Photos: Iron Maiden Reaffirm Legacy at Dominant Brooklyn Show
There's no question that Iron Maiden will always put on a spectacle of a show. That said, their 'Legacy of the Beast' tour handily puts every other tour they've embarked on behind it in terms of production and execution.
What other bands simply lack the ability to do is tie all the imagery in with the narrative or theme of the songs. Since he was a schoolboy, Bruce Dickinson has maintained this idea of merging concert performance and heavy metal with theater and this tour is the culmination of decades-long desires. Each outfit change, backdrop swap and stage changeover was purposeful, making the images we've always had in our minds a jaw-dropping reality.
For one writer, Joe DiVita, this was his 10th Iron Maiden show since first seeing Eddie and the boys on Ozzfest back in 2005. For Loudwire editor Rabab Al-Sharif, this was her indoctrination into the cult of Iron Maiden as the legend of the elaborate stage production proved too tempting to pass over.
Below are the accounts of the show from both an Iron Maiden mega-fan and one of their most recent converts, alongside a treasure trove of photos, after seeing the band's sold out performance at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on July 26.
What stage set was your favorite: war zone, cathedral or Hell?
Joe DiVita: The cathedral. It's all about how the transition was made, taking down the ivy from the war-themed stage to reveal a brilliant display of stained glass walls supported by a multi-colored mandala centerpiece backdrop. "Revelations" was the prime choice to introduce the informal "Act II" of the show.
Rabab Al-Sharif: This is tough, because there were parts of all of them that I really loved—the vibrant and intricate stained-glass backdrop for cathedral and the giant demon Eddie for Hell, for instance. But overall, war zone was my favorite. There was a plane literally floating above the stage. A plane! Plus, Bruce was having a sword fight with Eddie, and I swear I saw Eddie flipping someone off.
What was the best prop?
JD: I was hoping to avoid saying the mock Spitfire fighter plane that swiftly maneuvered above the stage during the "Aces High" opener, but holy Hell was that mind-blowing. I've seen plenty of footage of this, but didn't realize just how much movement that thing had during the song until seeing it live. It set the tone for the rest of the night.
RA: Bruce’s flamethrower backpack that he wore during “Flight Of Icarus.” It’s a backpack that spits out fire. What more could you want out of a prop? Plus, he wasn't just blowing out fire willy nilly. He did it to the music and with a purpose. Outstanding use of a prop.
What song was the crowd most into?
JD: This is a tough one. Let's go with "The Trooper." Part of it was because it came after a Blaze Bayley era song, which only the truest of Maiden fans (like me) appreciate. The other part of it was the sheer absurdity of the entertainment on stage. A massive Trooper Eddie walked out onstage, sword fighting with Bruce and during the last verse, the thespian singer used a rifle prop to discharge a gunshot, which connected with Eddie from across the stage.
RA: The crowd participated in so many different ways throughout that it’s hard to measure what song they were most into, but the pit got the biggest for “The Number Of The Beast,” so I’m going to go with that.
Which Bruce Dickinson outfit was the best?
JD: There's so many to choose from and all spectacular, but I'm siding with the leather jacket and frilly shirt. It just looked so supremely badass, especially with his hair out of a ponytail, letting that silvery warlock mane flow.
I will say I've got one gripe about his wares — when I interviewed him for his autobiography (What Does This Button Do?), I got to ask him a question I'd been holding onto since I was 13 — what's with those pants in the '80s? He assured me he'd return to the stage with a set of outrageous pants on the next tour. I guess I'll just flip through my Piece of Mind booklet for the 1,000th time.
RA: There were so many costume changes that it reminded me of my dance recitals growing up. I know how hard it is to change quickly when you’re dripping in sweat. Respect.
The leather jacket and white blouse (yeah, I'm calling it a blouse) was badass and the jacket and mask look he had going on for “Fear of the Dark” was classy as hell, but my favorite was the hooded cloak during "Sign Of The Cross." Bruce was gliding across the stage so eerily that I thought he might have a hover craft under there — or maybe he actually is an ethereal being.
