The very first time I ever heard of Iron Maiden was the moment I arrived in high school. It was September of 1983. I arrived at this huge H.S. where I saw lots of metalheads with Maiden T-shirt. I was really intrigued by all these cool dudes proudly wearing these shirts with a kind of human monster on it. I didn’t even know what Iron Maiden was until somebody told me it’s a musical band or to be more precise, a heavy metal band. I wasn’t into music at all in those days; I was more into sports, more into hockey. I wasn’t aware that all that was going to change…
So after a while in high school, after hearing these guys’ never ending stories about how good Iron Maiden was, I was getting more and more intrigued by this band and their mascot. So after one guy explained to me the whole thing about them and Eddie, one day, I bought my first record ever. I wanted to have the nicest cover art that they had so I took ‘’The Number Of The Beast’’
on 4 track cassette because we didn’t even had a turntable at home. So once in my room on my small radio, I started it and then I immediately saw the light hehehe….and I almost knew right there that my life would never be the same again.
I mean; Invaders \ Children Of The Damned \ The Prisoner \ 22 Acacia Avenue \ The Number Of The Beast \ Run To The Hills \ Gangland \ Hallowed Be Thy Name
it doesn’t get any better than this. The Goosebumps, the aggression, the melodies, the riffs, the vocals, the whole mood of the album, that was it!!
So after that, I managed to get a hand on the 3 other offerings that they had at this moment. Piece Of Mind
(almost as good as Beast I thought), the first album and Killers
, 4 great records.
It was now maybe January or February of 1984, when one guy at school told me they had come to Montreal in September on the World Piece Tour. Damn I thought!! , I missed them. But nevertheless, every night in my bedroom it was Maiden full blast. With my tennis racket as a guitar, I was Dave Murray or Steve Harris on bass. Sometimes with a false mic, I was Bruce. Man I loved them…
At the end of the summer of 1984 , I heard their single ‘’2 Minutes To Midnight’’
playing on a regular basis on CHOM FM, a Montreal radio station, It was the glory days of metal, I mean veterans like Judas Priest, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Scorpions, and Deep Purple along with new recruit like Motley Crue, Accept or Twisted Sister were playing all the time on radio, and of course, the new kings of metal : Iron Maiden were playing a lot too on this local radio.
So I was amazed by this song and the day ‘’Powerslave’’
came out I immediately got a hand on it. WOW!!!
What an album again I thought. With 11:58, it was the title track, Aces High
and the master of all epic songs ‘’Rime Of The Ancient Mariner’’
that caught my attention. I think I listened to this album exclusively for 6 months. I was in love, that’s it, Iron Maiden was my love!!
On my Way to Nov 27 th
So in the autumn of 1984 I heard that Iron Maiden were going to play at the Montreal Forum ( hockey’s world wide most famous rink) on November 27 th and the opening act was going to be Twisted Sister a great band at this point in time too, although I had a bit of trouble with the makeup and Pink colors they were wearing. But I didn’t even care about the opening act (I still don’t) it was Iron Maiden we were talking about. This concert was expected by my high school mates and me to be the concert of the decade nothing less…
So I went to buy the tickets the day after they came out, I was young, it was my first concert, I didn’t know at the time how getting tickets really worked. So when the lady told me there were only tickets left in the Blue section (near the roof) I thought, Man already, are they popular or what !! Anyway my friend and I bought them, that’s the most important thing, WE HAVE OUR TICKETS TO SEE IRON MAIDEN!!!!
Every cool guy at school was going to that concert; we talked about it for weeks and weeks. Discussing what the stage would look like, what songs they would play etc..etc..
The More and more Nov 27 th was approaching I would have trouble finding sleep….dreaming of the moment I would finally see Steve, Bruce, Dave, Nicko and Adrian jumping on stage …Damn I was looking forward to this day.
Concert Day !!
Finally November 27 th 1984 arrived, but I had a day at school to get through before hitting the forum, what a never ending day it was. The teachers were talking and I almost couldn’t hear what was coming out of their mouths as I was dreaming about the concert. It’s tonight Man!!!! Maiden!! Everybody at school was hyped, it wasn’t just any day, and you could sense it. Me and my friend were all ready to go, everything was planned his father was going to bring us there, we would eat at McDonald’s, go to the show, and my friend’s father would pick us up after the show.
Every thing was well planned we thought….
But when I arrived home that afternoon a drama was going on… My aunt had heard over the radio that there was a death at the Iron Maiden concert the night before in Québec city. So she’d called my mom to tell her not let me go there. She didn’t know what had happened she just associated DEATH
and IRON MAIDEN
. The real story was that a drunken\stoned guy who had a weak leg due to a car accident fell off a balcony during Maiden’s set. He fell to the ground right between seats. He died instantly.
