Concert Report: Iron Maiden in Tacoma
I ran into my friend "Barbarian Will" Smith over the weekend, and saw him in a snazzy looking T-shirt. I asked if he was at the Iron Maiden concert this past Thursday at the Tacoma Dome. His response was perfect, "Hell Yeah I Was!" I asked him for his concert report, and he did not disappoint! Enjoy his tale of Eddie, Beer, a backstage fight & Iron Maiden's Music! Check out some pics he snapped below in the gallery after his very detailed report!
The Legacy Of The Beast Tour 2019
Reported by "Barbarian Will" Smith
I fell in love with the unique sound of Iron Maiden before I even became a spotty, door-slamming teenager. I never really grew out of that. Hell, my wedding pictures are of me in an Iron Maiden shirt next to my beautiful bride in her white dress. Anyway, I could reminisce for an entire lifetime and fall short of Iron Maiden's long and enduring legacy. That is to say - the Legacy of The Beast (tour 2019).
Due credit given to the opening band 'The Raven Age', they had a great and heavy sound that filled the Tacoma Dome with a great buzz, and invited enough people out of the wings so I could search for my Clansman (with a C) Eddie T-Shirt, and a Trooper beer - one of the last of 180 which had been in stock. We tortured at least a dozen other 'Maiden fans who were desperate to try Trooper for themselves by pointing to the single Kiosk that had held the precious few cans and letting them know - sorry, it's all gone - sad. My charitable and noble wife allowed one particularly handsome 'Maiden fan to try a sip from her can. I didn't.
A hundred bucks or so later and I had a shirt, two beers, and a burger with fries, and was ready to settle in to the start of the show. 'The Raven Age' posed for a picture of the Tacoma crowd with an American flag and peaced out off the stage. I managed to get up and find a quiet spot to pee in all the commotion. Just in time to get back and trip over a seat, and stumble into my wife's arms.
All right. Great. Now I have a mouthful of Tacoma Dome fries just in time to hear their cover of U.F.O.'s 'Doctor Doctor' come on. A recording while the last bits and pieces of stage decoration were set in place; all right -- this is good -- I thought, as I chomped through the last of my fries, and the wife's, and finished her Trooper beer ... here we go ... suddenly Churchill (Winston, not the car insurance dog) is giving his famous speech about fighting in the streets, and on the beaches, and Tacoma Dome falls into a dead silence as we all just sit (or stand) and listen, and suddenly there's an engine's mighty roar and the stage comes to life - and out jumps Steve, and Dave, and Adrian and Janick and they burst up to the front of the stage (all in their 60's now) with their guitars; and Nicko is hiding in a foxhole at the back of the stage hammering his drums with an honest to goodness motherloving SPITFIRE dangling over his head. And somewhere among the chaos of it all out came Bruce like a Hurricane (Battle of Britain aircraft reference because I'm clever) with his leather aviator cap and goggles and of course immediately starts belting out Aces High and I'm there again - not the door slamming spot-erupting teenager, but the kid who fell in love with a heavy metal band.
Bruce hit every note in "Aces High" on Thursday night, and after no more than enough of a pause to throw on another costume the set moved onto "Where Eagles Dare," and in a finger-snap into "2 Minutes to Midnight". The seamlessness and genuinely awesome performance of the band and crew in its entirety really deserves merit beyond words. This wasn't a mere heavy metal show, this was winding up to be a production. The Tacoma Dome buzzed as everyone sang back their most familiar and favorite choruses. Dickinson prompted many a 'screeeeeeeeaaaaaam' from Tacoma as is his wont.
As "2 Minutes to Midnight" came to an end Bruce addressed the crowd, gave salutations and asked if there were any Scots in the building. I dusted the remainder of my burger and fries off my Iron Maiden shirt and threw my fist in the air, called out in my boldest Iron Maiden call along with I suppose a handful of others. He commented on the weather in typical British fashion and went on to introduce "The Clansman", a song from Iron Maiden's days without Bruce Dickinson when Blaze Bayley had toured with the band and worked on (among others) the Virtual XI album, and Dickinson nailed it. The crowd sang back at him (often at sword-point). Dave Murray and Janick Gers shared a few moments under the spotlight during "The Trooper", though all eyes were on Eddie and Bruce as they engaged in an epic and ferocious duel throughout the entirety of the song, ultimately ending when Bruce pointed the American flag at Eddie like a rifle and shot the gigantic redcoat in the chest with a pyrotechnic act of patriotism that would've given George Washington a hard-on.
With Eddie out of the picture the backdrop of the set darkened, and down came the candle-lit chandeliers, and an altogether more somber and grim facade fell over the stage. For about three seconds until Nicko abused (in the most beautiful way) his drums, and the guitars kicked in again, and Bruce in yet another outfit walked forth with "Revelations", which to say was well received would be an understatement. Every voice in the Tacoma Dome sang out with Iron Maiden. Every voice. And the band wound down at the end, and Bruce sat down on the stage and leaned forward to lead us into "For The Greater Good of God", which ending on an upbeat and near frantic note - was the perfect set up for the band to start "The Wickerman". Did I forget to mention that this was no mere show, but in fact a production? As the backdrop of stained glass showcasing a variety of sainted Eddies fell away to ruin, a great wickerman was raised in its place. I was personally awestuck with the theatricality of the entire show. And then two things happened.
