Somewhere back in time with Iron Maiden  

Posted by Praveen in , , , ,

The cutout outside the grounds

When I watched my first international rock concert 2 years back, featuring Iron Maiden, I thought no experience can ever match this. Last year's 'Rock In India' fest was great but still couldn't match the first experience. Then, to surpass it all, it needed Maiden to come again. For, the first maiden show, I had to be content with reaching the 7th or 8th row from front. No such things to bring sadness this time because I was right there upfront hanging on the barricade. There was no one's head before me to hide the happenings on stage. Yes, I watched the Kings of Heavy metal from the front row...
Bruce, Janick and Nico behind the drums

Janick and Adrian

Unlike last time, since the list of opening bands were a big disappointment, we decided to go a little late. There was a huge cutout of Iron Maiden in front of their own plane 'Edd force one'. As we walked towards the entry point, 2 guys walked upto me and asked, "Dude, Got some grass to share?" I don't know what made him ask that. Maybe my 'extra decent' look. There was a round of thorough checking at the entry point. Still, many managed to smuggle in cameras, weed and cigars. All I could manage was my sony ericsson phone with a high end 2MP camera. By this time, 3 bands had already got over. When we walked in, the band 'Cyanide serenity' from UK were playing. The vocalist reminded us a lot of Phil Anselmo from Pantera with his looks and antics. They played a decent set and the crowd just loved them. Next came in the Bangalore band 'Kryptos'. Have seen them before at a couple of shows. Not a big fan of their music. They seem to be a bit over rated. Also, I don't understand why they were wearing that leather jacket when they were playing in the hot sun. 2 weeks back also, they were sweating profusely when they played at an indoor stadium here and still they never took off the jacket.
My fav shot- all four of the axe wielders together

The trooper-Bruce waving the flag
The next band was De-Profundis and their first song was an indicator for what was in store. So, we decided to explore the stalls put up as part of the fest. The bungee jumping was a treat to watch though doing it yourself won't be such a treat. The merchandise shops were doing brisk bussiness. The Romanov lounge had gaming pavilions for a vareity of games, especially that of Guitar hero. As we were having food outside, we could hear Lauren Harris's concert going on inside. We hated her 2 years back and today we hated her more. This is one gal who's hell bent on spoiling her great Papa's name. The Parikrama show was a decent one although I missed my favourite songs 'but it rained' and 'vapourize'. The band 'Brandon Ashley & the silver bugs' were one of the most disgusting bands that I saw in recent times. The lady who came on stage just to strip her jacket as well as another one doing a cheerleading act added to the disgust factor.
The crowd chanting 'Maiden, Maiden'

Time to cut the crap. The time for Maiden was getting near. The crowd had become sizeable in front of the main stage. We slowly started snaking our way through the crowd. By the time, Parikrama ended, we had reached the fifth row. For the next 30 minutes, we had an experience that can be described as close to 'hell'. Pushing and shoving were happening all around. There was not a single inch of space left. Many times, we almost fell down due to the constant pushing. We struggled to breath properly. After every push, we advanced by an inch. Then at around 8 PM, the lights went off. 'Transylvania' was played from the speakers and the giant screen showed a collage video of visuals from the Maiden tour. After it got over, the Winston Churchill speech was heard and scenes from the world war 2 were shown on the screen. That was the last we would see of the screen because with the next push we had reached the 2nd row. By this time, all who came with me were separated from me. I could see only Nikhil near me. As the speech ended, the blast started. The air raid siren sounded heralding the arrival of 'Aces high'.
Bruce bhai on top-Scream for me Bangaloreee!!!

Bruce talking to us!

You just have to bow your head to these bunch of 50 year olds for their longevity. I've seen some stupid guys commenting in various sites on how only the old bands keep coming here. I just want to ask these guys, 'Can you tell me a band which can play for 34 years, still stay together, still tour non stop and still release albums?' Or 'Can you show me a band which can perform with the same energy as Iron Maiden?' By the time 'Aces high' ended, I had touched the barricade. So had Nikhil. I had decided that once I touch the barricade I would never let go whatever be the cost. So we weathered heavy pushing and pulling and hung on to that. Then came '2 minutes to midnight'. The stage settings which were flown in specially in their own aeroplane was just huge. The Egypatian themed set resembled the 'Powerslave' album cover. The background changed according to each song. But the lighting equipments were less compared to the Edd fest 2 years back.
Adrian, Janick and Bruce

