Iron Maiden, The Book of Souls Tour, Jiffy Lube Live!, Bristow, Virginia, USA, June 3, 2017
For well over a year, I have been watching Iron Maiden’s “The Book of Souls” tour travel the world… throughout Europe, South and Central America, China, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. However, for most of 2016, show dates in the United States were elusive… with just a few sprinkling of shows here and there. But Iron Maiden fans in North America were finally rewarded for their (im)patience when the final leg of the world tour began at Jiffy Lube Live! in Bristow, Virginia (a Washington DC suburb) in the early summer of this year. The North America portion of the tour was to be the last leg of 18 months of touring and would consist of 26 shows in 25 cities across the U.S. and Canada. I have personally been a long time fan of Iron Maiden, having first seen them on “The Number of the Beast” tour back in the early 1980s. Although I’ve seen them several times since, it has been several years for me and I was excited to get the chance to finally see them again.
The band Ghost was the only opening band of the tour. This has never been a band I’ve really followed as I tend to shy away from bands that go over the top with anti-Christian and Satanic imagery. I’m not being judgmental about it… it just really has never been my thing. Despite my preconceived prejudices, however, I have to admit that Ghost put on a really good show. They were musically very good and put on an active and fun performance. Despite being billed as a band, Ghost is really a solo act with the only named member being vocalist Tobias Forge (Papa Emeritus III). The other musicians are, at this point in the band’s history, unnamed hired musicians that wear masks and are referred to as “Nameless Ghouls”. The masks are also a bit of a negative for me personally, as I feel that seeing the musicians’ facial expressions is a big part of the live presentation, which isn’t really possible with their use of the masks. But for fans of this band, they really did perform a great set… and, although I may not go out of my way to see Ghost again, I enjoyed their show in spite of myself.
Ghost Set List
From the Pinnacle to the Pit
After Ghost’s performance, there was a bit of a wait for the construction of Iron Maiden’s very large and elaborate stage. The stages risers and backdrops were consistent with the Mayan civilization imagery from artwork on 2015’s “The Book of Souls” album. The show began with “If Eternity Should Fail” followed by “Speed of Light”, both from the new album. A total of six songs were played from the new album which is historically fairly typical for an Iron Maiden show. Despite being on the scene for over 40 years, Iron Maiden has always relished the opportunity to play new material and typically has played at least 5-6 new songs on each of their last several album tours. This has often drawn criticism for fans with a desire to hear more of “the classics” …. but, for me, it’s refreshing to see a band with such a long history staying relevant by continuing to produce and perform new quality music instead of devolving into a nostalgia act that only relies on their past glories… even if it means I don’t get to hear “2 Minutes to Midnight” and “Run to the Hills” on every tour.
The remaining nine songs of the band’s 15 song set were spread over their career including the title track from their debut album and extending up through “Blood Brothers” from the “Brave New World” album. Although, as always, I wished for a longer set… Iron Maiden spent the evening showing their fans why they are one of the most successful heavy metal bands in history, and why they still have the ability to fill stadiums and arenas after so many decades. The show was extremely high energy, with Bruce Dickinson showing us he still has the ability to fly through the air (even when he’s not piloting a plane). The musical production was stellar, with Bruce still able to belt out those air raid siren vocals, and the triple lead guitars of Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, and Janick Gers are still second to none. Steve Harris still knows how to rule the stage with his over the top bass lines and stage antics as well, but as is also typical, Nicko McBrain remained hidden behind his massive drum kit for most of the show… so the drumming was more of an auditory than a visual experience. The stage visuals themselves were over the top… including the giant versions of the band’s mascot, Eddie, that came out to terrorize the band and thrill the audience. It was definitely a magical night!
Iron Maiden Set List
If Eternity Should Fail
Speed of Light
Children of The Damned
Death or Glory
The Red and The Black
The Great Unknown
The Book Of Souls
Fear of The Dark
The Number of The Beast
As of the time of this review, there are still a few dates remaining in the final portion of this fantastic tour. If you haven’t seen it yet…. Get out there and go!!! Although we all hope more albums and tours will continue into the future… at this point in time, there is no definitive word on Iron Maiden’s future plans from the band itself. So, get out there and see a part of heavy metal history… while the opportunity still exists!