KMA1747 Iron Maiden 2016-04-03

Dear KMA Readers, have I got a tale for you!

It’s a long one.

Go get a coffee.

I’ll wait…

 

Allow me to preface this post with apologies for the shite photies. My little iPhone 5 just didn’t cope well with the stage lights and the distance. In truth, none of my photos came close to depicting what we actually saw – they look much further away. They also came out looking like watercolours, everything lightly blurry. So, I’ve just left them as medium size so you can at least see something, even if they’re not great.

Ages ago, Wilf’s Buddy got us tickets to see Iron Maiden in Toronto. I KNOW!

Then the day before the show, that same buddy had a buddy (it’s a chain of buddies) who works at the Air Canada Centre (ACC) and got us bumped up to the ACC Club. I will explain more. First, let’s talk the day of the show.

Weather reports called for snow flurries and reduced visibility. Plus, a state of emergency had been declared south of us due to flooding. Some roads were closed. No matter, we would get through.

I picked up Wilf at noon, and we rolled towards the big shitty. Just light snow, no biggie. But sure enough, we hit a road block/detour. Which sent us out a back country road for a bit, but ended up being just fine. We didn’t see any evidence of flooding, so it must’ve been one specific area within the cordon.

We got to Toronto in good time and… sat in traffic. On the 401 an accident had blocked everything. No matter, we eventually got through it. Then traffic elsewhere, in places there is (typically) none. No matter. We got there! And plenty early because…

Wilf has recently been bitten by the vinyl collecting bug. He has a new turntable and a small but impressive collection of records already. He wanted more. We hit Kops Records and BMV. I’ll reveal my scores in a seperate post. This one’s all about Maiden.

We got kick-ass parking by the ACC ($30! Highway robbery and it wasn’t even on a highway!) and got a beer to kill time before meeting Wilf’s buddy. We sat in Casey’s, a block up from the show, me in my Eddie trooper t-shirt, and I felt like I belonged in a club. Every second shirt in there was a Maiden shirt, most of them concert shirts. A sea of them. Hells yes. We were joined by Wilf’s friends and it was all good.

Off to the venue. “Tickets” were a swipe of his credit card away – no more paper tickets! Except the credit card machine at the gate wouldn’t read buddy’s card, so off we went to the box office. Turns out his credit card had expired between ticket purchase and concert date, so the new card had the same number just a different expiry number, but it was enough to cough up this hairball. They actually asked him if he still had his old card. Haha what? Who keeps an expired card? And we live 3 hours away, so let me just pop home to have a look! We wondered if we’d get in, for a bit, there. Anyway, he sorted it out and they printed us old school rectangular tickets, which I’m happy to have as a keepsake!

 

Back to the gate and in we go, reservations under our name and holy fuck our seats were front row of the restaurant, right at the railing, overlooking the whole floor from the 200 level, directly across from the stage! We had highback leather chairs, waitress service, and the restaurant’s own super-clean bathroom where there was never a line-up, and no fighting through crowds to get there. What a set-up!

Wilf’s buddy’s buddy (haha this is fun) who works in the kitchen and who got us the upgraded seats came out from the back, brought us an appetizer he’d made. Holy hell, it was these delicious handmade pork things breaded in something fancy with homemade relish and a pickle, even some flowers… Someone at the table said they could’ve eaten 20 of those and called it a meal! Hooray for fancy pants restaurants! Hooray for friends!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We ordered from the Maiden Menu, all of us getting the double cheeseburger except one, who got the fish and chips. This burger, folks. I am a bit of an afficianado for burgers, and this one obliberated most of my ratings scales.

So. Good.

And with these lightly spicy and salty kettle chips… I wanted another plate. And another…

And for all the others (not me, I was driving) the beers started flowing. A good time was being had.

Sadly, there was no Trooper beer.

 

Opening act The Raven Age hit the stage to less than half the crowd Maiden would have. They played ably, no real missteps. The band is solid enough (and it was the drummer’s birthday! Plus, he’s a monster on the kit, great stuff), and George Harris on guitar did well. But I’d say the singer, Michael Burrough… he was good, and he worked hard to get people into it, but I dunno. Maybe more time is needed? They were good, but not great. Probably they suffered by comparison with what we all knew was coming up next… Anyway, they got out of the way quickly enough after a decent set.

I’d had requests for copies of the Raven Age CD from the merch table, but I inquired at the table and it was not for sale! The band did say, from the stage, that they’re available online. Odd that they weren’t selling them at the show. Poor choices! Maybe it’s because it is not on a label, so maybe not too many got printed up? Were it me, I’d have them in boxes ready to go, cheap and plentiful. Anyway, sorry folks, I could not procure the CD. Reminds me of the time we saw Bad Religion (and they were headliners!) and no album at the tables. Weird.

