Iron Maiden 'Legacy of The Beast' European Tour, Newcastle, UK, July 31, 2018
British heavy metal legends bring their latest tour back home.
Iron Maiden kicked off the UK leg of their ‘Legacy of the Beast’ Tour at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle. The tour, inspired by the smartphone game of the same name, brought with it songs from across the bands 16 albums but most significantly it showed that the group are still at the very top of their game.
Newcastle had a pub around almost every corner and after a second pint in a bar practically on the door step of the arena it was time to make our way down to the front of the stage; as close to the front as possible was the plan.
After a rousing support set from American group Killswitch Engage, Maiden burst on to the stage to "Aces High." Accompanied by a huge model of a Supermarine Spitfire, the track about the Battle of Britain is filled with action packed guitar riffs and lyrics making it a fantastic track to get things going. Frontman Bruce Dickinson sported the goggles and mask of an RAF fighter pilot and it wouldn’t be the last time he took to the stage in attire suitable to the song.
Almost every Maiden song is steeped in a good backstory, and most of those I never thought I’d hear them play live. "Where Eagles Dare" from the album Piece of Mind depicts the daring mission during WW2 to go behind enemy lines and sneak into a highly fortified German position up in the Alps. The easiest way in was via cable car, a factor brought into consideration on the artwork backdrop as the band played out the story through music.
Dickinson is famed for speaking for relatively long periods during tracks, but he made sure the Newcastle audience knew of how things would plan out. “This is the last sort of time we’ll really be talking to you tonight, we want the songs and the artwork to tell the stories.” He didn’t half hit the nail on the head with this one.
This interlude came before "The Clansman," the retelling of William Wallace and the fight of the Scottish clans against the English. Maidens seventh member, Eddie, appears in cartoon form on most of the artworks and seeing his grizzly face splashed in the Scotland flag was certainly something to behold.
The use of pyrotechnics and onstage gadgets makes watching Maiden as pleasing on the eye as it is on the ears. In recent times, a huge animatronic Eddie has joined the band on stage. On this occasion, he came out during perhaps the bands most famous song. "The Trooper" tells of the Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War of 1853-56. Eddie comes onto the stage donning the uniform of the cavalry soldiers and proceeds to have a sword fight with Dickinson. You can’t make this stuff up; it sounds made up, but you’ll be glad to know it’s the truth.
Mythology is also something which Maiden have dabbled in. "Flight of Icarus" is about exactly what you’d expect it to be. The tale with the metaphor of not being too confident and keeping grounded. Icarus was a man who broke free of earth but went further than he should have. The same cannot be said for Maiden's career, which like a fine vintage wine, seems to improve with age. A huge winged figure rose over the stage for the duration of the track, to add to the powerful nature of the music.
The encore consisted of three more regularly played songs from the bands vast catalogue. "Evil That Men Do, Hallowed Be Thy Name" and finally "Run to the Hills" brought the curtain down on a phenomenal show which stunned all senses, the smell of lager and sweat may not have been the most pleasant aroma but my god it was a fitting one.
The UK leg has since ventured to Belfast and Aberdeen, with dates in Manchester, Birmingham, and London still to come. What can be said for sure is that this wouldn’t be the last time Iron Maiden grace the stage in Newcastle and personally I hope this time comes very soon.