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Twickenham Stadium, London, 5 July 2008
The bunting was up to welcome home our beloved Iron Maiden for their one UK gig of the year taking place in the immense Twickenham Stadium in South West London.
Supported by an array of acts, first out on the stage was Lauren Harris who is right in the middle of promoting her newly released debut album 'Calm Before the Storm'. Lauren's got a good voice and the crowd responded well to a selection of home produced tracks aswell as the odd Gun cover.
Within Temptation were next up. This goth styled group from Holland have a massive following and play hard rock with a 'symphonic metal' mix. If you like a bit of opera here and there then this band will be right up your street. Singer Sharon den Adel has a fantastic operatic range and Within Temptation completely hit the mark throughout. Tracks included 'Ice Queen', 'What Have You Done' and 'Mother Earth'
California's Avenged Sevenfold were next to face the Maiden faithful and played a blinder. It can't be easy to immediately precede Iron Maiden but they did it and it sounded pretty good. M Shadows worked the crowd and there were a smattering of their own fans lurking out there too who lapped up tunes like the celebrated 'Bat Country' and 'Critical Acclaim'. The set also featured hits 'Afterlife' and 'Scream'.
Onto the feature act.
Iron Maiden don't need any big build up from me. This band have taken heavy metal to an altogether new level and continue to do so with every studio release and live set they deliver for their adoring fans whom it's clear they are completely devoted to.
A torrent of brilliance from the first song, 'Aces High' from their 1984 'Powerslave' album and from thereon in produced a flawless performance.
Bruce Dickinson is electrifying. Even I can't do the splits in mid air so if nothing else works that's got to impress. Word and pitch perfect along with all the guys - Steve, Dave, Adrian, Janick, Nicko…and Eddie - who come as a complete package gave it everything they've got.
Next up '2 Minutes to Midnight' also from 'Powerslave' then 'The Trooper' -union jacks at the ready. The Adrian Smith penned 'Wasted Years' rung around the stadium and swiftly onto the awesome 'Number of the Beast' from the 1982 album. 'Run To the Hills', again from the 'The Number of the Beast' album is another Maiden anthem and if you've not heard this being played live then do so immediately. The crowd famously sing back up for the chorus (me included).
'Can I Play With Madness' from another amazing studio album, this time 'Seventh Son of a Seventh Son' again hit the spot and then made way for the fantastic 'Fear of the Dark which resounded around Twickenham Stadium and I'm sure up and down the glorious Rugby Road for all to hear and enjoy.
I've got to give a quick mention to 'Iron Maiden'. This track is a Steve Harris classic off the boys debut album way back when and a definite desert island disc. A few more ace tracks and the band ended the set with 'Hallowed Be Thy Name'. Another winner.
So this is how it is - Iron Maiden played it real with as many tracks as they could fit in. It's a contradiction in terms but I'm not sure anywhere could contain the enormous presence of the humble Iron Maiden. No attitude or celebrity… just pure genius. Are they aware of how far they excel, enough definitely to capture the hearts and minds of a large proportion of the world it would seem looking at the global recognition.
Original and generous they are the consummate professionals and 'practically perfect in every way'
Two Minutes To Midnight
Number Of The Beast
Can I Play With Madness
Rime Of The Ancient Mariner
Heaven Can Wait
Run To The Hills
Fear Of The Dark
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Review by Judith Reeves
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