Live: Iron Maiden at BankAtlantic Center, April 16
BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise
Saturday, April 16, 2011
More Metal Than: Everything. Maiden all but created heavy metal.
A humongous banner decorated with the Final Frontier cover art -- futuristic and ghoulish and perfectly metal -- loomed behind the stage, colored lights ripped in every direction, and fans of every age and ethnicity screamed and hopped and flung their arms skyward -- pinky and pointer fingers extended. All the while, the most mega-epic rock-god sextet of all time, Iron Maiden, rocked and sliced its way through one awesome anthem after another.
The set list included ass-kicking hits from the band's more recent albums -- Brave New World, Dance of Death, A Matter of Life and Death, and of course, the tour namesake -- as well as the classic "Iron Maiden," which includes these lyrics: "See the blood flow, watching it shed up above my head/Iron Maiden wants you for dead."
On this night, Maiden embodied all things heavy metal -- it did, after all, help to define the genre. What unfolded was brutal, hardcore, and filled with monsters, war, death, and destruction. But as proudly as it wields both its brutality and British flag (I doubt those two are related), so too does Iron Maiden wield a playful understanding of the heavy metal camp factor in general and how vital it is to the band's act and image in particular. During the encore, and more precisely during an awesome performance of the group's 1982 hit "The Number of the Beast," someone in a terrifying and detailed two-story-tall alien suit walked on stage. The monster-alien -- Ed the 'Ead, or Eddie, the group's demonic mascot in his latest "Final Frontier" incarnation -- proceeded to battle the band in an epic slapstick altercation. His eyes flashed a robotic red. The song and altercations ended with Eddie amiably playing his own guitar.
The only bad thing about the show was that it didn't last all night. Dickinson's voice was knock-you-on-your-ass powerful; the guitarists romped around the stage with incredible vigor; Nicko McBrain (introduced by Dickinson as "not just a restaurateur," in reference to his Coral Springs rib joint) thrashed his drum set furiously. Also, the night's last song, "Running Free," seemed to indicate that Iron Maiden -- despite a 30-plus-year career -- isn't slowing down yet: "But they ain't got a thing on me; I'm running wild, I'm running free."
Personal bias: I cannot count the number of times I have driven very fast down a highway blasting "Wildest Dreams."
Random detail: Camo-pant-clad lead singer Bruce Dickinson worked up such a sweat that he wrung his beanie hat out all over the crowd at the end of the show.
By the way: More than half the audience -- including several very young children, sporting medallions and spiked hair -- was clad in concert, v-cut, jersey-style, embroidered, baby doll, tie-dyed, and anything else you can image Iron Maiden shirts.
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