GIG REVIEW: Iron Maiden & Shinedown Live at the Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham,
The return of UK heavy metal legends Iron Maiden back to their home country is always a notable occasion, and this time the band ventured back in support of their latest studio album, 2015’s ‘The Book of Souls’. As you can imagine the anticipation for this tour was extraordinarily high, and I was fortunate enough to catch the band performing at the Barclaycard Arena in the centre of the city of Birmingham.
US hard rock radio favourites Shinedown were the only support band playing with Iron Maiden for this run of UK shows, and it was obvious right from even before they walked on stage that the reaction was going to be hit and miss. There were plenty of Shinedown shirts visible throughout the audience, but looking around during their set it was also clear that a sizeable chunk of the crowd did not know any of their material, but who had nonetheless got to the show early to see Shinedown play. “Diamond Eyes” and “The Sound of Madness” were definitely the highlights, as was a brief tribute and silence for the late Soundgarden and Audioslave icon Chris Cornell.
Of course the main event of the evening was going to be the performance of one Iron Maiden, with the band’s last set of indoor shows in their home country being in 2011 and with only a handful of festival dates at prestigious events like Sonisphere Festival and Download Festival between then and now. As has come to be expected from Maiden, the setlist primarily balanced a portion of material from their most recent studio album ‘The Book of Souls’ as well as tracks from what many would be consider to be the band’s golden era. UFO’s “Doctor Doctor” led straight into “If Eternity Should Fail” and “Speed of Light”, before “Children of the Damned”, “Fear of the Dark” and “Powerslave” accompanied some more from the new record, before an encore of “The Number of the Beast”, “Blood Brothers” and “Wasted Years” brought the performance to an appropriate conclusion.
To wrap up, Iron Maiden continue to be one of those bands who will entertain you irrespective of whether you’re a fan of their music or not. I am admittedly not the biggest Maiden fan nor am I a supporter of the ‘Maiden is better than every band ever’ culture that seems to exist in some heavy metal circles, but I would be lying if I said I was not impressed by their performance and it goes to show why Maiden continue to be such a force of nature in the world of hard rock music.