Iron Maiden -- Monterrey, Mexico -- February 25th, 2009
Tour: Somewhere Back in Time Tour, Final Leg 2009
Headliner: Iron Maiden
Support: IRA, Lauren Harris, Morbid Angel, Carcass, and Atreyu
Venue: Estadio Universitario, Monterrey, NL, Mexico
Date: February 25, 2009
What a journey this was. I decided to catch a couple of Maiden shows in Mexico last November after the shows were announced. I joined the fan club, purchased tickets as soon as 10:00 hit that bright November day, and then waited...forever.
February finally arrived and a buddy and I headed for Mexico. I flew, and he drove and then bussed it in from the border. This worked out as I am now in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and he is in Chicago.
We arrived separately in Monterrey, unloaded our luggage at the hotel, and somehow found each other on the busy streets of one of Mexico's largest cities. We checked out the shops near the hotel that first night and ate at the busiest restaurant that we could find, as we figured that it would have the best food for the locals. We found a place called VIPS, which was good, but not great (kind of like going to IHOP). This place actually looked like IHOP meets Ikea. We went to this place for authentic food, but noticed a short time after we ordered our food that the bottom of the waitresses name tag had Wal-Mart's logo on it. It turns out that Wal-Mart owns a chain of these restaurants in Mexico. That figures, we go to Mexico and get Wal-Mart cuisine.
The next morning, we headed out to find a Ticketmaster outlet, as the tickets for those who resided outside of Mexico only had this option and will-call. They wouldn't ship them to the U.S. We walked all over the damn place and went to a Super Boletos, as our concierge stated that this would be the place to go. It wasn't and we eventually found a Ticketmaster outlet in a nice department store named Liverpool. We finally had our tickets to Monterrey and Guadalajara! We met up with a new friend that I met on the Maiden board and his wife and checked out the Macroplaza in Monterrey. The day was awesome and we were able to see some beautiful sights in the city.
Wednesday finally arrived (Maiden day). We grabbed a cab and headed out to the arena. Estadio Universitario is a soccer stadium, which has held World Cup soccer matches in the past and is home to the Tigres. The stadium is huge! We checked out the tent city outside of the stadium, which included 50-60 tents filled with bootleg Maiden shirts and other items. Most of the bootlegs were of good quality and the artwork was very impressive. Some were not so good, including several shirts which stated "A Matter of Life and Death Tour 2008 Mexico." I saw this tour in 2006 and I don't think it even went to Mexico. I managed to find a couple of cool backpacks for my two sons and purchased those on the way out for 200 pesos each (about $14 each).
We finally entered the arena and were overwhelmed by the size. This place was enormous! We headed in as IRA was finishing their set. We finally found our spot on the floor and were about 20-30 feet from the stage. Normally, we would be there early and would hold the rail the entire show. It was 99 degrees out and we were in no shape to wait through five bands, plus Maiden in that heat. I was use to 15 degree Minneapolis temps.
Lauren Harris took the stage quickly and played her set. Guys, what are we going to do about Lauren Harris? Oh well. During her set, we tried to find a booth for event shirts. Our Spanish is shit, so we had to be creative with our words and hand descriptions. After three or four security guards, we finally found one who spoke broken English. He pointed to where we needed to go, but we couldn't find it. After a minute or so, he decided to walk us to the tables. I picked up the Mexico event shirt for the 2009 leg and browsed at the others. The table only had shirts (five or so for Maiden and a couple for Morbid Angel and Carcass). The Mexico event shirt was only 250 pesos!
Morbid Angel and Carcass played their individual sets. Both bands tore it up and were just brutal! Carcass put on a better show, but this is no disrespect to MA, who were also great. The crowd was really into both of these bands. Surprisingly, the front section did not have any mosh pits during these bands. Back in the States, there would have been pits opening up everywhere. There was a pit or two in the rear floor section, which was posted on YouTube. After Carcass, Atreyu took the stage. They were booed from the second song on (just like Bullet for My Valentine was!). Obviously, this was a poor choice for an opening band. After their fourth song, they said, "this will be our final song for tonight." They ended their show prematurely with only five songs played. Most of us would rather hear CDs played on the PA, versus listening to Atreyu live. It turned out to be the best solution to that crap!
Finally, the lights in the stadium dimmed and Doctor Doctor started to play over the PA. The crowd went nuts, I had chills, and like my good buddy Eric says "I am just like Pavlov's dogs salivating to his bell whenever I hear Doctor Doctor." It felt like this song was an extended, 20 minute version. I love this song, but it wouldn't end for anything! Finally, the screens on the side of the stage came on and they played their Ed Force One footage with Transylvania being played in the background. Finally, time for the show!
Churchill's Speech started playing and we just couldn't take it anymore! We waited for Aces High, and the crush that hadn't happened yet. Maiden jumped out as they do and everyone started jumping and head-banging. No crush though. I couldn't believe it. Bruce's vocals were on that night and Aces High was done brilliantly. After this one, they followed it with Wrathchild. Ah, this was a nice change from the past as I somehow had never heard this one live. This was better live than I had ever expected. They followed with 2 Minutes to Midnight, Children of the Damned, and Phantom of the Opera. COTD and POTO were the other two songs that I had never heard/seen live previously. They were just perfect!
The night progressed perfectly and the crowd was the best that I have ever been in yet. They were loud and sang very well with the band. After Fear of the Dark, the crowd continued to sing some sort of local song to the band. I read somewhere that it was called Pora Porre (something like that). They sang it for close to two minutes. Bruce was overwhelmed. He actually sat down on the drum riser and listened while the crowd sang this to him. It was awesome! The band was more than impressed with the Monterrey crowd. Bruce spoke and thanked the crowd.
They then went into Hallowed Be Thy Name. I got very emotional on this one and had tears in my eyes. One, because this song just rules and the other, because I was thinking about my Dad. I decided to do this trip six weeks or so after he passed away. I realized then that life is too short and you have to do these things before you run out of time. I did these shows in his honor. It was part of the healing process and it was by far the best medicine for me.
The background changed and we saw the King Tut Eddie mask hanging in the background. We were all jumping up and down and screaming as we realized that the Mummy Eddie rumors for the Mexican shows were true! What an exciting time! This was my third time seeing this version of Eddie (85, 08, 09). It just gets better every damn time!
They went on with their next three songs, which included Sanctuary as their final song. I wasn't excited about this one previously, as I've heard it live before, plus the fact that it is not one of their best songs. Somehow, it became the perfect ending to what was a perfect day in Monterrey. I was singing as loud as I could and was finally loving this song.
Maiden played a very tight set and just tore the place up. We grabbed another cab, headed back to the hotel, and tried to get a couple of hours sleep before we had to leave for the airport at 5:00 a.m. (to catch the Guadalajara show the very next day).
I'll continue this soon with a posting of the Guadalajara show.
Iron Maiden set list:
2 Minutes to Midnight
Children of the Damned
Phantom of the Opera
Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Run to the Hills
Fear of the Dark
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Number of the Beast
The Evil That Men Do