TOUR: Iron Maiden / Gimme Ed Until I'm Dead
SUPPORT: Dio, Motorhead
VENUE: Shoreline Amphitheater -- Mountain View, CA
DATE: Thursday, August 28th, 2003
GEAR WORN: n/a
MERCH PURCHASED: Gimme Ed Tour Shirt
MOSHING REPORT: n/a
EDDIES AWARDED: n/a
REVIEWED: January 13th, 2005
I probably found out about the Gimme Ed Tour from the Iron Maiden Bulletin Board. Iron Maiden scheduled a stop on their Gimme Ed Until I’m Dead Tour in Silicon Valley in Mountain View at the Shoreline Amphitheater – the same venue they played during Brave New World – on Thursday, August 28th, 2003. Staring at that date now just stuns me because it feels like very little passed between it and my glorious first date with Maiden three years prior. Waiting for a possible Maiden return in the summer of 2005 has been a relative eternity. Time is passing too quickly yet not nearly fast enough.
Instead of getting ass-raped by a ticket broker again, this time, I paid only mild extortion on eBay to get third row center stage-right aisle seats. Motorhead Jeff was supposed to come with me but had to bail out at the last minute, so The Mickster stepped in for our first metal concert together. For those keeping score at home, that should require a second plaque on the metalsetlists memorial wall at Shoreline. I undoubtedly wore my sole Maiden shirt to work that day and to the concert.
My office was just a few minutes away from Shoreline, so the Mickster picked me up a few minutes after 5 PM for the night’s concert. We arrived in plenty of time to slam a couple of beers before buying new Maiden Gimme Ed Tour shirts and heading down to our seats. Just as with my first concert, I had a sense of childlike amazement and awe descending the rows and rows of steps to our seats. Our seats were only about fifteen feet closer toward to the center and one row closer to the stage from my Brave New World location but that short span made all the difference. No more mud. Although still thunderous, you could actually hear the music.
When we first went to our seats, the opening act was already on stage. The lead singer, a scruffy older fucker in sunglasses and leathers, was just standing in the center-front singing upwards into his mic and whacking on his bass. I couldn’t understand him and was itching for another beer anyways. The Mickster was hell bent on me seeing dinosaurs and I was graciously his accepting his offer of the bottomless beers -- so we got up and left. At my second Maiden show and metal concert, I walked out on Lemmy and Motorhead.
So off to the promenade we went. Toward the rear of Shoreline behind the main stage complex in the concessions area, there is small stage and a local band began a brief set. I have no idea who they were but a nice small mosh pit formed and it was at this very moment I heard my calling. I would answer it several months later at a Metallica concert, but that’s a story for another review. The Mickster and I enjoyed the scene and drank, not unlike our fraternity days of complete and utter irresponsibility. When you get older, it gets increasingly more difficult to find the moments where you can just be with an old friend, kick back a couple of brewskis, and just be thankful how good life can be.
We returned to our seats after Motorhead’s set ended because there was no fucking way I was going to miss Dio. Not long after I really heard Maiden for the first time, a friend down the hall in my freshmen dorm played The Last In Line and Holy Diver. While neither album ignited my passions like Piece of Mind did, I loved both dearly. When Dio released Dream Evil, I snapped it up and All The Fools Sailed Away became one of my favorite Dio songs of all time.
When he first came on stage, I could hardly believe how short and frail Dio seemed but then he started to sing and work the crowd. His stature grew and grew; his voice mirrored what I had come to expect from his studio work...demonically angelic. The Last In Line was the second song played, and I sang along as hard and loud as I could. The drummer went into his drum solo shortly thereafter and it concluded with a classical favorite. I remember turning to the Mickster and screaming.. “It’s the fucking 1812 Overture. I’m hearing the 1812 at a fucking Maiden concert.” I probably rattled off all kind of positive expletitives because the beer Mickster had been forcing my throat earlier was kicking into full effect. The rest of the set is kind of a blur now but I know I enjoyed it. I also thought how much I would like to see a full show, how amazing it would be... Dio and I would one day meet again.
We left our seats to answer nature’s call and hit the bar one last time. Mickster went back to our seats and I stayed up a bit longer. I wanted to get a couple of shots from a vendor right next to the entrance to the lower seats; I was pretty much all alone. The lady bartender expressed her surprise that so few people – around 6000 by her guestimate for a venue that hold 20,000 – were in attendance. I don’t know if that figure is accurate, but the crowd was nowhere the size of the Brave New World show. I was taking my last shot of Jack Daniels as “Woe to you o earth and sea…” came over the PA; within seconds I was back in my seat for The Number Of The Beast.
I don’t recall when Bruce gave the order but it was early on. He invited the first few rows to come on down; there’s a small pit area between the first row and the stage barricade. It was packed, but nowhere near the Maiden Sardine Can of Brave New World. Security did a much better job of who they let down to the front. I freely moved back and forth between my aisle seat and a one-off position from the rail. I kept going back to the Mickster to ask if he was having a good time; I was worried because I was darting around having a blast and didn’t want him to feel left out. (I do the same even now to Motorhead Jeff, often stoic in the expression in his own enjoyment at most gigs). The Trooper and Die With Your Boots On I took up front. Revelations and Hallowed I took at my seat. I returned to the pit for Wildest Dreams through The Clairvoyant or so, finishing out the show from my seat.
