Review: Iron Maiden - First Direct Arena - Leeds

Iron Maiden
Iron Maiden
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In these most uncertain of times there are few things that one can genuinely rely upon.

And while death and taxes are the most commonly referenced of these sureties there is one more fundamental that should be remembered, namely that Iron Maiden will utterly blow away any audience you put them in front of.

From the start to the finish of their show at Leeds’s First Direct Arena the band show that age is no barrier to delivering a set of ferocious and soaring hard rock that would leave virtually every other band in existence panting for breath.

The band, now approaching their 40th year in existence show the sell-out crowd that they remain resolutely at the top of their game.

Touring in support of their latest and most ambitious record to date, last year’s Book of Souls, they also bring a raft of their greatest hits.

Opening with If Eternity Should Fail and Speed of Light, the first two tracks from Book of Souls, the band charge around the stage, whipping the crowd into a frenzy.

Bassist and band lynchpin Steve Harris is the band’s anchor. Third track Wrathchild opens with his thundering bassline, shaking the foundations of the arena.

The triple guitar attack of Adrian Smith, Dave Murray and Janick Gers is a genuine force of nature. As the iconic riff to The Trooper kicks in the three charge forward to the front of the stage and 13,000 metal fans, ranging from small kids to men drawing their pensions, absolutely lose their marbles.

And speaking of forces of nature, frontman Bruce Dickinson embodies the spirit of hard rock at every level. He pours his heart and soul into the gig.

It is impossible to believe these guys are in their late 50s and early 60s. Bands half their age do not have this amount of energy.

Iron Maiden brought their Book of Souls World Tour

Iron Maiden brought their Book of Souls World Tour

The highlights are legion.

The 13 and half minute epic The Red and the Black sees all three guitarists deliver searing solos which send chills down one’s spine that still haven’t gone away.

While the latest record is faithfully represented here, it is naturally the older material that draws the biggest cheers.

Fear of the Dark has the audience enraptured and Powerslave lives up to its name, with a strident rendition.

An encore of The Number of the Beast and unexpected choice Blood Brothers remind everyone how Iron Maiden have inspired fierce devotion for so long. They have stuck to what they do and have done it better than anyone else.

Closing with Wasted Years the band leave us all hungry for more.

Iron Maiden remain at the top of their game. They will never be fashionable nor trendy, nor should they. I, along with thousands, proudly wear their shirt as a badge of honour. It stands for something, a commitment to the awesome power that well played music can deliver.

As Dickinson tells the crowd during the encore, in a world full of division and adversary, gigs like these bring people together and remind us all how much we have in common.

As such any Maiden fan will forever be my brother or sister.

And I hope this band is around for a hell of a long time to keep reminding us of that.

Verdict: 666 stars

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