Thursday, June 10, 2010


Last night was one of the greatest concerts I have ever seen! IRON MAIDEN with Dream Theater at the Center in Dallas, Texas! Starting at 7:30pm, I was really worried about the weather. The Center (formerly Smirnoff Music Center) is a partial open air amphitheater with the a covered stage and seating pavilion with a sloping lawn seating area. I have been to the music center before (Ozzfest) and I decided to get tickets for the Lawn seating since the price was cheaper but as the date for the show approached I started to reconsider my decision. This week had been very hot and humid with temperatures in the mid 90s but when thunderstorms came in Wednesday morning, I feared the worst. Although my tickets said "Rain or Shine" I was determined not to miss this concert, so I came prepared with a disposable rain poncho and a towel. Thankfully when I got to Fair Park the weather was clearing up, cloudy but not raining. As night fell, the weather was almost perfect, still very humid (Texas Summer!) but cloudy and with cool breezes and temperatures in the high 70s. The amphitheater was already mostly full and I was glad I got lawn seating because I was in view of a large suspended video screen. The opening band Dream Theater started about 5 minutes early, and played about an hour. I was familiar with Dream Theater and their progressive metal/synthesizer styling's as they performed several songs including "Pull Me Under". Dream Theater put on an impressive show and got the crowd going although there was a long, at least 30 minute break between shows while they were setting up for Iron Maiden.
     As it started to get dark, around 9pm, the lights went out and with a star-filled backdrop amongst a spaceship-like stage with flashing red lights they played a clip from the classical piece "Mars" from "The Planets" by Gustav Holst. As images of space-scenes came up on the screen "Mars" grew louder and Iron Maiden appeared on-stage playing "Wicker Man" from their 2000 album "Brave New World"!
As most audiences are familiar with Iron Maiden's huge stage productionswith classic tours like "Somewhere In Time" and "Live After Death", with the release of their new album "The Final Frontier" in August, their stage setup reflects more of the spaceship/futuristic theme of the album. Most Iron Maiden shows usually start with a sound clip of Winston Churchill's beginning the song "Aces High" from 1982's "Powerslave" but this tour marks a whole new beginning! This tour also marks a change with Iron Maiden as most Maiden fans are used to hearing many older hits at their concerts such as "2 Minutes to Midnight" or "Run To The Hills", however most of this show featured songs from more recent albums like "Brave New World" and "Dance of Death" (2003) such as "No More Lies" and "A Matter of Life and Death" (2006) with "These Colours Don't Run" which may have been disappointing to some fans however I thought it was a welcome change and a treat to hear newer songs. As the 2-hour set went on, they also played a new song from the new album "El Dorado" which is available for free mp3 download on IRON
 Towards the end of the show they performed "Fear of the Dark" and of course their signature song "Iron Maiden" in the finale in which they brought out the bands mascot 'Eddie'! Eddie has always been a major part of Iron Maiden shows since the beginning and is usually featured in the shows finale as either a puppet or costumed/animatronic character dressed as either a zombie, a mummy, or a cyborg, but with the new album Eddie has been transformed into a giant alien creature! With an impressive encore they performed some older favorites starting with 'The Number of the Beast', featuring an impressive, ominous devil to the right of the stage and then finished off with "Hallowed Be Thy Name" and "Running Free"! As the concert came to an end and the road crew started their cleanup as the crowd dispersed, in true Maiden/British fashion they played 'Monty Python's' song "Always Look On The Bright Side of Life" from "The Life of Brian" over the sound system. The energy was high and Iron Maiden was definitely in top form, this was truly a great concert experience! IRON MAIDEN RULES!
     On a personal note: Anybody who considers themselves an Iron Maiden "FAN" and then curses and boo's the band for not playing enough of their older songs, is NOT really a fan. In the world of live music and especially heavy metal, any band or artist must evolve and grow and play new songs along with old favorites to stay alive and fresh, keeping both fans young and old cheering and raising their devil-horns! "You can't please all of the people all of the time." - Abraham Lincoln. Another thing, I was surprised at the number of people taking video and pictures with their phones and cameras, most concerts I've been too usually discourage this but as I could see hundreds of lights from phones and cameras in the audience I suppose the event staff and security didn't care, so I got a few videos and pics myself but from Lawn seating, you can't see very much!

(Picture of Alien Eddie from Twitter @IronMaidenFC)