Review: Iron Maiden, Newcastle Arena

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ALTHOUGH they might be getting on a bit, Iron Maiden could teach the current crop of anaemic “indie rock” boys a thing or two about putting on a show.

ALTHOUGH they might be getting on a bit, Iron Maiden could teach the current crop of anaemic “indie rock” boys a thing or two about putting on a show.

 Exploding on to the outer space-themed stage with the title track of latest album The Final Frontier, the energy of these 50-somethings puts performers half their age to shame.

 Another new song, El Dorado, followed – a tune straight out of the classic Maiden mould, with its galloping bass and soaring chorus – but it was old favourite 2 Minutes To Midnight that ignited the first epic singalong of the night.

 The press seats offered a great view of the audience chanting the chorus, and it was striking to see as many young fans as older metal-heads in the packed-out arena.

 The set offered a fair balance of newer songs and golden-age classics. It’s a testament to the metal veterans that late-era songs like The Wicker Man were greeted with as much fervour to ’80s hits like The Trooper, which saw singer Bruce Dickinson don a military jacket and wave a giant Union Flag, invoking images of the iconic single cover.

 The whole band was on top form, but special mention must go to Dickinson. A singer from an age when metal vocalists could actually sing, his voice sounds as note-perfect today as it did 30 years ago, despite decades of wear and tear on the road – there’s no autotune or backing tapes here, kids.

 The main set drew to a close with a pounding version of band anthem Iron Maiden, and the traditional appearance of mascot Eddie, this time in the form of a giant alien head rising from the back of the stage. It’s all a bit Spinal Tap of course, but everyone is in on the joke.

 If the main set covered all eras of Maiden, the encore was pure early-80s gold – Number Of The Beast, Hallowed Be Thy Name and Running Free – a trio of songs to send Iron Maiden fans of any age home more than happy.

 Up the Irons.