Review: Iron Maiden in Aberdeen

Iron Maiden at Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre

Iron Maiden playing Aces High, a Spitfire over the stage. Photo by Robert Leslie.

Aces High

On Saturday the 4th of August 2018, heavy metal institution Iron Maiden brought their Legacy of the Beast tour to Scotland for a single date in Aberdeen. The city was filled with over 9000 fans of all ages, most wearing T-Shirts bearing their mascot Eddie. Some came from as far afield as Germany.

American band Killswitch Engage had the unenviable task of opening up for the headliner, and did an excellent job energising the crowd. The front of the auditorium quickly turned into a rowdy but good-natured mosh pit. After amusing the audience with a complaint about the large number of wasps (and hover-flies) that are currently infesting Aberdeen, lead singer Jesse Leach then introduced what he called “the greatest heavy metal band in the world.”

Iron Maiden are known for extravagant stage-shows. When they took to the stage it was covered in dark wraps, barbed-wire, and forest camouflage, which was unwrapped by men in military uniform. Opening song Aces High was accompanied by a life-size Spitfire hanging over the stage. As this was part of a ‘greatest hits’ tour, each song had a different backdrop, and the props and set dressing changed throughout. Singer Bruce Dickinson variously shot flames from a jet-pack attached to his arms, dodged pyrotechnic explosions, and fenced with a giant animatronic Eddie.

The first few songs were themed around war. Bruce Dickinson took time out to explain that war was not something to be glorified, but that fighting fascism was a worthwhile cause. Introducing The Clansman, an obvious crowd-pleaser inspired by William Wallace, he said:

“Sometimes you have to stand up and sometimes you have to fight for your things you believe in, for your liberty, and sometimes for your freedom from interference by people who wish to f*** with you.”

Closing the show, he said that the band would return to Scotland once we had built a better place for all the Scots we want. It seemed ambiguous whether he was referring to the new Aberdeen Exhibition Centre, which is currently under construction, or the country as a whole.

Iron Maiden playing the Clansman, photo by Robert Leslie.

The Clansman.

The sound crew are to be praised for their superb live production work. The band sounded incredible, with Steve Harris’s bass and Nicko McBrain’s drums (all individually decorated with stained-glass-style artwork) absolutely thundering. The three guitarists are all virtuoso musicians. Janick Gers remains a particularly entertaining live showman.

Veteran fans have commented that this was the best Iron Maiden concert they have been to since the ’80s. It was a joy to see the whole band so full of energy and playing to a lively audience. Bruce Dickinson has clearly made a full recovery after having mouth cancer. He turns 60 today, the 7th of August, and a very happy birthday to him!

Aces High
Where Eagles Dare
2 Minutes to Midnight
The Clansman
The Trooper
For the Greater Good of God
The Wicker Man
Sign of the Cross
Flight of Icarus
Fear of the Dark
The Number of the Beast
Iron Maiden
The Evil That Men Do
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Run to the Hills

2 replies »

  1. Great review, Martin.
    It was nice to read such a well-written piece. I’m a rock/metal fan, and although I never quite got Maiden, I can appreciate the work they put into their shows. Have you heard Stormzone, who do something similar?

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