Iron Maiden, Motorpoint Arena
THE car park was ominously quiet 10 minutes before the globe-trotting warhorse of British metal landed. Inside a low buzz of anticipation had already been taken to Defcon four by Oz rabble rousers Airbourne.
By 10.50 this Sheffield industrial music box was reduced to a sweaty, hairy cauldron by a band with more energy than many men half their age.
At the heart of it local boy done good Bruce Dickinson covers every inch of the stage like a football academy rookie trying to impress the first team manager, all the while still operating a multi-octave voice that shows little sign of fading.
Putting paid to doubters who had read the tour title to mean Maiden’s swansong, the sextet traversed three decades from album title track The Final Frontier to early, more rustic pre-Bruce era rockers Iron Maiden and Running Free.
Maiden’s mandate has since evolved into a feast of often elaborate set-pieces, the changing backdrops here heralding another epic; the carnage of Where The Wind Blows, the human loss of The Trooper, the frantic 2 Minutes To Midnight, the once controversial devil references of Number Of The Beast, complete with on-stage Satan. Run To The Hills may have been lost to some newcomers in this two-hour rock banquet, but Bruce assured they’ll be back.
Where some rock acts of their ilk have been reduced to self parody, Maiden are like a religion. And with the likes of The Evil That Men Do and Hallowed Be Thy Name plenty still want to worship.