'Hallowed Be Thy Name'
Friday August 10, 2018.
Considering that I had only seen Iron Maiden perform just 15 months before, I, and my friend David, were intrigued as to what to expect just over a year later.
Word had gone round that this would be a completely new experience with a whole new stage set and design. Old classics would be dusted off and newer ones left out. A greatest hits tour? No. Definitely not! Instead a story would be told through four very different parts. The stage would change to match each part and there would be other surprises. These included an inflatable Spitfire, that loomed out over the stage, complete with spinning propellor, pyrotechnics, Eddie T Head, umpteen costume changes, by Bruce Dickinson and a dual flamethrower among other things.
Once again David and I met at Kings Cross, then ate and drank our way to River Thames. Once again we boarded a Thames Clipper, surrounded by Iron Maiden fans of all generations, and headed for the Greenwich Peninsula.
Unlike 2017 the support act were the awful Killswitch Engage, who proceeded to drive the Iron Maiden fans back out to the bar areas.
Knowing that we had plenty of time we had deliberately paced ourselves, so, knowing exactly where our seats were, took our time, thereby saving our eardrums.
Not long after the noise of the support act had left the building, we made our way to our seats, bursting with an anticipation that could be felt trying to burst out of every fan in the arena.
And, boy, we were not disappointed.
As the sounds of their cover of UFO's Doctor Doctor, played from tape, played around the arena, their was a silence that I had never heard at an Iron Maiden concert. The silence didn't last, as Winston Churchill's 'We shall fight them' speech, again played from tape, bellowed from the speakers. The crowd erupted and, as the stage lights came up, the familiar sound of Aces High began. At which point the aforementioned virtually full-size Spitfire, flew above the stage, strafing those in the front, before turning and crashing behind a mountain of amps. This was followed by Where Eagles Dare, 2 Minutes to Midnight, The Clansman and The Trooper. A theme of war pervading the songs.
The set changed from a camouflage draped staged set to a cathedral like setting, complete with stained-glass windows. Even Nicko's drum kit matched the cathedral's stained-glass and, atop his bass drum, Sooty was wearing a Trooper jacket.
Then it was straight into Revelations which was swiftly followed by For the Greater Good of God, The Wicker Man, Sign of the Cross and Flight of Icarus. Then Fear of the Dark was followed by The Number of the Beast and finally Iron Maiden.
For the encore they belted out The Evil That Men Do, Hallowed Be Thy Name and, to round the night off, Run To the Hills.
We left to the sound of Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, with a sense of euphoria that I had never experienced before.
This tour is continuing onto 2020, so if you get the chance get a ticket.
Roll on the next tour.
Up the IRONS!