Iron Maiden stormed into Bristow, Virginia on Tuesday for the third time in the past six years, and as usual, a large, rabid crowd followed. Times have changed a bit since those earlier concerts. Gone are the lighters in the darkened theater, which have been replaced with the audience holding up cell phone cameras. And we didn’t hear mainly the same songs that made them famous in the 80s – most of the show was focused on the albums from the last decade. When they asked who was attending their first Maiden concert, at least half the fans put their hands up. Not bad for a band that formed in 1975.
Bruce Dickinson, 51, wore a “Psych Ward” T-Shirt and was jumping around the stage like Dwyane Wade with a mic. A different stage-length flag of Maidenesque artwork appeared for each song. A ten-foot Eddie came lumbering out during Iron Maiden. The devil made an appearance during Number of the Beast. The stage was set up like some space-themed fun house.
They opened with Wicker Man, and also from Brave New World played the title track, Ghost of Navigator, and Blood Brothers – which Dickinson dedicated to Ronnie James Dio. With the new album, The Final Frontier, coming out in August, they delighted the crowd with the already released El Dorado. From Dance of Death, they played the title track, Wildest Dreams, and No More Lies. And from A Matter of Life and Death they played The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg and These Colours Don’t Run. Mixed in with the relatively new music, oddly enough, was Wrathchild (1981), a song that was older than more than half the audience. But I’m fairly certain they all recognized Fear of the Dark and Hallowed Be Thy Name, which they played later in the show.
The one odd thing that happened all night was that the closed with Running Free, ten minutes before 11 p.m., and seemed prime to close it off with Run to the Hills. The band left the stage and the lights remained off in the seating area, so most people stayed, cheering for more, but it didn’t happen. No matter. We’ve heard Run to the Hills a million times. But we have not seen a show like that one before.
May Iron Maiden be around for many more years to come.