What to say about this show? Well, just like the entirety of my trip, I feel like words donít really express the proper depth or magnitude of it. My parents want to hear about my trip and I try and explain the coolest points and talk about the things we saw but to me it always comes out flat compared to what I actually experienced. Thereís just too much to remember, too much to try and explain. Pictures help but donít really do the experience justice either in my opinion. Despite the knowledge that no review is gonna be able to accurately describe the true nature of this gig, Iíd like to give it a shot anyway at least for posterityís sake. I believe this may actually be my first (I have the one from 2006 but that was written in retrospect) or at least one of the few Iron Maiden concert reviews Iíve written for this site. I try and do a little something for all my gigs but with Maiden shows itís just like what can you say? In my opinion you could go on and on for pages or you could simply say ďIt was greatĒ and wallow in the full depth of your experience within your own mind. With this one though I will try and cook up a little something due to the circumstances around it being pretty special in my opinion.
The gig was on my third day in Paris and the day before I had found out that I had won FTTB so I was extremely excited for multiple reasons. I would get on the barrier of course but I would also be able to spend more time in the city instead of sitting in line for a long time which was great. We went to the Louvre that day and honestly the crush at the Mona Lisa was just as bad as at any U.S. Maiden gig.
So we did that for most of the day and I was feeling pretty worn out by the time we caught the metro down to Bercy. It was funny how the number of Maiden shirts on the train kept doubling with every station that was stopped at along the way. After coming back up on street level, I no longer felt tired. Stepping up into the sunlight I saw hundreds upon hundreds of people all about the giant grass pyramid in front of me. I love the way Bercy looks and its history both with Iron Maiden and in general so I was stoked just to see the venue itself. I think the only other venue Iíve ever been more excited about is Madison Square Garden.
Upon seeing the crowd I was very glad I had FTTB, it looked like half the floor could be filled up by the people that were there before me. I found a merch stand and went to look for the French event shirt but no luck; there was an empty spot on the wall between the shirts. After scoping the place out and getting my girlfriend to take lots of pictures, I ran into another merch stall and secured two event shirts and the Aces High shirt. At first I was a little disappointed that there arenít any actual Paris things on the shirt but it is a really cool design and itís something different from the usual Eiffel Tower / Arc de Triumphe imagery the French shirts usually have. After handing off my purchases to my girlfriend (who wasnít going into the show), I raced around to the back of Bercy to the FTTB entrance. After what seemed like a pretty long wait and an absolutely chaotic and stupid run / brawl / showdown with security into the venue I got a spot in front of Dave and Adrian. I wasnít on the barrier largely due to the idiocy of everyone shoving and trying to get in but I was 2nd row and between the heads of two shorter people so I could see just fine. Later I would be glad I wasnít actually on the barrierÖ
We were let in at like 5:45 so there was still quite a wait before Maiden but I talked to some nice guys from all over the world and took in the sights of the venue. The inside was great as well, modern looking and clean. Voodoo Six was nothing special really but the French crowd was. They were absolutely nuts. Theyíd play an advert for Sonisphere France on the jumbotron with a snippet of Wasted Years and the crowd would go wild, when it would go off after a few seconds they would boo like someone just announced that the show was cancelled.
Between bands the whole arena would do the wave over and over with gusto, every few minutes chants for Maiden would break out that would spill over into the whole arena. That was the great thing, the crowds in the back seemed just as happy to be there as the people on the floor and up front. Not like America where the pit and the first half of the 100ís are excited and the rest of the shed acts like they really couldnít give a damn. It is nice to be around a lot of people having fun and letting loose. Once the intro started rolling, I could tell it would be getting crazy on the floor. Maiden came out with a bang and the whole place exploded. I was very glad I had a soft body to be pressed against all night rather than the metal barrier because the crush was significant. Maiden sounded great, Moonchild had new lighting from last year and it was really cool. Bruce sounded wonderful on his first scream of the night. Without much of a pause they went into Can I Play With Madness and the crowd only got more intense. The Prisoner may have been the best song of the night and I swear Steve was staring me dead in the eyes and nodding at me for the line ďYouíll be afraid when I call out your nameĒ. That was one advantage an American fan had over the excitable Parisians, I actually knew all the verses to the songs.
Bruce gave a speech in French before Afraid to Shoot Strangers so Iíve no idea what he said but it ended with the arena singing happy birthday to Nicko who was turning 61 that day. I made a sign for his birthday and at the end of the gig I held it up and he noticed it and had a laugh, pointed, and said (or mouthed, I couldnít have heard him anyway) ďThank you. No really, thank you!Ē which felt pretty awesome. In retrospect I should have taken a picture of that sign, I left in in the floor of Bercy because it had been thoroughly trashed from the movement and the sweat. Ah yes, the sweat. Iíve heard Bercy is a particularly hot venue due to the glass, the grass, and the lack of AC. The weather was mild that day but I was still soaked before the gig was half over. I even brought a plastic bag to put my ticket stub in because I didnít want to ruin it with my own sweat.
Wasted Years was an absolute highlight and honestly made me very emotional. Just to be in such a far away and great city seeing my heroes play a great gig in a historic venue was a bit overwhelming. I tried to look around and take it all in because those are some of the best memories and emotions and ones you want to mentally retain for as long as possible. Seventh Son was fantastic as always, itís been a highlight of every one of my Maiden England gigs. The pyro was lower than usual (it was actually flares instead of flames in the candles) but it was probably something to do with regulations about sustained flames. One of the French guys that came in first of the general queue who must have been at the venue since the early morning turned to me and told me in English that he could die happy now. I felt good about that because earlier before the gig Iím pretty sure he and his friends were conspiring to take my spot because the ďAmericanĒ (as I overheard) probably couldnít handle it on the floor. Maybe I proved myself?
Honestly, I may have been more energetic at this gig than any other Maiden gig in my life. Itís something about the overall energy of the crowd and the venue that is infectious and makes you wanna go crazy to be on par with their madness. It was such a great atmosphere.
Iron Maiden saw the big Eddie come out and itís probably one of my favourite big Eddies theyíve ever had, it looks so cool. Aces High kicked off the encore and it sounded way better than last year. I think not being in 100 degree heat for the duration of the show really helped Bruce kick it up a notch for this song. The scream at the end was wonderful and the whole band really brought it just like they had been the entire gig. I hate the idea of closing with Running Free on paper but itís a very fun song that gives Bruce a good chance to interact with the audience one last time. I still think every Maiden gig should close with Hallowed but thatís another story. The new backdrop they had for Running Free was cool and I love the color scheme of this tour.
They said their goodbyes and turned us all loose on Paris. I wondered around the venue before I left and took some more pictures before heading to the hotel. Fantastic venue, amazing audience, wonderful performance, great fun, and probably one of the best gigs Iíve seen. Next European tour I want to see them in the Nordics, preferably Gothenburg and Oslo, but I know Iím gonna be incredibly tempted to go back and see them in Paris again.
Frankfurt reviews coming tomorrow hopefully.
2. Can I Play With Madness
3. The Prisoner
4. 2 Minutes to Midnight
5. Afraid to Shoot Strangers
6. The Trooper
7. The Number of the Beast
8. Phantom of the Opera
9. Run to the Hills
10. Wasted Years
11. Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
12. The Clairvoyant
13. Fear of the Dark
14. Iron Maiden
15. Aces High
16. The Evil That Men Do
17. Running Free