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IRON MAIDEN In Chicago, IL

By Shelly Harris, Chicago Contributor
Thursday, October 13, 2022 @ 6:28 AM


At United Center October 5th

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After 41 years of seeing IRON MAIDEN live in concert - dating back to the truly iconic British metal maven's original U.S. tour in support of second album Killers - it would be extremely safe to assume that they could no longer top their live performances of lore. That is especially so because this band - probably the most successful "underground" rock band in history, bar none - has always been especially renown for the spectacle, energy, musicianship, and the 110 percent effort in their live performances during the course of multiple tours that found them headlining the biggest festivals in the world in past decades.

Yet, with all the band members currently in their 60s (they certainly give sexagenarians a good name), there was no question that, on this Legacy of the Beast World Tour, they did indeed top any and all live tour performances of the past, including some very iconic ones such as their multiple night shows at Radio City Music Hall in the early 80s, headlining shows at Madison Square Garden and European festivals, and, based on video documentation, even headlining shows at Rock in Rio.

The reason that the band is still jaw-dropping and wowing - and playing even bigger arenas and sheds than ever before (this was their first time ever playing the largest indoor venue in Chicago, the United Center, home of many Michael Jordan-led NBA champions and Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cups) is because the band are evidently constantly upping their game with regard to every single element intrinsic to a live musical performance.

But, perhaps most important of all, part of the IRON MAIDEN credo is to somehow always maintain that edgy chip-on-the-shoulder defiance, an unmistakable hallmark of a band that feels it has something to prove even after more than four decades of existence. Therefore, it might just be a blessing in disguise that MAIDEN to this day has still been largely ignored by mainstream rock press and some of the other accolades bestowed by the Establishment, as it certainly provides a type of high-octane gasoline that helps fuel the band's continued ambition, energy, and creative vision.

In particular, on this night in the long-time IRON MAIDEN stronghold of Chicago (where, as Bruce Dickinson mentions, the band had once appeared in the earliest days of Chicagofest, and which was also the home of the famous "Chicago Mutants" in the early days), it is evident that the band continues to hone its ability to deliver melodically intense storytelling at its finest, as each song on the setlist is often akin to a self-contained operetta. Dickinson, especially, has become more and more adept at passionately using every inch of the stage, and every appropriate prop available, to evoke the meaning and drama of some of IRON MAIDENS's beloved epics ["Blood Brothers", "Sign of The Cross", "Fear of The Dark", "The Clansman", "The Trooper" and more].

The sound, lighting, and other special effects were on point brilliantly, while the band - on the last month of this world tour - commanded respect as well as enthusiasm for the stunning and tight musicianship that shows they are still at the top of their game not only when powering through the opening three numbers, all from the most recent studio album Senjutsu (including new anthemic classic "Writing on The Wall"), but also with the other classic numbers from "Hallowed Be Thy Name" and "Number of The Beast" right on through to the closing number of the final encore, the ever-soaring "Aces High".

After witnessing the high level of enthusiasm from the audience and the band - who had doubtless been chomping at the bit from having this leg of the Legacy of the Beast World Tour delayed two full years - it came as no real surprise that, immediately following this gig, a follow-up tour was announced to commence late next spring with many other world dates to be added over time, with U.S. ones likely to be included. As a perfect bookend for the latest chapter of the IRON MAIDEN history, The Future Past World Tour will include "previously unperformed songs from the bandís most recent studio album, Senjutsu, along with a focus on 1986ís iconic Somewhere In Time record, plus other classic cuts." Indeed, the writing on the wall says 2023 could very well vie for the best IRON MAIDEN tour ever...


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