Anyway, the roadies set to work while more beer was consumed, and we all talked a lot about how friggin’ great these seats were. I took pictures, but they don’t do justice to what our eyes actually saw.

Slightly left of center and just above the stage, with perfect sightlines. We did have to stand when the very back row of plebes in the seats on the other side of the railing stood up, but no matter. We’d have been standing anyway.

 

 

Soon it was U.F.O.’s ‘Doctor Doctor’ and the place started going nuts. Folks, I’ve seen a lot of shows, and rarely have I felt the energy in a building of almost 15,000 people like I did last night. It was palpable, the air thick with shouts and pot smoke. And then there was Bruce, up at the back on the riser, with the intro to If Eternity Should Fail. The entire building collectively lost its minds. Unreal. Game fucking on!

I can simplify this. The set list has not changed at all since the start of the tour. As Wilf said, they’re just going to work every day and cranking it out while kicking ass. To fully give you a sense of what we saw, check this out:

 

Intro: U.F.O. – Doctor Doctor

If Eternity Should Fail
Speed Of Light
Children Of The Damned
Tears Of A Clown
The Red And The Black
The Trooper
Powerslave
Death Or Glory
The Book Of Souls
Hallowed be Thy Name
Fear of The Dark
Iron Maiden

Encore:
The Number Of The Beast
Blood Brothers
Wasted Years

Outro: Monty Python — Always Look On The Bright Side of Life 

I just… words don’t really work, here. I tried writing this section three times. I tried to get out what it was like to be stomped by The Trooper, Bruce waving his flags around, and frickin’ Hallowed Be Thy Name, or lifted by The Red And The Black and Death Or Glory… seeing Eddie come out and stomp around stage, attacking band members (mostly Janick) and then being attacked (Bruce ripped his heart out and threw it to the crowd)… and then there was the big Eddie head… but I just couldn’t get the right words. Adjectives have honestly failed me. So I can sum it up thusly:

That. Fucking. RULED!

For a bunch of guys in their 60s, they were NOT dialing it in. They were giving it their all, leaving nothing behind. They kicked every ass and took every name, and honestly looked like they were having a blast doing it. And they still appeared ready for more. Unreal. UNREAL. I said to Wilf, afterwards, that so many other bands I have seen in concert in the past just got taken to fucking school.

Pretty much every song had its own backdrop curtain, and Bruce had several props (his flags and red jacket for Trooper, a noose for Hallowed, and even a lucha mask and leather vest for Powerslave. Anyway, they spared no expense on the pyros and lights either. And the sound was great. Where we were sitting, we were under the awning of the upper deck, and some said they got a bit of bounce-back especially on the vocals. I didn’t really notice. I was too busy rockin’ out!

And more than that, Bruce was everywhere, jumping around like a 20 year old and not pulling ANY punches on the vocals (take that, Vince Neil!). He sang every note, and with power. Between songs, he talked more than I thought he would, actually went on quite long sometimes between songs. One thing he said that stuck with me was in his (long) intro to Blood Brothers, when he mentioned that it doesn’t matter where you’re from, or what you look like, when you’re in the Maiden Family, you are IN the Maiden Family! Yes, cheap crowd-pleasing talk, but it was totally true. There was a real sense of respectful community in the crowd. Everyone was just there to have a good time, no rough stuff, people waiting their turns, no assholes. Bruce actually complimented the crowd, said they’d been to El Salvador and seen some shit, but after they’d played there people stopped killing each other for five days, and wouldn’t it be great if the whole world was Maiden fans! Imagine the peace! Haha, he then thanked us for being a great crowd. Right on!

Wilf wasn’t too keen on hearing Tears Of A Clown, not his fave track off the album, but I thought it went over great. I was worried about Wasted Years, I don’t dig the album track all that much. But in concert, it fit perfectly. Much, much better live!

Overall, it’s hard to ask for more. You could say I wish they’d played this or that song, but having been there, and been lifted by the brilliance of it all, I can tell you it hardly mattered what they played.

It was all awesome.

By the time it was all over, we knew we had been in the presence of greatness.

 

aftermathThe setlist was stellar. Our seats kicked serious ass. The food was delicious.

We overcame some obstacles to get there, and to even get into the building, but everything worked out fine.

Sadly, it was over too soon and we were out into a very snowy Toronto for the drive home.

Which was total ass.

It was snowing hard, and accumulated snow had already obliterated the lane lines. It was guesswork the whole way. We live 2.5 hours north if the lake shore. This trip took us almst 4.5 hours. Most of the way, we did 50km/h. I totally missed the 410 exit off the 401, so we ended up on Highway 1 for a while. We found the 10 again, only to hit another roadblock, though I found out later that that one was for an accident where a car went headlong into a big rig and two people died. Ugh.

