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IRON MAIDEN In Mansfield, MA

By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Tuesday, August 6, 2019 @ 5:49 AM

At Xfinity Center August 1st, 2019

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PHOTO CREDIT: George Dionne

Any IRON MAIDEN fan worth their salt had likely heard about all the fantastic reviews of the band's Legacy of the Beast show from their run of European dates. Perhaps even more likely, they had seen videos of the show online. For me, I'd read some of the reviews but knowing that I was going to see the show from the time the tickets went on sale, I'd purposely avoided as much as I could regarding seeing any of the videos. I wanted to see the show with my own eyes and have it be as much of a "new" experience as possible.

This would be the fifth time I'd gone to see IRON MAIDEN and they did not disappoint. While our seats weren't the best (at the prices being charged, moving closer just wasn't going to happen) but they were good enough that George and I still had a pretty good sightline for the stage.

I'm always amazed at the age range of the fans who come to (or in some cases, are brought to) the shows. People my age and older are expected. But then you have the people who weren't even born when Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith rejoined the band 20 years ago. The most hilarious thing was a set of parents who brought their daughter to the show. The girl couldn't have been more than three or four years old, but there she was decked out in a new band T-shirt, wearing headphones (which she later took off) and jumping up and down with one hand raised high to openers THE RAVEN AGE!

Speaking of THE RAVEN AGE, I have to say that I wasn't all that taken with the band. I won't say that I hated them but given that I had zero familiarity with the band going into the show, what I heard just didn't impress me all that much. They weren't bad per se, they just didn't really seem to offer anything special (to me, anyway) to set them apart from any number of bands on the scene these days.

But let's face facts, pretty much the entire audience was there to see IRON MAIDEN. And after the final strains of UFO's "Doctor Doctor" faded, it was time for the beast's legacy to be revealed.

Living up to one of the band's songs, the show was a revelation. Or perhaps a spectacle would better describe what well over 17,000 fans bore witness to. Opening the show with the snippet of a famous speech by Winston Churchill (that MAIDEN fans are long familiar with), the band came out full force, fiery and attacking with "Aces High". Remember the spectacle I mentioned? Well, the airplane hanging over the stage would certainly qualify as adding to that spectacle. I'd heard about the plane but what I didn't know was that it didn't just hang there. Rather, the darn thing moved about during the song simulating flight, moving here and there and even diving towards the stage at one point.

Keep in mind that this was just the set opener! The expense the band went to for this show must have been enormous. With the massive backdrops changing for each song in the set, the lights, the pyro and the various stage sets for certain songs. It was massive, intense and fueled a show that definitely burnishes their live reputation.

The band sounded great. That's no surprise of course, but on this night the band seemed to be that much more on their game. Dickinson was running all over the stage and holding court with the fans. Dave Murray, Janick Gers, Steve Harris and Adrian Smith were also freely running all over the place during the songs as well. As for Nicko McBrain, for the early part of the show he was kind of hidden from direct view but that barrier disappeared later in the set and though he wasn't going anywhere like the others, he was killing it behind the kit.

A lot of the times when you hear about multiple costume changes during a pop music show, as metal fans I think our initial reaction is to scoff. But in the hands of Bruce Dickinson, the costume changes are keyed to the songs themselves which makes it work better I think. During "Aces High" he was wearing a bomber helmet. On "Where Eagles Dare" he had on a winter clothes outfit. That couldn't have been easy since it was warm out. For "The Clansman", he sang with a sword in one hand. "The Trooper" followed and that's when Eddie came out on stage to engage in a sword fight (and some obscene gestures) with Dickinson.

The songs chosen for the tour criss-cross the band's entire discography but I was really pleased to see them pull out "For The Greater Good of God" from the A Matter of Life and Death album. It's an intensely heavy song both musically and lyrically. It's lengthy run time helps contribute to that epic feeling I get when I hear the song. I actually yelled out "YES!" when MAIDEN started playing the song.

The ever changing stage was made to look like the inside of a church during "Sign Of The Cross" (and during "Revelations" as well). I know that it is a Blaze Bayley-era song but Bruce does a fantastic job with the song and I loved hearing it. I thought the band was playing a trick on me during the outstanding rendition of "Flight of Icarus". The backdrop of a winged man was cool enough on its own but I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me when I noticed as the song progressed, the wings were getting smaller. Turns out I wasn't going crazy, that's actually what was happening as Bruce sang and fired off a handheld flamethrower. As the song ended, the winged man actually dropped behind the stage thus finishing the actual story behind the song. It was a "Holy Shit!" moment for me. I just wasn't expecting that at all.

As the spoken intro of "Woe to you..." began, the crowd (or maybe it was just me) went a little extra wild as the pyro heated things up for "The Number of the Beast". Each time I've seen IRON MAIDEN in concert, that song just gets my blood pumping even faster and this time was no exception. It's slightly disturbing how much I love that song.

The "Iron Maiden" song brought the regular set to a fevered pitch conclusion but making the performance that much more spectacular was when the Beast that serves as the logo for the tour began rising from the back of the stage during the last couple of minutes of the song. As it rose it looked out over the stage, the band and out into the crowd. It was just maddeningly fantastic!

After a very brief departure, the band's encore kicked off with "The Evil That Men Do" before "The Boys" brought the evening to its actual conclusion with superb performances of "Hallowed Be Thy Name" (which Bruce sang partly behind jail bars) and "Run To The Hills".

Everything I've heard or read about the Legacy of the Beast tour made it seem like this was such an event to witness that it would go down as one of the best concerts a fan could ever see. It would seem to be hyperbole...until you actually do see the jaw-dropping show for yourself. They played 16 songs on the night and left fans not only satisifed but still wanting more at the same time. From start to finish, IRON MAIDEN proves that their legacy is unassailable. They are the gold standard for any and all bands out there these days! UP THE IRONS, indeed!

CONCERT NOTE: Videos of 11 of the 16 songs from the Mansfield show can be found on Youtube. Oh, and I did add to my collection of MAIDEN T-shirts as well!

Set List

  • "Aces High"
  • "Where Eagles Die"
  • "2 Minutes To Midnight"
  • "The Clansman"
  • "The Trooper"
  • "Revelations"
  • "For The Greater Good of God"
  • "The Wicker Man"
  • "Sign Of The Cross"
  • "Flight of Icarus"
  • "Fear Of The Dark"
  • "The Number of the Beast"
  • "Iron Maiden"
  • "The Evil That Men Do"
  • "Hallowed Be Thy Name"
  • "Run To The Hills"

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