Iron Maiden made an emotional return, after the most nerve-racking break from touring they have ever had. What’s the news then? Bruce is well, the band is on fire, and the set is less predictable than it’s been in many years.
FORT LAUDERDALE / SUNRISE: Yesterday’s The Book of Souls World Tour premiere was first and foremost about Bruce Dickinson. After undergoing cancer treatment last year, forcing the band to postpone the release of their new album as well as the upcoming tour, the big question was if his voice would be affected by the magnitude of the treatment he’s been through. Let’s get to that right away.
Imagine the pressure of kicking off a world tour after a 19-month absence, with the added uncertainty about how your voice will hold up. Bruce took no prisoners during last night’s opening show at the sold out BB&T Center. Appearing on top of the risers, lurking over a smoking magic cauldron, he sang the opening lines of «If Eternity Should Fail» with such intensity and power that the whole arena sighed with relief:
From there on out he was just going for it non-stop. Battling the high notes, delivering emotional renditions of new and old classics like «Children of the Damned» and «Tears of a Clown», running about on the impressive stage rig … It was a massively triumphant victory lap from start to finish.
Did he struggle in some places? Sure, but who wouldn’t when you’re doing tons of new material and feeling the adrenaline that comes with a show like this? The main thing is that he has a newfound drive and determination that we haven’t seen in a while. To say he was on fire is an understatement. And boy does his voice sound strong!
So what about the show? It’s clear that the band has really taken it upon themselves to do something different this time, both in terms of production and the way the set is structured. The Mayan sacrificial site looked really impressive and the backdrops and the fantastic lighting rig made it come to life in a quite spectacular manner:
It was a tense night, but the tension gave way to something close to euphoria as the success of Maiden’s return to the stage became apparent. CLICK HERE to read our live updates from opening night in Sunrise, if you want to see more pics and details.
The band sounded and looked great – Nicko energetically hammering away behind his new kit, Dave and Adrian trading solos with style in «Speed of Light», Janick delivering his eerie musings in «The Book of Souls», and Steve doing what Steve does:
Sure, there were some minor glitches you would expect from a first night, but the overall impression is that the band is focused and in good spirits. «Powerslave» sounded huge, the return of «Hallowed Be Thy Name» was very welcome. The encore consisted of «The Number of the Beast», featuring a gigantic baphomet swaying in the midst of the flaming inferno, a very moving «Blood Brothers», and the singalong fest «Wasted Years». It showed that the band has gone to certain lengths this time to rethink their setlist approach.
The ambitious production and the attention to detail underlines the fact that Maiden seems to be on a mission this time. It hasn’t always felt like that in recent years. Never have I been so proud to be a Maiden fan as yesterday in Sunrise, Florida. It was a truly inspired and emotional run for both the band and their fans.
It is said that the night is at its darkest just before dawn. We all know the darkness that Maiden, and Bruce in particular, had to wander through to get to this point. The fans’ hearts have been with them on that journey. The sun rose in Sunrise, and the world can now look forward to a rejuvenated Iron Maiden coming their way.
Thank you Bruce, thank you Maiden!