See evil, hear evil, speak evil.

LIVE REVIEW: IRON MAIDEN

VENUE: Telenor Arena, Oslo

DATE: July 6th 2011

SUPPORT: Alice Cooper

Photo: Elin Hansson (dagbladet.no)

It was only a matter of time before Maiden would set foot on the Viking soil of Norway whilst on their epic Final Frontier Tour. With 40 countries under their belt, and a tour that started over a year previous you’d certainly expect a tired and worn out bunch of old cockneys with arthiritis in their knees. But this is Iron Maiden, and although cockney’s are rife, they really are the troopers they sing about:
The day before the show members of Maiden played their almost traditional football match against the Norwegian Opera House team! Joining Team Maiden and Steve Harris was none other than Satyricon’s lead singer himself Satyr, and appropriately they won 13-1. Stick that in your bonnet of Maiden football facts.

The following night they blew the fackin’ socks from the feet of Oslo’s Telenor Arena…

Maiden’s last show back in 2008 was part a tour playing pure classics, so it was with much trepidation that this show for the Final Frontier was attended. Would they just play tracks from the new album? What classics would they play? Would it be like attending a cup final in East London with headbutting and chants aplenty? Such questions clouded the mind along with a pint of fine shandy.
At the start of the tour it was announced they would only be playing El Dorado from the newest album – which was of course to the Wolf’s liking.  But by the time Oslo came around it would seem that several more Final Frontier tracks had creeped into the setlist. Oh dear, said The Wolf.
But fear not, although tonight’s show slapped in plenty of new tracks, they were suitably interspersed with some all too familiar tracks, and familiarity with Maiden is never a bad thing.

The ball rolled slowly at the start with Satellite 15…, but by the time 2 Minutes To Midnight reared it’s 20 year old barnet, the crowd were whipped into a camera-in-the-air shout-along frenzy. After some stealthy trips to the bar during The Talisman, we were back in time to hear the graces of Coming Home with all the singing along you could shake a stick at, and really from here on out, and minus the 12 minute epic When The Wild Wind Blows it was classics as far as the eye can see, with Bruce even bringing out the majestic Norwegian flag for The Trooper. And as mentioned before: They are troopers. Watching Bruce leaping about is just knackering to watch (he’s 52 fer chris’ sake!) and with Janick Gers slinging his guitar about like a toy it’s surprising he doesn’t knock himself out during one of his many gung-ho moments.

Photo: Thomas Winje Øijord (Aftenposten)

But you don’t need a track by track rundown of this. It’s Maiden. You know how the drill goes when the classics dine out. That’s what you go to the live show for. To join in with a couple thousand others shouting “6-66!” and to witness the latest incarnation of Eddie.

Eddie doesn’t look himself however. Nowadays he’s pretty much a Predator rip off, and made an appearance so swift, that whilst actually watching the stage we still didn’t notice him. (note: This might have been the onset of my beer goggles.)

Of course, BIG Eddie is where it’s at, and the next time he emerged he was a colossal bastard. Lifting his ugly rubber head out from behind the band with claws galore and rosy demon eyes. It was like Live After Death all over again, but he’d taken his mummy mask off and gone to space. Eddddiiiie.
By the time set closer Running Free made it’s way into the lugholes, the beer goggles had expanded into beer shoes, beer mouth and beer spillage. And whilst the Norwegian crowd wasn’t quite up to the crowd participation of a West Ham match, The Wolf certainly did outstandingly in an alcohol fuelled knees up. “SCREAM FOR ME OSLO!” said Bruce, and like the late Freddie Mercury, we were at his command.

Tonight’s setlist might not have pleased everybody in the vast arena, but with the band playing on fire after so many shows and so many years, it’s hard not to feel a part of something huge and historical anyway. Maiden have said they don’t want to be a bunch of old bastards playing nostalgic tours forever, and apart from the old bit, they’ve succeeded in this aim. Whether you naysayers like it or not, Iron Maiden 30 odd years on are still as relevant in the metal world as ever – you could say they’ve entered the space age (ho ho doh) with much gusto. With Telenor Arena conquered, it’s on to the next battle. Long live the Maiden!

 

SETLIST:

1. Satellite 15… The Final Frontier
2. El Dorado
3. 2 Minutes To Midnight
4. The Talisman
5. Coming Home
6. Dance Of Death
7. The Trooper
8. The Wicker Man
9. Blood Brothers
10. When The Wild Wind Blows
11. The Evil That Men Do
12. Fear Of The Dark
13. Iron Maiden

encore
14. The Number Of The Beast
15. Hallowed Be Thy Name
16. Running Free

 

 

– Gary Sutherland, 2011.