My day (or rather, experience for Iron Maiden) started around 2:15 at the AT&T Center where I bought a balcony ticket (thanks to paperless ticketing, the venue could only sell those if you didn't buy online) for the night's show. From then on, I went to go do other business in San Antonio and ended that with a meal at a local Denny's, where a couple of fans from Kosovo approached me, asking me where the AT&T Center was. After I pointed it out to them (it was about three miles away), we found out Nicko was eating at the Denny's.
Knowing it wouldn't be "cool" to annoy him when he was eating, we waited outside and his son chatted with us for a bit before he came out and shook our hands and posed for a picture with us. I remember asking him for another picture (since the guys I had met had the picture with me in it), and he shot back "You just got one!" and walked off. Luckily, the guys I met shared the picture with me, so it wasn't a huge deal.
A little while later, we all headed to the AT&T Center where we waited in line. While feeling around for my ticket right before the doors opened, I felt a knife in my pocket I had gotten at a flea market a while before Maiden and had to temporarily ditch it under a bridge about a block away before coming back to the show. After the brief walk away, I rejoined the line and got in, heading to the merch booth, where I purchased the most expensive shirt I've ever gotten at a show (a $45 Iron Maiden Texas shirt) before getting to my seat way the fuck up in the nosebleeds.
Around 7:30, the band Coheed and Cambria came on and played until around 8:15 or so (if I recall correctly). I had heard of C&C prior to the show, but I hadn't heard anything of them, unless you count a high school band butchering "Welcome Home". I deliberately kept myself from listening to them prior to the show, since I wanted to be surprised. And goddamn
, I loved what I heard at the show. The band's setlist flowed rather well, their stage presence emitted an intense energy, and the cover of Heaven and Hell literally gave me chills.
...Since I don't know too much about the band, that's really all I can say.
Coheed and Cambria
No World for Tomorrow
Gravemakers and Gunslingers
Here We Are Juggernaut
The Running Free
Heaven and Hell (Black Sabbath cover)
Domino: The Destitute
As Coheed and Cambria ended and gained a new fan, Iron Maiden's crew began to set stuff up. One of the plus sides of being way the fuck up in the nosebleeds was that you saw things almost no one else saw - for example, the pattern on the carpet (Eddie underwater in the middle of an iceberg filled ocean), the crew testing pyrotechnics, and Bruce warming up before the show.
Around 9:00, the song Doctor, Doctor by UFO came on over the PA (which the masses had entertained themselves with by singing to Iron Man, Highway Star, and other classic songs) and I knew then that Iron Maiden was preparing to come onstage. Sure enough, at the end of the song, the lights dimmed and the intro to "Moonchild" played over the PA. The band went onstage with explosive force - literally (Bruce later joked that with all the explosives onstage, we should prepare to dial 911 before the place burned to the ground) - and the band stayed in top gear all night; Bruce almost never stood still onstage, leaping around and running onstage with what looked like the energy of a man in his early 20's.
Among the interesting things going on that night were Bruce talking a bit about the meaning behind Afraid to Shoot Strangers prior to the song itself being played, waving the Union Flag during The Trooper, and having some props emerge during Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, Number of the Beast, and Iron Maiden. Eddie appeared at least twice that night (during the aforementioned Iron Maiden as a large prop behind the drums and as a large man during Run to the Hills), and the audience loved it, if the "Eddie, Eddie" chants were to be believed.
The show went on, hit after hit, song after song, and when it finally drew to a close, the disappointment in the audience's eyes and in the venue's "vibe" were unmistakable. Bruce introduced the band during Running Free with some joking, claiming that Nicko's birth certificate "was so old they found it in the pyramids", for example. As the show finally ended, I looked out in the crowd and saw the crowd members literally punching each other over drumsticks, Frisbees, hell anything thrown out that more than one person can get a hand on. As the lights came on in the venue and Monty Python's "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" played over the PA, the nearly sell-out crowd of the venue (I've never seen the crowds at the AT&T center nearly stretch out to the back - even during Rammstein) mobbed the hallways of the arena, shouting "Maiden, Maiden!" at random points in time.
Overall, this is easily among the top five shows I've ever seen, and it's not going to be something I'll forget anytime soon. If the tour comes back around to Texas on its second leg, I'll definitely be there.
Can I Play With Madness
2 Minutes to Midnight
Afraid to Shoot Strangers
The Number of the Beast
Phantom of the Opera
Run to the Hills
Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
Fear of the Dark
The Evil That Men Do