Somewhere Back in Phoenix

By CrpnDeth, Staff Photographer/Writer
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 @ 10:09 PM

Iron Maiden will get you ...no matter how far....

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We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets. We shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender!

And with that infamous war cry once again bellowing out from the mighty PA at the Cricket Pavilion, Iron Maiden is bringing us back to 1985. Somewhere Back in Time is the tour that is the blue print for how the band rolls. Aces High is coming off the stage at full throttle, much like it was back in Long Beach when the historic Live After Death was recorded during the World Slavery tour. This time it appears more ferocious. As the band continued on with 2 Minutes to Midnight, the entire crowd was singing along with every word, something that consistently lasted throughout the whole night. Every song. Every word.

Not only musically, but the boys are in fine shape physically Ė constantly running from side to side and jumping over the monitors on the stage. The intensity coming out of the guys was definitely a result of feeding off the energy of the crowd. It was like watching the Live After Death DVD all over again, this time with Janick Gers thrown in to the mix.

The precision riffs and solos were flawlessly traded back and forth between Dave Murray, Adrian Smith and Janick Gers. The triple axe symphony was a treat all in itself. At one moment during the show, even above the PA, I could actually hear Steve Harrisí fingers nailing each bass string. Nicko Ė hidden well behind his mountain of drums Ė was keeping things moving at a hectic pace. Itís amazing to watch the fills he plays when heís up on the big screen. One of the greatest moments that showcased the band as a tight unit was Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the epic tale of the albatross.

An integral component to the bandís power and longevity is easily attributed to Bruce Dickinsonís massive vocal strength. Being barely three feet away from me at times, it was utterly amazing to feel how powerful his vocals are and how easily he harnesses it. One of those truly amazing singers who make everything seem like second nature. Ripping his way through The Trooper, Wasted Years, Can I Play with Madness?, Heaven Can Wait and Iron Maiden shows off the talent very well.

By the time the band finishes, you have been completely transformed back in time, just as the tour promised.

Opening support was none other than Steveís daughter, Lauren Harris. Hitting the stage with a blistering cover of UFOís Natural Thing seemed like an odd choice, and the expression on the crowdís faces showed this isnít what they were expecting. The track appears as a bonus track on the European release of her new disc Calm Before the Storm, but it just seemed out of place to open with. But as she belted out her own tunes the crowd slowly warmed up to her and the unfamiliar material. By the end of her set, the crowd was cheering and throwing horns in approval. She definitely has the energy of her dad and the pipes like Uncle Bruce (weellll, almost). The band sounded as if they have been playing together forever, and all seemed thoroughly thankful to be supporting such legends as Maiden.

This weekend the band is hitting the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine CA on the 30th and 31st. I caught Maiden here a few times back in the late 80s/early 90s (when it was called Irvine Meadows) and to catch the current tour there would be well worth your time, itís easily going to be one of the best of 2008 . Donít miss it.

Click on the thumbnail shots for larger pictures.

Lauren Harris:

Iron Maiden:

ALL PHOTOS (c) 2008 DAVID SVENDSEN- More photos on display here

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