On February 24th, the Jedi masters of Metal kicked off a world tour to shame all others.
Iron Maiden’s latest release not only surpassed fan expectations, but sales as well, performing “50 percent better than any other previous release,” according to Bruce Dickinson. That is 50 percent better than their staple classic, The Number of the Beast, which features their first footprint on the Billboard charts, “Run to the Hills.” Fifty percent better than “Piece of Mind,” which features not one, but two MTV video darlings, “Flight of Icarus” and “The Trooper.”
Deep into their 50’s, over thirty years later, these six modest and magnificent men have raised the stratospheric bar that they, themselves, have set. That is a tremendous feat and image to wrap one’s head around.
No band in the history of music since the Beatles and the Rolling Stones has had more influence on generations of music, community, or economy than these men. As musicians, each of them are the creme-de-la-crème of their craft; Nicko’s consummate attention to detail, Murray’s elegance, Smith’s undefeatable craftsmanship on song and string, Janick’s presence, Bruce’s iconic vocals and showmanship, and the unarguably attested greatest bass player in the world, Steve Harris. Together, along with a formidable management and artistic team, and a beloved larger-than-life mascot, have been able to create a universal empire that continues to transcend color, race, religion, gender, age, or time.
Iron Maiden is a big deal.
A Maiden show is not just a concert, it is a privilege. It is an event. It is a pilgrimage to the Metal Mecca. And “The Book of Souls” Mayan theme is a perfect fit for this experience; beautiful, brutal, mysterious, and tribal.
This year, their set consists of glorious lighting rigs of stars, suns, and beams; stones and swamp vines; and the grandest Eddie entrance to date. The use of the Minotaur in lieu of the traditional Baphomet-esque imagery for the “Beast” is ultra-classy, even for Maiden standards. Though the set list beholds a few surprises, such as the inclusion of “Children of the Damned” and the exclusion of “Aces High” and “Run to the Hills,” the choices they dished from a 130 plus song buffet were no less delicious and fulfilling.
Bigger plane, bigger sets, bigger lights, bigger sounds, and bigger tour would have much less impact or meaning in the hands of any other band. Maiden is the only entity in existence that can pull this off and keep their impeccable integrity as artists and professionals. They keep it real and they keep it strong making “The Book of Souls” tour quite possibly – and never to be said lightly — the greatest show on Earth.