Wednesday, September 24, 2003 @ 1:51 PM
Iron Maiden, Dio and Motorhead
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REVIEW BY: Carl Burger
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Something was in the air at the Woodlands Pavilion (Houston, Texas) on August 16, 2003. Was it the smell of nearby houses or condos going up, or the waterway by the pavilion…? No -- it was HEAVY METAL nearby, very near! As we approached the pavilion one could tell that it was just going to be a magical night, and it was. We arrived shortly after 5 pm to find out that the gates were already open. One thing great about most heavy metal concerts is the great selection of heavy metal t-shirts, posters, etc. The Iron Maiden, Dio, Motorhead concert was no exception. Each band had at least two, maybe three t-shirt designs. Iron Maiden had four t-shirts designs plus the Steve Harris designed "new" soccer shirts. One could spend a small fortune on t-shirts and memorabilia.
What can you say about Motorhead. They are a classic band that came out with a classic song -- "We are Motorhead.” Lemmy and the boys (Phil Campbell on guitar and Mikkey Dee on drums) were as solid as ever. Some of the songs played were "Dr. Rock,” "Metropolis,” “Killed by Death,” "No Class" and a tribute to "Joeeeeey and Dee Deeeeee" of the Ramones, the classic song "Ramones.” One of the many highlights of Motorhead's set was the title track from "Sacrifice,” a killer song. Lemmy is a classic performer and even though he is pushing sixty is a true professional and took the group only getting thirty-five minutes in stride. The end, though, of Motorhead's set was the best with the playing of the classic-- I mean if there is a song that is truly a classic it is "ACE OF SPADES.” Motorhead encored with the bombastic "Overkill" and left the small but fanatic early pavilion crowd in great spirits.
Let me say it again, there was something in the air this night with Dio coming on next and opening with "Killing the Dragon.” Ronnie said he was going to play "title tracks tonight" and damned if he did not almost do that. "Last in Line" followed and showed new\old\new guitarist Craig Goldy that he still has what it takes. Some of the other title tracks were “Dream Evil,” “Holy Diver” from his Sabbath days, "Mob Rules and "Heaven & Hell.” Dio kept up the adrenaline with "Stand Up and Shout,” "Rock and Roll,” "I Speed at Night," and of course "Rainbow in the Dark.” Ronnie James Dio proved once again that Heavy Metal does improve with age. He had the Woodlands Pavilion crowd in the palm of his hand. We rocked and he rocked. It was a great show from a truly legendary singer.
IRON MAIDEN, IRON MAIDEN, IRON MAIDEN. The two words that have kept Heavy Metal alive through all these years. Bruce and the boys opened with “Number of the Beast.” This was truly a surprise for all in attendance. Speaking of attendance, this place holds 16,500 people and it was packed. Who said Heavy Metal was dead? Iron Maiden came, Iron Maiden ruled and Iron Maiden conquered. I know Houston gets a bad rap for not being a rock town, but on this night, Houston would prove the skeptics wrong. Iron Maiden is truly a legendary band with classics being played this night like "Revelations,” "The Trooper,” “Hallowed be thy Name,” “The Wicker Man,” “Fear of the Dark,” and a surprise classic, “Die With Your Boots On.” The only new song played this night was the wonderful “Wildest Dreams” from the new CD, "Dance of Death.
The non-Bruce era produced one hell of a classic in “The Clansman,” which is a very moving song about freedom and liberty a great, great song which was played this night. Bruce really puts his stamp on “The Clansman.” “The Clairvoyant” was played and saw the appearance of King Edward the Great. What is an Iron Maiden show without "EDDIE,” huh? On the previous mentioned played tune “Fear of the Dark,” the Pavilion crowd deserves an A+ for the “wooaah's” during the song, a truly outstanding performance by the Houston Woodlands pavilion crowd. Good job guys.
Finally we come to the point in the show where Bruce says "THE IRON MAIDEN" and the place goes ballistic once again with the arrival of “Iron Maiden.” Ah yes, another Iron Maiden show is over. The encores arrive and once the band was out back on the stage, Bruce said that hearing the crowd from the backstage area forced the group to hurriedly return to the stage and continue with the show. Starting the encores was “Two Minutes to Midnight” and the finale was none other than “Run to the Hills.” And with that, another great heavy metal concert was over to the tune of Monty Python's “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.” Thank you to Iron Maiden for such a great night. May they continue to UP THE IRONS!!!