This is my 7th time seeing my favorite band live, and I was glad to come back to where I got to see them for the first time. The Forum in Los Angeles, CA in 2008. Last time I saw Iron Maiden it was at the San Bernardino show most commonly known as ‘The Battle Of San Bernardino‘ for the 2013 Maiden England tour. For that show the turned up was over 35.000 people, so for last night at The Forum, the show was sold out to over 15.000.
This time around Iron Maiden is promoting their new album The Book of Souls so there was not too much expectation for a night full of classics like the Somewhere Back In Time (2008) or the Maiden England (2013) tours. I arrived in L.A on Friday morning with enough time to enjoy Venice Beach and then heading out to The Forum for the Maiden Tailgate.
Unfortunately, the tailgate didn’t live up to my expectations as there were only a few tents, the only cool stuff was they had Trooper on tap. After getting two of those I head down to the line and was ready for some Maiden. The doors opened at 6:30 pm and I was lucky enough to find a good spot ‘second to the barrier’ so it was just a question of maintaining that spot for the entirety of the show
After waiting for over an hour the show started with British band The Raven Age which was a combination of hard rock and alternative rock, they had a nice sound and a potential spark for something bigger, they still need to polish their sound, but they have the right attitude and they are young enough to develop more of that. Since the Maiden crowd are a bit picky when it comes down to who opens for Iron Maiden, it wasn’t a surprised that The Raven Age didn’t get too much enthusiasm or energy from them. Finally, after the change of set and the Maiden crew quickly organized the front part of the stage for Iron Maiden and the intro of UFO‘s Doctor, Doctor kicked off in the PA, which is the eternal clue that gives away the beginning of a Maiden show, the mob in the pit started to rattle up. The video introduction this time around was a small summary of what this tour is all about, a heartfelt rendition that Maiden is doing to the Mayan culture and of course the importance that the new Ed Force One has on this 2016 tour.
Iron Maiden‘s set opened with If Eternity Should Fail with a shamanic entrance by Bruce as he recited the opening piece of The Book Of Souls album. I felt so relieved seeing him recite those words after all he had to deal with the cancer recovery, it felt great to see him on stage singing & jumping around. Immediately after that the crowd went mental and the literal pressure of push on and push off in the pit started to rise up. The show continued with Speed of Light and then a short trip down to memory line with Children of The Damned.
The next song that Bruce introduced was the epic opus that was writen to honor the memory of actor Robin Williams, Tears Of A Clown one the early climax of the show, not only the music but the energy that this song transmits live is just amazingly powerful. After that emotional discharge, the show continued with The Red and the Black a couple more classics that included the timeless The Trooper, as I am sure more than one in the crowd raise their cup of Trooper beer during this song. For Powerslave, this time, Bruce came out wearing a Luchador mask (traditional on Mexican wrestling) once again a small gesture to celebrate the culture south of the border and at the same time a cultural acknowledgement of our neighbours love for Iron Maiden.
Death or Glory and the title track of their latest album The Book Of Souls, they finished their main show with Hallowed Be Thy Name, Fear Of The Dark & Iron Maiden. For the most part, this show was based more on The Book Of Souls material with some classics on the side and a huge emphasis on the conceptual part of the album, and how Maiden honours the faithfulness of the cultures south of the border, It seems this tour is a conceptual way to give back for how they have received the band since they started to go down there since the iconic Somewhere Back In Time in 2008.
The encore part of the show was composed by The Number Of The Beast, an amazing intro by Bruce about the pointless social, racial, economical, and political divisions that are fracturing today’s society all over the world, that is why a song like Blood Brothers got such a great response from the pit all the way to the higher sections of The Forum.
The show closed up with Wasted Years and a very happy but tired audience which more than 80% of them would come back the next day for round two of the only two Iron Maiden shows in California for this tour. It is odd that they did make only one stop in California this time around, but it also centralized the meeting of fans that came from all over the pacific and southwest areas, and even some flew in from Central and South America for this two shows.
Finally, we couldn’t leave Los Angeles without looking around for Ed Force One as the band openly posted its location on their twitter account. So we went and look for it and finally found it. Even though we had to take pics from behind the fence, we had the chance to see a close-up glimpse of the only customised airplane in the world that is specifically designed to bring heavy metal happiness to the masses around the world. And that is how it ends our trip to see Iron Maiden, We will bring a much different review once we get back from seeing them at Download Festival this summer.