Archive for the ‘Iron Maiden’ Category

Iron Maiden Newcastle Arena 14 May 2017

maiden tix may 2017Well it has been more than 30 years since The Maiden and I touched base. Too long. I have many happy memories of Iron Maiden and early days at Sunderland Locarno and Newcastle City Hall, Paul Di’Anno and early tracks such as “Running Free”, the entrance of Bruce Dickinson (who I had known as Bruce Bruce from Samson), the hit song “Run to the Hills” and, of course, the ever present giant monster Eddie.

This was one of the first concerts after my accident and I was both looking forward to it and also a little nervous about travelling so far in the back of a taxi and sitting through a rock concert. While I need not have been nervous. There was nothing to fear. As soon as Iron Maiden took to the stage I felt “at home”; a kid again; back in the swirling, magical, loud experience that is heavy rock music. Somewhere along the road Iron Maiden have evolved from pioneers of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal to a classic, almost vintage, heavy rock band.

The current members of the band are the ever present leader, original member, and super bass guitar player Steve Harris, long time guitar men Dave Murray and Adrian Smith, drummer Nicko McBrain and local hero Janick Gers on guitar. And of course, Bruce Dickinson on vocals. Iron Maiden have a style of their own; soaring, operatic rock vocals, triple guitar rock with lots of OTT solos, and a super energetic front man in Bruce Dickinson. Oh, and of course, the aforementioned Eddie who always makes an appearance, lumbering around the stage striking fear into all who dare come near him.

maiden progThey enter the stage to the music of UFO’s “Doctor Doctor” (great choice and clearly setting out their influences) and then straight into a set which draws from their entire back catalogue, and heavily from their new album The Book of Souls. There are lots of songs that are new to me, but they all sound great and when they go back to the early days and “Iron Maiden” and the first encore “The Number of the Beast”, I am on familiar territory. I was expecting “Run To the Hills” and they don’t play it, but hey you can’t always have everything. They leave the stage to the music of Monty Python’s “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”, which about sums the evening and the whole experience for me. My carer, Alan, was a Maiden virgin but really enjoyed the whole thing. A great night with a great band. It was like meeting old friends again. I was back on the rock ‘n’ roll rollercoaster; in a wheelchair, but still rocking away. Happy days are here again.

Setlist: Doctor Doctor (UFO song as intro); If Eternity Should Fail; Speed of Light; Wrathchild;    Children of the Damned; Death or Glory; The Red and the Black; The Trooper; Powerslave; The Great Unknown; The Book of Souls; Fear of the Dark; Iron Maiden. Encore: The Number of the Beast; Blood Brothers; Wasted Years. (Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: Monty Python)

