Iron Maiden at Comfort Dental, 8/13/12
IRON MAIDEN @ COMFORT DENTAL AMPHITHEATRE | 8/13/12
- The 25 Coolest Iron Maiden T-shirts we saw last night at Comfort Dental
- The six best quotes from Iron Maiden's show last night at Comfort Dental
- Slideshow: Iron Maiden at Comfort Dental
The word "epic" gets bandied about too often and is probably especially overused when it comes to describing the music of Iron Maiden, but these guys know how to make an entrance. As the two video screens on either side of the stage played footage of the Arctic and of ice shelves crashing into the ocean, and Orff-like music swelled in the background, the quintet strolled onto the stage amid the familiar, elliptical synth line of "Moonchild."
During the opening song, Bruce Dickinson took up residence at various points of the stage and gestured with a theatrical melodrama worthy of stage actors-cum-screen actors of the early twentieth century, right out of a F.W. Murnau or Fritz Lang picture. "Can I Play With Madness," with its Jethro Tull-esque rhythms, got the entire crowd singing along almost immediately. Though definitely metal, that song felt like some pop song fondly remembered from childhood. For many of us, it really was.
After "Two Minutes to Midnight," Dickinson engaged in a monologue that included good-naturedly calling out of the stoners at the show. He also bemoaned having to end the show early because of the notorious noise complaints from the area around the venue and told us the band would be playing a good deal of material from the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son -- an album whose cover imagery was inspired by Arctic landscapes. But not before a performance of one of the best songs from the much-maligned Fear of the Dark album, "Afraid to Shoot Strangers."
During "The Trooper," a giant Eddie dressed as a zombie Custer came on stage waving around an enormous cutlass. At one point, Janick Gers lifted his guitar up for Eddie to hit with his fist, eliciting a sound that went along with the song somehow. But Gers was amazingly energetic the entire show, sometimes dancing a jig, often jumping, and otherwise striking dramatic poses with his guitar.
We all knew what was coming when the intro of "The Number of the Beast" came over the speakers, and the crowd's energy rose to meet the beginning of the song. Joining the band was Old Scratch himself -- or at least a gargoyle-like creature with glowing red eyes made out to be the Devil. The creature's head moved back and forth like the horned one was scanning the audience.
During "Run to the Hills," the flame jets went so high they reached the lighting fixtures at the back of the stage and could have easily bathed the fabric coverings. Alas, nothing burned up as Dickinson had joked earlier in the set when talking about how the show had to end early. While "Run to the Hills" has sort of entered a larger public consciousness, the previous song, "Phantom of the Opera," was an interesting dip into the band's first album.
Page down for the rest of the review, more photos, the setlist and Critic's Notebook.