Iron Maiden was the world’s best metal band in Vancouver last night

all photos by Jeff Sutherland

By Steve Newton

Your first concert is a big deal–or that’s what my nephew Jeff says, anyway. Thirty-five years ago I took him to his very first rock show, at the Pacific Coliseum.

It was Iron Maiden on the Powerslave tour.

He was 14.

It ruled.

Last night at Rogers Arena it was payback time, as Jeff bought me a ticket to see Maiden on their Legacy of the Beast tour. Coincidentally, last night was 35 years to the day since the release of Powerslave, so the stars were aligned for a memorable reunion between our aging ears and the thrashy yet melodic metal we adored back in 1984.

As has been the case for years, Iron Maiden warmed up for its show with a recording of “Doctor Doctor” by one of the few hard rock/metal bands I like more than them, UFO. Then came Winston Churchill’s famous World War II speech about Britain not giving that dick Hitler the satisfaction of seeing them surrender, which led into Powerslave‘s monumental opening track, “Aces High”.

With a life-size replica of a British Spitfire dangling over their heads, the six band members–singer Bruce Dickinson, bassist Steve Harris, drummer Nicko McBrain, and guitarists Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, and Janick “I’ll Toss My Guitar Around As Much As I Friggin’ Want” Gers–went to town resurrecting the glorious headbanging noise of the ’80s. Nobody does it better (except maybe Metallica, but I don’t feel like getting into a big argument about that right now.)

Fifteen more songs followed, only five of which weren’t from the ’80s. Judging by the setlist, Piece of Mind is the group’s fave album, because four tunes-“Where Eagles Dare”, “The Trooper”, “Revelations”, and “Flight of Icarus”–were culled from that 1983 earbuster. Coming in a close second was 1982’s The Number of the Beast, which was plundered for the title track and encore numbers “Hallowed Be Thy Name” and “Run to the Hills”.

The show itself was mighty impressive. The group’s perennial mascot, Eddie, made a comical appearance, and there was not shortage of shooting flames–including the ones that burst from Dickinson’s shirt sleeves. His vocals held up extremely well, considering he runs around hollering most of the time. The entire band sounded incredibly strong throughout, and the sound itself was spot on. Somebody buy the soundman one of those premium Trooper beers.

Thanks for the ticket, Jeff. Not to mention the cool photos.

To hear the full audio of my 1983 interview with Bruce Dickinson and my 1984 interview with Dave Murray become a patron of the Newt on Patreon.

 

 

 

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