Reading Festival 22nd – 24th August 1980

Reading Festival 22nd – 24th August 1980
readingpaper80DJs: John Peel, Bob Harris & Jerry Floyd
By 1980, the Reading Festival had become a heavy metal extravaganza. Headliners were Whitesnake, UFO and Rory Gallagher, with a full supporting heavy rock cast including new up-and-coming NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) bands Def Leppard and Iron Maiden. It was the 10th anniversary of the festival being at Reading, and the 20th anniversary of the national jazz and blues festival.
Friday line-up: Red Alert (a heavy rock band, I think and not the North East punk band of the same name); O1 Band; Hellions; Praying Mantis; Fischer Z; 9 Below Zero (a great R&B set); Krokus; Gillan (always a good solid set); Rory Gallagher.
The highlight of Friday was, without a doubt, the reappearance of Rory Gallagher. Rory was a hero of mine, a class act, an amazing guitarist, and always came over as a regular down-to-earth guy. By 1980, Rory had moved to a harder rock sound, dropping many of the classic bluesy tracks which had been staples of his set throughout the 70s. So he was no longer playing Bullfrog Blues or Messin’ with the Kid, as part of the main set, although he would sometimes play one or two of them during the encore. Instead his set was focussing on tracks from his most recent albums; Top Priority, Calling Card and Photo-Finish. But these are minor quibbles; Rory’s performance at Reading in 1980 was, as always, outstanding.
Rory setlist: I Wonder Who; Follow Me; Wayward Child; Tattoo’d Lady; Bought And Sold; Country Mill; Hellcat; Out On The Western Plain; Too Much Alcohol; Going To My Hometown; Moonchild; Shadow Play
Saturday line-up: Trimmer and Jenkins, Quartz; Writz; Broken Home (featuring Dicken from Mr Big); White Spirit (North East NWOBHM heroes featuring Janik Gers); Grand Prix; Samson (the drummer played from inside a cage!); Pat Travers Band; Iron Maiden; UFO
Highlights were Pat Travers who played an intense set, Iron Maiden with original singer Paul Di’Anno at the time of the anthemic “Running Free” and headliners UFO. UFO had released their eighth album “No Place to Run” and the line-up was Phil Mogg (vocals), Paul Chapman (guitar), Paul Raymond (keyboards), Pete Way (bass) and Andy Parker (drums). I was a fan at the time and it was good to see them headlining, and hear heavy rock classics like “Doctor Doctor” and “Lights Out” and more gentle tracks like “Love to Love”.
UFO setlist: Lettin’ Go; Young Blood; No Place to Run; Cherry; Only You Can Rock Me; Love to Love; Electric Phase; Hot ‘n’ Ready; Mystery Train; Doctor Doctor; Too Hot to Handle; Lights Out; Rock Bottom; Shoot Shoot
Sunday line-up: Sledgehammer; Praying Mantis; Angelwitch; Tygers Of Pantang; Girl; Magnum; Budgie; Slade; Def Leppard; Whitesnake
readingprog80Sunday belonged to two bands: Slade and Whitesnake. Slade first. Metal legend Ozzy Osbourne was billed to play on the Sunday with his new band Blizzard of Oz, but he pulled out at the last minute and was replaced by Slade. I have already written about Slade’s amazing performance, and have reproduced some of my previous post here. Slade appeared after glam heavy metal band Girl, and just before NWOBHM heroes Def Leppard. The field wasn’t that full as Bob Harris announced that Slade were taking the stage. Their entrance was greeted with a hail of cans. Noddy wasn’t phased at all by that, and asked everyone if they were “ready to rock”. And then they launched straight into “Dizzy Mama”. And then it started to happen. Slowly at first, the crowd began to cheer. People wandering around the outskirts of the site started to run towards the stage. Slade knew they had to win the crowd over and were working so hard, rocking so hard, and playing the hits. The area around the stage was soon completely rammed and the whole field was going crazy. Amazing. Slade nailed it, and in the space of one hour made sure that they were well and truly back. Dave Hill: “One heck of an experience, ‘cos I wasn’t going to do that gig. Slade manager Chas Chandler talked me into it…the confidence came when there was a reaction, as it built and built, sort of got bigger and bigger. I mean getting that lot to sing “Merry Xmas Everybody” was amazing.” The event was recorded and a few tracks were released as an EP.
Def Leppard appeared after Slade and didn’t go down too well with the crowd. Joe Elliott: “The legend about us getting bottled off at Reading 1980 is a myth really – we got an encore at Reading. We probably had six or seven bottles of piss thrown up – and maybe a tomato – but it didn’t put us off. That ‘backlash’ was all blown out of proportion. We’re living proof that bad reviews make no difference.” Actually they were pretty good.
Whitesnake consolidated their position as worthy festival headliners. They’d closed the festival the previous year, despite not receiving top billing in the pre-festival publicity. This year, however, their headline status was clear, and they deserved it. They had just released Ready an’ Willing their third studio album, which reached No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart, and featured the hit single: “Fool for Your Loving”. This was a great Whitesnake performance; their set now included classic Purple tracks “Soldier or Fortune” and “Mistreated” and new favourites the aforementioned “Fool for Your Loving”, along with “Walking in the Shadow of the Blues” and “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City.”
Whitesnake setlist included: Sweet Talker; Walking in the Shadow of the Blues; Ain’t Gonna Cry No More; Love hunter; Mistreated; Soldier of Fortune; Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City; Fool for Your Loving
I got back to the camp site after Whitesnake and discovered that someone had nicked my tent 😦 Oh well, you can’t win them all. It was a cheap crappy tent anyway. This my last visit to Reading. The following year my mates and I decided to stay up North and attend the Rock on the Tyne festival, and once the annual cycle of attending Reading was broken, we never returned. For me, family and the pressures of parenthood kicked in, and the heavy metal dominance within the line-up made the Reading festival seem a little less attractive. I’d been 9 years in a row, seen the emergence of Quo, Genesis and Thin Lizzy, the re-emergence of Slade, great sets by the Faces, Rory and Yes, festival favourites like Edgar Broughton and Hawkwind, my personal favorites like Stray, the introduction of punk and new wave to the bill, and the recent growth in popularity of (new) heavy metal. Over the years I have toyed with the idea of returning to the Reading festival, or going to the more local Leeds festival, but have never got round to doing so. I suppose I fear that if I do, I will feel too old, and too out of place 🙂 I had some great, crazy times at Reading; maybe it’s best to leave the memories as they are. If I did go along, it could never be the same as when I was young.

