The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world





The night we had been looking forward to for so long didn’t start out the best. With public transport unexpectedly ending well before the final destination of Molson Amphitheatre, us out of towners were left to follow a herd of Maiden t-shirt wearing, long haired metal heads to the location of the Toronto Iron Maiden show. Luckily they were going in the right direction... unluckily as we made visual of the amphitheatre we also heard the roar of the crowd and the vocals of James La Brie of Dream Theater.


We knew we had to run and hoped the lines weren’t going to be too big. Luckily it only took us about fifteen minutes to get in and although we had missed the first twenty minutes of Dream Theater’s set we managed to catch them midway through their third track, Home, from the Scenes from a Memory album. We soon had smiles on our faces as they introduced Constant Motion. As expected it was obvious that Mike Portnoy had chosen a more metal set list for the crowd of mainly Iron Maiden fans. Although a lot of the crowd around us did not seem to know the Dream Theater material, by the end of their set everyone was cheering. I’m sure a number of people there would have gone home and looked them up. It’s not often that you see a band as skilled and seasoned as Dream Theater as an opening band but as Iron Maiden are one of the band’s biggest influences the offer of opening for them on the North American tour would have been too good of an opportunity to turn down.


For anyone else wanting to see Dream Theater on this tour: GET THERE EARLY!!, doors were supposed to open at 7pm, Dream Theater started at 6:55pm.


Set list:-
As I Am
A Rite Of Passage
Constant Motion
Panic Attack
Pull Me Under


We were starving and didn’t have a chance to grab any food on the way in so we decided to go get a tour shirt and a hot dog. Got the tour shirt, got in the food line, and then just as we were one person away from being served we heard Doctor Doctor by UFO playing on the in house speakers. We then realised it was time to once again make a run for it. Anyone who’s seen Iron Maiden more than once knows that this is the cue to leave the line for the pisser and get back to the stage. As we ran back (like many others) into the arena there were a lot of confused faces; obviously not everyone knew that this is the cue to get ready to rock.


We got back just in time to hear the end of Doctor Doctor fading out as the big black curtain fell to reveal a futuristic out in space stage set up. In true Iron Maiden form they burst onto the stage, fly kicks and all, straight into The Wickerman from the Brave New World album.



Being a huge fan and not wanting to spoil the show I hadn’t read any reviews of the previous shows so I wasn’t sure what to expect song wise. After the absence of post Blaze Bayley Iron Maiden material from their last few tours I was more than keen to hear a few tracks from Brave New World and/or Dance of Death. I really wasn’t expecting to get much of this material (if any at all). I thought we were going to get the same set list as last tour minus a couple of songs with a few different ones added in. I’m so glad I was wrong. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with the songs they played on the Somewhere in Time tour, but nothing pleases me more than to see a band as big as Iron Maiden playing so few songs from their greatest hits catalogue. As Dream Theater had opted with their more popular tracks for an audience that was not necessarily there to see them, Iron Maiden had gone for the exact opposite approach. This set list was designed very much for the “proper” Iron Maiden fans. There were songs that you would never expect to see them play live again and then there were songs missing that you thought would never come out of their set. I can’t tell you how good this set list made me and a lot of other fans feel. I’d just seen AC/DC twice this year play the exact same set list in Donington, England as they did in Melbourne, Australia, which was hardly different from their set list the last time I saw them 8 years earlier. I’m not going to go on about other bands’ song choices but if you ever get the chance to see one of your favourite bands play all the songs you never thought you would ever hear them play live you will know the feeling that we all had on Saturday night.


After shocking the crowd with The Wicker Man, Maiden then went straight into track two from Brave New World: Ghost of the Navigator. At this point I could not wipe the smile off my face. Next up an old favourite: Wrathchild. The next song, El Dorado, gave Bruce a chance to plug the new album (The Final Frontier) by mentioning that the song is a free download from the Iron Maiden website. For a song that has only been in circulation for a couple of weeks, it was very surprising to see the crowd sing along as if they had known the song for years.


The night kept getting better with Dance of Death, The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg, and These Colours Don’t Run. I really could not believe my luck at this point; it’s very rare to see a band with a catalogue as big as Iron Maiden focusing so much on a specific few albums. By no means was my luck over as this focus continued throughout the set. Before the next track Bruce stopped to have a yarn to the crowd about the thought of getting a whole bunch of metal heads together in one place. Although there would be a lot of drinking and a lot of other things going on there wouldn’t be anyone killing each other and it would be a whole lot better than the world we are currently living in today with soldiers dying every day. He continued to praise the crowd of Iron Maiden fans and dedicated the next song, Blood Brothers, to all the Iron Maiden fans and one of Iron Maiden’s biggest musical influences who recently passed away: Ronnie James Dio. I was at Donington festival 3 weeks earlier where there was about 100,000 fans watching Killswitch Engage try to pull off Holy Diver as a tribute to Dio. I can tell you now; the 16,000 people in Toronto made a lot more noise than the 100,000 did at Donington. I couldn’t help but feel as though there was a lot more emotion put into Blood Brothers than there was with Holy Diver at Donington. Blood Brothers was one of the strongest songs of the night; you could feel a real sense of community between the Iron Maiden fans as they all sang along.


It was then back into the Dance of Death era with my favourites of the night: Wildest Dreams and No More Lies. Maiden finished off the set with Brave New World, Fear of the Dark and Iron Maiden. New futuristic Eddie made his appearance this time round as the fourth guitarist during Iron Maiden. The crowd went nuts and I reckon one in three people had their cameras or phones out to either record or take photos of the new guitarist.


Maiden leave the stage for a very short amount of time in which everyone begins chanting “Maiden, Maiden” knowing very well that the show is not over. Maiden returned to the stage to play probably their biggest song The Number of The Beast, followed by another crowd favourite Hallowed Be Thy Name. Just when you think that they are done they finished it off with Running Free. As the band left the stage again Bruce told the crowd to enjoy the fireworks. No one really knew what he meant by this... I assumed that Bruce was under the impression that Independence Day (which was the next day in the USA) also applied to Canada. After they left the stage the backdrop changed back to the new album cover and we began to wonder if we may get a second encore, which seems to be very rare these days. We waited around for a few minutes before Monty Python’s Always Look on the Bright Side of Life plays through the speakers confirming that Maiden had left the building. About five minutes later as we shuffled out the gates we heard the sound of fireworks going off. The boys in Maiden had got their hands on some explosives and gave us a second encore after all.



So no Run to the Hills, no Trooper, but I can honestly say I wouldn’t have traded any of the songs they did play for either of these two songs. Don’t get me wrong they are classic Maiden tracks but I’ve seen them every other time I’ve seen Maiden and I’m sure I will see them again. Here’s to hoping that the name of their new album, The Final Frontier, is not an indication of the end of one of the best bands this world has ever seen.


Set List:-
The Wicker Man
Ghost of the Navigator
El Dorado
Dance of Death
The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg
Theses Colours Don’t Run
Blood Brothers
Wildest Dreams
No More Lies
Brave New World
Fear of the Dark
Iron Maiden

The Number of the Beast
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Running Free


David Carruthers