Iron Maiden & Dream Theater Live in Houston

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Thursday, June 17, 2010 @ 2:37 PM

At the Woodlands

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We Texans got a real treat this week. Not too often does a major tour decide to start in the Lone Star State, but on June 9, 2010, Iron Maiden did just that, kicking off their 2010 North American tour in Dallas, Texas. The Woodlands, Texas just north of Houston was the next stop last night, and we were there. The band is out in support of their 15th studio release, The Final Frontier, which is to be released on August 16, 2010. This leg of the North American (and hopefully not the only one) takes the band through 25 cities with a new stage set resembling a base on some distant planet, complete with all the trimmings, including a newer, frightening mascot, Eddie, keeping in line with the theme of the new album’s cover.

After a career spanning more than 3 decades, the band has managed to stay relevant by not falling into the trap that so many others of their era by becoming a nostalgic act. The band has continued to deliver fresh, exciting music to their fans and has no qualms about tinkering with their sets from tour to tour. It is that relevance that allows the group to pull off what a few critics might call a real ballsy move with regards to the current tour’s setlist, but more on that in a moment.

Providing the support on this year’s tour is progressive metallers Dream Theater, who took the stage at 7:30 to a hot, sweltering crowd in the Texas late afternoon sauna. The blistering Texas summers may have been one reason the band decided to start here rather than come back later when it’s much worse. Anyhow, the Texas fans love Dream Theater and the crowd was most definitely into the entertaining, if somewhat brief, 45 minute set.

After a 30 minute changeover it was time. Light down. A brief musical intro and the band rips into their nearly two hour, 16 song show with ‘The Wicker Man’, from the band’s 2000 release Brave New World, then continuing with ‘The Ghost of the Navigator’. Then, the most amazing thing happened! The band actually changed their setlist from the Dallas show! I cannot recall Iron Maiden being a band to change it’s setlist on North American tours once they’re started. Okay, it wasn’t a major overhaul, but it was a change nonetheless. They dropped ‘Brighter Than a 1000 Suns’ in favor of ‘Wrathchild’. Next, we were one of the first to hear the only new track from The Final Frontier that the band is doing on the tour, a tune called ‘El Dorado’, which Maiden has made available for fans to download from their website. It’s a solid tune that whets the appetites of the fans for the entire album release. The guys then changed the set for the 2nd time, this time replacing ‘Paschendale’ with ‘Dance of Death’, which brings me to my previous statements about the setlist. Warning: Fans that want to see a nostalgic Iron Maiden show should have caught the last tour because this time around the band has decided to focus the bulk of the set on their most recent decade, with a full 2/3 of the set being devoted to material from Brave New World, Dance of Death, A Matter of Life and Death, and The Final Frontier. Seems that a few Dallas-area fans were posting their displeasure with this set and all I can say is that if all you ever want to hear is the Maiden classic played to ad nauseum, then catch the band on one of their throwback tours! This tour is about moving forward and only adds to the legacy the band has created. From where I was sitting, Houston didn’t seem at all bothered by their choice of songs as they were loud and raucous throughout the show.

After a couple more songs, Bruce took the opportunity of the upcoming soccer match between England and the United States to lead into ‘Blood Brothers’, stating that England was gonna kicks the USA’s ass in the match, of course all in good fun. The band concluded their set with the expected ‘Iron Maiden’, which unveiled the latest incarnation of Eddie. Very cool is all I can say. Maiden returned to classics for the encores of ‘Number of the Beast, ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’, and ‘Running Free’.

All in all a fantastic show put on! The entire band still has the fire and energy to perform and it’s just plain fun to watch. For this reviewer, it didn’t matter what material they played, it was Maiden and it was going to be good. I and 14,000 other fans left drenched and exhausted.

Just one side note to the show that I thought was kinda cool. About half way through the show I had turned around to look at the crowd from my 3rd row center seat, and lo and behold, sitting directly behind me in the next row was Derrick LeFevre, lead vocalist for ,b>Lillian Axe, who obviously had made the trek from Louisiana to attend this show. Hardcore Maiden fans; gotta love ‘em! Up The Irons! Iron Maiden Setlist

  • The Wicker Man
  • The Ghost of the Navigator
  • Wrathchild
  • El Dorado
  • Dance of Death
  • The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg
  • These Colours Don’t Run
  • Blood Brothers
  • Wildest Dreams
  • No More Lies
  • Fear of the Dark
  • Brave New World
  • Iron Maiden
  • Number of the Beast
  • Hallowed Be Thy Name
  • Running Free

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