So my mom told me this, and she called my father (don’t forget, at the time I was only 13 !!!) who was at work to tell him the story. No need to say that it was one of the most important phone calls of my life. But fortunately for me, he told her to let me go because he knew how much I loved them (Fathers know…) and he thought that I would never forgive them if they wouldn’t let me go…
He was right about that !!!
I called my friend and told him, let’s go !!!!
Entering The Temple
We arrived downtown Montreal near the venue (the Forum) that afternoon and I was so impressed by the tons of people there, just waiting for it to happen, ready to rock. For a young teenager like me it was almost like I was becoming a man hehehe…After a good Big Mac and some fries :bigsmile: :edwink:
the doors of the Forum opened and we entered. WOW !!! Let’s go see the T-Shirts man, I told my friend, Yeah he told me, so we were in a line -up for T-shirts and at one point, after I was watching everywhere to not miss anything, I turned around and my friend had disappeared. I couldn’t see him, nowhere. Fuck!!! Where is he ?…I was really starting to get nervous after a good 10 minutes without him. When he finally arrived looking all stressed out. He told me that the security guys confiscated his studs & leather bracelet. He was so proud of this bracelet. It was the same that Brucey had in the NOTB days… But they told him that he could go get it back after the show.
So after buying a T-shirt and a tour program (both for about 20 bucks !!) we entered the temple…Amazing to see these legions of Maiden fans with leather jackets, some with studs on their leather wrist bracelet
most of them wearing Maiden T shirts. We were 15,000 rockers on this cold November night. The Forum was sold out a week after the tickets were on sale. Another cool thing was the home made banners that fans had made showing all kinds of Eddies with the famous ‘’Iron Maiden’’ letters. Really cool.
As more and more people were getting in; I realized that the show was going to start any minute. So the lights went out and Dee Snider and his band Twisted Sister were on stage, WOW, I was really amazed to see 15,000 fists in the air and the same amount of people responding ‘’Rock’’ to their ‘’I Wanna Rock’’ anthem. Another good song at that time was ‘’We’re Not Gonna Take It’’ that young punks of my age enjoyed a lot. People were having fun, yes, but nobody was there for Twisted Sister. So as soon as their set ended, the banners for Maiden reappeared and the famous ‘’Maiden!!...Maiden!!....Maiden!!...’’ chant was echoed everywhere…
So the road crew started to dissemble TS drum kit and little stage. We could see from where I was sitting some parts of Maiden stage…And it looked spectacular judging it only from the little part I could see. We could sense the tension in the place , cause we were only minutes before Maiden. The chants were constantly heard until the lights went off…
Lights go off, everybody stands up, rare will be the people that will sit down again during the evening. Here go the « Maiden !!!...Maiden!!!...Maiden !!!... » chant, but this time it’s with real power. Walls are shaking ! The William Churchill speech is now barely audible and at the same time I can notice this amazing stage. The Egyptian concept of the album is present everywhere. 2 footbridge are behind Nicko’s drumkit and are going all the way to the front of the stage on each side. A carpet with the colors and theme of the pyramid is on the floor.Egyptians inscriptions are present almost in every little space that is available on the stage. And there’s this huge painting representing the inside of the pyramid behind Nicko’s drum. Really spectacular !!!
The beginning of ‘’Aces High’’
is now on, after a big pyrotechnic explosion, Dave, Steve and Adrian are rushing their entrance on stage, as Bruce arrives a few seconds later just in time for his « There Goes The Siren That Warns of The Air Raid… ». The chorus « Run / Live To Fly \ Fly To Live \ Do Or Die »
sang by 15 000 people gives me goosebumps everywhere, for a young recruit like me, I was thrilled. What a night I have ahead of me !!!
After the usual « Bonsoir Montréal », the band jumped right into the rock hit of the moment ; ‘’2 Minutes To Midnight’’
with that brillant ’’riff’’ that seems to have come straight out of hell. The music is sublime and the band plays tight, really tight, no frills or gimmicks just strait out heavy metal, Maiden style hehehe… ‘’Go To War Again \ Blood Is Freedom Stain \ Don’t You pray For My Soul Anymoooooore’’…
People are going nuts and with the next song there will be even more madness in the crowd…
As Bruce introduces, ’Bonsoir Montreal ça vas ?!!, c’est bon pour vous ce soir oui !?!… une chanson de l’album ‘’Piece Of Mind’’ …l’histoire d’un jeune soldat anglais’’
everything in an impeccable french; ‘’The Trooper’’
is coming to do damage amongst the headbangers around me. ‘’You’ll take My Life But I’ll Take Yours Too !!!’’
