Yes, I know we have a rather lengthy (and I believe, debate filled) thread for this show. However, I was watching a bootleg of this tour from a few nights later in Uniondale, NY and it inspired me to go back and revisit this show and try and get some memories of it jogged down. I hate to say it but it's really starting to fade in my mind, not because it wasn't fucking spectacular and wildly important to me, just because it's been so long and it was over in a flash just like all Maiden shows.
I don't remember when they announced the US leg of the AMOLAD tour but I remember seeing that it was criminally short and noting that the closest show seemed light-years away (although I was such an idiot that I wasn't sure if Philly or Boston was closer to Virginia
). I was bummed because it looked like I wouldn't be seeing Iron Maiden promote their new album (of which I had not yet heard as it was still months away from release). I mostly let it go after that. I thought there is no way for a 16 year old to go see a concert out of state, multiple states away. I don't know what revived my interest in trying to make the show but I remember some time later (around mid-August of that year I think) I floated the idea to my dad about driving me to the concert. I was shocked that he took to the idea so well! After he checked the information and found out it was on Saturday, which, looking back, thank god it was or I probably couldn't have gone, he asked if my brother would like to go and if I would like to invite my best friend and his dad. So we made the phone call and all things were a go! I went from nothing to seeing my favorite band with my best friend in a city 6 hours away in a matter of an hour or two. I'm so glad I got up the courage that day to ask about what I thought was a crazy idea.
Because the show had been on sale for awhile we got the best tickets we could which were in the 200 seating sections off on Steve's side of the stage.
So October came on and the week of the show came. And man was that a good week. I only saw two concerts in 2006, and both of them were in that first week of October. Gigantour came to Portsmouth, Virginia on October 3rd I believe. I was pretty big into Megadeth too (I remember hearing Holy Wars off of a burned CD my friend gave me for the first time on the bus ride home the previous Spring and having it knock my damn socks off) so I was stoked to go to my first concert without parental supervision. So I skipped out on marching band practice that day and made the 25-minute drive to a cool little amphitheater (who nobody good ever, ever, ever plays at but would be perfect for medium sized package tours like Zombie/Slayer and stuff) in the next town over and saw Into Eternity, Lamb of God, and Megadeth. This was a downsized show from the normal Gigantour so no Opeth or anything. I had a seating ticket because my parents wouldnít let me buy a pit ticket but halfway through Into Eternity the security person left the area where I was seated so I seized on the opportunity to sneak into the pit. I canít believe it worked so easily! Iím not one to break rules so I was also surprised with myself that my first instinct was to go for it given the chance. So that night I got my first taste of metal up close and it was great. Thatís still the 2nd best Megadeth show Iíve ever seen to this day, the song selection was great and I loved the pyro they had. Man, they need to bring back Blackmail The Universe. Oh, and the day before Megadeth and some of the other bands and crew played a softball game for charity at the minor league stadium in Norfolk so my brother and I got to see Megadeth play softball.
But he wasnít allowed to go to the actual show.
So it was a good week already. It was also around this time that I first heard that Maiden had played the full album live in Hartford a few nights earlier. Great, I thought. The album is great and all the tracks are good enough to deserve to be played live. Bear in mind that I had only seen Maiden once before and it was the short Ozzfest 2005 set, so despite the fact that I was still new to Iron Maiden shows I understood that itís important to play new stuff and that diversity and rarity are huge keys to an incredible show, not dragging around worn-out dinosaurs for the millionth time. So fuck anyone who still bitches about the 2006 setlist.
Anyways, come Saturday morning we hit the road for the elusive and magical place known as Camden, New Jersey.
I didnít know anything about Camden or New Jersey really but I couldnít believe we were actually going there just for a concert. I believe my listening on that six hour trip included a healthy dose of AMOLAD, Blood Mountain, Cryptic Writings, and various other Maiden songs. I donít remember where we were but I remember the construction and roads being horrible by the time we got close to Camden, my dad got lost multiple times until we finally found our hotel. Again, I have no idea what town we were in, Iím sure it wasnít Camden itself. We met up with my best friend and his dad who had driven in from West Virginia. We got in the same car and went out to dinner before the show. We stopped at a Chinese place but took one look at the menu and decided it wasnít for us. I didnít like Chinese anyway but they were saying it appeared to be pretty authentic.