The further north we went, the harder it snowed, and it was blowing right at us like we were going into lightspeed in Star Wars. Once we got out of the city and onto those dark back country highways north, it got really fun. We couldn’t see the lanes or really where the road even was, and now there were no streetlights to help us guess. Plus the snow coming at us… it was not fun. Fortunately, I am well-used to these driving conditions, just living where we do, but it doesn’t mean I like it all that much. Others might’ve found a place to stay for the night…

We made it home, exhausted, at 3 a.m. I dropped Wilf off, got home, shovelled out the walk, crashed around 3:30 and got back up again at 7:00 to take the kids to school. I have to work today, too! I am gonna be done by this evening, I can tell you that. But right now the pure adrenaline of Maiden has kept me going thus far!

IN SUM:

Folks, I have seen many, many bands in concert. I have enjoyed many shows, for many different reasons. But Iron Maiden last night easily earned a place in my list of Best Concerts Ever. There’s something timeless, classic, and fucking epic about what they do, and they do it so well and with such energy that you come away with a real sense of occasion.

 

We didn’t just go to a concert last night. We had one of the best times of our lives.

Thank you, Iron Maiden!

 

 

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Posted on April 4, 2016, in posts by aaron. Bookmark the permalink. 55 Comments.

  1. I’m jealous. Also, I want one of those menus.

    I knew it was going to be awesome. Glad it would make your best ever short list.

    Too bad about the opening band. Basically unknown band get’s big break from a father of one of the members and they can’t put out an EP, or a 10″ single. Something tangible. Itunes. Fuck that. You’re performing in front of 10’s of thousands of potential fans every night. Give me a break.

    Also, speaking of openers. I know they are geting older and maybe want a shorter set, but bands of Maidens caliber, I feel should do a full on, all Maiden concert. Make evwryone happy. Screw the opener. But that is just me.

    P.S. Get to bed early tonight young man.

    Like

    • I really wish there was a way I could have brought you all with us to the show. Oh man, talk about a bloggers group outing!

      Honestly, it was a stupendous show. They are so well practived, choreographed down to the last detail, and it all works flawlessly and is super-fun.

      I got extra menus. Sit tight.

      Like

  2. This Review was dialed in! Hahaha….well what a epic journey man! Geezus did you think you would have to change your Sears Toughskin Jeans when you thought the tickets wouldn’t swipe! Man oh man!
    So cool you saw this and I’m glad it was everything and more!
    Awesome post ….wish I could like it a million times over!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dialed in? Haha man I waited so frickin’ long, I was practically hovering while we waited in line.

      That ticket issue was a pisser. If it hadn’t worked out, I’d have been scalping my way in. We were so close we could taste it, no way we were missing out then.

      Another awesome story: guys were hawking knock-off tour t-shirts outside the venue. One shouted at us, “$15! Or two for $30!” We laughed out asses off! What a deal if you buy two! At those prices, I’d better buy four! haha what a goof.

      This concert really was everything and more. I’ve never made a list of my favourite concerts ever, but this would surely be one of them. It was perfect in every way.

      Thanks Deke! Like I said to Bop, I wish there’d been a way I could have gotten you guys all in with us. Bloggers reunion and fuckin’ MAIDEN!

      Like

  3. I was 1/2 block from front of ACC at around 700pm. I was so tempted to just go in. My daughter and her teammate may have been a little peeved when I showed up 3 hours late, not to mention my wife and the other moms, but it is Maiden right.

    Like

    • Haha man you probably walked right past us. I do NOT know how you didn’t phone in apathetic and make other arrangements for pick-ups and then just get yerself into that show. I could not have been so close and then not gone!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was at a light, and a wasted metal chick was almost ass over tea kettle then caught herself just before a pavement face plant. It was funny and scary at the same time as there was nothing I could have done. She laughed her ass of right after.
        I would have loved to have gone, but I couldn’t so I had to settle for Sonic Boom.

        Like

        • Haha hey, I think I know that girl!

          Damn, man. I woulda parked that car and got ‘er done! I know, I know, obligations… Haha. Sonic Boom is great, but pales in comparison to what we witnessed. Alas.

          Like

  4. HOLY. FUCK.

    So much to comment on so forgive me if I miss something.

    1. MORE record shopping? OMFG!
    2. That ACC club looks incredible! And the burger n’ chips…lordy!
    3. Sounds like you got some pretty cool souvenirs!
    4. Tears of a Clown FTW!
    5. Glad you got home safe and sound man!

    Like

    • Holy fuck is absolutely right! Mike, this was one for the frickin’ ages, man. Getting bumped up on the seats was one thing, but Maiden absolutely nailed it. Just fucking owned it!

      1. Yes, more records. But I was good this time. Sort of…

      2. The ACC Club was incredible. You’d have been fine in there, we only had about 10 people in our little section, tons of space, and seated at a table. Perfect.

