Concert Review: Iron Maiden

Mandalay Bay Events Center, Sept. 12


Celebrating the silver anniversary of Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, the British heavyweights gave a crash course on what a heavy metal concert is supposed to be like. The band’s galloping sound continues to be anchored by bassist Steve Harris, whose fingers pumped out machine-gun rhythms on show opener “Moonchild” and “The Number of the Beast.” Singer Bruce Dickinson still possesses enough lung capacity at age 55 to fill a blimp, running almost nonstop around the mammoth stage but still having enough quasi-operatic voice for “The Trooper,” during which he waved a tattered Union Jack. The three-guitar attack of Dave Murray, Adrian Smith and Janick Gers traded aggressive riffs on songs such as “Wasted Years” and added layers of sound to the show’s centerpiece, a 10-minute journey through Seventh Son’s title track. And drummer Nicko McBrain still packs plenty of precision and power at age 61 to kick-start classics “2 Minutes to Midnight” and “Aces High.”

Maiden hadn’t played Las Vegas in 13 years, and the sold-out crowd soaked up every bit of sound and spectacle thrown its way. Giant flames erupted from the stage’s perimeter on many songs, and a 10-foot-tall Eddie (the band’s corpse-like mascot) wielded a sword as he paraded around the stage during “Run to the Hills.”

On some tours, Iron Maiden eschews much of their back catalog in favor of newer material. But not this time around. This was Maiden at their old-school best, covering ground from their 1980 debut album through 1990’s Fear of the Dark. For most of us who remember Maiden’s classic era, we’ve slowed down a step or two. Iron Maiden, not so much. ★★★★☆

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