What part of the show surprised you the most?
JD: Considering I’ve watched hours of footage from last year’s European run, nothing really. But going back to that first ‘Legacy of the Beast’ show in Tallin, Estonia, it’s got to be the inclusion of “Flight of Icarus.” ‘Arry notoriously did not like the song when it was released and after decades of demand, the ever-youthful bassist finally relented. I sincerely thought I’d never see this one live. Perhaps the timing was just too perfect with the opportunity to present it with the most authentic glory, utilizing that massive Icarus prop behind Nicko while Bruce hatched an excuse to use a flamethrower onstage.
RA: The energy. The energy of the band. The energy of the crowd. It was all on another level.
Don’t get me wrong, the set and props and pyro were all impressive, but they wouldn’t be nearly as epic if the band were just phoning it in with their performance. Trust me, I’ve seen bands that were so boring all the fire in the world couldn’t have saved them. That was not the case here.
I was situated on the Janick side of the stage. As he’s spinning, hitch-kicking, swinging his guitar around and whipping his cable like he’s fighting off a dragon, there’s Bruce Dickinson running around the stage like a madman giving a Broadway-worthy performance. Meanwhile, there’s a group of guys a row in front of me waving a Maiden flag like they’d just won a battle and thousands of fists in the air.
What was your favorite song from the set?
JD: I’m always a sucker for “Fear of the Dark” live and I’ll hedge my bets that Iron Maiden are, too. I’m tempted to say “Where Eagles Dare” purely because I’ve seen most of these songs played before, but I’ll go for the cop-out: “Hallowed Be Thy Name.” Not hearing it on the ‘Book of Souls’ tour was just devastating, especially when the lights remained dim for far too long before Monty Python came blaring over the speakers and you think to yourself there might just be a third encore coming, along with the rest of the crowd who are reluctant to leave, chanting the song’s title in hot anticipation. That feeling hadn’t subsided for two years until last night at the Barclays Center.
RA: Remember, this was my first time, so this was all new to me. I can confidently say that I have never seen anything like it. That being said, my favorite song from the set was the first one — “Aces High.” This was my very first impression of Iron Maiden live, and I can assure you that when it ended I was standing there in awe probably looking dumbfounded with an idiotic smile plastered on my face. Probably something like a kid going to Disney World for the first time.
People had told me plenty about the live show, but when you see it for yourself — the sets, the lights, a freaking fighter plane floating above the stage, 14,000 other people who are absolutely losing their minds — it’s overwhelming in the best way possible. And now every time I hear “Aces High,” I’ll remember that feeling.
Every member of Iron Maiden is in their 60s (62-67) - are you in better shape than any of them?
JD: Having just turned 30 earlier this week, I’d like to think I’ve got the edge on at least a couple of them, but this is about to get embarrassing. I get motion sickness, so Janick’s ribbon dancing would get the best of me, and I definitely can't plant my leg as high up as he can.
Steve plays soccer (sorry, football) regularly on tour and I’m rubbish at distance running. Bruce? HA! Not a chance. Nicko is always on 10 and as much as I’d like to say I go to 11, I’ll hand it to ya, mate. I’ll say with no certainty I’m at least in as good of shape as Adrian and Davey.
RA: I need to go to the gym.
Is Bruce Dickinson human?
JD: I’m going to need more proof. After recovering from throat cancer, he's singing higher than he had been on tours the few years prior. He's seemingly done everything but walk through walls and on water and I’m convinced he hasn’t done so simply because he hasn’t made any honest attempt to. And we all know what happens when Bruce applies himself…
RA: I’m not even certain I’m human after watching this performance. But, to answer the question: No, absolutely not.
The 'Legacy of the Beast' North American tour with The Raven Age marches onward through September. See the remaining dates here.
Up the irons!!!
Every Iron Maiden Song Ranked