Saturday, February 23, 2008

Iron Maiden at the Forum

I think I may have mentioned a long time ago that my first concert was Judas Priest in 1984 for the Defenders of Faith tour. I am not exactly sure why I missed Iron Maiden at the Long Beach Arena for their Powerslave tour but I imagine it sold out extremely fast. The tour was captured in all its glory for the "Live After Death" release that I have on VHS somewhere. "Live After Death" was recently released on DVD and is a must own DVD for your collection. I even have the Iron Maiden video game on PC somewhere that was pretty killer for its time. I even saw Iron Maiden's triumphant return to the Greek Theater in 1999. I immediately got a floor ticket when Iron Maiden stated they would return to the Forum to revisit material from their classic albums "Piece of Mind", "Powerslave", and "Somewhere In Time".

I knew it was going to be a crazy show when I saw scalpers just off the 405 exit to the Forum. I rolled into the atrocious $22 Forum parking only to laugh it off as it was straight out of the classic "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" documentary. I carefully dodged the various beer cans littered on the way to the Forum only to be greeted by dozens of intoxicated chanting fans screaming "Iron Maiden!". It was so nostalgic that I already felt I got my money's worth.

The atmosphere inside the Forum was off the charts. It was like time had ceased to exist and I was transported back to 1984. After watching a short intro about the insane custom Iron Maiden plane flown by Bruce Dickinson (Vocals), Winston Churchill's famous speech blared over the speakers as the screaming guitars of Dave Murray (Guitars) Adrian Smith (Guitars) and Janick Gers (Guitars) filled the Forum as the band broke into "Aces High". The combined elements of the amazing musicianship, nostalgia and electric atmosphere made this a top 20 concert event. "2 Minutes To Midnight" was phenomenal as the guitars were blazing and Nicko Mcbrain (Drums) pounded on the drums.

Steve Harris (Bass) is a bass God. I remember hearing the album "Killers" thousands of times coming from my brother's bedroom as he pounded away on "Murders In The Rue Morgue". The camera would show Steve slaying the crowd on his custom Fender bass and I looked away in disgust as I could not bring myself to watch how good Steve is. Steve has not lost a step and his fingers were just blurs on the televised screen.

"Revelations" kept the iron hot as Dave Murray's solo would have made the guys from Avenged Sevenfold cry as he tore away on his Fender Stratocaster. The backdrop of the show changed to the iconic Iron Maiden mascot Eddie on a battlefield as they marched into "The Trooper". Bruce was gallantly waving the Union Jack as raced across the catwalk. It was heavy metal heaven or shall I say hell?

Adrian showed the crowd he was no slouch either with his Gibson SG fueled wah solo during "Number of The Beast". Bruce would later talk to the audience about flying from Japan to the United States and that he saw two Sunday sunsets. I have to give Bruce credit for actually flying the miles and singing for nearly two hours with more energy then people half his age. "Rime of The Ancient Mariner" is a classic Iron Maiden opus that is adapted from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem. The quiet breakdown in the song was stunning before all three guitarists went center stage to solo. It was a trip down memory lane as "Powerslave", "Run To The Hills" and "Iron Maiden" had me grinning from ear to ear and occasionally throwing up the devil horns.

"Somewhere in Time" era Eddie made his appearance near the end of the set and donned a Lakers Jersey that had "Eddie 08" on the back to the semi jeers from the predominantly international audience. Bruce was happy to announce that they were coming back in May with the full "16 Truck" stage setup at Verizon Wireless on 5/30 and 5/31. Your concert schedule should be immediately cleared for those two days. You know where I will be.

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