|» Iron Maiden 2006 11 17||
Said by a young hard rock-fan to his sceptic father on one of Globen's men's rooms: "Dad, when the guys in Trivium mature, I bet they'll become really well-known!" I don't want to seem like a wise guy, but since yours truly saw these Florida-based rockers open for Arch Enemy in front of a few hundred people one year ago, it's shocking how much experience they seem to have gathered in such a short time. It's difficult to realize at first that it's actually the same band.
After an overlong symphonic intro has faded out, Trivium finally appear and launches Entrance Of The Conflagration at the crowd. This song is one of my favourites this year and it almost feels like a future thrash-classic, certainly nothing I expected from a band that made themselves a name playing metal core. One year ago their material struck me as being a bit weak, but not this time around. The hits from the very successful album Ascendancy are all played (except Dying In Your Arms, which I had hoped to hear) and almost all the best tracks from the recently released The Crusade, one of the years top-albums if you ask me, show up. The relatively short set length means that there are no particularly weak moments.
Since Trivium isn't the main act of the evening, they obviously don't perform on the same conditions as Iron Maiden. Which might explain why the sound is so crappy, a shame when the new album contains so many nuances and impressive guitar-harmonies that now is difficult to hear. And the concept with Matt Heafy being helped with the growling and singing parts by both Corey Beaulieu and Paolo Gregoletto is interesting, but doesn't always work properly.
This was still a very enjoyable performance that should become even better in the future with some slight adjustments. And besides, a band that ends their set by playing the beginning of the bombastic track One-Winged Angel from the best-ever video game Final Fantasy VII through the speakers will have my respect no matter what.
7 chalices of 10
There's been a slight controversy surrounding Iron Maiden's decision to play their latest album A Matter Of Life And Death in its entirety on this tour, and therefore not being able to perform nearly any of the classic Maiden-songs that people expect to hear. Personally, I stand behind Bruce, Steve, Dave and the others all the way. Sure, if this would be the tour following the rather unsuccessful album Dance Of Death I probably wouldn't feel the same, but now we're talking A Matter Of Life And Death - Iron Maiden's best album since Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son (1988) if you ask me.
The album's World War II-theme is very much present in the stage scenery, which looks like a trench decorated with sandbags. Every song gets its own backdrop, consisting of war-paintings, Union Jacks and newspaper articles. The album is played in chronological order, rock opera style, which certainly takes away the surprise element. But you will be too busy checking out the vigorous front man Bruce Dickinson to even care, one of the few human beings that actually seem to get younger every time you see him. He runs, he jumps, he falls, he throws sandbags into the audience. Oh, and he sings wonderfully as well.
While most of the songs are new, they all seem familiar. Tracks like Different World, The Pilgrim, These Colours Don't Run and The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg all bring out the best of Iron Maiden's career and gets such a good reception by the audience that even Bruce Dickinson looks absolutely stunned. A special mentioning must go to the epic For The Greater Good Of God, which perfectly sums up what the new album is about and must be considered a future live-regular.
The rather different concept of the show has its negative sides, though. Hearing all the new tracks live at the same time illustrates the only really flaw of the new album as I see it, that the shorter and rockier pieces are too few, and the long and epic ones are perhaps too many. After a few songs the formula starts getting a bit predictable, the songs always starting with a long intro and Bruce Dickinson always disappearing during the last guitar solo before jumping out like a jack-in-the-box to deliver the last chorus. And on the two last songs Lord Of Light and The Legacy there is a feeling of saturation in the air. Although both songs are great they don't work particularly well live, even though Dickinson tries to spice up the latter by directing a huge spotlight at the audience.
Then something happens that makes virtually everyone in the audience up on the stands get up on their feet. It's the intro of Fear Of The Dark that gets everyone in the arena raving, and no wonder since everyone has waited for more than an hour for something that is not related to A Matter Of Life And Death. While hackneyed classics like Run To The Hills or The Number Of The Beast would merely feel tired at this point, Fear Of The Dark still feels as vital as when it was released. After that it's time for the self-titled track Iron Maiden, during which Eddie makes a spectacular entry in a tank.
Personal favourites like 2 Minutes To Midnight and Hallowed Be Thy Name round things off, but after two hours the audience still hasn't had enough. When the lights are finally turned on and there is no second encore there are quite a few who boos. But those who against all odds felt disappointed after the show shouldn't feel sad, as Bruce revealed earlier that another nostalgia-show (that probably will include the classic album-troika Powerslave, Somewhere In Time and Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son) due 2008 is in the pipeline
8 chalices of 10