skip to Main Content

Iron Maiden-Legacy of the Beast-Toronto-August 9, 2019


Photographs By: Igor Vidyashev

Transylvania comes up on the speakers as the volume starts to rise as do the moon and thousands of fans who can’t miss a second of this very special occasion. Steve Harris’ s instrumental leads into UFO’s “Doctor Doctor” and everyone is up. Auspicious and poignant Winston Churchill speech culminating in the phrase that kicks it off: We will never surrender! Everyone’s upping the irons, up on their feet. And loud. The crowd was loud. Legacy of the Beast encapsulates a 40 plus year career with and a multitude of fantasy realms to draw on. Maiden is a band of five with their own legacies to draw on. The magnitude of their realities transcends life. The magnitude of the stage show is matched by the monstrous playing of the hardest pounding rhythm section in the business. Steve Harris is killing those bass-lines constantly. Kick ass drumming especially double kick heavy. These two have the honor of getting you into it down to the bone. There is a throbbing frequency response from the gut to the feet, to the floor but it’s a good quake! Bone crushing throbbing well beyond the decibels of pyrotechnical explosions. They pair well. Three guitars screaming wildly – trading solos and harmonizing. Gers was jumping around and having fun with guitar swinging around behind his back and cutting into the next chord,  whipping at his strings when they needed the discipline. Perhaps the most dynamic front-man in all aspects of life, Bruce Dickinson is a natural, well respected leader. There is no question that his is one of the most powerful voices in all music. written by: Billy Zee

Olive drab at first,  two army men Left and Right come out to greet us and conduct a military reveal. Like light from darkness, “Aces High” begins with a big bang. Even the kit was almost invisible. Nevertheless, Nicko McBrain was back there. You could feel the tank rolling through his beat.  The ghost in the machine hid behind a mesh of camo in airplane engine fumes. The volume was up and the lake air made it sound really crisp and clean. The camo starts to come down bit by bit then Dickinson comes out in pilot head gear. Of course this makes surface thoughts of the heroic nature of his civilian life. This army scene was transforming into a rock stage bit by bit. The WW2 flyer appeared larger than life and appeared to threaten our lives. Revealed through smoke and fire; Frightfully near the performers; this intro to an epic show is more spectacular than most finales. The impending doom as targets of a strafing run is of no matter. While guitar whipping and whirling and running around the stage, one to one between band and audience starts immediately. Where Eagles Dare next and then everyone is right into it. Wrapped up in a straight jacket for the next two hours all eyes are hypnotized. It’s “2 Minutes To Midnight” and the microphone is no longer necessary. An overly dramatic stage show has just injected Toronto fans with a lethal dose of pure metal. Bruce returns from a quick change in a half camo black leather with post apocalyptic war monger swagger as he and scene transform continually and seamlessly as we await Eddy’s first appearance.

“Clansman” is a Scottish song of freedom similar to Braveheart in a story so brutal that the Medieval Scotts think an Aussie, Mel Gibbson’s version a comic book fantasy. In a medieval scene akin to Camelot, Bruce wields a bloody sword and then like a red coat from a rebellious civil war the Union Jack the Canadian flag and Eddy transcending inherent iconography make their respective appearances. The tale of Trooper is now conjuring realms and overlapping infinities trespassing on our minds. Eddy has done it all – seen it all – brought it back from your nightmares and laid it all out on the stage. Eddy also has a massive sword as he taunts Dickinson, this 10 foot tall nightmare stomps out toward the pit and he points the sword, threatening the first rows of submissive fans. Henceforth the battlefield includes a pack of guitarists down low and monstrous sword-fight on high.

Camaraderie between Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, and Janick Gers is thick the latter brought his string whipping, and they all brought their effin’ A games. No acting for the front lines. This is a show of strength and in times of war, weakness means defeat. And in the wake of Dickinson’s 61st celebration of birth this may have been bassist, Steve Harris’ special night. Each moment is the spotlight was kicked a notch higher than the other. It’s everyone’s favourite Iron Maiden line-up. The gangs all here and they’re here like gangbusters. They’re fighters and survivors do their absolute best in their stories of their worst. Victory is the only option.