      3. Haha the souvenirs were fun. I got pics and video, and the menus. I didn’t buy a t-shirt though I probably should have. Alas.

      4. Yeah I liked Tears Of A Clown, especially live. He even gave a long rambling intro about how he was walking in Central Park and saw Julliard (where Williams went) right after the news.

      5. Thanks, I’m glad we’re safe too! Others didn’t make it hme that night (that detour around the accident) and there were many times wwhere not only were the road’s lines just gone, but even the edges of the road weren’t visible. I’ve driven many times through driving snow like that, but it’s been a while since I went that far through it. It sucked. Even in Toronto, I missed the 410 exit off the 401 sinply because I couldn’t see it. Whoa. Ah well, it’s all good. Good thing we’re intrepid! haha

      Like

  5. Glad the Maiden rocked you all the way to, er, Rock City. Or something. Bit yeah, sounds like a grand evening and you obviously had a whale of a time. Most importantly, you got there and home safe. Tired no doubt, but safe.

    Like

    • Oh my yes. Honestly couldn’t have asked for a better night at the gig. The weather on the way home, though, that sucked completely. There were many times where safety became a questionable thing. Ah, winter driving! A fact of life.

      I wish you all could have come with to the show, though. That would’ve been amazing.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Glad you had a great time! I was sure you would but… still. Sometimes gigs just go wrong! Glad this one delivered. Looks pretty spectacular.

    No Trooper beer though?!

    Like

    • Scott, it was stellar. I talked to a lot of people (as I usually do) and they’d all seen Maiden before (often many times – I was the only noob) and they swore they’d never seen a bad show. Now Bop, he had a sour one when they played mostly new songs when he went, but I’ll bet the band still killed it with their incredibleness. The Book Of Souls songs for this show we saw fit perfectly, and there was no real lull in the audience participation when they played them. Of course, a new kind of fever pitch was reached when they pulled out the old tunes, though…

      Nope, no Trooper beer at the gig. OVERSIIIIIIIIGHT!!! And no Raven Age CDs at the merch table. Actually, no Maiden albums either. Mainly t-shirts and a few trinkets.

      The show was spectacular, absolutely! \m/ MAIDEN!! \m/

      Liked by 1 person

      • The difference between your concert setlist and mine was the new album is awesome, and has been out for 7 months, allowing people to listen to it and get a feel for the songs. Back in 2006, just weeks after the new album came out they toured and started the concert with all 11 songs off the new album and only played 4 old ones. I only enjoyed a couple songs after having to sit though 11 songs I had never heard before. Real let down. I was as excited as you were to see them, and left pissed off.
        The fan backlash was so strong they changed the setlist half way through that tour to include way more old songs, and mixed them up. I assume it was an attempt to push the new album, but I would say it backfired big time.

        Like

  7. I hope to see them soon (again—saw them a while back on the rebooted Maiden England tour—a good show, but I was too far away and this set list is probably my least favourite). Great set list! I would replace “Iron Maiden” (a: I don’t like the song and b: with such a great catalogue there is no reason to to the Aqualung/Locomotive Breath and play some songs at every concert) and “Speed of Light” with, say, something from A Matter of Life and Death or even Bruce singing one of the Blaze numbers he sings.

    Alas, no shows nearby I know about yet, but towards the end of the tour plans are to come to Europe.

    Like

  8. What a terrific chain of buddies!
    And if no Trooper beer is the biggest complaint of the evening, that was one amazing night.
    Well done!

    Like

    • It is indeed great to have friends and know people, Geoff! COMMUNITY!!!

      I really had no complaints about the concert at all. Or, if I did have them, Maiden wiped my memory with their awesomeness.

      It was the drive home that suuuuuuuucked.

      Thanks Geoff!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Tangled Up In Music (by Ovidiu Boar)

    Great concert review, good job.

    Like

    • Thanks Ovidiu! It was a stellar night. I have another post here of all the videos of the show. You can see for yourself!

      If they come near your town on this tour, I heartily recommend you try to see them!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow, epic!! Sounds like you had a blast!!
    And that drive home? holy…

    Like

    • Sarca, this one’s gonna go down as one of my fave shows of all time. And I’ve seen so Really Great Shows! Wow. Maiden is just killing it on this tour, and we got the full treatment. Check out my post with all the videos in it, to get a sense of the majesty and power!

      The drive home, in retrospect, should never have happened. People died out there. Yes, we got back home safely, but it was never a sure thing. We really should’ve stayed. I haven’t driven that far in a storm that bad in a long time.

      Liked by 1 person

    • ‘Twas dreadful. I was about to ask for me money back when I noticed that the punters had cudgels…

      Haha no, it was awesome. All except the drive home in that snow storm. THAT was (truly) total ass.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Great review. I even took my three kids (aged 10, 9 and 5) to this tour in Australia.

    Like

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