By Dave Sanders
The heavy metal road trip is a time-honoured tradition among metal heads. Making the trip from Calgary to Edmonton may not be the most grueling of drives, but as soon as you leave your city to see a band, your expectations instantly become higher for the experience to come. Then, add in the fact that it’s Iron Maiden that you’re seeing, and the expectations go through the roof.
With that in mind, this intrepid reporter made the trip to Edmonton to see one of the greatest live metal bands ever. With the show starting promptly at 7:30, there were more people outside at the merch booth, and even more inside waiting in line to get their $40 Maiden tour shirts than there were in their seats to see openers, Dream Theater. While they are undeniably talented musicians, their brand of prog metal just didn’t seem to suit the mood of the night and left some fans (including this one) looking at their watches in anticipation for the real reason for going out that night. For anyone who’s seen Maiden before, they know of the elaborate stage show and the massive amount of set up that goes into it. The crew, working at full-speed, managed to keep the turn around time to about a half an hour, and then the lights went out.
The band lead off with crowd favourite, “The Wicker Man”, with lead singer Bruce Dickinson launching himself the monitors to the delight of the crowd. As always, the band was precise, further solidifying them as one of the tightest live acts around. But as great as the band sounded and as entertaining a show as they put on, there was still one common complaint at the end of the night; the setlist. While playing a handful of the “classics” (read: fan favourites), the band mainly focused on the last decade’s worth of recordings. Granted some of those songs, like “These Colours Don’t Run” and “Blood Brothers” were the best of the night, you still couldn’t help leaving hoping to have heard a few more of the older songs. When all was said and done, it was surely one of the best shows anyone there will see all year.