The Maiden Set List:
Number Of The Beast
Die With Your Boots On
Hallowed Be Thy Name
The Wicker Man
Fear Of The Dark
2 Minutes to Midnight
Run To The Hills
Maiden presented a stage that brought back visions of Eddie throughout his career. Nicko’s kit seemed as if it was in the literal stage center, catwalks extending around his drums to the sides of the stage but angling a bit to mask the backside. Mural-style portraits of Eddie from Somewhere In Time, The Number Of The Beast, and Piece of Mind were draped in front of them; the half oval backdrop, always an Eddie reflecting whatever song the band played. Maiden’s light show is one of the best in the industry and Gimme Ed was no exception: giant bright flashes during the opening scream in the Number of the Beast, a green spooky aura in the Clairvoyant, none of it overbearing. It all fit perfectly the show.
With five bands members up front, Maiden had no problem working the stage. It almost seemed too small at times. Throughout the concert, Bruce ran up along the catwalks during the traditional moments – i.e: waving the Union Jack during the Trooper. What would a Maiden show be with a Bruce-Rant? He programmed one before the preview of the unreleased Wildest Dreams. It was mostly against MTV and for common sense file sharing with indirect digs at Metallica. All the guitarists worked their own turf, but Steve Harris took his bass all over. The man wasn’t mic’ed, yet sang along just like the rest of us. Toward the end, Janick started tossing his guitar high head over head, spun it around by its strap, and finally assaulted an oversized Edward The Great during Eddie’s obligatory Iron Maiden appearance. After the encore and the exit of the band, additional portraits of Eddie (from the 7th Son, Real Live/Dead) slowly descended from the stage. The house lights lit up; “Always Look On The Bright Side of Life” came on the PA. Gimme Ed was over for the night.
I have a ton of pictures from the night, despite the fact the security eventually told me to knock the camera thing off. In addition to the one (during the Clairvyoant) I cropped for our masthead, I have several from the opening numbers of the Maiden’s set, mainly NotB and The Trooper. I have a few of the pit denizens; one guy gave me his email because this was his first show. On a side note, I snapped several shots during Dio’s set as well. Come to our site (www.metalsetlists.com
) and I’ll probably post a few in this thread on the Official Unofficial Setlist Reports forum.. including one of a very happy Hot Turkey Ed. For the two metal chicks that read my reviews, I have now grown out my hair.
It’s easy to foam at the mouth about how fucking awesome Maiden was that night. Instead, let me put you at a Maiden amphitheater show; see for yourself what an American Maiden show is really like. Maybe you’ll get a taste of what I experienced at Gimme Ed. There is an energy about the hours before, unlike smaller concerts. It’s not just from the kids, but from everyone -- young and old. Something’s coming and it’s fucking magical. The crowds border on the Slaytanic in their dedication minus the sheer insanity and stupidity. No one casually snacks as one would at a baseball game. If you’re up front, it’s unlikely you’ll hear “Doctor Doctor” or the introductory music because the crowd will drown it out with their yelling and screaming. You’ll join in with people standing and throwing horns to the stage, as if Maiden can be summoned to appear more quickly. You’ll see giant grins on faces as if Santa was about to deliver Christmas presents at any moment. And then Maiden burst on to the stage out of the darkness. There’s usually a mosher or two but they promptly disciplined by his concert mates. Up front is more about the Crush than anything else. People will look out for you, especially if you need help or fall down. You won’t mind the mild smell of sweat; perhaps you’ll be lucky with the nearby scent of sugar and spice. It will be hot and stuffy, and you won’t have much room to move around or even breathe. You won’t even care. You’ll almost be forced to hop along with the crowd; you’ll want to anyways, so don’t worry about it. If you’re in a seat further back, you’ll laugh at the drunks and stoners collapsed in their seats but you’ll see everyone standing. For 90 minutes, you enjoy your favorite band with several thousand of your closet friends. One day, you’ll have the same feelings that I do: anyone would who suggests American fans do not appreciate Maiden can go fuck himself.
As a certified Maiden lemming, I rarely take pot shots at the band. Just as it seemed to really get going, the band closed with Iron Maiden ; two songs later, the gig was a wrap near 11PM. I knew something was off because songs were missing: no 22 Acacia Avenue, Heaven Can Wait, or Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter. I found out later than America got fucking jipped. Yeah, yeah… we got a Maiden show and I should thankful and all. Let me say this: Fuck you…we got jipped and that’s the fact jack… I’m not making excuses for the band or accepting any this time.
Maiden Turette’s took control of my voice and I screamed all the way back to the car. Mickster drove me back to my office, and I dreamt of Maiden, Eddie, and dinosaurs until it was safe to drive home the next morning. Post-concert depression never came. Iron Maiden sits at the right hand of God in my musical universe. Four days later, I was to see the man who sits at His left: Weird Al Yankovic.