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LIVE REVIEW: Iron Maiden @ Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham

Legendary heavy metal band IRON MAIDEN are a stickler for taking a while to return to the UK for full tours, the last one being for the Final Frontier in 2011. There’s been glimpses at Download Festival of what they offer but most of the time we have to be patient, so obviously the excitement brewed when they announced The Book of Souls tour for their latest album. With such a long wait and even a wait between album and tour we managed to see just why IRON MAIDEN are one of the most spectacular heavy metal bands ever.

Shinedown live @ Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham. Photo Credit: Elliot Leaver
Shinedown live @ Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham. Photo Credit: Elliot Leaver

SHINEDOWN was a suitable pick to support a band like IRON MAIDEN, they’ve been rising with their talent for years and made a reputable name for themselves and it was easy to see why when watching them perform. They managed to take the crowd in, which isn’t easy when everyone there is waiting to see such an iconic band and they absolutely owned it. With a few minor sound difficulties which were out of the bands control they sounded like they do on their studio albums, which is exactly the quality you want when paying to see a band live. With a nice mix of old and new songs they delivered an absolutely outstanding performance fit for fans of everything they have done. ┬áThe only downside was the length in which vocalist Brent Smith spoke, it was all well and good with inspiring words and the power on bringing a crowd together but it felt like they didn’t know on when to just leave it at the music sometimes because that is ultimately what the crowd were pleading for with how outstanding they were.

Rating: 8/10

Iron Maiden live @ Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham. Photo Credit: Elliot Leaver
Iron Maiden live @ Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham. Photo Credit: Elliot Leaver

Legendary heavy metal band IRON MAIDEN returned for a UK tour after a long wait for their The Book of Souls tour and it was immediate to see the excitement from fans waiting for one of the best bands in heavy metal. Already outside of the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham fans were drinking in a nearby pub, a sea of band shirts queuing for hours in the sun, people talking about the last time they saw the band or how it was their first time since being a fan for their entire career – it says nothing but great things about what to expect when this is before doors had even opened.

With the performance that they delivered, there are no doubts why everyone around was so hyped up for their show. The moment UFO‘s Doctor Doctor belts out through the speakers you feel a wave of emotions, the anticipation from everyone is at its most heightened and all you can do is just wait for whatever IRON MAIDEN are going to be opening with this time. For this tour though you heard the echoing and chilling vocals for the beginning of If Eternity Should Fail, giving everyone goosebumps when they saw the almighty Bruce Dickinson come to the stage, until fans went into a frenzy when the rest of the band come out knowing that they were going to get a show.

For a man who battled cancer, Bruce Dickinson still has so much power in his voice and with every scream and prolonged note he really showed the fans that he was in charge and it almost felt like himself and the rest of IRON MAIDEN had been given a new lease on life, they already give it their all but on this night it felt even stronger than ever and others have mentioned on previous dates. He certainly hasn’t lost his humour either, donning a monkey mask for Death or Glory, claiming that anyone who was born 1983 might have been because their parents had sex to 1982 song Children of the Damned, running and jumping around like he had spare energy for everyone and of course battling the one and only Eddie.

He wasn’t the only one who put on a show for Birmingham though, Janick Gers was making younger fans enviable that he could still stick his leg over his head near enough and they couldn’t, letting the music feed into his body, whilst Steve, Dave, Adrian and Nicko were playing with such intricacy and joy that it was memorising to watch. Each member of IRON MAIDEN have their own quirk and when you’re watching them you fall in love with what they do and who they are a little bit more.

At some points in the night the crowd fell a little bit less enthusiastic than what they were initially and that was down to the increasing heat of the arena, it was definitely a bad point for the night when fans couldn’t enjoy themselves to the fullest extent because of the heat – it almost felt like the air conditioning broke and when pyrotechnics went off, some fans were moving away from it unable to cope. Aside from this each fan gave it their all like it meant the world to them because the majority of the time, it does mean the world to IRON MAIDEN fans to get to see them on stage.

A prime example is just how the entire crowd can come together to sing the guitar parts for Fear of the Dark, giving goosebumps and feeling part of a community. This is only cemented when Bruce made a statement about the ‘blithering idiots’ who run the world and then pointing to the flags around the arena from Cuba, Japan, Argentina and more stating that these people come from all over the world to see IRON MAIDEN and it doesn’t matter where you’re from or what you believe in, especially considering there was a vicar stood at the front fresh from Sunday service, everyone is family. Blood Brothers is the most nail on the head song about that, the fans wrap their arms around each other standing united knowing only that they are there for their favourite band.

Each song that the titans delivered it was special to someone in the crowd, tears were shed and hugs were given. IRON MAIDEN didn’t just deliver outstanding music that we have all grown with and love to this day, they delivered a spectacular show and a united sea of people who just went for the heavy metal and got given it. Fans of every age sung their hearts out and air guitared along and had the best night, they were given what they was promised and more. That is exactly why when going to see one of their concerts everyone is like a child at Christmas, they are getting the experience of a lifetime.

Rating: 9/10

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Jessica Howkins

Co Editor-in-Chief for Distorted Sound Magazine, Music Journalism student.