Iron Maiden, Gig Review. Echo Arena, Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *

Steve Harris at the Echo Arena, Liverpool. May 2017.

Time is never to be wasted, it can be played with, it can amuse for a while and cause mischief, holding hands with it can either leave you feeling secure and protected or experiencing the pain of being ravaged, the sharp toothed tiger of Time plunging its teeth its teeth like a vampire cat, bleeding you dry. Time should not be wasted and therefore by logic we should not go looking for those wasted years…we should and must just feel the frenzy of excitement, the emotion, the fury, the whirl of cool when a long lost band comes back and delivers pound for pound one of the finest sets on stage in thirty years.

In Iron Maiden the Heavy Metal fan trusts, a band that carried NWOBHM through its embryonic years, that became arguably the biggest band in the world and managed to maintain its hold over its fans despite some lean years, a couple of albums that perhaps were less than perfect and in Liverpool’s case, the birthplace of British popular music, the feeling of being ignored by the band as a place to come to, to thrill an audience.

Forgiveness is everything, one night does not make up for many years absence but when you think of this night inside the Echo Arena, when you consider the frenetic energy displayed, when you take into account the personality of the band, the sheer showmanship on offer and the mix of classics and songs from the latest album The Book of Souls, then forgiveness was seen not just to be sought, it was granted and honour bound.

What the night also showed, as Bruce Dickinson flew the British flag during the blistering The Trooper, whilst Steve Harris pounded the bass and the beast during Iron Maiden, whilst the poised Dave Murray, blissful Adrian Smith, the ever gracious Nicko McBrain and the unstoppable dervish Janick Gers gave a stunning display of timing and brutal love as the spectre of the Powerslave looked on and danced in The Fear of the Dark, was that if you bring the Heavy Metal band to Liverpool then the fans will come; a lesson to the likes of Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer and a myriad of other bands that have avoided the city and instead pitched up on the other side of the M6 Motorway.

This was a night when the Echo swam in the sweat, which reverberated in the sound of a genre far too misunderstood and which increased the pulse of the city ten-fold, in a week which music has not only been dominant in the city, in which The Cavern has hosted 140 bands during its 15th year of hosting The International Pop Overthrow and the likes of Eleanor Nelly, The Hummingbirds, Clean Cut Kid and Liverpool’s true artistic community have been performing brilliant music, the wish list for the metal fan finally came back with a promise fulfilled.

As songs such as Wrathchild, Children of the Damned, Speed of Light, The Book of Souls, arguably the finest performance of Fear of the Dark and The Number of the Beast soared out, this was a night that might never be repeated and yet surely every Maiden fan inside the Echo would have hoped, this was not to be the final and yet most glorious of nights.

Ian D. Hall