November 17th I went to see Iron Maiden play in the Globe arena in Stockholm. This was the first of four gigs in Sweden (three of them planned in Stockholm), concerts that sold out as soon as the tickets were released. I though I'd tell you a little about my history with Maiden and also what I though of Friday night.
My Maiden history
I started listening to Iron Maiden in the late 80s, around the time they came out with their Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son album, and I still remember getting the Can I Play With Madness single on an actual record as a birthday present from my brother. I've listened to them ever since and is still a major fan. This was actually my tenth concert with them! :-)
The gigs I've been to are:
Stockholm, Hovet 1990
Stockholm, Globe arena 1992
Stockholm, Circus 1995
Stockholm, Hovet 1998
Stockholm, Globe arena 1999
New York City, Madison Square Garden 2000
Stockholm, Stockholm stadium 2003
Stockholm, Globe arena 2003
Gothenburg, Ullevi Stadium 2005
Stockholm, Globe arena 2006
Before the gig
I was going to the concert together with my brother Martin, and since I'm very dedicated and want to be close to the stage (I want to be able to see the musicians up front, and have fun together with them as opposed to being 200 meters away...), I got to the Globe arena as soon as I could away from work. The line was already long when I got there, but accompanied by a "happy bag" from McDonalds, it was ok to wait. A little drizzle fell on me and it was relatively cold, but the atmosphere was very nice. Eventually my brother got there too, and after a total wait of a couple of hours, the doors opened.
Since, for some annoying reason, people can't leave the front enclosure once in there (no nice wristbands like there should be in every concert), I thought it a good idea to pee before, and Martin went to the closet to leave our wet jackets. Once down on the arena floor, they had already closed the front enclosure! Oh, the misery! So I went up to Martin, who was still standing in the closet line, and told him about. However, it seemed like they would let some more people in eventually, so I got back to queue up for it.
And, oh joy, suddenly they opened the gate on the opposing side from where I was standing, so I sprinted over and got in! But... Martin still wasn't there. Just as I saw him walk down the stairs, they closed the gates again. No! Immediately a line formed and I told Martin to get in it, since chances seemed fairly good that they would let even more people in, in time. Martin patiently waited as time went by, and only VIPs, people knowing the guards etc got in, but at the same time "there wasn't room" for any more people (man, I hate such double standards where die-hard fans are fucked over because some other has better connections than them).
So, standing in the front enclosure, I waited for half an hour and then saw the opening act, all while poor Martin still waited in line. Martin got gradually closer and closer to the gate, though, so I felt hope during all this time. And then, finally, he got in, maybe 10 minutes before Maiden got on. We hugged it out, knowing that we would share yet another great concert experience seeing Iron Maiden. I love going cray on the floor, the mosh pit if you will, during gigs. Letting all this energy out, and just putting all your troubles and musts behind you and only having fun.
People who usually stand on the floor know that once you're in the front enclosure, it's a pushover to get very close to the stage. I think we spent a majority of the concert just a few meters from the stage, and had a great time!
Iron Maiden decided to play their entire latest album, A Matter Of Life And Death, during each concert on this tour, and after that, just a few extras. While I definitely like their latest album, very few albums are good enough to carry (almost) an entire concert. Personally, the only one of their albums I think would be up to the challenge is the The Number of the Beast one. Since I've seen them many times, for a time now I've been in favor of them playing other songs than The Number of the Beast, The Trooper etc. But my hope has been that they would've played other superb songs spanning their entire career, and not just what their latest album has to offer.
However, I have to give it to them that they seem to have found a nice compromise. During last year, they toured and played exclusively songs from their first four albums, to satisfy everyone's needs to hear those songs. And, to balance this gig, during the concert they promised that they will come back in 2008 playing songs from the era following their first four albums. This means that there will be an Egypt theme (everyone not being around for Powerslave will go crazy with happiness over this :-)) and that a lot of olden goldies will be played. Me? I can't wait for it!
All in all, it was a great concert, but it would've been better if they had skipped some of the new songs in favor of the old ones. Oh well, still a good night!
And, to top it off, once again I got a guitar pick from Dave Murray (my second now, we must have some kind of connection :-)). For anyone not knowing it, Dave is the guitarist in Maiden and for a fan to get one of his guitar picks is a fantastic thing!