The stage darkened, Bruce solemnly wandered around his stage (and it was his stage, for he commanded it and all eyes were on him). The wickerman effigy burned away in the background and we were transported into Hell. Fire and tortured souls flowed behind Iron Maiden as Bruce chanted the introduction to "The Sign of The Cross." I knew the kids behind me were a little young when one piped up excitedly to his buddy "Oh my God, they're going to play 'Stonehenge,'" presumably from the cult cla.ssic movie "This Is Spinal Tap" As the song erupted and I laughed to myself, my wife nudged me and took my attention from the show to point out that some unlucky bastard was being savagely beaten by security. That was gnarly. It was later alleged that at least 10 members of Tacoma Dome's security were laying into this poor chap, and Bruce was having none of it. But more on that later ...
We'd finished out trip through hell, Tacoma Dome was starting to stink of sweat and beer and other odours associated with an aging class of metalhead. It was hot, stiflingly hot -- and I was out of beer. Then the backdrop changed yet again and suddenly there - where there'd been fire, and a torturous hellscape, was blue skies and the sweet sight of rolling clouds; and Icarus with his winged arms outstretched climbed up into the clouds and Bruce of course started to sing "The Flight of Icarus"; and three and a half thousand other voices joined in. I honestly forgive Bruce Dickinson for the pyrotechnics he employed. Jets of flame bursting out of the stage, and yes, even when he double fisted a f***ing flamethrower (with which I'm sure he had way too much fun -- and I forgive him for that, too).
Icarus fell, my eyes were still adjusting from the fiery end. Darkness again fell upon the stage. Nicko struck his drums, and all eyes were drawn to Harris, then to Janick, and then to that wonderful genius of a guitarist Dave Murray for the iconic and unmistakable "Fear of The Dark". Bruce had been changing his clothes again and re-emerged cloaked, and masked with an eerie green lantern just in time to hold our hands and lead us down the old familiar road of those ancient, ancient song lyrics. It was near to holy, with all of Tacoma Dome singing in one voice. I thought to myself, well this is it -- I can go home now. I reached out to tap my wife''s shoulder and almost had when the song had ended; and I was held fast. The metal in my heart twitched as "The Number of The Beast" followed, and how could I possibly turn away with the set ending in -- of course -- "Iron Maiden."
Well, that was it. The drumsticks were tossed into the crowd, a sweaty wristband, a fond adieu and Bruce bade us a good night, promising he'd see us again if we were good.
And I suppose we must've been, because after stamping our feet and whistling in the dark for no more than 60 seconds the band threw themselves back out onto the stage. Several thousand Iron Maiden fans were elated -- they'd come back!
But Bruce wasn't smiling. His face was stone and his gray hair and wizened tone as he spoke made us all -- me, at least -- feel like I'd just been scolded by a disappointed elder, a parent or dear uncle. The entire band of course is made up of men in their 60s. He, Bruce, looked around the whole crowd and met what must've been every eye under the Dome with his own. And he did tell us off, all of us, and my wife was embarrassed for the state of Washington for hosting this iconic band and leaving them with this sad memory and bad taste.
"We've got an Iron Maiden fan backstage who's had the shit kicked out of him by 10 security guards," is how he started -- and I knew this was bad. "Right here, I saw a security guard lean over the barrier and punch a kid half his size in the face four times. There were 10 people -- 10 people -- this is not a f***ing mixed martial art; in mixed martial arts you have a referee, you know?" as he pointed to the left of the stage, not far from where we were sitting though on the level below us. He went on, saying "this is not that. We've played to several hundred thousand so far on this tour. This is the first time anything like this has happened.", which sadly is pretty shameful, and rightly and deservingly embarrassing. He continued "I don't know if this happens in this building all the time, I don't know if this is an act of f***ing madness, and I hope that kid is receiving hospital treatment right now because he's bleeding from head wounds. I hope that kid takes this building to the f***ing cleaners. If anybody has any footage, any camera footage or anything, then we would be pleased to facilitate them to find the bullies, these f***ing criminals, who were responsible. It's no big, it's not clever -- it's just called a bully. It's as simple as that."
Everyone appropriately booed, and everyone cheered Bruce when he stood up for the kid in the back with the head injuries, and then the band started again and we were appropriately lead into the encore act; the first song of three; "The Evil That Men Do." Followed by a very energetic "Hallowed Be Thy Name" where Bruce narrowly avoided being hanged, and escaped from some iron bars.
The night ended with "Run to The Hills," which made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. The whole floor, the whole Dome had joined in before -- I mean, come on -- I've walked you through the set and there are some classics that every true metal child should know. Hell my daughter was raised with some lullaby renditions of a couple. But this song, this finale. There were fists in the air, there were horns being thrown up, there were stamping feet and people whistling and taking pictures. The band was flawless, Bruce's voice was unfailing. I can't say for sure but I'm pretty sure the International Space Station was knocked off course by a fraction of a degree from the sonic wave as literally thousands of Iron Maiden fans screamed out "Run to The Hills, Run for Your Lives!" over and over again.