Judas Priest Newcastle City Hall 1979 and 1980 British Steel!

Judas Priest Newcastle City Hall 1979 and 1980 British Steel!
priest79Judas Priest continued to tour throughout 1979 to 1980, moving from the Hellbent on Leather tour to the British Steel tour. Support acts were local band White Heat in 1979, and the mighty Iron Maiden in 1980. I also have a memory of attending a show at Newcastle Mayfair around this period; I think Priest may have played two nights at the City Hall and one at the Mayfair ballroom during the British Steel tour. British Steel was the sixth lp release by Judas Priest, and moved their music from dark, operatic metal, to shorter, more accessible and commercial rock songs. priest80 The album reached No 4 in the UK lp charts, their highest chart entry to date, and two singles from it reached the UK singles chart. These were Living After Midnight and the great Breaking the Law. The video for Breaking the Law is still shown on TV, and is a wonderful example of an early, very tongue in cheek, heavy metal promo. Their gigs continued to be crazy metal events, and Priest were a great favourite with the Newcastle metal crowds. The set around this time also included excellent covers of Fleetwood Mac’s Green Manalishi (1979) and Spooky Tooth’s Better By You, Better Than Me (in 1978). priest80progcover A typical setlist from 1980: Hell Bent for Leather; The Ripper; Running Wild; Living After Midnight; Sinner; Beyond the Realms of Death; You Don’t Have to Be Old to Be Wise; Grinder; Victim of Changes; Steeler; Genocide; Tyrant; The Green Manalishi. The programme for the 1980 Judas Priest tour is a true heavy metal work of art in itself. The cover shows a zipped leather suited guy wearing (of course) a studded belt complete with Judas Priest buckle. popup But the real treat lies inside. The centre fold of the programme contains a pop up of the band in all their onstage metal glory.
My copy has become a tad creased over the years, but I’ve done my best to photograph and present it here. Rob is on his motorbike in his usual leather gear, and the guitarists all have their axes held aloft. You couldn’t beat it!

Iron Maiden Newcastle City Hall 1984

Iron Maiden Newcastle City Hall 1984
ironmaidentic1984 The last time I saw Iron Maiden was at Newcastle City Hall in 1984. This time they played two sold out shows at the City Hall. Support came from Waysted, who were fronted by the great Pete Way, bassist and crazy guy from UFO. The tour was entitled the World Slavery Tour, and was in support their album Powerslave. As always, Maiden put on a great show, to a massive reception from the Newcastle crowd. I was right down the front, and was just blown away by the power, energy and volume of the show. maiden84 Setlist: Intro (Winston Churchill Speech); Aces High; 2 Minutes to Midnight; The Trooper; Revelations; Flight of Icarus; Rime of the Ancient Mariner; Losfer Words (Big ‘Orra); Powerslave; The Number of the Beast; Hallowed Be Thy Name; 22 Acacia Avenue; Iron Maiden. Encore: Run to the Hills; Running Free; Sanctuary. I was surprised to learn that this was the last time I saw Maiden in concert. I could have sworn that I had seen them more recently than 29 years ago; its just frightening how time passes. It’s something that I definitely need to put right! Another one for my ever growing list of bands who I intend to see again. I had some great times at Maiden gigs, and I’d almost forgotten just how great they are.

