Iron Maiden Montreal April 1, 2016 With The Raven Age opening
Words by Tim Lewis.
I know I’m slow to begin writing about this show, since it happened a month ago, but it is still with me and it’s time to put words to my feelings. As is almost everything I write, this is a story about a band. When I was young and discovering music I found a love for metal and really got into Iron Maiden. They played the third rock show I ever saw and were my second visit to the Montreal Forum. Over the years I have caught almost every tour, most of them with my brother Ken. They usually play every two years, often alternating a new album tour with a greatest hits type of tour. The last time they played was July 11 of 2012. Ken and I filled in the following years with a couple of Rush shows and a couple of Judas Priest shows but Maiden have always been one of our favorites. Maiden filled in those years by creating the stunning new album Book Of Souls and dealing with Bruce’s cancer. When I first heard about the Montreal show on April 1st of this year, 2016, I bought our tickets as quickly as I could.
I drove to Shelburne Vermont and picked up Ken and we headed north. The drive up was pretty pleasant and uneventful and we got into the city and parked quite easily. We wandered around St Catherine St, checked out the metal room at HMV, grabbed some dinner then headed to the show.
The show was set to begin at 7:50, which seemed odd, but the doors had opened earlier than I expected and it was really about 7:42 when The Raven Age hit the stage. They played a solid set of pretty good songs. I liked the show but since all this time has passed, none of the songs have stayed with me. Their set was almost exactly 40 minutes and they left the stage at 8:22pm. There was the usual 30 minute set break and around 8:51 the lights went down and the opening video started. It was a video about Maiden’s plane, Ed Force 1, getting trapped in the jungle until Eddie’s mighty hand freed it and pushed it into the sky. We were off.
In typical fashion, Iron Maiden opened the show with the first song on the new album. If Eternity Should Fail has that epic slow beginning and rocks hard all the way through. The audience was elated and standing and rocking out. The band followed with the super fun single from the new album, Speed Of Light and it was just a great song to experience live. For the third song they went way back in time and elated the crowd with Children Of The Damned. Anther new song, Tears Of A Clown followed. It has heavy riffs and chord progression that just fills your heart and it kept me in a happy place. Another new one followed. The Red And The Black has one of those epic Maiden singalong parts and the audience filled the room with their voices. Next, they went back in time and pulled out The Trooper. The audience loved it as the band rocked it hard. Bruce waved the flag, mostly from the high back part of the stage but also from the side of the stage where he dangled it over Janick’s face when he was tying to play a solo. Janick’s lead guitar work was great all night long but whenever a solo came to the front of the music, it was almost always Dave Murray playing it. Adrian Smith would almost always follow with a solo and it was great to hear the differences in style and tone. Nicko’s drumming stellarly pounded out the beat all night long and Steve Harris used his bass to put a lot of overdrive into the songs. As always, he mouthed out all of the lyrics. Bruce’s voice was in perfect form all night and he is the epitome of what a front man should be. He was always running around and engaging the audience and at one point his voice hit a note that was so loud I wondered if it really needed amplification. It cut through the entire sound system. After the Trooper, Bruce donned a mask and they pulled out Powerslave. That old song sounded like it would fit nicely on Book Of Souls and was a perfect choice for the show. Another new song, Death Or Glory, followed and it rocked hard and was fun to sing along with. Up next was the title song from the new album. Book Of Souls is another epic song and in the late middle Eddie came out to play. He chased Janick around a lot but at one point Bruce got behind Eddie and reached in and pulled our Eddie’s beating heart. Bruce tossed it into the cauldron at the top of the stage then pulled out the dull remains. He squeezed the remaining blood onto Janick then tossed Eddie’s heart to the audience. That went over as well as you would expect. Up next they went back in time and upon hearing the opening notes of Hallowed Be Thy Name you could feel a bolt of energy rip through the audience. Montreal has a long history of loving that song and it was just fantastic. The opening notes of the next song, Fear Of The Dark compelled the audience to start singing. Bruce seemed to enjoy how we just started singing and he did not have to prompt us. After that, the opening ring of Iron Maiden put the energy through the roof and the second version of Eddie filled the back of the stage. As always that meant that the set was done, but the show was not over. After a quick break the band returned for an encore of The Number Of The Beast. The audience sang along and loved every moment. The band kept rocking with a great version of Blood Brothers and I enjoyed the fact that I was with my brother to experience it. Wasted Years closed out the night and had the audience singing heartily. As always, it was a stunning show.
We headed back to the car and were heading out of the city in reasonable time. We got close to the Champlain Bridge then got stuck in stop and go traffic and it took a full two hours to get to the south side of the bridge. It was quite frustrating, but even if the city of Montreal is incapable of getting traffic over a bridge, at least they do some great things, like hosting Iron Maiden shows. By the time I dropped Ken off and got home it was about 3:30am. I was very glad I was smart enough to take the next day off.
This post was originally published by Tim Lewis at his personal blog, https://timstriangletribune.wordpress.com.