So eventually we found our way to a place called King of Pizza, and man was I glad we did. That was some of the best pizza Iíve ever had. It was massive and it was so light and fluffy. Maybe itís nostalgia but I remember even at the time we were all saying how amazing it was.
Once we finished dinner we headed over to the Tweeter Center as it was known back then. We had seated tickets so we werenít concerned about getting there early. We walked into the lobby and went straight to the merch table. To this day that may be the best collection of merch Iíd ever seen, tons of cool designs to be had. I could only afford one shirt so I got a Benjamin Breeg tour shirt and so did my brother, my friend got an album cover tour shirt. Later on the two of us went back (I think we walked out on BFMVís set) and got Ben Breeg posters. Although it turned out the merch guy messed up and my friend didnít notice till he was home that he actually received an undated AMOLAD cover poster, bummer. Iíve since been trying to get the rest of those shirts from ebay. I loved this tour and those designs so I want to get all the shirts. I have Benjamin Breeg, Different World, and one Eddie soldier one. I still need to find an album cover shirt and US tour shirt in medium, they seem pretty rare.
After buying our stuff we found our seats. They werenít great but we were all just happy to be there. Little did I know Iíd be back in the same venue in June 2012 a few feet away from Dave Murray and Adrian Smith. Itís funny how you remember things though because from what I remember the venue and the lobby looked nothing like it did this past summer. Iím sure it was the same; I just remember it completely differently. Bullet For My Valentine came on and they were super gay, we all made fun of them. Finally Maidenís intro started up with the awesome red search lights probing the stage and our excitement building. They hit the stage with Different World and it was just great. The stage was designed to look like an old trench with a bombed out city as the first backdrop. Unfortunately this is the point where I canít remember many specifics. It just went by so fast and was so awesome to be there seeing them play an album I loved all the way through. I almost have no memory at all of tracks like The Pilgrim and Benjamin Breeg. It just became on big, extremely enjoyable blur. Much like almost all the other Maiden shows Iíve seen I suppose. I do remember some cool stage happenings though. The newspaper backdrop to The Longest Day was really cool and really original; I loved the Ben Breeg backdrop, and the These Colours Donít Run one. The walk on Eddie they used that tour was particularly cool with the machine gun in his hand.
Speaking of Eddie, how about that big tank Eddie? Well, I wouldnít know about that, we didnít freakin get it! During Iron Maiden the lights went down low and some tire treads extended onto the stage and started moving while metallic lurching sounds filled the arena. We waited, and waited, and waited, but it seemed the tank had run a bit low on fuel or else Eddie was having a nap backstage. Bruce came out a few moments later and tried to call our attention and apologize for a slight malfunction. As he put it, it was his biggest Spinal Tap moment since he ripped his pants one time and ďhad his balls hanging outĒ, apparently there was ďsupposed to be a big fucking tank that comes outĒ but the Philadelphia electric company didnít have a big enough plug installed backstage to power the bad boy. It was a bummer but it did make for an interesting part of the show. I remember the whole venue erupting in a chant for Eddie and Bruce standing up there looking a bit at a loss for what to do. The continued with the encore and Eddie was quickly forgotten about, although my friendís dad always joked that Kissís show never broke down. I was thankful that all three Eddies worked this summer in DC when my friend and his dad were there for their first Maiden show since 2006.
That night I saw them play 13 tracks I had never seen before, the AMOLAD album, 2 Minutes to Midnight, The Evil That Men Do, and Fear of the Dark. I remember losing my mind for 2MTM. Haha By the end I was hot, sweaty, thirsty, and exhausted. What a terrific show and an amazing setlist.
We left and my brother instantly started blasting AMOLAD on his ipod on the drive to the hotel which we found a little weird haha. We went to bed and went our respective ways in the morning. It was a long drive home and I was glad to be back but it was definitely worth it. This concert was something I will never, ever forget or stop being thankful that I had the opportunity to see. In the months afterwards I officially began thinking of AMOLAD as my favorite album ever, and that hasnít changed since. To this day it is still my favorite Maiden album, and my favorite album of all time. The fact that I got to witness my favorite album of all time live in its entirety is unbelievable and Iím very lucky for the opportunity to do so. So thatís it I suppose, one amazing show, one perfect setlist, and the greatest album ever recorded.
If I could go back and relive one single show it would be a terribly hard choice between this one and the first Heaven and Hell tour in 2007 but I think this show would win out.
Now release a damn live album from this tour!