Whether you appreciate the genre or not, you must acknowledge the legend IRON MAIDEN is. They weren’t the reason why I started to listen to heavy metal, nor were they ever among my favourite bands, but I own their most popular albums and some of their songs did mark me as I was growing up. And as this year “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son” celebrates its 25th anniversary, and the Maiden England World Tour hit Lisbon, with a replica of what the “Seventh Son…” tour was at the time, I couldn’t miss it. Apparently, every metalhead felt the same, as Meo Arena (capacity of 20.000 people) sold out about three months prior to the event – a true rarity around here.
VOODOO SIX had the honour of warming things up. I’m pretty sure there were very few in the audience who knew them, but the band was warmly welcomed, with their groovy heavy rock. Their fourth album, “Songs To Invade Countries To” was released in April via Spinefarm/Universal Records and the two first songs were taken from it – “Fallen Knives” and “Sink Or Swim”. Then they visited all their other albums, finishing off with “Long Way From Home” from the previous “Fluke?”. Not the same vein at all as MAIDEN, but pretty good.
It wasn’t my first MAIDEN gig but it surely was the one I liked the most. Probably because I knew all the songs, which didn’t happen in the other shows – I lost interest when Bruce left, and when he came back my appreciation for classic heavy metal had been replaced by something both heavier and more melodic… Which means that I know little of IRON MAIDEN after “Fear Of The Dark”, and that was precisely the oldest stuff they played that night.
Bruce welcomed us to that “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son” tour, breaking into laughter, as if he had said it by mistake (I’m pretty sure it was on purpose), and adding they were playing a lot of songs from that album, but also from others. Many people still don’t understand why they played “Afraid To Shoot Strangers” instead of “Infinite Dreams” or “Hallowed Be Thy Name”, but as Bruce talked about these times of war, of sending youngsters into the battle field, it made sense. And I actually love that song, so I didn’t complain anyway.
There’s not much to say. All those timeless hits sang by thousands of people is something you just can’t describe. Oh, I can say that someone gave Janick a Brazilian flag at some point, which he tied to his guitar, and when Bruce pointed it out while introducing the band, the crowd booed loudly. Bruce laughed and said that they liked the Brazilians but that night they liked the Portuguese just a bit more. And in the end, when Nicko stepped out of the drumkit to thank the crowd, he raised a flag with the image of late Clive Burr on it. The rest? Well, the rest was “just” one hour and half of epicness. “IRON MAIDEN‘s gonna get you…” Oh yes, they did!