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Iron Maiden: Scream For Me, Bangalore!

By Jayaprakash Satyamurthy | March 26, 2007

Photographs by Mayur Channagere

Split Magazine: Iron Maiden, Bangalore

Date: March 17, 2007 | Venue: Palace Grounds (Bangalore)

I’ve never seen so many Iron Maiden t-shirts in one place before. Ragged old ‘Killers’ t-shirts, carefully preserved in some musty cupboard for more than a decade and finally dusted out for one more shot at glory, crisp new ‘A Matter Of Life And Death’ t-shirts, lovingly handcrafted t-shirts with personal messages and opinions on Iron Maiden… you get the picture. I’ve always felt it was cooler to wear a t-shirt by a different band to a heavy metal concert, though. Everyone knows you like the band in question, but this is how you show where you’re coming from, your heavy mettle, as it were. In this spirit, some of the coolest t-shirts I saw at the venue were a Bodybag Romance t-shirt and a ragged Celtic Frost t-shirt. But that’s enough about clothes.

The opening act, FTN (Fuck The Name, apparently), was dwarfed by the stage, the venue and the audience’s expectations. It’s hard to get any love opening for a band like Maiden, and FTN did their best with a set of nu-metal covers and originals. I wouldn’t say they won over hoards of people though, but I’m sure it was a great learning experience. Nothing like being dumped in front of a crowd that’s mostly just marking time until the main attraction to hone your stagecraft.

Parikrama obviously have something of a following and went down better. Apparently, wags in Bangalore have accused them of being a ‘cover band’ (I can’t imagine how any Bangalorean could possibly be so opinionated and rude!), so they played an all-original set, and they played it loud and proud. Of course, the songs were of the sort that should generally go down well with a hard rock audience — some AC/DC-esque barroom boogie, some extended blues-rock jamming, and a modern-rock-ish ballad redeemed largely by a lot of Indian-sounding violin work. They played a tight set, and it’s cool that it was as audience-pleasing as their usual act.

By this time, the audience had grown considerably and anticipation was reaching a fever-pitch. However, the next act wasn’t Steve Harris and his Merrie NWOBHM Lads, but instead, Steve‘s daughter Lauren Harris and her Modern Rocking Lads. “Isn’t there a word for this sort of thing?” a friend asked me. “Nepotism,” I replied. He nodded somberly. Seriously, though, Lauren Harris‘ set of vaguely Avril-esque pop rock was much more out of place at this event than FTN‘s Korn-ish rumblings.

But all things must pass, even an excessively extended and oddly unsatisfying foreplay session, and Harris The Younger and her band vacated the stage after a 30-minute set. The bulk of the crowd had arrived by this point, and thousands of grumbling Maiden fans stood around as stage hands performed esoteric setting-up rituals on stage.

And FINALLY the moment some of us have waited nearly two decades for was upon us. As the sounds of UFO‘s classic hit, “Doctor, Doctor” poured out of the PA for some reason, the lights came on, and finally, Maiden took the stage. They started out with three tracks from their latest album, “Different World”, “These Colours Don’t Run” and “Brighter Than a Thousand Suns”. Overlong as these songs can get on disc, they were much more exciting live, except that Maiden‘s newfound habit of repeating the clean intro as interludes and outros feels just as tedious even I’m actually watching them do it.

Having gotten these songs out of the way, Bruce proceeded to begin his trademark audience interaction routine, dedicating “Wrathchild” to Moksha‘s deceased vocalist, Leon. “Wrathchild” live! I think it was at that point that my heart officially burst.

They followed this with a set of classic songs that more or less duplicates the order on any recent concert recording, such as the ‘Death On The Road’ CD — no surprises there, except that the slots for new songs were all filled by more tracks from “A Matter Of Life And Death”. “The Trooper”, “2 Minutes To Midnight”, “Iron Maiden” and “Run To The Hills” were all played tight and fast, the whole audience sang along to “Fear Of The Dark”, and after the usual “thank you, good night” tease, there was an encore with “Hallowed Be Thy Name”, “The Evil That Men Do” — an absolute highlight of the show for me — and more.

Dickinson was in fine form, leaping up in the air, climbing all over the stage and of course repeatedly commanding the crowd to “Scream for me, Bangalore!” He’s got freaky levels of energy, and was in pretty good voice too, something which I wasn’t taking for granted. As for the band, Harris was his expected galloping self, Adrian Smith was supercool, especially when he trotted out his SG, Dave Murray was unflappable, Janick Gers threw his guitar around a lot and Nicko McBrain pounded his kit like a mad thing pounding the life out of a bad thing. The sound was adequate — the rhythm guitars could have been clearer — and the stage set was awesome with the World War bunkers, and special effects like the giant tank with Eddie peeping out through binoculars, and soldier Eddie stalking the stage, 10 feet tall and brandishing a rifle.

It was a perfect ‘hits and recent songs’ set, lasting exactly two hours and 13 songs, offering a decent survey of Maiden‘s career upto “Fear Of The Dark” and ending just in time to avoid running afoul of Bangalore’s live music laws. Dickinson convinced us that we were the best audience ever (although I bet he says that to all the audiences) and promised that Iron Maiden would be back next year. A lot of it felt unreal — finally seeing the stage dynamics and antics that I’ve only seen on TV screens so many times, in the flesh as it were. Of course, I didn’t see as much as I would have liked — people kept holding up their cellphones to take pictures and films. The band doesn’t hold back in providing audiences with the tightest, loudest most entertaining show they possibly can. It was the best heavy metal show I’ve seen in Bangalore yet. The next one will be even better if they play “To Tame A Land” and ban those pesky cellphones.

Comments

3 Comments. Post Yours Here.
  1. March 26, 2007, 3:31 pm Anwin

    Oh man… it was the most rewarding day of my life. Iron Maiden did a fantastic job of showmanship and awesome music…. the singing still rings in my ear :)

  2. March 27, 2007, 12:02 am Prash

    Yes, it was gr8 to hear maiden Live in the flesh. Good review.

    I have posted live video footage of the concert on my blog here >

    http://www.iprash.com/2007/03/20/iron-maiden-bangalore-videos/

  3. March 27, 2007, 9:24 am jp

    It would have been more breathtaking to see the band without all your shiny little screens obscuring vision.

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