Photos and review by Frank White
In the first few weeks of their 2019 “Legacy Of the Beast“ tour of North America, Iron Maiden performed a two-night stand at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The July 27 gig started out with many fans lining up extra early, some carrying their nation's flags to honor their front row spots, and to show their beloved band how they had traveled from all over the world to catch a Maiden performance in the city that never sleeps.
As the house lights went dark, a black and white video flashed of Winston Churchill’s famous address during WW II, followed by the opening notes to “Aces High.“ Drummer Nicko McBrain kicked the song off as the other members—guitarists Dave Murray, Adrian Smith and Janick Gers, and bassist Steve Harris—came charging out to a packed arena and explosive cheers by the Maiden faithful. A WWII British Spitfire fighter plane was suspended over the band, pouring smoke that filled the stage.
Singer Bruce Dickinson, dressed in a WWII bombardier outfit, looked as if he just leaped out of the plane hanging above the band. A few diehard fans in the crowd wore the same type of headgear as Bruce. The stage, with bomb netting placed on the front and side monitors (and on Nicko’s kit), brought you back in time— a perfect way to start the show.
The song “Where Eagles Dare” emphasized another killer intro by Nicko, sending the audience back to that early- to mid 1980s time period. The backdrop changed to an arctic mountain scene to go along with Bruce's snow fur hat and parker. Guitarists Adrian Smith and Dave Murray ripped solos as Steve Harris walked up to the front of the stage, pointing his bass into the crowd down front. On the catwalk, Bruce got the crowd's fists pumping and voices singing to finish off the song.
The third mid-80s Maiden metal classic track to follow was “2 Minutes to Midnight,” the single from the Powerslave album, with the backdrop changing to the cover sleeve of the 7-inch single. Bruce did yet another outfit change, this time he wore an army fatigue vest over a black shirt matching his pants, his hair tied back, belting out the song with fans singing along, many with signature metal horns in the air.
The band changed gears quickly with a Blaze Bayley track from 1998's Virtual XI titled “The Clansman”—Steve Harris taking over acoustic duties. Bruce appeared with a sword and the band performed this unique song about Scottish clans in the Middle Ages who were trying to free themselves from English control, inspired by the film Braveheart. The song, being very melodic, mixed with Maiden's charging attack tones. Along with chants of “Freedom,” Bruce swung his mighty sword in the air and pushed the rabid Maiden fans to continue yelling back.
The metal heyday roared back with “The Trooper,“ with a brilliant backdrop of a horse with Maiden mascot Eddie riding it. To get the sold out Barclays Center more energized, Dickinson began waving a Union Jack flag around from side to side. During the chaos, Eddie appeared, towering over the band in a British Trooper outfit, with backpack, canteen and sword in hand, ready to do battle with whoever crossed him. Bruce is up to the challenge, swinging his sword as Eddie mocked him. Bruce ran to the top of the stage to wave a tattered US flag, the flag then fired a flash bang shot that hit mascot Eddie square in the chest. This became Adrian Smith's cue for a guitar solo, while the band got the crowd to sing the song in true Maiden style.
Other solid songs followed: “Revelations” (the Dickinson composition off the 1983 Piece of MInd album), “For The Greater Good of God” (off the band’s successful 2006 A Matter of Life And Death album), “The Wicker Man” (inspired by the 1973 British cult film) and the Steve Harris-penned "Sign of the Cross” (from the 1995 X Factor album).
But fan favorites were "Flight of Icarus,“ a Maiden hit from the Piece of Mind album and a metal classic about a Greek myth (this was coincidently Nicko’s first recorded song with Maiden after drummer Clive Burr left the band in 1982, the Grammy-nominated “Fear Of The Dark” and, of course, the always well received “The Number Of The Beast."
“Scream for me, New York City," Bruce Dickinson belted as the thematic song “Iron Maiden“ began. Another huge Maiden classic, originally performed by frontman Paul Di’Anno, it opened up with Janick Gers cranking out the guitar lead. Bruce declared, “Brooklyn, New York City, Iron Maiden will get All OF YOU” and with one more round of towering flames the song ended the main part of the show.
Three songs followed for the encore: the first being “The Evil That Men Do,” from the 1988 Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son album (and the 17th single by the band that year), then the popular "Hallowed Be Thy Name” (with a hangman’s noose lowered near Bruce Dickinson's head) and “Run To The Hills.” As “Run To The Hills” wrapped up, a huge blast of sparks and towering flames appeared all at once to end an incredible second (and final) night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.