IRON MAIDEN /
Orpheum Theatre; Boston, Mass. - 07/18/1999
Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter
A sweltering heat wave hit the magnificent city
of Boston for the third time in the Summer of 1999. Only Iron Maiden could make it hotter.
The Orpheum is an old concert hall that has been a center of musical performances ranging from classical performances (when it opened in 1852) to more contemporary musical acts of today. Unfortunately, the Orpheum lacks air conditioning; the heat and humidity inside the Orpheum was stifling, but this did not stop a sell-out crowd from experiencing great anticipation for the return of Iron Maiden.
The Orpheum show was the third date in Iron Maiden's month-long jaunt through the small clubs of the United States. Iron Maiden has been selling out shows with virtually no press whatsoever; tickets with face values of $40 were being sold for more than $120! I was particularly excited at the prospect of seeing three guitarists perform the songs Iron Maiden has made so famous over the years. However, Adrian Smith had to return to England to attend to emergency family matters so I was not able to see Iron Maiden work their three guitar magic.
Clutch opened the show to polite applause. Undoubtedly, this was Iron Maiden's show and the fans in attendance appeared to take Clutch as a curious anomaly of the hard rock scene. These conditions did not prevent Clutch from presenting their trademark sound to win new fans. Neil Fallon was slightly more subdued than the previous times I've seen the band, yet still managed to perform in his consistently maniacal form. Tim Sult (guitars), Dan Maines (bass), and Jean-Paul Gaster (drums) provided a rock solid sonic attack. Clutch, ever mindful of the audience, kept the set filled with their harder edged tunes. "Ship Of Gold" and "The Soapmakers" were two particularly intense cuts from their latest release "The Elephant Riders" that really got the crowd's collective attention. The folks running the stage operations, obviously employing union workers, unceremoniously pulled the plug on Clutch as their last chordal cacophony were ringing through the hallowed halls. Tim Sult appeared to be furious at this occurrence, but it was obvious that the show would go on and finish early so as to avoid paying union help any overtime.
After a moderate wait, whilst the temperature was getting hotter by the moment, a video collage of the new "Ed Hunter" video game started the Iron Maiden set in good spirits. Iron Maiden took to the stage blasting through "Aces High" which sent the devoted fans into a glorious frenzy.
Iron Maiden did a great job balancing the past
and the present in their set list. Songs included "Two Minutes To Midnight,"
"The Trooper," "Fear Of The Dark," "The Evil That Men Do,"
"Wasted Years," "Phantom Of The Opera," "Wrathchild," and
"Powerslave." The ever present Eddie made an appearance much to the delight of
Nicko McBrain was as solid as ever; the truly stellar Steve Harris consistently delivered his unique bass lines. I've always admired Dave Murray's skills and his seemingly unlimited enjoyment of playing in a concert setting. This was the first time that I had seen Janick Gers play and I was impressed - he often played Adrian Smith's solos note-for-note, but also took the time to showcase his skills and unique approach to the Maiden catalog. However, Bruce Dickinson stole the show with his classic voice, energy, and unrelenting passion; there's a reason Bruce Dickinson is considered one of heavy metal's greatest vocalists and this show was solid proof of that reputation. Bruce Dickinson even had the evening's greatest laugh; a fan had managed to pass Dickinson a wig that very much made Bruce look like he did in the '80s with his long hair. Harris, Murray, and Gers nearly all fell over they were laughing so hard.
The show ended with a three song encore that included "The Number Of The Beast," "Hallowed Be Thy Name," and closed with "Run To The Hills." "Hallowed Be Thy Name" might possibly the best song I've ever heard in a live setting - I thought this was true in 1987 when I saw them on the "Somewhere In Time" tour and this night cemented that feeling. All in all, Iron Maiden enjoyed a triumphant return to the stage. It appears Iron Maiden will be getting into the studio this Fall and will be releasing a new disc in early 2000. If this night is any indication, Iron Maiden are well on their way to producing another classic metal disc. Up the Irons!
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Copyright © 1999 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:17 -0400.