I've seen Guns N' Roses live in concert. I've seen Janes Addiction, Nine Inch Nails and Bon Jovi.
I've seen AC/DC, Ratt, Cinderella, Pantera, Metallica, Faith No More and Van Halen.
I've also seen Kingdome Come, The Scorpions, Ministry, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck and The Beastie Boys (on six separate occasions I might add).
I've seen all of those great bands.
But, last Thursday, I was able to add another group to my list of historic badass bands I've seen live:
IRON (FUCKING) MAIDEN
Months ago, I found out that a couple of my buddies were coming up to see the fabled rock group at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls. Begrudgingly, I accepted the invitation.
I say begrudgingly because, besides 'Run to the Hills', I have no fucking clue what Iron Maiden is all about.
Scratch that. That's a lie.
There are five things that I know about Iron Maiden...
1.) Bruce Dickinson is their lead singer.
2.) Eddie is their sadistic mascot.
3.) In middle school, I was obsessed with drawing Eddie. Even though I wasn't interested in the music.
4.) They sing the hit song 'Run to the Hills'.
5.) When I was 11 years old, I was staying all night at a friends house and couldn't sleep because of the below album cover was pegged on the wall:
We'll I guess I know a couple things, eh?
So I decided to go.
But, my buddies weren't happy sitting on the lawn with a picnic basket and a bottle of wine.
Oh no, that would be too easy. Instead, they decided to go all out and purchase their tickets via a special offer on the Iron Maiden Fan Club website. For the low, low price of $65.
Let me print that again: $65. For Iron Fucking Maiden?
Expensive? Yes. However, in hindsight, it was a small price to pay to hang out with my Columbus friends. (Whom I haven't seen in quite some time.)
Let's just say our seats were within rock-throwing distance of the band (As you can see in the picture above). Which, I should add, are looking mighty geezer like nowadays.
Speaking of geezers. My ears. My sweet poor 35-year old ears.
From the very first song, my ears were pounded with the equivalent of heavy-metal nitroglycerine
I felt like that guy in Black Hawk Down who lost his hearing after a grenade exploded five feet in front of him. Oh, he was fine. But, after the blast, his hearing was for shit for the rest of the movie. Yep, that was me.
In fact, I was such a ear-holding pussy that I had to escape my bad-ass seats to the comforts of the lawn. To be brutally honest, the band sounded much better from afar. Plus, my ears thanked me for it the next day.
So how was the concert you ask? Well, for not knowing too much about them (Growing up, I was more of a Motley Crue, Van Halen, AC/DC, Run DMC, LL COOL J -type listener) and judging by my friend's enthusiastic highfives after the show....I'll give it a 7 out of 10.
Lead singer Dickinson really got the crowd pumped up. Not sure if it was high-tech voice wizardry, but he could still hit those high notes.
Something that really shocked me, however, was his size.
Judgingby the old Hit Parade and Metal magazines, I thought for sure Dickinson was, at least, seven feet tall. Imagine my surprise when the drapes dropped, the music started and this small, five foot guy jumped onstage and started hopping around.
"Who's that little guy?" I asked my friend.
"Dude, that's Bruce Dickinson, ya fag!!" he responded.
Speaking of the band, they were really, really tight. They really took their craft, their music and the Iron Maiden catalog of songs very seriously. It also seemed like they wanted to be there. They weren't in Cleveland, Ohio, just to make a quick buck. Like the previous Guns N' Roses tours I've witnessed.
They were still having fun. Which goes a long way in my book. I also think they were pretty pleased with the crowd's enthusiasm as well. At least that's what they told us.
"Allo, Oh-eye-oh. You awr awelsome. Trily Awelsome?"
Dickinson made a great point about the lack of radio play the crew has been given the last 10 years. I totally agree. There are two major rock stations in Cleveland (92.3 K-Rock and The Buzzard 100.7) and, with the exception of commercials, neither station mentioned the concert at all.
To be honest, I don't even think I've heard 'Run to the Hills' on the radio in the past three years since I've been up here. Which is really, really odd, considering the amount of youngsters I saw at the concert.
On the drunk drive home, yours truly even got in on the Iron Maiden fun.
I'm sure some people in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park could hear my ominous, drunken, cackling wails of "Run to the Hills" over and over and over and over again on the way home.
Eat your heart out Bigfoot, er, Grassman.
EIMER NOTE: Click here for a more straight-forward review of last Thursday's Maiden show courtesy of the Akron Beacon Journal.