A little late but oh well.
This was the closest to me that Maiden has played since 1988 when they actually played in my area. This show was still just under three hours away so it wasnít exactly in my backyard either but it wasnít a bad drive at all. Iíve never been to this venue before but the staff all seemed really cool and the grounds of this place were huge. I got there around 3:45 or so and got paper tickets from the box office easily as I was instructed to do for first to the barrier. I couldnít believe how easy it was, most of the time things to do with paperless tickets and the box office staff is a huge mess. I got to park my car in one of the lots before it was officially supposed to be open too which was nice cause lots had a ridiculous official opening time of like 5 or 5:30. FTTB was run by the venue staff and not a Maiden employee which was different but it actually ran smoother than all the other times Iíve won. The staff let us in but made us stay in line and walk with them down to the pit. I was maybe the 8th or 9th person in and I got the exact spot I wanted. Dead center on the rail. Iíve never been to the center before at a Maiden show so I wanted to give it a try and see what the perspective is like from there.
The wait for Megadeth to come on went by pretty fast as I had a lot of people to talk to including the security guards who were really nice. Megadeth came on at 7:30 and thankfully they did not open with Trust. Their set was pretty standard except for the nice surprise that was Tornado of Souls but the band sounded good and looked like they were putting a lot into it. I thought they sounded surprisingly heavy for some reason. I made eye contact with David and Chris a few times and they seemed glad that someone in the front was pretty into it. They played movie clips in between a couple songs where the actors mention Megadeth. Those clips were from Silver Linings Playbook, the second Wayneís World movie, and one other that I didnít recognize. Dave held off on mentioning politics until the very end haha. I got a pick from Chris after the set which was cool.
As Maiden was setting up I noticed a lot of dirt buildup on the drapes and the monitors, touring seemed to be taking its toll on the equipment.
The intro to Moonchild is such an awesome moment; itís a really great opening song, especially with the pyro blast as the guys run on stage. The bass was pretty high in the mix where I was but thatís not all bad as itís cool to hear Steveís parts so well. Bruce was up on the ramp for that one but things really got interesting when he came down right in front of me for Can I Play With Madness and The Prisoner. Later on in the set he was looking at me and the people right next to me in the front row and mouthing something but I really couldnít tell what it was. The Trooper was the highlight of this show for sure. Being right there as the four of them charge the front at the same times was so awesome. Steve was staring me in the eyes and yelling the words to entire lines of the song without breaking eye contact. I had a whole lot of interaction with him throughout the night, probably more than Iíve ever had before. Even when he was over near his mic or on the right side of the stage I felt like I kept getting looks from him.
2 Minutes was particularly good at this show and Bruce was really animated during Strangers so it was cool to be right in front of him for that. He mentioned that this was the first time theyíd played Raleigh-Durham as he called it (I guess he paid attention to the airport name). I did a lot of jumping to the various songs and that was fun. Wasted Years seemed sort of slow for some reason. During Seventh Son Bruce held out that ending note for what seemed like forever, it was very impressive. One other thing I remember about this show was that it was quite a sweaty one, even if it wasnít terribly hot. Steve and Bruce were especially soaked.
After Iron Maiden had finished and the band were throwing out some things and leaving the stage I saw Steve take off his wristband and get ready to throw it into the crowd. I held up my hand and wrapped my other one around my wrist hoping to get his attention and try and snag one of those coveted, ever-elusive Steve Harris wristbands. He caught my gaze and threw his wristband directly at me and I (easily, although very thankfully) grabbed onto it with both hands and looked back up at him and started yelling out thanks with a huge smile. I finally had a wristband from my hero; itís been the one piece of concert memorabilia that Iíve been dying to get over the years. I have pics from people like Dave Murray, Lemmy, and Tony Iommi, and I even have Alice Cooperís cane, but none of those things mean as much to me as finally getting one of these wristbands. What makes it even greater is that I didnít just get it from security guys after it fell in the photo pit or snag it in a scrum after it was thrown haphazardly into the crowd, Steve meant for me to have this one. And to top it off, it was the one he had been wearing for the whole show up to the encore and it was soaked in sweat from a hard night of performing. Iím not gonna lie, the sweatiness of it made it even better.
They came back to do the encore and I was totally worn-out but electrified by my catch and managed to keep the energy high till the end. Bruce did some talking to Yorick (aka: his hat) before The Evil That Men Do and they finished up with Running Free. Now Iím sick of that song on paper but it works pretty well as a closer (not nearly as well as Hallowed though). Nicko came out and was throwing his drumheads and must have nailed somebody with one because he had quite a concerned look on his face and covered his mouth with his hands a few moments after he threw one, it was funny. I had already gotten plenty for the night but he threw out a handful of wristbands right above me and one bounced off my hand and right next to a security guard I had chatted with a bit before the show. He picked it up and went to hand it into the crowd and, as expected, there were a bunch of people all reaching to get to it but he circumvented them all and handed it right to me which was very awesome of him. It was a great show and I left with more things than Iíve ever caught at any other Maiden show before, including my now-prized Steve wristband. I always said that if I ever was lucky enough to catch one that Iíd want to be buried in it, now at least whenever I kick the bucket I can be properly accessorized.
You know the set by now.
But Megadeth did She-Wolf in addition to the 9 other songs they've been playing at other dates on this tour.