Iron Maiden Live in Los Angeles

By Tokemaster General, Contributor
Tuesday, February 3, 2004 @ 9:44 PM

Iron Maiden and Arch Enemy Liv

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REVIEW BY: Charles H. Smith

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It was with great excitement that my 11-year-old son and I went to Iron Maiden's show last Friday night at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles. This would be my seventh time seeing the mighty Maiden in concert but my son's first.

Arch Enemy opened the show with a roar. The two guitarists, the bass player and the drummer laid down a solid metal sound. The girl singer was pretty hot (at least from a distance), but she sang in the "death metal" style that I've never liked. Arch Enemy was well-received from the crowd (about half capacity) during their 40-minute set. They were probably one of the three loudest opening bands I've heard in 28 years of concerts. I couldn't help but think that they would not only be more popular but would sound better if they ditched the death metal vocals in favor of more conventional metal vocals.

The changeover lasted about 30 minutes and then the great sounds of UFO's "Doctor Doctor" came over the PA. It's one of my favorite UFO songs and, more importantly, I knew that it signaled the imminent arrival of Iron Maiden. The lights went down and the near-capacity crowd screamed its approval.

Maiden opened with "Wildest Dreams," the first song on their new release, Dance of Death. It's one of my least favorite songs on the album but it sounded great here. Unfortunately, the PA was "too loud" and I could hardly hear Bruce Dickinson's vocals. The soundman got things straightened out in a hurry, and the next song ("Wrathchild") came out loud and clear.

About 15-20 minutes into the show, Dickinson announced that this was the ‘Dance of Death’ tour and so they'd be playing some songs from the album. The guys then went into the title cut, which featured great musicianship along with Bruce in a mask (like the girl on the album cover) and, in closing, a black cloak.

The next example of superior showmanship was during "Paschendale," a song about a World War I battle. Before the song, there were recorded sounds of gunshots and machine gun fire accompanied by flashing lights over a dark stage. When the song started, there was a WWI battle scene of wooden fences, bushes and barbed wire set up atop the mock castle wall in back of the stage as well as a projected backdrop of dead soldiers on the ground. Dickinson was wearing a war helmet and a soldier's overcoat, and he sang the entire song from the battle scene instead of the main part of the stage.

"Lord of the Flies" followed. Many commented this was a beer or piss break time for them. To the contrary, I thought it sounded great even though I'd never heard the song before.

The closing trio of songs of concert proper were the best three closing songs I'd ever heard: "Hallowed be thy Name," "Fear of the Dark" and "Iron Maiden." During “HBTN,” Dickinson fell from the castle wall and lay in an awkward position next to Nicko's drum kit for what seemed to be a few minutes before he was helped to his feet by a roadie. The band played on, though Janick Gers and Dave Murray checked on him briefly. After he got to his feet, Bruce grabbed his mic and went right into the last chorus. The crowd went absolutely nuts!

Now, I must make a terrible admission. I actually left the show before the encores because my son was fading fast. The poor lad had been awakened early that morning (5am) by an alarm and he was just out of gas. However, the concert had been so fulfilling up to that point that I didn't feel shortchanged at all. If anything, I'm happy that I was able to expose my son to the great Iron Maiden. He later told me that the best part of the concert was "the war" ("Paschendale").

Set list:

Wildest Dreams
Can I Play With Madness
The Trooper
Dance of Death
Brave New World
Lord of the Flies
No More Lies
Hallowed by thy Name
Fear of the Dark
Iron Maiden

Encores (according to the Iron Maiden bulletin board) were "Journeyman," "Number of the Beast" and "Run to the Hills."

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