The band played 4 tunes off “Piece Of Mind” and covered all the old school albums. The older, the better as it were. They reached way back for much more. Fans loved singing along to all the hits from most of their 16 studio albums. Bruce announced “no new songs” and got a big rise. Hinting that there will be some new stuff by the next time around, he’s about gone wild now. His every movement exudes power. High on the back risers with dark old fear imagery projected onto massive video screens behind. Confronting the evil in your dreams can be done skillfully and sexily. The ideas that the evil draws upon grow cliche to the dominant who enjoy evil’s demise in so many creative ways. The submissive spectate patiently with an insatiable appetite for a conjuring of the spells that feed power at an almost intro-venous level.

Bruce all in black looks pretty slick then his swagger gets a little tattered and the slick black looks torn and battered. Not your typical Sunday attire but right on for a Friday night. Dressed in rags, as though burned and having crawled from the wreckage, the twisted metal warmonger scene transposes to the inside of a beautiful church. Wonderful stained glass and pillars everywhere. Mandalas of translucent colour. Allowing the sun to enter in the warmest ways. Giant chandeliers of fire loom low and ominous adding to the juxtaposition of light and darkness in the hallowed hall. Fitting for Revelations, For “The Greater Good Of God”, “The Wicker Man” and “Sign of The Cross”. Secret pleasures unadulterated intensity insanity an evil charm and Dickinson literally discards a brilliant man sized crucifix.

The metaphor continually embellished suddenly turns to fire and brimstone as perception and perspective change. Lots of fire!  There are no spoilers here. Hear and see for yourself. Bruce’s hell fire double barrel flame thrower, beside the pyro on risers added heat to a perfectly cool August night on the lake for “Flight Of Icarus” like a phoenix rising, the massive golden angel floated like Tchaikovsky’s entire ballet on steroids. Melting eyes and wings;  Ears bleeding and the shredded victims are all  very close to the sun. Very close to screaming for more.  “Scream for me, Toronto!” Bruce commanded and each order was obeyed, louder and louder.

“Fear Of The Dark” brings on a character in cape, top hat and phantom mask. With a glowing green lantern Bruce absolves the audience like a priest burning incense as the fog and sound envelope the faithful. Eddy’s appearances in other realms turn to the very cool video screens as they become too fantastic to fully recreate in our dimension of reality. One would think. Expectations of a fate worse than death incarnate with a giant demon head omnipotently looming from above the highest risers on the stage. The gargantuan devil horns extend across the stage for “The Number Of The Beast” and “Iron Maiden”. Fangs the size of a man; Eyes with the blood red glow; The band look like minions under its slimy jowls but it’s they and their minions who raise hell. Around a hundred minutes of mad metal music and the rest must come in the encore. It goes by fast and it goes by furiously but the wait is upon us and it’s almost the end of a show so stimulating that the screaming fans crush the decibel meters. Maiden! Maiden! The chants rings out and still there’s a rise on the band’s quick return.

A noose hung 50 feet to the high riser while Bruce toyed with the idea. Swinging the deadly rope was chilling as his omnipotence seem well reduced. First for the encore, they dive into “The Evil That Men Do”, then “Hallowed Be Thy Name” and of course the grand finale: “Run To The Hills” brings us home. Dickinson’s voice still belting it out just slightly louder than the crowd.  Like a feature film the action and adventure flow in a way similar to Niagara Falls drops or a space ship blasts off. A still frame is just a tease! Igor Vidyashev’s exquisite photo work captures instances of this ultimate creativity. The live audience experiences and is integral in the full power of a pervasive inertia and a feel good grind. Picture a cute little bunny trying to cross 18 lanes on highway. Picture the 18 wheelers weaving and whirling at top speed. Somehow this is leading to the Monty Python reference. Does this hypothetical bunny have great big fangs? It would have to. After the stellar encore and a warm, sincere good night, “Always look on the bright side of Life” guides us out of the glorious open air theatre. Returning to normal life is quite a let down after this beast of a show.

