophony that blanketed the UFO classic at times. Hell, I sing better when no one can hear me anyways. Transylvania came over the PA next; footage of Maiden on tour played on giant video screens to the left and right of the main stage. We couldn’t really see either very well. So I jostled and prepared for the upcoming attack, the crush of the pit at the beginning of any Maiden show. The Maiden Sardine Can!
More so than usual, I’m not sure exactly how to bring you onto the rail with the words I write here given the time I have. There are so many little momentary happenings that make a Maiden concert such an experience. I’m going to throw some thing out and let them stick to this review as-is. It's a linear remembrance. Forgive the spelling. Forgive the grammar. Feel the passion instead.
** Having four members of Iron Maiden playing bass and guitar for you at a distance that is similar to that between teacher and student during a music lesson in a studio. Watching how they fret songs you've been listening to for years. How easy they make it all seem. The light blue strings on Steve’s bass. The places where Janick’s armband has scratched away the paint on an old fender. Dave and Adrian strumming out chords during Fear Of The Dark. Adrian's brown guitar (Gibson?) with the peace symbol. Dave's cream Strat and having Sensei break down what's special about it.
** The heat from all the pyro. The fireworks from the first notes of Aces High exploding on stage at eye level a few feet away. Fireworks going off overhead during Rime. Lots of fireworks on strings hanging from the riggings. Like little light bulbs exploding; wondering if a fragment is going to blind me. All the flames and fire during The Number Of The Beast.
** “Water, water everywhere and all the boards did shrink… Water, water everywhere nor any drop to drink” … Making direct eye with Steve Harris during the entirety of my favorite lyric from my favorite Maiden of all time… Steve singing the words… me screaming the words back as my if my life depended on it.
** Free titties during Heaven Can Wait. One of the girls next to Bruce flashed him twice. My compliments to her plastic surgeon. Outstanding. Magnificent. Heaven CAN wait for that rack.
** Screaming my fucking guts out all night. when I reach for notes of my vocal range, my voice cracking as badly as a teenager coming out of puberty. Not being able to talk really the next day.
** Fear Of The Dark, one of Maiden’s best hopping songs.Being packed against the rail so tightly that all you can do is bounce one arm up and down.
** Staring at the giant Powerslave Eddie. Gecko on his right arm. Snakes dangling out his mouth. Just waiting, waiting, waiting for the sparks to shoot from his eyes.
** Catching one of Nicko’s drumsticks. The scrum afterwards. Security guard 2057 and 2044 helping me keep it. Protecting my first such at-concert gift from Maiden. Shoving it down my shirt and worrying about impaling myself during forgetful a moment. Having it slide out of my shirt to bottom of the rail and diving down for it before anyone noticed it available again. Holding it on the other side of the rail for the rest of the encore. Taking photos after the concert with it.
** Such intense euphoria, the tears during Clairvoyant. Not caring if anyone noticed. It gets no better at any concert than that.
** The perfect sound coming out of two small monitors up front. The most balanced sound of any Maiden concert I’ve attended. My right ear hurting at the highest pitches of Bruce’s screams. The ringing of my ears for the next 24 hours. I didn’t need those frequencies anyway.
** People flying overhead throughout the entire concert. The unconscious being pulled out of the pit and getting carried out to medical attention.
** The coldness of the water poured my head several times by the best damn rail security detail in the world. How quickly the chill goes away against the heat of the your body.
** The weight of the pit as you are dragged back and worth across the rail. The bruises on the my rib cage as my reward for staying in position. The real reward: being dead fucking center staring at Nicko’s bass drum for a majority of the concert. The rail was intense like Denver but manageable, never feeling threatened. Avoiding the vertical steel girders that help keep the fence up; the grill with some give and take is much better. Using the other side of the ride as brace so you can violently throw up the horns.
I could go on and on like this. However, I'm in Irvine right now with another Maiden concert a few hours away. One of the ladies in the fan club arranged for a block of rooms for us; this weekend is going to be one of the best in my personal metal history. I need to get to it. To-Be-Continued? Your damn right!
UP THE IRONS MOTHER FUCKERS!
[b]The Quick Dirt On The Show[/B]
[i]TOUR: Iron Maiden -- Somewhere Back In Time
VENUE: Sleep Train Amphitheater -- Concord, CA
DATE: Wednesday, May 28th, 2008
ATTENDED W/: Sensei, Cradle Of Maiden
GEAR WORN: Iron Maiden Old Fashioned Red
MERCH PURCHASED: None
MOSHING REPORT: Really Not Applicable.
EDDIES AWARDED: 10 Eddies. The Definition Of A Metal Concert[/i]
Absolutely :metal: I promise I'll attempt a review of this gig at some point, but you nailed it man. Super bummed we couldn't meet up at some point, but next time dude for fucking sure.
