I thought back to the first time I saw Iron Maiden in concert, it seems a lifetime ago, in 1984 on the World Slavery Tour. I had never seen anything like this band; the show, the music and a character named Eddie. Everything about them had me enthralled. Fast forward 32 years and I find myself still thinking the same thing. The Iron Maiden of today is every bit as good as the Iron Maiden of 1984 except perhaps they could be even cooler. After all, how many bands are flown around the world by their lead singer on their very own Jumbo 747?
Touring in support of their first double album and their longest work to date, Iron Maiden brought their Book of Souls Tour to the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, on April 3, 2016. Still known for their over the top theatrics, the Mayan-inspired Book of Souls did not disappoint those fans looking for the classic Maiden experience. The band travels with a stage show unmatched by most other bands on the road today. Still, one of the most popular parts of the show is when Eddie makes his appearance. This time, there was a giant Eddie who made the unfortunate move of getting too close to Bruce who proceeded to rip his heart out and fling it into the crowd.
The show opened with Bruce Dickinson, clad in brown jeans and a black hoodie, huddled over a smoking cauldron. The show kicks off with the high energy, “If Eternity Should Fail”, the first track on CD 1 from Book of Souls. I think I’ve watched Flight 666 too much because I definitely enjoy the “Aces High” show opening used on the Somewhere Back in Time Tour. The band roared through “Speed of Light”, the first single from the CD, and “Children of the Damned” before Bruce took a minute to introduce “Tears of a Clown”, a song written about depression, suicide, and the late Robin Williams. Four of the first five songs of the setlist were from The Book of Souls. In total, the band chose to do six songs from the new CD which may seem a lot but keep in mind it is a double CD. I was glad Maiden didn’t decide to do the 18-minute long “Empire of the Clouds”. After so many new songs, the crowd really came to life when the backdrop with Eddie in the familiar “Trooper” garb was seen. “The Trooper” and “Powerslave” were definite crowd favourites. Next up were two more songs from The Book of Souls, “Death or Glory”, about WW1 triplanes and the title track. The show setlist was rounded out by my personal favourite, “Hallowed Be Thy Name”, “Fear of the Dark” and of course, “Iron Maiden”.
The encore was three songs in length and included, the surprising choice “Blood Brothers”, from Brave New World. After such a long career Maiden has a large catalogue to choose songs from however I thought there were better choices for an encore, such as “Aces High”. It was a great show, however, I admit to missing some of the songs from previous setlists.
Doctor Doctor – (UFO song)
If Eternity Should Fail
Speed of Light
Children of the Damned
Tears of a Clown
The Red and the Black
Death or Glory
The Book of Souls
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Fear of the Dark
The Number of the Beast
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life – (Monty Python song)
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