iron maiden concert
August 20, 2011 § 1 Comment
Iron Maiden SECC, Glasgow
“Scream for me Glasgow!” roared Bruce Dickinson as Iron Maiden began the final British leg of their biggest world tour. “I can’t hear you! Scream for me Scotland!” Pure pantomime, but the rowdy, all-ages crowd loved it.
Still selling out arenas after more than three decades of slumps, splits and comebacks, Iron Maiden have pulled off a striking transformation in recent years, graduating from perennial Spinal Tap-style jokes to much-loved national treasures, earning a Grammy this year.
With more than 80 million album sales to their credit, Iron Maiden’s commercial profile is stronger now than at any time since their mid-1980s heyday. Last year, The Final Frontier topped the charts in 40 countries. During the accompanying 18-month tour,the band have played to two million people across the globe.
Dickinson, right, who turns 53 the day after the band play their London finale next month, remains a remarkably lithe and energetic frontman. Dressed in combat trousers and a ripped sleeveless vest, he was in full Bruce Willis mode, throwing ninja-style action poses as he sprinted along the stage’s upper level, belting out high notes at lung-bursting volume.
Another key to Iron Maiden’s enduring appeal lies in how they cling to their roots in rock’s pre-digital steam age, steadfastly refusing to update their timeless punk-metal formula. Apocalyptic anthems such as Two Minutes to Midnight and The Evil that Men Do may have been written decades before Brave New World and El Dorado, but they all blurred into the same sustained heavy-artillery blast of operatic bellowing and baroque triple-guitar squealing.
Their carnival-like live shows still draw on a 1970s hinterland of pulp science-fiction and schlock-horror movies. Almost uniquely among modern bands, they shun giant video screens in favour of hand-painted backdrops depicting diabolical monsters and dystopian urban vistas. Even a vast hydraulic replica of the band’s skull-faced mascot, Eddie, had something of the fairground ghost train about it.
After many months on the road, Iron Maiden sounded slick, huge and unstoppable. The sensory assault of thunderous guitars and lurid visuals left no time to be bored, never mind critical.
They may be stranded in a perpetual Groundhog Day of 1970s adolescent male obsessions, but these last action heroes of British heavy metal still muster a terrific blockbuster spectacle. Touring to Aug 6. http://www.iron maiden.com