Holy shit they played “Phantom of the Opera!!” Out of all the classic Maiden tracks I anticipated hearing, this was one track I had not considered. And despite not hearing “Hallowed Be Thy Name,” it was the moment that I literally lost my mind. I had contemplated about the possibility that this concert could possibly be the greatest show I’ve ever seen. That’s a bold statement for me to make, if you know me. I’ve been seeing concerts since I was twelve, and needless to say I have seen quite a number of shows in my time (I just turned forty.) Also, taking in consideration I see at least 10-15 shows a year, plus having seen KISS 20-21 times, yeah I have seen some great bands.

Joining me this time at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater (and actually, this was the first night of the tour) were many more folks than have accompanied me to previous shows. With my group alone were my ever present companions Roger and Blake, my girlfriend Anjeanette, my sister Kim, Laura, Roger’s son Andrew, and a friend of Roger’s named Rick. Prior to the show we met up with some additional people at a place called Macado’s including Brandon, Chuck, Corey, Corey’s girlfriend, and two other guys whose names escape me. My group of eight left the restaurant so as to make it to the venue on time. The tickets said the show was to start at 7 and we didn’t wanna be stuck in traffic and miss Alice Cooper. We managed to make it to Verizon with plenty of time to spare. As we wandered through the facility we noticed written in chalk on the ground was an announcement stating that yard seats for KISS/Motley Crue next month were available that evening for $15 apiece. Needless to say I was pissed off as I had bought our lawn seats when they went on sale for $50 a pop. But they also had tickets for Def Leppard/Poison/Lita Ford for that price as well, so we grabbed those. Anjeanette loves Poison, so I suppose I’ll live sitting through them again for my beautiful woman. We made it to our seats and waited for the show to start.

For some reason the tour was split up with Cooper opening the first leg of the tour then Coheed and Cambria the next. Admittedly, I’m a big C&C fan, but I was way more ecstatic about seeing Alice Cooper again than I would’ve been seeing Coheed again. Sadly, despite the ticket info, the show didn’t start until 7:30. But my disappointment in the lateness was quickly abated when the man, the myth, the legend, Alice Cooper, stormed the stage and proceeded to rock our asses off. As I have mentioned before, I am a tremendous AC fan. In fact, I started listening to Alice just a little earlier than I had KISS, so I rank him pretty high on my importance list. Much like last time I saw him he was on top of his game. He looked and sounded great, the stage show was spectacular, and the addition of Orianthi on guitar was a nice touch. She can sure tear it up! The setlist was excellent; however he only played for an hour, so that was a slight letdown. Because of this we contemplated going to Raleigh the next day to catch him doing a headlining set, but we were just too tired to make that long haul.

Then it was time for Iron Maiden. This was the first time since 1988 they played in North Carolina, so suffice it to say the crowd was chomping at the bit for them to hit the stage. As had been announced when the tour was announced, the set was to consist of nothing but classic Maiden, mimicking the Seventh Son tour for the most part. Once they opened with “Moonchild” they simply wouldn’t let up, not one moment. They sounded tighter than ever, and were in top form. Even when they played a more obscure song like “Afraid To Shoot Strangers” the crowd was on fire. I kid you not; when they started playing “Phantom Of the Opera” I was almost in tears with excitement. This is one of my all-time fav Maiden tunes and with it being a relatively obscure DiAnno era song; I never expected them to dust it off. Then there was the stage show. I’ve seen Maiden live three times now, and have seen many live videos, but I’ve gotta say what they did with the stage show this time was absolutely stellar. The changing backdrops for the different eras of songs, the multiple Eddie’s, and the other incredible additions just made it a perfect night.

Was this the best concert I’ve ever been to? I’ll have to ponder that. I’ve have seen some phenomenal shows, in particular KISS. I can say without any hesitation that barring KISS concerts, this was easily the best show ever. But I think they may have actually toppled my long running favorite live band. We’ll definitely know more after I see KISS one more time next month. For those of you contemplating seeing this show, do it. Mortgage your home, sell one of your children, and perform lurid sex acts for cash if you must, but you have got to see this show. Sorry for the delay in getting this review out. I’ve been busy as well as under the weather. So until next time my peeps: You damaged my mind and my soul it just floats through the air.

By Chris Martin

David Randall plays a selection of new and classic rock in his weekly show first broadcast 14 June 2020 including reference to the Feature series “2020 Vision”.

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Featured Albums w/c 6 July (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 MANDOKI SOULMATES Living In The Gap (Red Rock Production/Cleopatra)
12:00-13:00 MAGNUS KARLSSON’S FREE FALL – We Are The Night (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 BEN REEL The Nashville Calling (B.Reel Records)

Power Plays w/c 6 July (Mon-Fri)

ZENITH MOON Gypsy (Golden Robot Records)
RARITY Leave It Alone (New Damage Records)
THE RISING I Want You (indie)
MANDOKI SOULMATES Young Rebels (Red Rock Production/Cleopatra)
LA GUNS Well Oiled Machine (Golden Robot Records)

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