O2 Arena London 29th May 2017
It's been four years since the mighty Iron Maiden played in London and six years since they did a UK tour; that's too bloody long, even by the band's own admission. It's certainly been torturous for the fans even me, and I'm also a Kate Bush fan where patience comes close to saintliness! Watching snatches of clips of bootleg YouTube videos of American audiences having a great time, just made us even more envious. Counting down the days since the UK tour was announced has been torturous, but holy smoke it was worth the wait!
After Bruce's recent battle with cancer, one thing that was of concern was his voice. Having seen live streams and other clips on the internet from the American tour; yes he could still sing, but the air raid siren sounded a little raspy and tired as if he wasn't quite ready to cope with the vocal demands of the tour. However, being the trooper that Bruce is, he carried on. The intervening months have certainly served him well and allowed him to take care of the demands of a world tour. That tone we know and love is just as sharp as ever and it's amazing (and a relief) to see him back on top form.
In fact, the band sounded terrific, it was one of the best shows I have ever seen them play. They have so much energy, they appear unstoppable and like a fine bottle of Eddie's Special Brew, they seem to get better with age. The fact that it's The Book of Souls Tour should give you an indication of the material on offer: Eternity Should Fail, the epic Red and Black and the stonking Speed Of Light give you a flavour. As with all Maiden shows you can expect the unexpected, Powerslave made a welcome return to the set list with Steve Harris's juggernaut bass line shaking the arena. Wasted Years, Blood Brothers and Children of the Damned also popped up and don't seem to have dated at all.
One of the unique and special things about Maiden shows, apart from the feeling of a great big family is that they transcend age groups, gender and nationality and new fans are emerging all the time keeping the Maiden community growing year on year. Despite Bruce removing Eddie's heart to claim his soul and throwing his blood around the stage, it's most definitely the fans that are the lifeblood of this band, and long may it be so. Just don't leave it so long next time guys. Up the Irons.