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Live Reviews : Iron Maiden & The Raven Age @ Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne 09/05/2016

By on May 10, 2016

Words: Dave “Higgo” Higgins

Images: Matt Allan

(Click here to view the full gallery)

Wow… fuckin’ wow. Okay, breathe. Before I go into a multitude of superlatives about Maiden, let’s start at the beginning.

I arrived early so I could check out the support band, The Raven Age, which I knew nothing about apart from the fact that Steve Harris’ son, George is the guitarist for. Looking back at my notes on my phone I’ll sum them up like this. Every song sounds the same. There’s a couple of reasons for this. The vocalist doesn’t have much range, and whilst he was in the right key and tune most of the time, there’s no dynamics. No light and shade. The same can be said about the song structures, very ‘paint by numbers’ I’m afraid. A pretty forgettable opener for mine.

The Ravens Age

The Raven Age

I would have preferred to see a local support. LORD, Vanishing Point, Taberah, or Damnations Day, perhaps? But I digress, we were really only there for one reason, and that was to be entertained by a band that has personally never let me down live. I guess that’s part of the excitement of seeing Iron Maiden. You just know. You. Will. Love. It.

I bloody love the triple guitar attack of Dave Murray, Adrian Smith and Janick Gers. Dave Murray is one of my favourite guitarists for his feel on the strat, but each guitarist adds something brilliant in their own way and style.  Janick is strictly old school thrash with white high tops, tight black jeans and Iron Maiden shirt, throwing a leg up on the fold back side of stage, or throwing his guitar around for some throw back showing off, it’s just great. And where do you start with Bruce Dickinson? For a man of 57 he’s in fantastic condition, physically and vocally, prowling around the stage at times, and then running full speed to launch himself off a fold back for high kicks, this guy is a machine.

Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden

Later in the set he admitted to “not feeling to well, I’ve picked something up.” Could have fooled us, Bruce! A true showman, a master at his craft; he had the crowd in the palm of his hands. Who can resist a “scream for me MELBOURNE!” Tucked away behind a monstrously over the top drum kit is the inimitable Nicko McBrain, who never missed a beat, and rarely showed his ‘kicked in biscuit tin’ head, such is his way. Before the end of the show though, he frisbee’d a drum skin into the audience along with a dowzen of so sticks, some lucky bastard made off with those goods. His partner in crime in the engine room of course is the legendary Steve Harris, who still stand, plays, and looks the same as he did 20 years ago! Which brings me to another part of the show I loved. The mix. I know that might sound nerdy, but so often in big arena shows the sound can be a bit lost. Not in this case. It was brilliantly handled, with every guitar being able to be heard from each other, and Steve’s bass thumping through cleanly was a big tick for me.

The set, as you can see from the pictures, was what you’d expect from an Iron Maiden show: HUGE and extravagant. They’re known for it, and when you stop and remember that they’re carting it around the world with Bruce flying the 747 Ed Force One, makes it even more impressive. The set list was a mix of new ‘The Book Of Souls’ stuff, and, of course, the classics (I hesitate writing it out in case you haven’t been yet). Rest assured, you will hear what you wanna hear over the two hours of magic. I bloody loved it. Simple as that. I bloody loved it.

They are so entertaining, and unbelievably great musicians, I caught myself just sitting and smiling at one point, such was the sheer joy that this band brings me live. Long may they reign, UP THE IRONS!

Iron Maiden are tour now (with The Raven Age as support), with their next show this Thursday at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. Tickets from Dainty Group.

Thursday, 12th May 2016 
Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Adelaide

Saturday, 14th May 2016 
Perth Arena, Perth


Higgo is a radio announcer of 16 years, most recently at Triple M where he hosted 4 shows including the metal show Distortion nationally. He also writes for Heavy Magazine, and hosts a weekly podcast called Distortion. You should follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.