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IRON MAIDEN / MONSTER MAGNET /
SOULFLY / PUYA
Greek Theater; Los Angeles, CA - 07/30/99

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Those of you who think that a rock journalist's life is all free CDs and concerts, please read the following carefully.

We arrived at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles about an hour before show time (5:00 P.M. PST for those who are counting) having arranged to see the show courtesy of Roadrunner Records and their band Soulfly. We had driven 60 miles to the venue and shelled out an additional $25 to park away from the masses - something we had learned was important from past experience at the Greek Theatre where exiting can take up to three hours.

Of course, when the press window finally opened at 5:45 P.M. - only minutes before Puya was to take the stage - we were informed that our name was not on the ticket list or the photo pass list. In fact, when we inquired about our photo pass, an overly defensive Greek Theatre employee snapped, "No one is shooting Soulfly." News to us and the other photographers there - we had all made arrangements weeks in advance. These things happen and it's usually no one person's fault but it never stops being seriously annoying.

So there we were - standing in front of the sold-out Greek Theater without a photo pass - not to mention a frigging ticket.

A few moments later, we heard a commotion and ran into Roy 'Rata' Mayorga, drummer for Soulfly. As hard as it may be to believe, Roy was as pissed off as we were. His entire family had come to see the show at the Greek Theatre and not a single one of them was on the guest list. Roy was due onstage in about 45 minutes (Puya had already taken the stage by now, their Latin metal rhythm ripping through the air) and he was stuck out front with the rest of us, trying to get tickets for his family.

Fortunately for us, Roy is a very cool guy. Despite the fact he was blowing a gasket because his family had been cut out, he went to bat for us at Rough Edge. Shortly thereafter, we had at least a concert ticket in our hands (as did, thank goodness, Roy's family).  Roy, a personal thanks from Rough Edge for coming through when no one else could or would.

But we were still in need of a photo pass - something even Roy couldn't provide. (He tried, God bless him). We ran into Dave Wyndorf, lead vocalist of MONSTER MAGNET. Dave was the coolest (okay, second coolest after Roy) and explained that there was no way in hell he could score us a ticket (due to political bullshit that we promised Roy we would keep to ourselves - although, frankly, we doubt he would give a shit) - but there was a possibility he could get a photo pass for us which, in fact, was all we really needed at this point. However, a photo pass would require our waiting for Brad, their road manager, who was obviously very busy at this point.

So - I went on inside (I did, after all, owe Soulfly a review) and photographer Lou waited for Brad. About thirty minutes later - Lou showed up inside (he had purchased his ticket weeks before) sans camera. Seems that Brad had been too busy to score Lou a photo pass (Monster Magnet, we're not blaming you) and Lou had finally given up - which is why there are no photos for this particular show (does that suck or what?)

Anyway - bitching and whining aside, the evening was finally a success - a true evening of explosive hard rock/heavy metal rock'n'roll.

First up that evening was PUYA, but, unfortunately, we had to miss them thanks to our tickets being screwed up.

Next up was SOULFLY and, quite simply - they rocked. Delivering their "tribal metal" (along with one or two killer SEPULTURA songs), SOULFLY clearly demonstrated why their debut CD on Roadrunner has been such a success. Soulfly, obviously, plays music in the Sepultura vein but they add a twist. Not only does their music have a jungle rhythm mixed in with heavy metal guitar, their live show finaled with a "Cirque De Soleil" tribal drum extravaganza that sounded killer when amplified over Marshall amps. And did we mention that the drummer for this band is absolutely incredible?

Next up was MONSTER MAGNET and, at first, it seemed that the IRON MAIDEN-hungry crowd was going to eat Monster Magnet for lunch. The band's psychedelic heavy metal just didn't seem to jive with the straight-out heavy metal of Soulfly and Iron Maiden. Amid many raised middle fingers and cries of "Go home!" Monster Magnet ripped through a catalog of songs that have appeared on their many CDs. What was most interesting was the way front man Dave Wyndorf seemed to ignore what the audience was screaming at him ("Go Home!" and "Iron Maiden!!") and went on with the band's show almost in spite of it. Finally, about halfway through their set, the audience was in Monster Magnet's control. Despite the fact that Wyndorf referred to the crowd as "cocksucking, worthless pieces of shit," the audience continued to warm to the band's performance until they were nuts over the finale - the delivery of "Space Lord Motherfucker" complete with half-nude, silver-painted female dancers gyrating on stage. When all was said and done, Monster Magnet had whipped the crowd into a minor frenzy.

Closing the evening, was - of course, IRON MAIDEN, complete with Bruce Dickinson back at the mike where he belongs.  Opening with a big-screen video display of their upcoming "Ed Hunter" PC video game (which is a real blast, we might add), the band opened with a blistering rendition of "Aces High."

The crowd simply went nuts. When all is said and done, Iron Maiden is one of the greatest heavy metal bands of all time and - with three guitarists this tour instead of the previous two - they delivered a rock-solid show that kept the entire audience on their feet throughout. Frontman Bruce Dickinson is one of a kind and - in addition to the fact that he is also one of metal's very best vocalists - his athletic onstage performance and dramatic delivery were much appreciated by the fans.

Basically, the band performed every song from the upcoming "Ed Hunter" triple CD, which contains the Top 20 songs chosen by Iron Maiden fans via the Internet as well as the "Ed Hunter" PC game. Included thereon (and in concert) were "Iron Maiden," "The Trooper," "Number of The Beast," "2 Minutes to Midnight," "Phantom of The Opera" and many more. Each song was delivered with an incredibly intense and musically perfect delivery that had the audience screaming for more. "There are two kinds of heavy metal," declared Dickinson, "Heavy Metal and bullshit. I think we know which side of the fence this band is on."

Interestingly, also included in the performance, were "The Klansman,"Futureal" and "Man on The Edge," songs originally recorded by Dickinson replacement Blaze Bayley. Not surprisingly, the audience preferred Dickinson's rendition, with at least one fan screaming "You sound better!" over and over during each.

A couple of songs didn't go over with the crowd as well as others. The aforementioned "Man on the Edge" and "Fear of the Dark" come immediately to mind. These songs just don't have the spark that classic Maiden has and their performances that evening were slow spots in an otherwise blistering show.

The live performance and musicianship of Steve Harris, bassist, and the three guitarists (Janick Gers, Adrian Smith and Dave Murray) is simply something that must be seen. And drummer Nicko McBrain was as painstakingly brutal as ever even though you couldn't even see him behind his massive drum set. This lineup is a combination that is indescribably powerful and incredibly tight. Not to mention incredibly loud. It is heavy metal at its most defined. It is Iron Maiden.

One disappointment: 1) the band played songs from their "The X Factor" and "Virtual XI" CDs but not a single tune from Dickinson's incredible solo CDs, "Accident of Birth" and "Chemical Wedding." If they're going to play non-Dickinson Maiden, they should at least add a couple of Dickinson's most successful songs. In fact, his last two solo CDs were far better than Maiden's last two.

Regardless, Iron Maiden is back and - if possible - even better than ever. A new CD is in the works and the band will tour larger venues in the future. If they come to your town (or anywhere nearby) don't miss them.

For more information, visit the Maiden website at http://www.ironmaiden.com or http://www.edhunter.com.


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Copyright 1999 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:16 -0400.