Iron Maiden @ Molson Amphitheater, July 3 2010

Here is my review of the Iron Maiden show (originally for Hellbound.ca) that took place at the Molson Amphitheatre on July 3 2010. You can read the original here, along with Lord High Executioner Sea Palmerston’s take on the event, and take a gander and some fine photos by Albert Mansour.

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It’s a bit of a challenge for me to write about this particular show experience. The typical rules of a metal-show review don’t work for Iron Maiden. The set list was circulated long before the show took place, complete with encore, so reporting on that seems unnecessary. Of course the musicianship was excellent. Of course the set pieces and special effects rocked. Of course the sound was blistering and the lighting incredible. Bruce Dickinson positively flew onto the stage, leaping over monitors and climbing the rocketship set, and did not stop moving the whole time. The unflagging energy and enthusiasm exhibited by the entire band was fantastic—but also, I realized, expected.

I am not even sure that I need to discuss the tribute to Ronnie James Dio that Bruce offered, dedicating “Blood Brothers” to the fallen icon. The moment actually made me get a bit teary-eyed, watching thousands of horns raised skyward; it was deeply moving. I also knew it was going to happen, having read reviews of shows in Edmonton and Saskatoon as this tour gradually moved East through Canada. Unlike most metal tours, The Final Frontier tour has been meticulously documented in photographs and live reviews in publications across the Internet.

So. How to talk about it?

First, I suppose I should get personal. This was my very first Iron Maiden show. Prior to this particular Saturday night, I was a Maiden virgin—a Maiden maiden, if you’d like. I joked about my imminent “deflowering” ahead of time, and then after the show, found that my there was a deep grain of truth running through those statements. Once my “Maidenhead” had been claimed by this show, I felt…different. Like my devotion to metal had somehow been consummated.

Enjoying Iron Maiden is deeply personal; it is also a collective, communal experience. This was driven home as soon as I stepped onto the lawn and surveyed the crowd. 16,000 people were packed into the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre. Prior to this, I doubt I’ve been in a room with as many as 1600. Never having been to Wacken or Download or another major festival, I’d never seen so many metalheads all in one place. And because this was Maiden, they came in droves, from all over the GTA and beyond, filling every Go-Train into the city and every streetcar heading down to the venue with an army of cheerful folks in hideous t-shirts. I saw many families there, gangly kids just as excited as their slightly rotund and balding parents, grinning ear to ear. A crowd of 16,000 people, all completely thrilled to be there, singing and screaming their lungs out for an hour and a half, is a remarkable thing to be a part of.

Of course Iron Maiden were fantastic. They couldn’t help be. The crowd allowed them to be wonderful, willed the entire show to be nothing less.

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