Welcome to the first post classified as a “Ramble”. As the title suggest I shall spend it opining on Iron Maiden’s setlist for their latest tour. Some thoughts on Maiden tours in general though will come first. The first is that Maiden setlists are very unadventurous for the most part. The second is that I dislike how the setlists are pretty much unchanged for the entire tour. And I don’t mean just from gig to gig. I mean from leg to leg, with months of break in between. Is it not too much to ask for some never-before-played-live songs? Maiden would have to be the biggest band to not give songs live debuts. I might be a huge Maiden fan, but I’m not completely blind to their faults.
But anyway, let’s get to the analysis. The first song was “Aces High”. Now this came as a shock. I thought “Aces High” was out of Bruce’s range back on the Maiden England tour, but color me corrected. Listen to that
Now if I thought “Aces High” was out of Bruce’s range then I never in a million years would have guessed that we’d be hearing “Where Eagles Dare” again. But there it is. Spot number two, and Bruce is killing it. I mean, he was 60 there. That’s almost inhuman.
Things get a little less shocking next up, with “2 Minutes to Midnight”. I’m not the biggest fan of this one. It’s overstayed it’s welcome on live albums in the past. “Paschendale” would have fit in here nicely too. Now before the tour started Bruce said there’d be social media madness after the first show. I (correctly) decoded this to mean that “The Clansman” would be played. I also remained cautiously optimistic that we might get some No Prayer For the Dying material. Unfortunately only the former was true, but that was enough for me. “The Clansman” rules regardless of the singer and I’m glad the Blaze songs have withstood the test of time. The final song in the war themed area is “The Trooper”. Of all the ol’ reliables of the Maiden albums, this is the one I’d least like to see missing, so I’m glad it wasn’t dropped. The solo is one of my favorites from the Maiden boys.
“Revelations” then heralds the next area, a cathedral. “Revelations” is nice to see, and it’s nice to see Adrian and Janick alternate who gets Adrian’s solo. It adds some variety to these versions of the song. “For the Greater Good of God” is next. I’m glad to see some latter-day material make the setlist, especially from A Matter of Life And Death, but “For the Greater Good of God” is one of my least favorite songs on that album. This could have been Benjamin Breeg or “Brighter Than A Thousand Suns”. Another reunion era song is next: “The Wicker Man”. It’s a good songs, but it’s just a tad too by-the-numbers setlist-wise. I would have preferred a deeper cut like something from No Prayer For the Dying here. But I can’t complain too much because of the next song. I thought we’d only get one Blaze song, “The Clansman”, but I am both surprised and wrong (again). “Sign of the Cross” may have been the only other Blaze song to realistically make it into a Maiden setlist nowadays, and I welcome it wholeheartedly. The last song of the cathedral set, and also the rarest song of the whole set, is next. “Flight of Icarus” is very welcome to make its return (and the first time it’s been played with Janick), especially as Bruce still kicks butt vocally. And flamethrowers! Freaking flamethrowers.
We are then in the hell landscape, heralded by “Fear of the Dark”. Sure it may be played on every tour, but it was my favorite Maiden song until I had heard too many to be able to pick a favorite. I wouldn’t want it gone ever. And hell ain’t a bad place to be, we’ve got “The Number of The Beast” up next. Same as “Fear of the Dark” it’s quite common, but it’s necessary for a Maiden concert. “Iron Maiden” ends the main set, as you’d expect. No complaints here, it’s one of my favorite traditions. Now we get to the encores, and this is a pet peeve of mine with some bands, with Maiden being just one of the examples. I really don’t like it when bands treat the encore like an extension of their main set and just fill it with their hits. Encores should be special in my mind.
The first one is “The Evil That Men Do” and I’m happy that it’s something from Seventh Son, one of my many favorites from that album too. “Hallowed Be Thy Name” is next. I don’t mind it here, but with “The Number of the Beast” and “Run to the Hills” already in the setlist, I think this would have been a golden opportunity to play “Alexander the Great”, even though I don’t completely buy into the whole “It’s the best Maiden song ever! Play it live!” mentality. “Run to The Hills” ends the show, and this is the only ol’ reliable I object to. I consider “Run to The Hills” to be a bit overrated and would have preferred something off Somewhere in Time, even “Wasted Years”, which appeared on the previous tour. There’s just a bit too much The Number of the Beast material in the setlist. “Running Free” would have fit nicely here too (then again, could have been worse: it could have been “Sanctuary”).
This is easily my second favorite of the retro-tour setlists. Sure there were a lot of the ol’ reliables in this set, but the rarities were enough to make me look past it. On May 26 2018 I eagerly waited for the reports and videos of the opening night in Tallin. And when I got them I was thrilled. Bruce was in excellent form vocally, and the stage, oh the stage was so cool. The spitfire is probably my favorites Maiden stage prop, along with The Final Frontour’s big Eddie. Now I was supposed to be seeing Maiden on the first of May this year, but the circumstances have unfortunately prohibited that. So alas, I must wait until 2022 by the sounds of it. But in the meantime there is YouTube.