THE IRON MAIDENS
O2 Academy, Islington, London
Thursday 14th April 2016
Steve Göldby: Photos by David Craig
I went to this gig, the very first UK appearance by The Iron Maidens, with no expectations whatsoever and via a very heavy drinking party to celebrate the re-opening of the Purple Turtle venue in Camden. I'm not a big lover of tribute bands but I'm slowly being turned and tonight's exquisite performance is a major factor in that.
Yes, the real Iron Maiden endorse them, but its in their own interests to do so and yes, they have been getting some very impressive press coverage recently but is that purely due to the "novelty" factor? Can they really play these difficult songs to an acceptable quality and is this going to last or is it merely a passing fad?
Well yes, they can really play these songs and yes, this is most definitely for real and I think the highest compliment I can pay The Iron Maidens is that I stumbled home with the same feeling of euphoria and delight that I always get when I see Iron Maiden, and I've seen them plenty of times since my first outing way back in 1980. Yes, The Iron Maidens are very much for real and are very, very valid.
Article continues below...
The Academy was almost filled to capacity and there was a crackle of anticipation in the air as 'Doctor Doctor' rumbled out of the PA. But English Iron Maiden fans are notoriously difficult to please and I was concerned that the band may have lost their audience early as they took to the stage too soon, while 'Churchill's Speech' was rolling, and ended up standing around too long waiting for the cue to begin.
There was nothing to worry about though as it was plainly obvious after a rousing 'Aces High' and a stirring 'Revelations' that we were in for a real treat tonight as diehard Maiden fans nodded in approval.
There were some good surprises in the setlist as well, notably '22 Acacia Avenue' - it was actually a little strange hearing those lyrics being sung by a lady - and 'The Duellists', an almost forgotten gem from the 'Powerslave' album along with a sublime 'Killers', one of two tracks aired from the Paul Di'Anno era, the other being the brilliant 'Phantom Of The Opera', one of those truly difficult songs I mentioned earlier.
One of the bravest moves they made though was the complete version of 'Rime Of The Ancient Mariner' and they absolutely nailed the "then down in falls comes the rain" part where the song kicks back into full tempo. I've seen plenty of other cover bands attempt this and flop miserably.
Frontlady Kirsten has good stage presence and talks to the crowd effortlessly and it was great to hear her bellow out: "Scream for me London... how long have I waited to say that..!!" She made several references to being in London and it was very obviously a major deal for the girls.
It was for a lot of the fans as well because we only get one chance to see Maiden in England this year so if you're not going to Download, you don't get to see them at all so this made up for that in a big way. Also - and this is where tribute bands win - we got to hear some songs that we know for sure Maiden will never, ever play again and all were played extremely well.
The stage show included appearances by Eddie, the Grim Reaper and the Devil and they all drew mass applause from the gathered throngs on what was nothing less than a triumphant night. The Iron Maidens have a big opportunity here in England and I expect them to be playing to bigger venues next time they come here.
And so the verdict is "very highly recommended indeed". It will stir up memories of Maiden past and you'll feel as though you have just seen the real thing. It's full support from MetalTalk for The Iron Maidens and we'll be following their activities with big interest.
And the name "Bruce Chickinson" is nothing short of pure genius. I wonder if she can fly a 747?
The Iron Maidens Setlist:
22 Acacia Avenue
Rime Of The Ancient Mariner
The Number Of The Beast
Phantom Of The Opera
Fear Of The Dark
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Run To The Hills
Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life
The Iron Maidens are:
Kirsten "Bruce Chickinson" Rosenberg - vocals
Linda "Nikki McBurrain" McDonald - drums
Courtney "Adriana Smith" Cox - guitar
Nikki "Davina Murray" Stringfield - guitars
Wanda "Steph Harris" Ortiz - bass