Trooper is good beer. Like Canadian beer drinkers, these brewers are terribly proud of our mutual superiority and downright dominance of our American counterparts no matter who’s name is flying on the amphitheater marquee. Bruce joked about Bud a couple of times. He makes a lot of sense and if anyone in Ontario thought about it, $1 Troopers may have made this night even more fun. Fifteen thousand at the first of two shoes Friday and another fifteen thousand on Saturday makes a hefty 30 thousand fans in 2 nights. The papers reported 16 thousand or so each night which is a full house right out to the lawns. On Friday there must have been 14 thousand in Maiden tee-shirts that spanned history. Make eye contact then check the era from which the tee shirt came. Rock museum worthy collections of body art as far as the eye could see. It’s amazing when the white light blasts onto the audience. Speaking of Canadians, the packed party crowd this Friday night included one of our own heroic band leaders –  Carl Dixon. Telling good old Maiden / West Ham stories was Tess who was hangin’ with Jenni and metal pounder Alexis Von Kraven. Up the irons for Leslie Black who deserves much appreciated continuity credit on this review. Many of the knowledgeable crowd started early at the River Bar where the Trooper was flowing and local pounders, Phear were stoking the faithful like Noel and son.

A little more pre-show activity on the amphitheater video screens for those with all the online savvy and the ‘never-get-enough-Maiden’ zeal: Check into #BePartOfTheLegacy and – really great looking graphics with all your favourite Eddy vistas and maybe more. Scary fun for all ages! And for the savvy adults: Drink Trooper Light Brigade Beer In Support of Help For Heroes. One of the most impressive rock shows and rock bands of all time. Among the pioneers and forever leading the way in this life and the next ones. That is the Legacy of The Beast.  written by:b!||yzee

Iron Maiden – Aces High – Toronto Canada  August 10-2019


The Raven Age has George Harris on guit and in this particular case, nepotism is a beautiful thing. Thousands of Maiden fans made sure to catch the early Friday evening start to this father-son combo show as The Raven’s Age is direct support for the Legacy tour. So even the fans who have seen a few Maiden shows needed to add this auspicious occasion as Steve and George’s first tour together. Entertainers tend to have entertaining kids who have access to killer toys. Surrounded by monster musicians, guitarist Tony Maue sharing the shredding with Harris and deadly vocals by Matt James, this era rocks. Tight syncopation and wide range dynamics by bassist, Matt Cox and Jai Patel on kit punctuate the bottom end with exclamation.

By the announcement of their new release, the sun blasts straight in from down low in the western sky and the lakefront party people seemed a little extra pumped. Conspiracy is out now and comes on strong. Conspiracy also means a gathering of Ravens. Like Poe’s long look into darkness, The Raven Age explores that vista. Not to be pigeon holed and with no compromise, they’ve worked hard consistently as it’s been 2 years since winning best new band at Planet Rock Awards and since their debut Darkness Will Rise. The road so far has brought them to open for some of the biggest and best. There’s no long hair styles in this generation of metal pounders but like 99% of the fans, wore all black to match the monstrous silhouette backdrop. They all clean up pretty nice and have great lookin’ guitars. The toned down dark image allows the audience to focus on the audio. Heavy, grungy and sweet tones wrapped in some sickly sweet composition solidify their position. They’re not trying to be radio-friendly but this age is a time for radio to get off the beaten path. Metal is progressive by its nature and this band has all the chemistry of the best bands in an ever growing and ever changing new metal scene. Maiden fans who eat, sleep and bleed metal blood will appreciate The Raven Age for who and what it is. Technical prowess and soulful grooves in a variety of poly-rhythms. Good clean vocals and growl in all the right places. Harmonizing solos where there’s speed and so much sustain, you can see it. It’s elevating metal. Get a taste and you’ll dig in.  Keep on rockin’ Harris family!

The Raven Age – “The Day the World Stood Still” August 10, 2019

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top