Iron Maiden, the massively influential heavy metal band, are known for their daring shows filled with pyrotechnics, choreography and costume changes. But the best special effect presented during the October 19 stop in New York Legacy of the Beast World Tour were the huge smiles from the band members, who had a hell of a time shredding fans after nearly 50 years in the business.
The band’s current lineup has been stable since 1999, and decades of playing together add a triumphant touch to live performances of some of the heaviest rock songs ever written. The band’s army of three guitars – Dave Murray, Adrian Smith and Janick Gers – traded jaw-dropping solos, each basking in their signature styles, then weaving in lush multi-part harmonies to add sweetness to the mix. . And while bassist Steve Harris and drummer Nicko McBrain’s rhythm section kept up a galloping beat, vocalist Bruce Dickinson remained the consummate barker of the carnival, leading the crowd in anthemic chants with his breathtaking tenor before urge the audience to clap, sway and shout louder. at every opportunity.
As the group blazed through intricate fretwork, Dickinson also navigated the essentials of the show, donning an “Eyes Wide Shut” mask with a lantern for the spooky classic “Fear of the Dark,” donning a flamethrower for the “Flight of Icarus” stadium shaker and training with a giant version of their mascot Eddie during “The Trooper.” Between its antics, changing sets and intricate lighting, Maiden perfected the grandiose spectacle of Spinal Tap’s dreams.
The setlist was also ambitious, which opened with the first three cuts of their dense 2021 album “Senjutsu.” While the mid-tempo title track is light on memorable hooks, it juxtaposes McBrain’s thundering toms with Dickinson’s operatic voice, working in the low end of its register. “Stratego” and “The Writing on the Wall” approached closer to their classic sound, but given the hit-laden setlist that followed, the new material could have fit in a bit better scattered throughout. of the night rather than a 20-minute slab. at first.
Once the hits started, the riffs came fast and furious, with the crowd headbanging as hard as they could. The blasphemous ballad “Revelations” took the band from new material to classics, with beautiful guitar work bleeding into the dizzying tempo changes. The progressive, multi-part “Sign of the Cross” shifted from an austere horror-movie score to a jaunty guitar jam in an extended midsection. And the crowds that lit up the final stretch and the encores were legendary: there wasn’t a fist without pomp at UBS Arena for classics like “Run to the Hills,” “The Number of the Beast,” ” The Trooper” and “Aces High”. ”
At the start of the set, Dickinson joked about their aging fanbase, “I’m amazed: some of you are so old, you should be dead!” But even as the band members march into their 70s, their onstage antics and energy are in tune with a teenage rock band, strutting, posing and throwing devil horns because it looks cool. There were many instances where the members would wrap their arms around each other while someone gave a particularly impressive solo, or touch the neck of a friend’s guitar and laugh at being zapped with electricity. This heavy metal grade A conjured charge is sure to keep Iron Maiden energized throughout their upcoming world tour.