Photo’s by Wes “Rockwell” Anderson – Written by Melissa #MischievousMel and Wes “Rockwell” Anderson
“Oh Well, Wherever, Wherever You Are – Iron Maiden’s Gonna Get You, No Matter How Far”. Some of the immortal words by Iron Maiden, from their song “Iron Maiden” on the bands first studio album ‘Iron Maiden’ released in 1980. Thirty-nine years later, celebrating “The Legacy of the Beast”, Iron Maiden came across the sea to America and got us again. The extemely packed 18,000 person capacity crowd at Dos Equis Pavillion in Dallas, TX was the site for one of their latest conquests in the U.S., and the show which we are reviewing and have pictures of, before they descended upon Mexico City and South America.
Having covered several Iron Maiden shows in the past for Tattoo.com, I’ve noticed a plethera of Maiden tattoos at every show. One that caught my eye in Dallas was the one pictured below of “Somewhere In Time Eddie” on a fan on the front row barrier. This was his 7th Maiden show on this tour and he was happy to share his work done by Jeff Croci of “Seventh Son Tattoo” in San Francisco, CA (“Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” is the title of the bands 7th studio album).
Because of Iron Maiden’s legacy of being one of the greatest live bands of all time, they’ve only toured with a singular band as their opener for the past several years. Frankly, they don’t need any “help” from the opening band(s) to sell tickets. If you’re going to buy a ticket for an Iron Maiden show, it’s to see Iron Maiden. That being said, they’ve chosen the opening bands for their last three tours in North America without any pressure to find someone that will sell enough tickets to the large arenas and amphitheaters they’ve been selling out. In 2016 when we photographed them at 1 of 2 sold out shows at The Forum in Los Angeles, the opener was ‘The Raven Age’, founded by guitarist George Harris, son of Iron Maiden founder and bassist Steve Harris. In 2017 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX, Ghost was the single opener. Lastly, in Dallas again, but at the aformentioned Dos Equis Pavillion, The Raven Age was again the single opener.
If you are in fact actually reading this review and not just looking at the pictures, you know that the opener for 2 of the last 3 Iron Maiden tours was founded by the son of Steve Harris. If you haven’t seen The Raven Age perform live, you may scream “Nepotism!”, but only if you haven’t seen them live. Did George’s band get a “foot in the door” because George is the son of Steve? Probably. Most likely. But if the band did not have the talent and chops to open for Iron Maiden, I doubt they would have gotten a second opportunity to tour with them. From everything we saw in 2016 and again in 2019, The Raven Age deserved to be supporting one of the biggest and most influential Rock bands of all time. After their set and Iron Maiden’s set, #MischievousMel sat down with bassist Matt Cox and guitarist George Harris for an exclusive on camera interview… coming soon to Tattoo.com. Until then, enjoy pics of the band by Wes “Rockwell” Anderson.
Next up, the reason why everyone had travelled from near and far, Iron Maiden was about to crush the stage. Before the lights went down, Wes “Rockwell” Anderson captured one of the fans proudly displaying his “NAVAJOS On Tour” flag pictured below in classic Iron Maiden script.
And then the lights went down, “Doctor Doctor” by UFO came blasting through the p.a., and Maiden fans one and all, new the show was set to begin.
First song… “Aces High” from the bands 1984 album “Powerslave”. Complete with a giant inflatable WWII era R.A.F. Spitfire “flying” over their heads, the band absolutely erupted onto the stage. I can’t say that enough. They erupted onto the stage. All six members of Iron Maiden are in their sixties, and I can honestly say they have the same energy that they did the first time I saw them, way back 32 years ago in Madison, Wisconsin (my – Wes”Rockwell” Anderson – first concert ever). That energy wasn’t just a brief spurt of adrenaline to open the show, because the band continued to romp and jump across the stage for their entire 2+ hour set.
Since that first show back in 1987, Iron Maiden has been Rockwell’s favorite band, and this tour and show was reason why they remain his all time favorite band. Together, Rockwell and I (#MischievousMel) see an average of 400 different bands annually. Together we’ve seen or covered Iron Maiden at least 5 times since 2013, and since 2013, no band – young or seasoned – puts on a show the size or with the energy of Iron Maiden. Not Slipknot. Not Avenged Sevenfold. Not Rammstein (who does have the best pyro). Some are close – Korn, Five Finger Death Punch, Rob Zombie and a few others, but if you’ve seen any of these bands and you were able to see Iron Maiden on this “Legacy of the Beast Tour”, you will agree with our analysis.
As the name of the tour suggests, the set list featured cuts from the bands entire carreer. Almost every song had a different back drop, “Aces High”, “Flight of Icarus”, and “Iron Maiden” featured giant inflatables. Eddie made his appearance on stage dressed as “The Trooper” while picking a sword fight with Bruce before exiting the stage (as a side note, after first waving the British flag, Bruce got one of the biggest cheers of the night when he waved the American flag during the last part of “The Trooper”). “The Number of the Beast” included huge pyro, as you would expect, but previous to that, there was near Rammstein level pyro during many other songs, including Bruce’s double armed flame thrower he donned during “Flight of Icarus”. “Revelations” was a particular treat. Rarely played, it was a delight to hear and see this extraordinary song come to life. Equally pleasing, this song, unlike many of Iron Maiden’s classics, really displayed the true vocal range and talent of Bruce. As or more amazing than ever. “Sign of the Cross” completely blew me away. The props, the theatrics, the pyro… it was all brilliant. Lastly, the final track of the 3 song encore, “Run to the Hills” was played with the same passion, fury, energy, and skill as “Aces High” to begin the show, just over 2 hours earlier.
A testament to how great this show was is the fact that nearly no one left before the final encore. We’ve never seen a sold out show where nearly every single fan stayed until the lights came on. Typically, about 10 – 20% of the fans leave about midway through the headline set, while another 10-20% leave before the encore starts to “beat the traffic”. Throughout the entire show, we took note of people sitting or standing and coming or going. Nearly every person stood for most if not all of the set, and we would say less than 1% left before “Run to the Hills”. And what about merchandise sales? Can’t even imagine the dollar amount but the hours long lines at the many sales locations gave us the sense that the final number was pretty huge.
Who knows how many tours and what kind of energy the band will have in the future, but what is undisputed is that their “Legacy of the Beast Tour” was unprecedented and unlikely to be topped anytime soon.
We’ll end by saying this before you enjoy the pics below… there’s no doubt, that as the Editor’s and publishers of ROCKwell UnScene (print) Magazine, Iron Maiden will be our choice as the #1 Legacy Band of 2019, to be released in December (to qualify a band must have had at least 25 years of international success). Many truly amazing bands have qualified to be on this years list, but none have been better and we seriously doubt anybody can topple the almighty Iron Maiden. Neither Rockwell or myself, has ever seen Maiden as good as they were on September 21, 2019, and Rockwell believes it was the best show he’s every seen from any band.