While y’all were drooling over RUSH, I was getting psyched for MAIDEN!!!

Let it be known that I was not amongst the group of Hellbounders who approached the Rush feature with the same excitement as the Maiden thing we did last year.  Although I could listen to my entire Rush collection in about 40 minutes, I was not feeling particularly patriotic when it came to contributing to our Canada Day Special.  Like the thousands of Torontonians who fly foreign flags when Canada Day lands smack dab in the middle of the World Cup, I do not have any attachment to our country–or rather, its most successful band–on this occasion. (I actually spent my Canada Day buying tickets to a concert in Portland and a football game in Seattle, so there you go!)

This has nothing to do with my ethnic heritage, mind you.  The 2010 World Cup did not provide me with an opportunity to bust out my Icelandic viking horns or my MacKenzie tartan; rather, the flag flying around my household was a tattered Union Jack–and not because I give a fuck about English soccer, either.  And neither does the NWOBHM’s most enduring band, apparently.  Iron Maiden has been on tour in North America since June 9th, a couple days before the tournament began.

Like many metal heads, Maiden was the gateway band that got me away from hard rock bands like KISS, AC/DC and Nazareth and into the realm of galloping bass lines, dual guitar leads and historical/fantasy themes, at the tender age of 12.  Unfortunately, I grew up in Calgary, where, upon my departure in 2005, Iron Maiden had not visited since the Olympics were in town.

Since I moved to Toronto, I’ve seen Maiden twice at the ACC, both times mere feet from the front rail.  I was a tad disappointed after the first gig, as it was the infamous A Matter of Life and Death tour, where they played the recently-released album in its entirety.  I must have listened to that thing at least 50 times in anticipation, and while I was one of the few in attendance who knew the words to the new songs, I wasn’t in total disagreement with the guy who brought a “Play the Classics” sign to a gig somewhere in the States.

Fortunately, the band redeemed themselves with their March 2008 gig on the “Somewhere Back in Time” tour.  Not only did they print off the best concert T-Shirt I’ve even seen (Eddie in Team Canada gear, with “I Was Somewhere Back in Time at the Air Canada Centre” on the back), they also played a whole buncha classics, and dusted off the stage show from the Powerslave era.  To date, it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen–and trust me, I’ve seen a few…

Thanks to a couple of fellow Hellbounders, I’ll be going to the Molson Ampitheatre tonite expecting to hear some tunes from their three post-millennial, Dickensonian comeback albums.  I can understand their reasoning this time, as it brings some variety to the Maidenheads who pay to see ’em on every tour while giving the younger generation of fans, many of whom discovered the band post- Brave New World, a chance to hear the songs they love.  I know we won’t be getting another “Somewhere Back in Time,” but as long as they play “Number of the Beast” in the encore, I’ll be happy.

There is one disappointing element, though.  The Amphitheatre’s smaller general admissions area, combined with the usual demand for Maiden tickets, means that I won’t be watching them from the floors for the first time.  But at least I won’t hafta stand through Dream Theater.  While they’re not as bad as the last two Maiden tour-openers, I would definitely take Rush over DT…

Peace,

Greg

P.S.: I’ll be playing a couple Maiden tunes on Smokin’ Green tonite, along with some Priest, Motorhead, Venom, Angel Witch, Diamond Head and Witchfinder General.  And maybe a little Pagan Altar, Cathedral, Electric Wizard and Orange Goblin, too.  Got your attention?  Then be sure to tune in from 1 till 3 am at 88.1 fm on yer radio, channel 947 on yer TV, or www.ckln.fm on yer computer!

Gruesome Greg

Seahawks/Stamps/Flames/Zags/Jays/Raptors fan and lifelong metal head with a beer gut and a self-deprecating sense of humour. Reviewer/blogger (Yon Senior Doomsayer) for Hellbound.ca.