Saturday, May 31, 2008

Iron Maiden and Anthrax in Irvine

Last night was my first of two back to back Maiden shows. I took the day off from work and rested up for the long drive and headed out about 4pm for an 8pm show. As I was headed down there Friday rush hour was picking up and the 60 mile drive ended up taking close to two an a half hours. The time went quick, I was jamming out to Maiden and Anthrax psyching myself up for the show and then when I saw a car on the road that had IRON MAIDEN! 666 on the back window I knew I was not making the trek from LA to Irvine down the 405 alone.

Once I had a quick bite to eat outside the venue I headed over to the parking lot and was parked and in the venue by about 7pm. The show time wasn't scheduled to start until 8pm but Lauren Harris (Steve Harris' daughter) and her band got an early start at 7:30. Not sure she was a good fit for the show and although she and her band were adequate I've heard much bands that are unsigned.

Now I was ready to see Anthrax. I wasn't a big Anthrax fan as a kid but as I've gotten older I've gotten into the band quite a bit, first with the John Bush era material and then later becoming familiar with the Belladona era. I had only seen the band once with John Bush back in 2000 and I missed out on the entire Belladona reunion. Anthrax was debuting their new lineup featuring their new singer Dan Nelson. As they hit the stage the seats filled and you could tell they had quite a few fans at the show. The best part was when Maiden announced these two shows in Irvine, Anthrax were not part of the bill. A very nice after the fact surprise.

The band was loose and having fun. This was their second show with Dan and he was working the crowd like he had been fronting Anthrax for years. His voice was almost a blend of Belladona and Bush but he could also do more of the deeper modern metal vocals as well. I think his voice sounded more like Bush, however he sounded better on the Belladona material. They didn't play any of the new songs they played at their first show in Chicago, but the greatest hits set suited me fine since this was the first time I saw them since I've become familiar with the material. By the end of the set the band was fairly tight and I'm anticipating they will be great tonight.

Irvine, California
Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
(Formerly Irvine Meadows)
May 30, 2008

Got The Time
Caught In A Mosh
Room For One More
Safe Home
I Am The Law

Ever since moving to LA Iron Maiden was one of the bands I wanted to see out here. They recorded their monumental album Live After Death in Long Beach, and I thought how perfect would it be to be at a show where Bruce yells "Scream for me Long Beach". Although I was slightly disappointed that they didn't play Long Beach, Irvine is just a short 30 minute drive away and Bruce humored the crowd and yelled "Scream for me Long Beach" and the crowd went wild.

I've been checking out quite a few bootlegs from the recent tour and on the first leg of the tour back in the Spring the band played loose and the drums always sounded sloppy to me. Not last night, 6 months of touring has made Maiden a touring machine. You could hear each of the three guitars independently, the solos cut through, and Nicko was in top form.

One interesting series of events occurred right before The Trooper. Steve Harris saw a fight break out and proceeded to pause the show for about 2 minutes as he cussed out this unruly kid. Bruce not knowing what was happening since he was behind the stage for the set change yelled out I feel a Foreigner song coming on, and sang the line "I've been waiting... for this song to start". Shortly thereafter they launched into The Trooper and Bruce got the background on what happened after the song.

The show was great and at first I was worried about going back to back nights since I doubt the setlist will change, but now I'm anxious for tonights show. The one thing that surprised me is how chatty Bruce is. Through out the show he gave long winded intros but seemed sincerely in awe at the size of the crowd. I'm not sure if last night was sold out, it sure looked like it, but Bruce announced that tonight's show was sold out so if you didn't already have a ticket then you won't be able to see Maiden again.

As they wrapped the set Bruce said a new Maiden album is in their future and they will be returning to Southern California. Up the irons!

Iron Maiden
Irvine, California
Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
(Formerly Irvine Meadows)
May 30, 2008

Pre-show Intro Music - Doctor Doctor (UFO)
Intro Movie
Winston Churchill's Speech
Aces High
2 Minutes To Midnight
(Scream For Me Long Beach)
The Trooper
Wasted Years
The Number Of The Beast
Rime Of The Ancient Mariner
Heaven Can Wait
Run To The Hills
Fear Of The Dark
Iron Maiden (Big Eddie)
The Clairvoyant (Walking Eddie)
Hallowed Be Thy Name


Anonymous said...

Great review! I was at the Albuquerque show on 5/25 and it was completely amazing. Wish I coulda been at those 2 Irvine shows, too! Great to see more Maiden fans out here blogging!

Take care!

Anonymous said...

I went to the Chicago show last night and it was fantastic. Would love to hear a bootleg of the show - can you let me know where you found them?

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