Two months after losing my live music virginity, it was the turn of my other favourite band, Iron Maiden. Now, I was into Maiden long before Metallica, but if truth be told, I was a little disappointed with Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (synthesizers ?!), so the hype surrounding this gig was a little less. I was still going to see Iron Fucking Maiden at the Hammy O though! What made it special though was the fact that it was supposedly the last time they would tour with the massive stage set and giant Eddie and all the other stuff that made them such an exciting live show. It was also to be the last tour featuring Adrian Smith.
A few weeks prior, I had queued for 4 hours outside Hammersmith Odeon, with my somewhat reluctant sister, to get 4 tickets for me and 3 mates from school. Alison was understandably a little miffed that she was only there because it was limited to 2 per person and I couldn’t get all 4 on my own.
Anyway, ffwd to gig time, it was great to be back inside the Hammy O once again, and we could see there was obviously quite an elaborate stage set, behind the black curtains, featuring giant castle walls, dungeons, gargoyles and the like. First on were Killer Dwarfs. Had never heard them, all I knew was that they were from Canada, and Tommy Vance rated them so they were probably going to be OK, better than Danzig anyways. Well they were, just about. I remember absolutely nothing about them other than that they did nothing for me, and the lead singer came onstage mid-way through the set on a kiddies tricycle. He was a twat.
As with Danzig at Metallica, the support act was remarkably lame and just 40 mins to be endured before the proper band. Then the house lights went down and, to the strains of UFO’s Doctor Love, the proper band waited in the wings for their entrance. The sequenced synth intro to Moonchild started up and the crowd went radio fucking rental. (synth? In heavy metal? You can’t do metal with synths, ffs. I said I wasn’t that taken with Seventh Son, and the synths is part of the reason. Then as the track kicked in, the lights and pyro lit the Odeon and there they were. Bruce Dickinson is to this day one of the great rock performers, and his stage presence is well documented as the prime reason that made Maiden such a huge draw. Even though he wears lycra and is called Bruce, he is just the best front man in the business, and his voice is damn good live. Over the next two hours or so they played all the good stuff off Seventh Son, plus pretty much the whole of Live After Death, so did not leave me wanting. They know how to work an audience, to say the least, and had the crowd call them back out 3 times. The final time was just to play an excellent version of Sanctuary (I’d only heard it on a dodgy bootleg at this stage), and then they were gone for good. The trademark ‘Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life’ wafted through the house PA and we trudged out into the cold West London night, ears ringing again.