RJ Stone Reviews Iron Maiden/Dio/ Motorhead in Irvine & Long Beach

By RJ Stone,
Sunday, August 31, 2003 @ 3:21 PM

KNAC.COM DJ RJ Stone Reviews I

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OK, so do you think you can handle one more Maiden review? I promise to keep it brief, direct and to the point. As many of you know, the week started off with yours truly having a blast at a sit-down with Bruce. If you caught the interview that aired on Dysfunkshyn Juncshyn August 23rd, you heard how candid he was. Bruce has never been one to hold back his opinions and they carried on to the shows in So. Cal. If you didn’t get a chance to hear the interview, it will be up on the new archive page in the next couple of days, followed by the transcription for those of you without audio.

Motorhead, Dio and Maiden strolled into Irvine Meadows on the 24th to a packed arena, which was nice to see. Now I’m not gonna lie to you, I was in the parking lot during Motorhead, taking advantage of the refreshments in my cooler and not the $8 beers inside. Sorry, but I’m on a budget here. After waiting in the line to get in, which sucked but kudos to Irvine Meadows (yes, I still refer to it as I. M. and not its’ corporate moniker) for at least not charging a parking fee. Yes, it was probably hidden in the facility charge or whatever when I got the ticket; but I didn’t have to fork out another $10 when I got there so that was cool. It sounded like the crowd was into Motorhead and it was fucking LOUD outside so I’m going on a hunch here that they kicked everyone’s ass. If you beg to differ, send me an email. LOL!

We arrived at our seats just as Dio took the stage. I must admit, I was very impressed with his set. I’ve seen him a couple of times over the years and have just never really got into him. But this show was very, very cool and I’m glad I got there in time. Now, onto the reason I’m sitting behind the computer while CSI is on…

I’ve been to every Maiden show in Southern California since the Summer Strut in ‘82 and have been in the nosebleeds, the front row and the dead center, rib-busting spot in the pit, but this was the first time I have ever been able to watch the band from on stage. Gotta give props out to my pal Dale at Irvine for scoring me an on-stage view for the very first time. I watched the first 5 songs from there. What an experience! Maiden took the stage at 9:15 and opened with “Number of the Beast.” From there they went into the remaining 12 of their 13 song set (see below) and Irvine was once again alive to the sounds of the Maiden machine, whirring through hit after hit. The band was tight, and the energy on stage was cool. Probably the only downer about the whole stage set-up is unless you have a dead center seat, Nicko is blocked from view due to the risers on stage for Bruce’s antics. A brief stop for the new song “Wildest Dreams” from Dance of Death, which streets in the states on September 9th, and Bruce gave sermon of his feelings on downloading or uploading Maiden’s newest stuff on to the Internet. Which is basically, and I’m paraphrasing, “If you got a little recorder or camera and you want to get this thing out there, go for it. If you like the song, buy the CD.”

He also added his two cents about corporations and their place in Rock ‘N Roll and why they name venues after themselves. If you would like to experience a sample of his opinions for yourself, check out the interview archive from last week.

Here is the set list in order:

1. Number of the Beast
2. The Trooper
3. Die With Your Boots On
4. Revelations
5. Hallowed Be Thy Name
6. Wildest Dreams
7. Wickerman
8. The Clansman
9. The Clairvoyant
10. Fear of the Dark
11. Iron Maiden
12. 2 Minutes to Midnight
13. Run to the Hills

Overall it was a cool show and Irvine has always been a cool place to see the band. But for me, and like many others in attendance this evening, I was waiting for Monday night when they return to Long Beach…

Alas, here we are in Long Beach! Isn’t if fun how these things just transition from one day to the next? LOL! The electricity started for me as I made the trek down to Long Beach. My friend who I brought to the show is 22 and listens to Nu Metal and Alternative. She’s never really seen any shows of the founders of Metal so this is a new experience for her. I’ve promised her for two years now that I was going to take her so she was really excited as well. As we made the trip down Shoreline Drive and rounded the corner to the arena, you could feel the parties raging in the parking lot. Paid the $8 to park and for the first time since ‘92, I am walking to the gates of Long Beach Arena. Now, as I stated earlier, Maiden’s return to the venue was sort of “A rite of passage or homecoming” of sorts for a lot of Maiden fans and was never made more evident then as we kept running into friend after friend, of whom we hadn’t seen in years, at the show. A lot of Pure Rock Patrollers as well as many chat room buddies were there as well. The next thing you know, 20 of us are in the lobby of the arena standing around in a circle throwing back beers and just enjoying ourselves. I had invited old KNAC alum, Stew Herrera to hang with us and he dragged his ass down from L.A. and had a great time no less.

Once again, it was the same line-up with Motorhead kicking off the show and Dio following. During Dio’s set, we went backstage to a little meet and greet with Maiden, which was cool since I haven’t been able to do that since ‘92s Fear of the Dark tour. After a brief chat with Nicko, yes, I got a little scoop on “7 Times Seventy,” it was time for yours truly to get a picture with Steve. I hade one taken at the Fear of the Dark show, but my friend with the camera lost it in the pit so someone out there has a shot of me 11 years ago with all the guys. You bastard, whoever you are! Sorry about that. Anyhow, at about 9:45, Maiden took the stage and proceeded to play the exact same set as in Irvine. I was hoping for a little variety, but nonetheless, it was not to be. However, as Bruce pointed out, coming back to Long Beach was a great event for them and he also stated that he would rather pay in front of 8,000 people who are into the show rather than 18,000 who would rather be there for a hotdog and fries. This totally fired up the crowd. I could definitely tell that the energy level of the crowd was more intense than the night before, but as Nicko noted on Iron Maiden.com, the band was a little hung-over and Long Beach wasn’t as good as Irvine’s [performance]. Aside from one small glitch in the sound, I couldn’t tell and thought they actually sounded better.

As the show drew to a close and we were heading out, I can’t help but think that even after all these years, how much I still enjoy this band, love this arena and wish that more acts would come back to it. It truly is a great place to see a show.

I hope I didn’t bore you too much and that you weren’t expecting a song-by-song review. I felt we all have seen quite a few of them since the tour started and that just an over all perspective of Maiden’s visit to So. Cal would be more appropriate. So, as this article comes to an end, my random disc player just started playing Maiden’s Brave New World! I’m taking this as a sign to shut up now! Have a great rest of the summer, or winter wherever you are; look for Maiden on the official Dance of Death tour and remember… UP THE IRONS!!!

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