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Iron Maiden "Somewhere

By A Headbanger, Do You Bang Head?
Wednesday, February 20, 2008 @ 10:48 PM

Los Angeles Forum, February 19

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Reviewed by Smylex

Despite it being a Tuesday night, Iron Maiden’s show at the Forum for the Somewhere Back In Time Tour was sold completely out weeks in advance. The band put on a rousing set on this “Classics” tour, only hampered by some poor sound - both front of house and venue - as well as some technical glitches and a couple of performance errors.

My evening began at 6 p.m. when I woke up for the day. (For some reason, “Wasted Years” was featured prominently in the dream I was having before I woke up.) After a shower and some breakfast, I was out the door and on my way to the Forum and made it to the 405 and Manchester within 40 minutes. Then, I stayed there for about another 40 minutes. Would someone please tell the management of the Forum that when you have an event that’s sold out, you need to do traffic control? Is it any wonder the Lakers moved out of the venue? Manchester is a four lane road and they only have 2 lanes going to the venue resulting in a traffic clusterfuck that was just as bad trying to leave.

I get to the venue and see that parking is $22 per vehicle and $20 at Hollywood Park across the street. What balls! Finally, I arrived and ran into some friends who had been tailgating and were coming in for their loge seats. We all wandered towards the building and found I was directed to a separate line for my floor level ticket to get a wristband. Wristband on, and then it was forward to security. While walking to be frisked, I saw two members of a local all-female Iron Maiden tribute being led in the opposite direction by security. I’m not entirely too sure what was going on, but I did hear their drummer weakly saying, “…but, we’re Iron Maiden fans!” While it may have been unrelated - it actually took a young lady friend of mine to point this out - there may have been a connection to something that was said on the stage later in the evening, but I digress. Finally, I get past security, through the doors, down the stairs, through a hallway and get to the floor of the venue. Being that I spent so much time outside in traffic, I completely missed Lauren Harris’ set, so I won’t make any comments on something that I didn’t see.

“Doctor, doctor, please…” Stage lights off and UFO’s “Doctor, Doctor” begins playing on the P.A. system signaling less than 5 minutes for the band. 9 p.m. and all lights went off. Set to “Transylvania” from the first album, the band showed a quick video of Ed Force One from earlier in the tour; the band backstage and meeting with fans; Bruce, the Pilot, doing a pre-flight systems check; and, the 747 taxiing down the runway. Finished with that brief introduction, more planes are seen on screen with “Churchill’s Speech” and the taped intro to “Aces High.” With a bang, the band hits the stage.

Ripping through classics off of each album up to “Fear of the Dark,” (with the exception of “Killers” and “No Prayer for the Dying”) the band played for just under two hours. Janick went a little long on his solo during “Revelations,” making the song sound somewhat off getting back out of the solo section, but the band landed on their feet. Bruce miffed the lyrics to “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” going straight from the first verse to killing the albatross in the second verse! The band kept up, resulting in an abbreviated performance of the tune. (By the way, Bruce was slightly off about them not playing the tune since the “World Slavery Tour.” They actually played the song during the “Somewhere On Tour” in support of “Somewhere In Time.” They may have also played it during the “Ed Hunter” tour, though I missed that show thanks to a faulty car radiator.) There were a few problems with the front of house sound dealing with Bruce’s microphone not being up when it was supposed to be. Add to the crap acoustics of the Forum and it was difficult to hear what Bruce was saying if not at a high enough volume.

Bruce did address the Ozzfest fiasco, though kept it at a minimum, thanking the paying crowd that came to see the band. Bruce mentioned the fact that some people were trying to get into the venue without paying, thinking they were VIP’s when they didn’t have any credentials stating as such (see the second paragraph). In the scheme of things, the tickets weren’t that expensive, especially considering the stage show that you were getting. The stage set was a modified version of the stage from the “World Slavery Tour,” though the side ramps were connected and went down, rather than up as they did back in 1984-85. Plenty of pyro was used, as opposed to past tours, so just pay for your fucking tickets if you want to see a good show. How else is the band supposed to make the money to continue touring? Record sales? Get real. The walking Eddie did make an appearance (in full Somewhere in Time garb), though there was no Eddie on a stick thanks to limited space aboard the band’s plane. Perhaps someone should have told Rod Smallwood that the Lakers haven’t been at the Forum for a few years before he had the Lakers jersey put on Eddie during “Iron Maiden.”

The show ended just before 11 p.m. and was recorded, possibly for later release or a rumored documentary of the tour. Merchandise sales were brisk, especially for the new “Somewhere Back in Time” tour shirt designs, as well as the event shirt of Eddie having finished engraving his name in a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The back has a drawing of Ed wearing an L.A. Dodgers hat giving the finger with, “F**k you! I’m the star here!” inscribed in pink (red on the smaller sizes). Shirts were running $35 each ($40 for XXL), programs for $15, while some specialty items will cost a bit more. If you really want the Iron Maiden 08 soccer jersey, you’re looking at $120.

After the band came out for an encore, they did announce that they will be coming back to tour the U.S. (including 2 shows in southern California) in May, so if you missed your chance seeing them on this show, you can catch the same show again in 3 months. Don’t worry, as is Maiden tradition, the set list will be the same.

All in all, the show was great, but management of the Forum needs to get fucked. Lower the prices on the parking (when the band plays in Irvine at the end of May, the parking is free – if you’re paying $20 for parking, you’re getting the Premier parking right next to the venue) and arrange traffic control with the C.H.P. and the local P.D. I haven’t seen anything that ridiculous since the 2001 Ozzfest in Devore, CA and have only returned to that venue once since then. Needless to say, I don’t think I’ll be returning to the Forum anytime soon if I can avoid it.

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