Adrian and janick in his trademark pose

It was an exhilarating sight as Steve Harris and Janick Gers pointed their guitars at us and did the shooting routine. Adrian Smith and Dave Murray at the other side of the stage also were a treat to watch.I just couldn't believe my eyes as I could see all all of their fingers moving on the fretboard clearly. I could even see the sweat rolling down their faces. Once Bruce pointed at us when he said 'Scream for me, Bangalore'. For a minute, I felt that time stood still. The 80s playlist was the icing on the cake. The 13 minute epic 'Rime of the ancient mariner' and 'Phantom of the opera' were highlights of the show. The way Bruce changed his costumes quickly for this was just astonishing and it looked just perfect. 'Children of the damned' was damn good. For 'Fear of the dark', the background artwork display changed to black. The whole crowd sang along and it gave me goosebumps. Before the show, Nikhil had said that 'We cried the last time. Hopefully will do the same this time too'. Yes, as I sung 'Fear of the dark' alongwith Bruce at approachable distance I could feel the tears welling up. Tears of joy for watching a band which we grew up listening to, so close, much closer than we could ever dream of. 'The trooper' was another highlight with Bruce doing his flag waving routine. The way he went on jumping and diving left us all astonished. 'Evil that men do' and 'Wasted years' were near perfect reproductions. Then, 'Hallowed be thy name' arrived earlier than expected. Atleast some of us had this fear that the show was gonna end. After the song, they left the stage only to come back with their classic 'Number of the beast'.

They then unleashed another set including 'Run to the hills' and 'Sanctuary'. The band's title song from their eponymous debut album was the las song of the show. Towards the end, the giant eddy made his customary appearence and pointed his gun at us. Bruce said that this is one of the last shows of their 'somewhere back in time' tour. They are gonna start recording their new album soon and he promised that they would again visit here as part of the new album's promotional tour. He just loves the Indian audience and it was evident when he said that he doesn't know why Indians love Maiden so much. The show ended a little too fast for us. Then, that is the case with Iron Maiden. You'll never get tired of them. As we walked back, Nikhil, Pappu and the rest of the gang startedd describing stories on how they reached the front row. Nikhil even had a tear mark from the barricade to show on his arms, so had I. Many years later, when I sit listening to Iron Maiden with my grandchildren, I can tell them, 'Kids, Grandpa once watched the Iron Maiden concert of almost 50,000 people from the front row and had a sore throat from screaming all night'. These ageless old men will still be touring the world and releasing new albums. When I will be walking with a wlaking stick, Bruce dickinson will still be jumping all over the stage. They say, 'You are never too old to rock n roll'. Whoever has said that must've meant only Iron Maiden.
Me and Nikhil-all charged up after the show

PS- More than half of the photos are blurry because of the constant pushing and jumping. Could manage only a few clear snaps. As I type this at 3.30 in the morning, I just can't stop thanking God for blessing me with one of the greatest days of my life.

your crusader Praveen

This entry was posted on Monday, February 16, 2009 at Monday, February 16, 2009 and is filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

13 comments

Rohit  

Great post.. Here's the complete setlist. I guess I've covered all songs... the order might be incorrect here and there.

Aces High
2 Minutes to midnight
Children of the damned
Wrathchild
Wasted Years
Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Run to the hills
Fear of the dark
Hallowed be thy name
Phantom of the opera
Iron Maiden
Powerslave
The Number of the beast
The evil that men do
Sanctuary

11:31 AM

My wife and I were "First to The Barrier " at the Dubai show on 12 feb.I know exactly how you felt while the IM were performing..did janick do any crazy stuff with his guitar? he was "crazy" at Dubai show. And there were school kids with their parents and so that "granpa" stuff u mentioned is already happening. rock on...

12:24 PM

wooow....looks like u had a rocking time..... literally :D

1:51 PM

Must be quite a thing to watch a concert live! Never been to one!

Great pictures! Very reflective of the mood!

3:35 PM

Wowie! One great day you had! Can see your excitement in the photo. :) Great!

5:14 PM

He he u seem to have enjoyed thoroughly... Just two days back I was wondering why the band is coming so often and almost got beaten up for it by my friends!
Oh nd btw ... now I know how ppl who have grass on 'em are supposed to look ;)

8:24 PM

@ rohit
thnks 4 the setlist man..its correct , only the order is a little different...

@esvee
yea...janick did all those crazy things with his guitar..throwing the guitar and catching..waving it in the air...just about everything..

@agent vv
yeah...u bet!

@rakesh
try to go for one atleast onc ein your lifetime..its something!

@Tara
yeaa...really! one awesome day!

@akshaya
good that u got beaten up...cos never ask questions like 'log chlormint kyoon khate ho?'...
ppl on grass r not supposed to look like me;)

10:44 PM

amazing snaps dude...
...nice post...right from the heart..this is wat I call life !! :)
Have a good day. Am delighted to be adding you as a friend.

11:58 PM

Before reading this, I felt like...I knew what I had missed, you made me feel more so, but I am listenin' now to 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner'...now to listen to this set :(

Thnx for this post!

2:02 AM

Before reading this, I felt like...I knew what I had missed, you made me feel more so, but I am listenin' now to 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner'...now to listen to this set :(

Thnx for this post!

2:02 AM

Yup! It was out of this world. Maiden made it up for all other mediocre and disappointing performances...

1:17 PM

I am not a had rock fan ..so din attend ...seems like i missed the fun ...may be next time ...

5:09 PM

Maybe I missed the show, but got a feel of the entire set up there. So involved is your writing, as you put your heart into your pen.

God Bless you that your grandkids will hear of this day, from you, and that you shall relive it all :)

4:34 PM

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