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Iron Maiden / Alice Cooper:
26th November, 2012 - Comcast Center, Mansfield, MA

I have never gone so long without seeing a show. The last concert I saw was almost 5 years ago. Looking forward to this Iron Maiden show for the past few months was a source of happiness and excitement in a generally concert-less life.

Mark came by and picked me up at 8am and we headed out. The venue is 400 miles from my house making this the farthest I've traveled to see a non-Phish show. We arrived at the hotel, got a bite to eat, relaxed a bit and zipped on over to the Comcast Center. I miss shows a great deal, but I yearn for the entire atmosphere of the concert-going experience more. Seeing all those black shirts pass by, hearing the comments about the shirt I'm wearing (I got three about my Amon Amarth shirt!), listening to the metal dialogue (clearly this album is superior to that album), the sights, sounds, smells, I miss it all. Before a note was even heard, I felt at home.

Somehow, 30 seconds after arriving, we ran into Crew...an impossibility at a place that maxed out at 14,000 that Tuesday night. He was his usual busy self, so Mark and I just relaxed, had a few beverages and later went on in. I grabbed a Trooper flag, that'll look great in the classroom, and we got to watch Alice Cooper's set. It was actually pretty good, better than I'd expected. He opened with a song I'd never heard but thought was not so bad! The next song was so-so, and then I'm 18 and No More Mr. Nice Guy followed. I like the former (due to the Anthrax cover) and hate the latter (due to the Megadeth cover). Cooper is a pretty awesome performer and as he went through some familiar and not-so-familiar songs, culminating in School's Out w/ a Pink Floyd mid-section, I was thoroughly impressed. His full set:

Alice Cooper's Set
  1. The Black Widow
  2. Brutal Planet
  3. I'm Eighteen
  4. No More Mr. Nice Guy
  5. Hey Stoopid
  6. Billion Dollar Babies
  7. Feed My Frankenstein
  8. Poison
  9. Wicked Young Man
  10. I Love the Dead
  11. School's Out (w/ Another Brick In The Wall)

I'm glad to have seen him, but clearly the only reason I came was Maiden. After a 40-minute wait, Doctor Doctor came over the speakers. Mark already knew the setlist but I purposely avoided it wanting to be surprised at what I heard. Would they play what I wanted? Would they open with it? Seven deadly sins...seven ways to win!!! They did! Moonchild! Oh Yeah!!! I always wanted to see it and while it was to be expected (Maiden England tour and all) it was such a thrill. The band went through a lot of fan favorites in the first half of the show, a bit of a surprise, but they also got Can I Play With Madness, Two Minutes To Midnight, The Number Of The Beast and Run To The Hills out of the way early. I'm not too fond of those. On the other hand, The Prisoner? Afraid To Shoot Strangers? Phantom Of The Opera!??! ATSS isn't a favorite but the harmony part was just brilliant with three guitars as was Phantom. OMG it sounded so good. I was in full-fledged metal headbanging mode even though it was my first show without long hair. :( Just utterly amazing. The mix of expected classics and surprises was brilliant and exhilarating. The crowd was rocking and Bruce had us in the palm of his hands. Then, the best stage set came up. The Eddie writing with candles to his side. I had this poster on my wall in 1989 or so. What's the chance that 23 years later I'll get to see the title track of (maybe) my favorite IM album would be played? Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son. OMG.

Awesome Stage
From Charlotte / IronMaiden.Com

The song begins and Bruce's voice is still amazing. He bellows the "ooooh"s with ease and the song progresses to the dramatic middle section. Smoke billows out from the side of the stage and I'm euphoric. It progresses to the outro, one of the most epic solo/harmony/outros ever. This song does not elicit powerful fan response, but it has to be appreciated. This is the greatest IM setlist in ages. How can anyone not be enthralled by this show? The Clairvoyant follows and then we get two familiar classics.

Set break and I see the backdrop change to one of my favorite Eddie drawings. Churchill's speech booms and after the taped intro (why?) Aces High sounded spectacular. I love this song. Another 7th Son song and an extended Running Free gave this show a mix of everything I like. Fan classics, total surprises and an amazing sound. Steve's bass was finally turned down a few songs in but he sounded like DD Verni for the first portion of the show; his bass clanged and boomed and was unlike anything I'd ever heard from him. Nicko's drums sounded awesome, a smile perpetually on his face. Janick was Janick but Dave shredded. I've seen the band a lot, and while it's been a few years, I've never seen him on fire like this. Every solo sounded great, of course, but it was just total shred. Adrian seemed distant, less interested in playing alongside his peers but his trademark sound was there. Attitude and headband, gritty solos and amazing backing vocals. All that is left is Bruce and I am still shocked at how good he sounds. His voice started to falter in the early '90s but through his solo career and the past 13 years in Maiden, he continues to remain at the top of his game. Powerful and delicate, he is the consummate leader.

Seventh Son!
From Charlotte / IronMaiden.Com

What more is there to say? The setlist rocked. The band was strong and the stage was impressive. The colonial Eddie, the two 7th Son Eddies, individual backdrops for each song, an enormous stage and those pyros!!! I can only gush like a fanboy. Most certainly part of this is the fact that I haven't seen a show in forever. On the other hand, I cannot envision anyone disagreeing with my enthusiasm. This show fucking rocked, there is no disputing that fact. The setlist follows:

  1. Moonchild
  2. Can I Play With Madness
  3. The Prisoner
  4. 2 Minutes to Midnight
  5. Afraid to Shoot Strangers
  6. The Trooper
  7. The Number of the Beast
  8. Phantom of the Opera
  9. Run to the Hills
  10. Wasted Years
  11. Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
  12. The Clairvoyant
  13. Fear of the Dark
  14. Iron Maiden
  15. E: Churchill's Speech
  16. E: Aces High
  17. E: The Evil That Men Do
  18. E: Running Free