magic sentence in the book of heavy metal….These dual guitar bridges and exchange of solos is what made Maiden different from all other bands, with the voice of their lead singer, and the talent of their bassit and…hehehe…
After that, 2 more offerings from ‘’Piece Of Mind’’
two of the best, as Bruces introduce the first one :’’une chanson au sujet de le dieux…ou peut être du diable…’’ ‘’Revelations’’
with the light show moving and Bruce coming with his guitar during the instrumental part of the song and making the crowd scream between the guitar riffs. And ‘’Flight Of Icarus’’
another great classic ‘’Flight \ On Your Way \ Like An Eagle \ Fly As High As The Sun’’
And then, time stops and Bruce presents to us; « une chanson du nouvel album, qui dure 13 minutes de longueur’’
, it’s the ’Rime Of The Ancient Mariner’’
in all it’s splendor that makes it’s apparition, the guys are doing great again on this one. The Samuel Taylor Coleridge narration in the softer part of the song (in the middle) bring the 2 triangles of light moving again, this time, it went down about 5 feet over the musicians and that, with a thick smoke surrounding them up to the waiste (Bruce has now retreated backstage in order to get back his strenght), the result is amazing, we are now on a ship in high water !! WOW !!!
And then, everything takes it’s place back for the last part of the song where we see Bruce back under a thunder of pyros. The smoke dissapears and the boys finish the song strong. The highlight of the show ? Not really, there’s more hehehe…
We now get the superb instrumental ‘’Losfer Words (Big ‘Orra)’’
with a solo from my favourite guitar player Dave Murray.
After that, Maiden starts off ‘’Powerslave’’
(with another devilish ‘’riff’’), Amazing I thought, but during the first verse (Into The Abyss I Fall \ The Eye Of Orus \ Into The Eyes Of The Night \ Watching Me Go\ Green Is The Cat’s Eye That Glow \ In His Temple \ Enter The Risen Osiris \ Risen Again)
we hear Bruce singing but we don’t see him, nowhere on stage, where is he ?
He now reappears on the right side of Nicko on the footbrige inside an 8 feet high circle of fire !!! And went with his ‘’Tell Me why I had to be a Powerslave…’’
part. WOW again !!!
Masked with the pharao mask. Really as a first concert, I was blessed. Then during the instrumental part of the song, along with Davey’s magnificient solo, EDDIE !!!
, the real one, the 3 meters tall, mummified, is coming to pay us a visit and immediatly starts a fight with Bruce. Another great moment in the history of rock ! WOW Again !!!
The night wouldn’t be complete without a good rendition of their masterpiece album ‘’The Number Of The Beast’’
, well, when the always magic intro of
Woe To You
Oh Earth And See
For The Devil
Sends The Beast With Wrath
Because He Knows The Time Is Short
Let Him Who Had Understanding
Reckon The Number Of The Beast
For It Is A Human Number
It’s Number is Six hundred And Sixty Six…
…Started, I really knew that something special was happening, everybody chanting along with Bruce the 6 6 6 part with their index and little finger in the air !!! Then ‘’Hallowed Be Thy Name’’
came on, with Steve’s troubling and magnificient lyrics. The best song ever recorded, nothing less. Bruce again on the footbridge bringing us in the head of a death row prisoner…oufff….I think I cried at this moment but not sure…They rounded up this trio with ‘’22 Acacia Avenue’’
another jewel from ‘’The Number Of The Beast’’
It’s now time for ‘’Iron Maiden’’
to come close this amazing set. To start off the song there is a huge EDDIE’s head in bronze in the back of the stage. And, in the middle of the song, this head splits in two and a giant EDDIE came up from the back, he was moving and pointing at us. At the end of the song two pyrotechnic explosions came out of his eyes. Bruce said his « bonsoir Montréal, a la prochaine »
. The crowd wants more and screaaaaaam for it…
The encores will see the essential ‘’Run To The Hills’’
, ‘’Running Free’’
with Bruce splitting the crowd in two, and make us sing, to see if the left side is louder than the right one. And ‘’Sanctuary’’
to end this magic night that I will always remember…
1. Intro (Churchill’s Speach)
2. Aces High
3. 2 Minutes To Midnight
4. The Trooper
6. Flight Of Icarus
7. Rime Of The Ancient Mariner
8. Losfer Words (Big ‘Orra) \ Guitar solo
10. The Number Of The Beast
11. Hallowed Be Thy Name
12. 22 Acacia Avenue
13. Iron Maiden
14. Run To The Hills
15. Running Free
Feel free to come on a special VIRTUAL CONCERT to celebrate the 20 th anniversary of that show that will be held next SUNDAY NOV 28 TH at 9:00 pm eastern north american time in the Iron Maiden Bulletin board