If Eternity Should Fail
Trust me, it wasn’t my intention to be chasing the slipstream left behind by Iron Maiden’s jet Ed Force One as they were headed to Perth. The Perth show would be the final gig in Australia on the current Book Of Souls World Tour and if I was to get any chance at photographing Iron Maiden, Perth was my last chance. (Either that or stowaway on Maiden’s jet and get to do it all in South Africa!)
In my decade of photographing live music, the Iron Maiden photo-pass was the most difficult and painful processes I have ever had to endure. Numbers in the photo-pits throughout Australia were extremely limited and after getting knocked back for both Sydney and Melbourne – Perth was my final glimmer of hope. In all honesty, I had given up but a last minute reprieve came a mere 48 hours before showtime!
So with only two days until the gig, I was booking flights and accomodation faster than a Janick Gers pirouette.
I arrived in Perth a few hours before the show and set about to acclimatise myself. Thankfully, I was literally across the road from the Perth Arena so everything was centralised around the gig. The last time I was in Perth I was on tour with Ace Frehley around Australia so all I got to see of the city was my hotel room, my tour bus and the airport.
The Perth Arena is an absolutely gorgeous venue right in the heart of the city. With a capacity of 15,000 the arena boast a unique and modern design and is the perfect venue for gigs and other events.
I have witnessed Iron Maiden live throughout various parts of their career. I saw them on their first Australian tour in 1982 on support of their breakthrough album ‘The Number Of The Beast’. I have also seen them in 1985 on the ‘Powerslave’ tour and finally in 2008. That pretty much paints me as a very, very keen fan of the band so having the opportunity to photograph them tonight was an added bonus.
From meeting the band in 1985 at the Countdown studios and getting to spend a few hours with them whilst they recorded a ‘live’ performance of ‘Aces High’ – to finally getting to interact with them on a professional level in their photo-pit. Yeah, we had come full circle!
Your’s truly and Nicko McBrain at the Countdown studios in 1985
A small gathering of West Australian photographers (3 or 4) and yours truly were led into the arena and we waited at stage left whilst the band’s road manager briefed us on all the necessities. She was very thorough telling us when the pyro would be happening, where the members would mostly be standing etc.
After the obligatory ‘Doctor, Doctor’ by UFO blasted through the PA to announce the beginning of the show, the lights dimmed and the melancholy and menacing intro to ‘The Book Of Souls’ opener ‘If Eternity Should Fail’ began the journey.
Smothered in smoke and fog Bruce Dickinson let everyone in the arena know… “here is the soul of a man”. Years and years of doing this and his vocals sounded absolutely spine-tingling. Note for note he gave this and every song his absolute all.
Commanding the stage with his cheeky demeanour and leading the band through a good and varied set that did rely heavily on the new and brilliant album ‘The Book Of Souls’.
This is a band with a huge catalogue of music so it would be incredibly difficulty pleasing everyone, but I thought the selection of songs throughout worked well in the flow of the show. Conceptually, the set worked well indeed and the new songs seriously take on an entire new lease of life in the live environment.
Getting to hear the incredible tone and melody of Dave Murray’s guitars live actually made the hairs on my body stand to attention. Dave was always my fave guitarist in Maiden, and his happy and cherub-like face showcased some incredible guitar playing that works absolutely perfectly with long-time companion Adrian Smith. They are a formidable duo and pepper that with the maniacal Jannick Gers and you have quite a line-up!
The legendary Steve Harris, sang along to each and every lyric commanding stage-left, stage-right. Fingers flapping on his bass strings non stop – I waited and waited for him to do his trademark holding his bass like a gun towards the audience and thankfully I got him doing just that at the end of ‘Children Of The Damned’.
The instrumental second half of new song ‘The Red And The Black’ sounded so freaking amazing. As stated, the new tracks take on a whole new lease of life live and this one absolutely blew me away. It works so well in the live environment.
The stage set resplendent in it’s Mayan look and feel looked incredible. Maiden have basically had the same stage construction since 1982’s ‘Beast On The Road’ tour – rectangle structure with various backdrops – but this is the absolute best the stage has looked.
The larger than life Eddie that appears at the tail end of the song ‘Iron Maiden’ literally is a sight to behold. Glowing red peering eyes coupled with pyro and explosions at song’s conclusion is quickly superseded by the 20ft tall figure of Satan/Baphomet during ‘The Number Of The Beast’.
Just an incredible spectacle from a bunch of seasoned pros that know what to do and how to do it. Their army of loyal fans got everything they came for – and more.
Iron Maiden are an absolute treasure of a band.
Up The Irons!
If Eternity Should Fail
Speed of Light
Children of the Damned
Tears of a Clown
The Red and the Black
Death or Glory
The Book of Souls
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Fear of the Dark
The Number of the Beast