Sunday, February 22, 2004 @ 12:46 AM
Iron Maiden Live at the Saitam
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REVIEW BY: David Whiteaker
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Saitama, a half hour north of central Tokyo, on the last night of Iron Maiden's Dance of Death tour… Having seen many 'big' bands play live, I knew I was in for a good one the moment the first support act exploded onto the stage. The epitome of cheesy ‘80s-style stadium rock, Sonata Arctica were electrifying. The vocalist has the best set of pipes I have ever heard on a male singer (of any genre) -- absolutely faultless. Add to this an accomplished lead keys player leaping around the stage with a slightly amusing ‘80s keyboard-guitar and you have a highly entertaining beginning to the evening.
This then set the stage for Arch Enemy to come out and show us all what you can do with a great bunch of musicians and no singer... nothing! Although they certainly bring great energy and technical skill to their performance, they basically suck. The frontman's screaming grows tired after 5 minutes. However, this has the bonus of contrasting greatly to the Air Raid Siren up next.
So, finally on came Maiden, exploding out of the blocks with “Wildest Dreams,” and from start to finish they had the venue going. As usual, every member of the band played their hearts out -- and great respect has to go to the man himself, Mr. Bruce Dickinson, who ran around the set with his usual bottomless pit of energy -- despite having busted his leg at an LA gig a few days earlier (which was evident as he limped around during their fantastic encore of classic Maiden tunes).
After 20-odd years, his voice is not even slightly diminished (perhaps even better...) and his enthusiasm is still there. The man has no equals... and neither do the rest of the band. The guitars ROCK, the bass ROCKS, and Nicko McBrain (who in my mind has the great distinction of being possibly the most gifted drummer to have come out of the ‘80s stadium metal era -- as most were shite) RRROCKS !!!!
The best gig I have ever been to. They rule!