Tuesday, September 23, 2003 @ 12:32 AM
Iron Maiden, Dio and Motorhead
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REVIEW BY: Mike Bodnar
Not to be redundant, I will try not to repeat what all of the other well written reports had to say about Iron Maiden, Dio and Motorhead on their present tour. I encourage you to read all of the other reports.
Motorhead came on about ten of seven, to about a half filled "shed," which was the Cricket Pavilion, in Phoenix, AZ. This "shed," as Bruce Dickinson calls them, holds 8000 under the roof cover in front of the stage. Motorhead was LOUD, and they seemed to like it that way as Lemmy said, "Phoenix, how you doing?" and to whatever reply, which I did not hear, he said, "We'll take care of that." He then said, "This is Motorhead, a real rock 'n' roll band."
They then proceeded to play their hammer smashed face music, which I thought would have been much better if it was not so blisteringly loud to the point of incomprehensiveness. It's a shame to waste a great band like they are to a couple of notches on the P.A. By contrast, their recordings are perfectly engineered so you can hear his words, and the instrument separation.
I've NEVER been into Motorhead, strangely enough, but I've always respected their music as Metal, and better than all of the stuff that ain't. Everything that the other report writers said is true, because it happened in Phoenix on August 22nd as well, like a well rehearsed play.
The drummer, Mikkey Dee, put on a spectacular display of drumming in a solo. For all of those who have ranted about how much they hate drum solos, I could only appreciate his beating out all of those notes on what I could imagine was a set of Tama Starclassic Maple, or one of the other great drum brands. I do read that he endorses Sonor. Nonetheless, his drumming was a superb part of their show, and the only part that was ear ecstasy.
It grew dark and I could not see my watch, but they probably played whatever length set that the other writers had noted. I could only think when they were done: if I had to play the guitar that long and that hard my fingers would be raw to the bone. They deserved the applause -- and manic howls -- that they received when they left to stuck, sonic amplifiers.
Ronnie James Dio and company came on about eight o'clock, and he brought the magic with him. I was sitting there just before, thinking to myself, "I can't believe that Dio and
Iron Maiden are going to be HERE tonight!" but they were! I was in HEAVEN!
Dio was pure magic, pure rock. I just went UP, UP, UP! His band was the sorcerer's apprentices. Jimmy Bain was rock steady, and melted with Ronnie James. Some of the other writers and ranters have negatively criticized Craig Goldy, but he got the job done, well. I thought that he looked flashy, and his guitar gleamed. Dio waved his wand at him a couple of times, and Craig came to life. A guitar solo by him included a unique run of about a hundred -- count them -- single string, vivace, 64th notes ascending into bliss and the rest of his palette.
Simon Wright also had a fantastic drum solo. He, too, could only be appreciated, as he was masterful. Unlike Motorhead, Dio's sound production was just loud enough, not over done. Craig Goldy had four Marshall stacks whereas Phil Campbell in Motorhead had two, that I could see. Craig Goldy could have been playing vintage 50-watt Marshall amplifiers and Phil Campbell could have been using more recent 100-watt high grain heads. I saw no heads on his cabinets. He may have been using rack amps. That's all that I can think could have been the difference between sweet magic and hammer smashed face. Some people just don't notice the difference between heaven and hell.
All of the songs that the other reports mentioned were played. When this was near the end, Dio shouted out to the by then 8,000 under the roof an expletive that they ROCK! I figure that I better refrain from my usual f’ing modifiers that emit passion, in the event of censorship, so I'm not using any here. I couldn't find any of those words in the other reports so I thought that they only let the clean cut writers through. Stay tuned for my rant below.
I thought that Ronnie James Dio took the cake on Friday, August 22nd, in Phoenix. But, then Maiden is Maiden. UP THE IRONS!! They came out after Vincent Price and exploded! If it wasn't for KNAC I would not even know who Iron Maiden was, to this day! I have NEVER heard them on any radio station, EVER, anywhere, except KNAC 105.5, Long Beach, CA. That has to say it all about the power of Iron Maiden's music, and it's fans, and their longevity.
I can only remember hearing something the 105.5 KNAC DJ said was, 666, or about, the beast, and I said to myself, yeah, what's that? That was probably in 1985. I can remember cruising off down the I-10 to the Rainbow Bar and Grill in Hollywood, CA, listening on KNAC 105.5 to "Somewhere in Time." Like what kind of radio station plays that? That had to have been in 1986. I could never thank KNAC enough for Maiden, Metal, and everything that I ever wanted in a radio station. Kill ugly radio! Nobody pays me to say this -- I can only return the favor.
Maiden was also extremely loud on August 22, 2003, but their artistry keeps it under control. Or, it might have been, that I was louder than them! They were perfect, as well as predictable with their well-rehearsed and written about set. As if I or anybody else there cared if we knew what was coming, and not enough of it. UP THE IRONS!! already!
I marveled at how Bruce Dickinson flew around the stage, probably like he flies his airplane, without crashing. Iron Maiden's backdrop was ever-changing, and colorful as a carnival. A true sight to behold, and compliment to their music; as if their music needs a compliment. UP THE IRONS!!
There was some concern in the past about how three lead guitars would work out for them but they melded together like a precise clock mechanism. When they needed to grab hold of the moment, the four guitar players came together like a British Square. For those who are not knowledgeable of military history, a British Square was when the British redcoat infantry would form up in a virtually impenetrable square formation to fight off attackers, which was what defeated the French cavalry at Waterloo. Maiden' s guitars came together like that, and regrouped to save the moment, when being overcome by a monstrous crowd, at this point probably 8,000 plus.
Bruce Dickinson did his spiel about downloading their music and ripping them off, as well as the power of their fans, as I mention above. If you can't pay $14 for their new album, if you want it to enjoy for life, then you are as he implied, just a POSER. He seemed to improvise a little when he mentioned "you" possibly being that guy in the back of your class in school who liked Metal and didn't listen to the caca, syrup music (my words) that everyone else ate up. I thought that he was talking about me be cause I was in the very last row of this place. But, my school days like that were way before Heavy Metal, though I was that kind of listener, who spawned it, by necessity.
RJ Stone interviewed Bruce Dickinson, which RJ says will appear on the KNAC.com Web site. Bruce rants about how he hates playing these "sheds" because often he gets people in front of him who got free, industry tickets, are eating hot dogs, and aren't into the show the way that he lives for. I had to laugh at that one. I saw a lot of that on this night. Cold beer here! Just give me a water fountain, a place to drain the vein, and METAL!
It sounds like when great bands as these are forced to tour this way then there is plenty of room for you poorly-employed entrepreneurs out there to become promoters and spread Metal again properly. All of the headbangers there that I saw, who had come out of the woodwork, show that Metal is alive!
There was no drum solo from Nicko. He is a drum solo. I think that he was hiding behind his drum kit, seeking sanctuary from the law! Too tall Eddie came on stage seeking regal respect from his court, and got it!
Maiden left after "Iron Maiden," and I thought for good. I think that I was the only one there yelling for them to come back. They finally did, and Bruce said, "You knew that we would be back with so much music that we have." You could have fooled me!
They only did one encore, and all of my lone ranger yelling and everyone's thunder could not bring Maiden back another time. Nicko was the last one to leave the stage and waved to everyone. "Wasted Years" just came on KNAC as I write this! UP THE IRONS!!
As I was exiting that venue with the rest of the crowd to the tune of "Look On The Bright Side Of Life" on the P.A., I heard one guy whining to his buddy, "And we drove 70 miles
for this? This is hype!"
Hype? If that was hype you ain't Metal! You were expecting maybe card tricks?