So, I'm not the only who gets tears in their eyes during certain Maiden songs!:light:
[QUOTE=hot_turkey_ed;185966] ** Free titties during Heaven Can Wait. One of the girls next to Bruce flashed him twice. My compliments to her plastic surgeon. Outstanding. Magnificent. Heaven CAN wait for that rack.[/QUOTE]
Totally the best part of this entire review.
This show was badass. My first Maiden show and definitely not my last. Me and My dad got stuff from the band(Nicko and Dave's wristbands). It was awsome meeting Ed and Sensei!
Maiden rocked Concord with Live After death redux.
Maiden rocked Concord with Live After death redux.
It took me 2 hours to get there and there was a lot a traffic and a big crowd, it reminded me of the opening scenes of Gime Shelter, the documentary of the Stones free concert at Altamont, with all the long haired youth trotting up the California sun baked hills into the venue.
Once inside there was a carnival atmosphere of trinkets and beer kiosks and the crowd was divided among a lot of burly Hell Angel types with shaved heads and long goatees and the younger teenagers that were not born when Maiden played and recorded their seminal Live After death album back in Long Beach Arena in 1985.
I was given a green wristband for the snake pit and got to the front of stage left just as Lauren Harris was starting her set. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Lauren Harris is very talented, with a great voice and stage presence and also she looks extremely fit in person as some of her pictures online make her look a bit chunky, but live she is very slim with a gorgeous pair that we blissfully got a chance to see not once, but twice, during the Maiden set!
Lauren Harris sang her suggestive lyrics (I want you inside of me!) wearing black spandex pants with a black sleeveless t shirt and a heavy metal belt and no shoes, her naked feet and slim body made her look like a little hot little striper. With her gorgeous face and long raven jet black hair on pale white skin, she is the poster girl for all good looking Anglo Celtic women out there and she must be by far one of the slimmest brunettes in England!
I found Lauren to be talented with a great stage presence and with her voice and looks she will have no trouble making it in the family business, I just wish I could to tell her dad that little Lauren has quite a potty mouth as she opened each song with a very not very English rose yell of “Are you fucking ready to rock!?”
Lets talk about the stage , if Iron Maiden are the high priests of Metal, then their Pharaonic stage is the high temple of Metal ! Full of Sphinxes and sacred dog-gods with piercing red eyes.
The crowd was whipped into frenzy as Churchill’s speech came trough the wall of amplifiers above a background noise of Spitfires roaring in the Air:
“We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France,
we shall fight on the seas and oceans,
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be,
we shall fight on the beaches,
we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender!”
The stage burst into light as the opening salvos of “Aces High” charged trough the amps like Blitzkrieg.
Bruce was in high form, reaching most of the operatic high notes, Steve Harris’s base was as pouncing as ever and the frontal attack of not 2 ax men but 3 lead guitars guaranteed a good time for all.
The boys went trough their classic set based on their Live After death album. It was an interesting concept, as it the Who had decided to tour based on their seminal “Live at Leeds” live album or if Peter Frampton toured based on his “Frampton comes alive” album.
The mosh pit was madness, we had to keep one eye on the show and another on the crowd surfers that treated to put a boot in the back of your head as they were thrown over the railings.
We sang along to the old classics, holding hands with strangers wearing a lot of piercings, brave and attractive girls in the mosh pit were also holding hands with strangers and grinding to the brutal anglo saxon riffs.
Soon enough we got to the part of a sing along with the band and the crew during the chorus for “Heaven can wait” and Lauren Harris joined her dad on stage for the chorus, behind me several young girls were piggybacking on their boyfriends and flashing their breasts and Lauren as if on cue lifted her black rock and roll t shirt over her ripped abs and flashed her gorgeous pair not once, but twice! (This was my highlight of the show for obvious reasons).
The pyrotechnics were great, with huge balls of fire exploding just the right moment and in the end were all transported back to the magic world of Live After death, lightning in a bottle captured again.
At the end of the show they played a Monty python song over the speakers as they turned up the lights to send us home: Always look at the bright side of life!
“ For life is quite absurd
And death's the final word
You must always face the curtain with a bow.
Forget about your sin - give the audience a grin
Enjoy it - it's your last chance anyhow.
So always look on the bright side of death
Just before you draw your terminal breath “
Always look at the bright side of life!
Maiden rocked Concord with Live After death redux. May 28 2008.
Hell of a first post! :fist:
Sounds like a hell of a concert
Based on Sensai's bruises anyways
Hmmmmm, I thought that a lot of Maiden's fans weren't moshers. When I saw them in 2000, Some people tried to start a pit and Bruce bitched them out hardcore for it and 99% of the audience cheered him on. I would think that he would do the same at other shows.
Wicked! Did they play El Dorado well? I haven't seen maiden in years! :D Can't wait for the new album! :D august 16th woo hoo!
I assume you downloaded he free single from Ironmaiden.com?
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