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Iron Maiden / Shinedown http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/9d/00/56/Iron-Maiden-Live-Review-Thumb-68-1496346568.jpg Hot

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Iron Maiden / Shinedown - O2 Arena, London (UK) - 27 May 2017

Shinedown gave an impressively professional performance. First impressions of a riff cutting clearly through the air had real impact and the relentless Symphonic power behind their arena sound is everything a post-nineties aficionado probably wants. The influence of great bands like Muse on the sound and the Red Hot Chili Peppers on the approach is undeniable. Vocalist Brent Smith had impressive crowd handling skills and a good pair of pipes. He had balls venturing deep in the crowd post the Manchester attack and found time for a moment's silence; both endeared him to the crowd. I am a realist and am aware that in stadium gigs backing tapes are a necessary evil. The jury is out on if you're going use them whether they should be super obvious (as in no deception) or subtle. Call me a dreamer, but I prefer to believe that it's the real live band. Obvious use of backing tapes aside, Shinedown handled a crowd not there primarily for them well and undoubtedly did lift the energy for Iron Maiden.

Big screen trailers for the computer game associated with 'The Book Of Souls' that ran before Maiden got on stage reminded everyone this is a band with a huge tradition, but who are willing to move with the times and inspire the younger generation. Despite these innovations, apart from the length of Bruce Dickinson's hair and the absence of any Spandex, it was amazing to see how similar the band looked and sounded to twenty-five years or so ago when Janick Gers joined.


Iron Maiden - Live Review 1

Yes, despite Gers' who high kicked and threw his guitar around like the nimblest slip of a thing, it has been eighteen years since this line-up had first been together and, of course, forty years or so since the very beginning. With tonight's performance, you would have been hard pushed to tell that as the band attacked their material with the same passion as they always have.

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Maiden kicked off with two tracks from the latest 'The Book Of Souls' album and performed six new numbers in total which showed justified confidence in their new material. Of Course, everyone would always love to hear more of the old (I really missed 'Hallowed Be Thy Name' and the lesser played 'Run To The Hills'), but we were rewarded with a few classics such as 'Number Of The Beast', 'Children Of The Damned', 'Iron Maiden' and 'Fear Of The Dark'. As much as we always want more, it was impressive to see how well the more recent material held up live and to see how tracks like 'Speed Of Light' had potential to become classics in time.


Iron Maiden - Live Review 2

Age had not slowed down the blistering solos from Adrian Smith and Dave Murray. Dickinson looked really fit and his voice sounded really great in both high and low ranges (so no worries there even after surgery), he found plenty of energy as he zipped around the stage, jumped monitors, changed costume and did all the flag waving and gesticulations we associate with the theatre of a Maiden show; this included squirting the rest of the band with blood from a large heart ripped out of Eddie's chest, not seeming to care at any point that wearing a monkey outfit or a wrestling mask must have been super-hot in this heatwave.


Iron Maiden - Live Review 4

Steve Harris and Nicko McBrain were still the stalwart backbone of the band. Somehow they still maintained their energy and Harris even managed to look great in his shorts which provided the Peter Pan quality we love to see in Rockstar heroes. They didn't skimp on the backdrops or set recreating Mayan ruins and regaled us with virtually a new image every song of Eddie as Aztec Kings, headhunters and suchlike. They did not forget to allow him back for brief appearances in more traditional costume and blow up animatronics that showed they value traditions like the fans.


Iron Maiden - Live Review 3

Marking the tragedy of Manchester, Dickinson made inclusive comments about solidarity in the face of tragedy which were entirely appropriate, genuinely given and well received, and we remembered how grateful we were still to see Iron Maiden at their finest.

Dawn Osborne (photo credits: John McMurtrie)

 

Iron Maiden - Live Review 5

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