Iron Maiden Newcastle City Hall 1983

Iron Maiden Newcastle City Hall World Piece Tour 1983 ironmaidentic1983 1983 and Iron Maiden were now a well established and mega-successful rock band. They went out on tour again, in support of their new lp “Piece of Mind”. This was the first tour to feature drummer Nicko McBrain, who came from Trust (they had supported Maiden a couple of years before) to replace Clive Burr and has been Iron Maiden’s drummer ever since. Clive Burr left the band due to ill health and the pressure of relentless touring. Support came from Grand Prix. The tour called at Newcastle City Hall on 17th May 1983. This was another great gig with Maiden again delivering a top metal performance. maiden83 Setlist (a bootleg exists): Where Eagles Dare; Wrathchild; The Trooper; Revelations; Flight of Icarus; Die with Your Boots On; 22 Acacia Avenue; The Number of the Beast; Still Life; To Tame a Land; Phantom of the Opera; Hallowed Be Thy Name; Iron Maiden; Run to the Hills; Sanctuary; Drifter; Prowler. Eddie told us (from the programme): “To all ‘eadbangers, hell rats, rivet heads and earthdogs,….Welcome to the shattering World Piece Tour ’83….Maiden and me hope you enjoy the gig….Keep rockin’ and have fun.” By now Run to the Hills had replaced Runnin’ Free as my favourite Maiden song. Bruce’s soaring vocals were always exceptional on that song.

Iron Maiden Newcastle City Hall 1982 The Beast on the Road

Iron Maiden Newcastle City Hall 1982
Support came from the Rods, an American heavy rock band.
ironmaidentic1982 So it was farewell to Paul Di’Anno and welcome to Bruce Dickinson on vocals. Iron Maiden released their third album “Number of the Beast” and went out on another world tour. I went along to the City Hall wondering what the new singer would be like, and how he would match up. On the night, I was totally blown away. The place was packed and the Newcastle metal hordes went crazy and just lapped it all up. Maiden burst onto that stage with renewed energy and passion, a great set of new songs, and Bruce was simply a revelation. I’d seen him before with Samson, and hadn’t been over impressed to be honest. What I saw that night was a different guy, and a truly world class heavy rock singer. With Maiden he upped his game, to reveal an amazingly strong, operatic rock voice with tremendous depth and range. And great long hair. Put this together with a class performance by the whole band, a great stage set (complete with, of course, Eddie), lots and lots of VOLUME, and songs like “Number of the Beast”, and the single “Run to the Hills”, and what I saw that night was THE best hard rock band around at the time. Maiden had everything going for them, and they knew it and were enjoying it. In 1982 the Iron Maiden line-up was Bruce Dickinson (vocals), Dave Murray (guitar), Adrian Smith (guitar), Steve Harris (bass), and Clive Burr (drums). These were to be Clive Burr’s last appearances with the band. The tour took them to all the major concert halls in the UK. They recorded their show at the Hammersmith Odeon, and it was eventually released as Beast over Hammersmith in 2002. beast The new album was a massive success; their first to reach No. 1 in the UK chart, and the single “Run to the Hills” was the band’s first top-ten UK single. The content of the album was based on some pretty heavy visual and lyrical imagery, drawing from (as usual) horror, darkness and religion. From the title track: “Woe to you oh earth and sea; For the devil sends the beast with wrath; Because he knows that time is short; Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the beast; For it is a human number; It’s number is six hundred and sixty six”. Pretty heavy stuff. Eddie says (from the tour programme): “If you find me drunk, prop me up: if you find me sober, buy me a drink!…Hope you have a great debauched time at the gig….Keep Rocking” 🙂 Setlist: The Ides of March; Murders in the Rue Morgue; Wrathchild; Run to the Hills; Children of the Damned; The Number of the Beast; Another Life; Killers; 22 Acacia Avenue; Total Eclipse; Transylvania; The Prisoner; Hallowed Be Thy Name; Phantom of the Opera; Iron Maiden; Drifter; Sanctuary. And so the Maiden campaign for world domination rolled onward, as it has to this day. At the time I defy you to find a better, slicker, LOUDER, more complete rock band. This was probably the best time I saw Maiden; pure class.

