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Iron Maiden: Live in Edmonton

June 26 is the long-awaited date for the Edmonton Iron Maiden concert. This is twice as special for me, because I happen to also be a huge fan of the opening band, Dream Theater. Two of my favorite concerts in one; my expectations were extremely high. Though neither of them completely fulfilled my hopes, the concert was far from a disappointment.

Iron Maiden

Dream Theater (rating: B+)

Dream Theater Setlist (June 26, 2010):

  1. As I Am
  2. Rite of Passage
  3. Home
  4. Constant Motion
  5. Panic Attack
  6. Pull Me Under

Dream Theater

I arrived slightly late, so unfortunately I missed about a third of Dream Theater’s “As I Am,” but I did happen to catch Petrucci’s spot-on solo. It was then when I knew that the rest of the band’s performance would be flawless. The sound was great, and all the band members lived up to their reputations, showing us why they are commonly regarded as the most talented musicians in the scene. Portnoy even delivered a miniature drum solo, sneaking in the famous fill from Maiden’s “Where Eagles Dare”. LaBrie was also exact with every note, though the highest was “only” the D5 in “Pull Me Under”. I was on the wrong side of the stage, so I only really saw Rudess when he picked up the keytar for the “Panic Attack” solo. Myung was hardly visible to me as well, but the bass was without fault throughout. When it comes to the technicality of a performance, Dream Theater is almost always perfect.

However, there are several issues that arise due to the setlist, as well as the missed opportunities from being a main stage act. As you can see, the band picked the most mainstream songs of their collection, which is completely acceptable given that they’re the opening act for Iron Maiden. The songs they picked are great mosh songs, but the band did not put out the energy to reflect that. Also, Dream Theater rarely opens for bands, so they often have stage props and visuals to enhance their performance. However, there was none for this performance, and the band was unable to give enough energy to compensate for the lack of stage aids. It was still a great performance, and I was happy to see about a 70% turnout for the band. However, this performance is a misrepresentation of what Dream Theater is truly capable of.

Iron Maiden (rating: A)

Iron Maiden Setlist (June 26, 2010):

  1. The Wicker Man
  2. The Ghost of the Navigator
  3. Wrathchild
  4. El Dorado
  5. Dance of Death
  6. The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg
  7. These Colours Don’t Run
  8. Blood Brothers
  9. Wildest Dreams
  10. No More Lies
  11. Brave New World
  12. Fear of the Dark
  13. Iron Maiden

Encore

  1. The Number of the Beast
  2. Hallowed Be Thy Name
  3. Running Free

Iron Maiden

Just as expected, Iron Maiden puts out another stellar performance. The band was constantly giving 100% of their energy; Dickinson practically sprinted and jumped around the stage for two hours straight. Harris and the guitar trio gave every part of the arena their attention, leaving no one behind. McBrain was shoved in the back of a centralized stage, so being on the side, I wasn’t able to see much of him. There was a lot of energy for the crowd to feed off of, which was represented with the never-ending mosh circle in the middle of the floor. Everyone sang along, took out their lighters, and gave their hands… whatever the situation called for. After “Wrathchild,” there was about a whole minute where the band was silent and Dickinson sat down on stage, letting the crowd give it their all; believe me, we gave it our all. It was all-around a rich, intense atmosphere.

All the band members performed very well from a showmanship, as well as a technical standpoint. All the guitarists were as excellent live as in the studio, more so for Murray in my opinion. Harris still possess great finger speed and capability, as he showed last night. On vocals, Dickinson hit all of the notes very well, and even added in some terrific screams. McBrain did his usual creative rhythms, but also gave some great fills. Every band member worked together to show us the greatness and legacy of Iron Maiden.

The audio and visuals were quite well done. Throughout the concert, the sound had great balance with all instruments. There were no malfunctions (such as in Megadeth concerts), so hats off to the sound guys. Regarding aesthetics, the stage was well-designed, appearing to be some sort of futuristic spaceship. The band introduction sequence reflected this future-type theme, having stars and hyper-space videos which got the crowd all riled up and ready for “The Wicker Man”. However, my issue with the stage was the fact that it was so center-based, so the viewers from the side got the short straw. This is mostly with drummer McBrain, for whom only the people on the floor were probably able to see. Still, he did come out to greet the crowd a few times, but the inability to see him diminished his presence unfortunately. But the size and design of the stage gave the rest of the band much maneuverability, so there is gain from this sacrifice. But this is me nitpicking, and it was overall a great presentation from the sound guys and the stage designers.

Some problems came up with the setlist, not from me personally, but from the crowd altogether. Much of the song choice is from the newer albums, and I was more than happy to see this after having been to their Somewhere Back in Time show. However, there was much less sing-along with the crowd with this show than the previous one. Also, many of the newer Maiden songs sound more similar to each other than classic Maiden, so there was a lesser variety between the songs. I found the setlist to be of tasteful choice, but the lessened participation of the crowd had an (small) impact on my appreciation of the concert.

But what Iron Maiden is particularly great at is creating moments in the concert. Whether it be Dickinson having a friendly chat with the crowd, bringing up rivalries and urging us to prove ourselves as fans, talking about The Final Frontier, or inciting a Dio chant, he is always able to establish a strong connection between the crowd and the band. Whether it be through their music, their show, or their great personality, Iron Maiden is always able to give the crowd a sense of belonging; a feeling to hold on to; a concert that will never be forgotten.

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