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My Maiden Voyage

Written by David, December 2006

remember the first time I saw U.D.O. My hero Udo Dirkschneider himself on stage. Alive, in front of me. What a mighty feeling! The same experience was near when I first saw Alice Cooper, Dee Snider, Halford and Saxon. But Iron Maiden did not give me the same shivers. It can of course be due to the fact that I'm a bit older and harder to impress now. Many concerts have passed the latest years. It can be that I had my seat on the highest section in Globen, watching the spectacle from somewhat a distance. But most of all I have never really seen the greatness of Maiden. They have a couple of songs (which they almost never play live nowadays anyway) and they are a good live act. But why have they become the untouchable symbol of all metal in the world? The biggest… the band that sells out arenas in a few minutes? It's a mystery to me. At the same time for example Saxon has just as many old classics and does just as well live. But they are not near anything like this.

ut there I was, to see Iron Maiden for the first time. Mostly to have it done. You cannot write about hard rock and never seen the flagship of metal. A matter of duty. I got a ticket fairly easy (mostly to see if I could) to this extra gig. And, yeah… why not? That was almost a year ago. A month ago I realized that they would play the whole A Matter Of Life And Death and almost no classics. First I was disappointed. The first time for me, and this happens. Then I saw a vague hope in this. Actually I don't like many of the live classics anyway. And if it was a good album, I had nothing to lose. I bought it and listened, and listened again. No, it was crap. The songs sounded like I've heard everything before and all melted together in a gray mass. Old Bruce sounded shrill and monotone and there were no heaviness or aggressiveness in the sound. I thought for a minute about aborting the whole thing, but I had already bought a non-refundable bus ticket to Stockholm.

o I sat myself down on the bus and started a trip that I actually did not care that much about. Since I had seven hours to spend on my bus seat, I gave A Matter… one more chance. And although the gray rainy day outside matched the music I somewhere saw a small stream of light. Maybe it wasn't that bad after all? A few songs were actually quite good if you have the time to sit down and really listen. And as I said, I rather hear For The Greater Good Of God and The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg, than Run To The Hills and Number Of The Beast. My expectations started to rise. Still it was not enough to make me really excited. But as Maiden entered the stage a few hours later, I was actually pleased about knowing the procedure. This was going to be more of a theater, where you know the lines and acts, than a concert where everything can happen in the interaction between band and crowd.

ruce is a powerful stage person with impressive energy. The others. Well… they move from time to time, but they are actually quite lame in comparison with the frontman. All but Jannick Gers, the scapegoat among the fans for all the 'wasted' years. He moved around quite silly. Only one person can get away with Ian Anderson poses and that's Ian Anderson. One of the reasons is that Ian plays the flute, not the guitar. While the other three string players grouped and regrouped together in front of the stage, Jannick mostly leaped around by his own in the back. Well, well, the new album grew further in the live format. It is an album with a clear red thread, almost made to play altogether, or not at all. Of course the response from the crowd was nothing near what it became when Fear Of The Dark and Hallowed Be Thy Name were played, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it was bad. It is simply not a party album, but more of a metal symphony with (I must admit by now…) class.

had to listen to the record again on the bus home. I even had to listen to Dance Of Death, just to be able to compare. At first I didn't like that one either, but now I see how that was the link leading to A Matter… Well, now I'm not going to add further to the hype about Maiden after all. It was a great concert, but not even close to the best I've seen. It's fun that at least one band still do something extra with the scenery (Rammstein and Alice Cooper are the only competitors in that matter as I have seen). But that alone is not enough. Eddie looked a bit old and stiff by the way. Not exactly 'scary' with a monster that walks like he is 90 years old.

o will I be a Maiden fan from now on? Probably not. Their pop metal songs like Can I Play With Madness, The Evil That Men Do, 2 Minutes To Midnight, Wildest Dreams, Blood Brothers, Run To The Hills etc are never going to get my attention. But if they continue to evolve into this direction, I might see them again someday. If they are brave enough to skip the worn out hits again.

David - December 2006