Heart of Steel: Concert Reviews

Iron Maiden
(with geusts: Murderdolls)
Hartwall Area, Helsinki, Finland
June 30th, 2003

Pics and text By Arto Lehtinen, Marko Syrjälä

British heavy metal legends, Iron Maiden, have enjoyed a massive and loyal following in Finland (like everywhere else on this planet) since the very early 80's. Despite Blaze Bayley's short stint in the Maiden ranks in the mid 90's, the diehard Finnish Maiden fans never turned their backs on them.

After the golden throat Bruce Dickinson had returned to Maiden it literally catapulted the band into another dimension of incredible successful achievement. The 13,000 seat of the Hartwall arena was sold out within two hours and there would have been another 13,000 outside willing to get the tickets to testify Maiden in action. The same thing happened in Sweden where app 32,000 crazy Swedish Maiden freaks had entered to testify their idols and at the Roskilde fest there were 50,000 bangers sharing the same fear of the dark feeling.

For some reason "the freak Yankee combo" Murderdolls, known for being a side project run by the Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison on the guitars, had been booked as the warm up band for Maiden on their European crusade. It wasn't any big surprise that many people kept showing the international middle finger sign to the Murderdolls guys thru their set and apparently some bitter comments were shouted from the audience when the vocalist was forced to respond by giving out of sense comments. Even though the Hanoi Rocks ghost looking guitarist showed up on the stage, but it didn't bring too many positive points for the b-class punk/glam "wanna be" shock rockers! This band clearly doesn't belong in huge arenas at least yet and also maybe Iron Maiden is not the best possible headliner for these kinds of looking and sounding guys... But how about Marilyn Manson, Dolls?

The feeling before Maidens invaded the stage was incredible in the huge arena. People appeared to be in the waiting tension doing massive waves around the area like in a hockey match and the noise went over the tolerance of pain, as it was really huge…

 

 

The gig got a prestigious ballistic kick off when the immortal six hundred sixty six slogans roared from monitors and the audience went totally "apeshit" when "The Number Of The Beast" was unleashed and continued by more crossfire of the greatest Maiden tunes of all time. For example, "The Trooper" and "Hallowed Be Thy Name" hit every maiden freak in the Hartwall arena like a ten ton hammer. The reaction of the crowd could be described as a hotter than hell atmosphere, especially in the front line where the pressure grew to the inhuman level. The security barrier was about to fail until Bruce Dickinson announced that barrier is a piece of shit and asked people to take a step back so that the barrier could be fixed. Even though the beginning of the set was mostly based on the tracks off from the classic albums of the heavy metal history Piece Of Mind and Number Of The Beast even one brand new track, picked up from the upcoming Dance Of Death album called "Wildest Dreams" has been added to the set list of which Dickinson kept quite a funny introduction by demanding the crowd to bring up the recording equipment to tape the new song. As far as "Wildest Dreams" is concerned, it sounds like a pure Maiden tune, not giving any big surprise. Even though the newer material of Maiden is bloody strong, however only two tracks were played from Bruce's comeback album. "The Wicker Man" and title track "Brave New World" had found their ways to the set list, being brilliant tracks matching along with the classic ones damn well. Also "Clansman" from Bayley's era album off from Virtual XI was played and it truly reached a entire brand new level when Mr. Dickinson was behind the microphone singing it.

 

 

As usual some extra things had been set up for this Maiden gig, for example a bunch of Finnish Maiden fans had got an utterly huge gift to enter the stage to sing the chorus parts of "Heaven Can Wait". Things didn't turn out as planned cos some wise guy torn his shirt apart in order to show his trained body and muscles and tried to hug Mr. Murray, but after all got groped by the security guy by moving this middle aged little Arnold Schwarzenegger to the safety distance from the whole band.

Of course the ever famous mascot Eddie visited the stage during "The Clairvoyant" spinning around on the stage and looked one kind of king oriented monster with the crown and cape. During the Maiden self titled battle hymn, a huge Eddie head rose behind from the drum kits and head got wide opened to where Eddie's missing brains were put back.

 

Bruce Dickinson was definitely in good shape during the whole massive two hour gig as running around the stage like one kind of maniac, making the audience shout and make waves. But instead Harris has calmed down a lot since his early days even though being in good shape, but didn't run and jump around that much as he used to do. Janick Gers acted like a clown all the time whereas the double guitarist Adrian Smith and Dave Murray did their job in the expected sophisticated perfect and brilliant way. As usual, audience wasn't able to testify the drum works by the drummer Nicko McBrain too much when he is hidden behind his massive drum kit, but he was clearly heard by everyone and when it was time to give away a set of drumsticks he got a huge cheers from "desperate" fans. Of course he performed a nice looking war dance behind his drum artillery.

The crowd was in one hell of a tension though the whole gig, kept singing by heart and by soul and damn loud. That kind of passionate intensive dedication on gigs have never been testified ever before, it was definitely a piece of evidence of Maiden's being loyal and fanatical fans toward the old classic metal from England!

 

SETLIST:
The Number of the Beast
The Trooper
Die with your Boots on
Hallowed be thy Name
Revelations
22 Acacia Avenue
Wildest Dreams
The Wicker Man
Brave New World
The Clansman
Heaven can wait
The Clairvoyant
Fear of the Dark
Iron Maiden
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Bring your Daughter... to the Slaughter
2 Minutes to Midnight
Run to the Hills