Iron Maiden Killers tour Newcastle City Hall 1981

Iron Maiden Killers tour Newcastle City Hall 1981
ironmaidentic1981 Iron Maiden were riding the crest of a wave in 1981. They released their second album Killers, and set out on a world tour which started off in the UK and took them across Europe , to Japan and the USA. I saw them when they played at Newcastle City Hall on 7th March 1981. Support came from Trust, a French heavy metal band. By now Maiden were establishing themselves as a rock band in their own right, with an identity of their own outside of the NWOBHM movement. And a pretty impressive rock band they were too. Most of the tracks on  the new album already featured in Maiden’s live set, and were already well know to the fans. Themes of horror and darkness ran through it all: Poe’s Murders in the Rue Morgue, the Phantom of the Opera, The Ides of March. killersprog Some heavy symbolic stuff which was right up my street, along with mascot Eddie who featured in all their graphics, on album covers, tour programmes, their backdrop, and in person at the end of their set. Great stuff. By the end of the tour Paul Di’Anno was suffering from the pressure and the use of drugs and alcohol and was dismissed by the band. His replacement was Bruce Dickenson, aka Bruce Bruce from Samson. I’d see Bruce with Samson, and rated him OK, but not in the same league as Paul Di’Anno or Maiden. How wrong I was. Bruce rose to the challenge and more. I’ll write about that tomorrow. Setlist: The Ides of March; Wrathchild; Purgatory; Sanctuary; Remember Tomorrow; Another Life; Genghis Khan; Killers; Innocent Exile; Murders in the Rue Morgue; Twilight Zone; Phantom of the Opera; Iron Maiden; Running Free; Transylvania; Drifter; Prowler

Iron Maiden live 1980

Iron Maiden live 1980
ironmaidenticmecca Iron Maiden exploded out of the NWOBHM scene in 1980. I first saw them supporting Judas Priest earlier in the year. It was obvious from the start that two bands were way out in front of the pack of NWOBHM bands: Def Leppard and Iron Maiden. And the Maiden were the rockier of the two, and seemed to blend heavy metal with elements of punk. I saw them at least four times during 1980: at the City Hall with Priest, at Sunderland Locarno with support from Praying Mantis and NWOBHM DJ Neal Kay, at the Reading Festival, and later in the year headlining the City Hall themselves, with support from A II Z. ironmaidenprog1980 Looking back this was a pretty meteoric rise for the band, from support act at the start of 1980, through their own club tour, to second on the bill at Reading, to a major concert tour of the UK by the end of the year. Wow! The line-up of Iron Maiden at the time was Paul Di’Anno on vocals; Dave Murray on guitar; Dennis Stratton on guitar; Steve Harris on bass guitar; and Clive Burr on drums. And of course I musn’t forget their mascot Eddie, who was there from the start, and features on the cover of the tour programme. They had released their first album, and the set drew from that lp and their second, yet to be released, classic “Killers”. Highlights for me at the time were “Running Free”, “Sanctuary” and “Iron Maiden”. The dark image of the band also appealed to me; I always was a sucker for horror movies! ironmaidentic1980 In the tour programme, Geoff Barton questions whether the NWOBHM was a “trend” or a “fad”, and “will it last?” and concludes that “we should make it last”. Well we sure did make it last, with both Maiden and Leppard continuing on to greater and greater success. I saw Iron Maiden every year and every tour for the next few years. I’ll reflect on those great tours over the next few days. Setlist from the tour would have been drawn from: The Ides of March (Intro); Sanctuary; Prowler; Wrathchild; Remember Tomorrow; Charlotte the Harlot; Killers; Another Life; Transylvania; Strange World; Innocent Exile; Phantom of the Opera; Iron Maiden; Running Free; Drifter; I’ve Got the Fire