I never thought this day would come. Iron Maiden is coming back to Denver in August and I don't care!?! What a confusing state to find my mind twisting itself around. True, in the big split of all fans of Metal, I am a Judas Priest guy and not Iron Maiden. At many bars, parties, personal gigs and bigger concerts this question constantly gets posed. Are you more of a Judas Priest fan or an Iron Maiden fan? It's Priest all the way for this rocker but that does not dilute the compassion and love I have for many of Maiden's albums. Now Maiden fans don't start wrinkling your nose and pursing your lips together all ready...I love Iron Maiden. Straight up, no questions about it. I have spent thousands of dollars on Iron Maiden over the years, on concerts, shirts, posters, records, videos, tapes and CDs. I even own a latex rubber Eddie mask. It's from Piece of Mind.
Speaking of 'Piece of Mind' that was the first heavy metal shirt I was ever graced with owning. I got an Iron Maiden shirt and my brother got an Ozzy 'Diary of a Madman' shirt. Ah, the old Budget Tapes and Records in Glenwood Springs, Colorado was where it all started. I got my first poster there as well. I remember a black light 'Number of the Beast' poster spread proudly over our cheap paneled walls of our shared bedroom. I didn't own a black light or even know what one was. All I knew was that it was all velvety. A fucking furry Maiden poster, I was stoked. Thinking back I can't believe my parents bought that for me. That is a pretty satanic painting for a 3rd grader to have adorning his walls.
I am a fan but I have seen the non-Maiden fan rear its ugly head at a show before. Any fan knows the scenario, Bruce yells out to the crowd. "What time is it Denver? What time is it?" I figured everyone there knew '2 Minutes to Midnight!' I was wrong. He held the mic out to a member of the maelstrom and the answer that came back was wrong! The moron replied, "A quarter to 10." Mr. Dickinson yanked the stand back and quickly offered this enigma to someone who wasn't oblivious to where they were and knew the answer to what fucking time it was.
A few years back my neighbors started an Iron Maiden cover band called Maiden Denver. Eddie mask check, Union Jack flag check, cool belts and black clothes fucking A, I owned all that gear. Subsequently I got to be Eddie at their first gig. I stapled the Union Jack to a two by four and waved it before me at the jubilant at the crowd. I came out half way through their set and again during the last song. Too much fun, like a dream came true. It was great having them practice next door. You never had to play any Maiden records on your own because once or twice a week you could listen in on the free show emanating from the walls. It's sad my old Eddie mask has started to rot apart. The rubber is deteriorating. I have an Ozzy 'Bark at the Moon' jack in the box that is doing the same thing. Fucking arid climate ruining my rock memorabilia!
I am at the point where it is hard to remember every time I have ever seen them play live. To see them live usually is the shit. The stage show is legendary, walking 10 foot Eddie and all the giant tapestries that switch out almost every song. Bruce Dickinson is a madman on stage with an inexhaustible amount of energy. Last time I went I paid a hard earned 100 hundred dollars to see them. I like to be up close at their shows and they have always been worth the damage inflicted on my wallet. To my dismay they sucked! No other way to put it but to just come flat out and say it. It still hurts to remember the letdown I endured that ill-fated day. The set list was weak, all newer shit. Fuck they played Wrath Child 3rd only because they were getting so many complaints about the tour and knew they had to throw one oldie in the beginning of the set or loose the crowd. They didn't suck because they played bad, fuck they are metal masters, they sucked because they were so god awful boring. As a performer in a band that has been around for almost 40 years, you need to realize that there is a reason these old fuckers are bringing their kids to your concerts. It's not because the new record jams, it's because they are trying to share a piece of themselves and their culture with their offspring, man. Granted when the kid goes to the show he is at a tour of a later album but that does not mean he thinks it is superior to the cuts his old man is jamming in the car or singing along to after a few too many cold ones at the weekend barbeque. You need to realize that if you bum out the dad he isn't going to get his kid into your band and in my case is no longer going to spend the big bucks on your bullshit.
The only good thing to come out of the last Iron Maiden show I saw is the gut I bust every time I think about how drunk my friend Joe got. It was at Fiddler's Green in Denver. There is regular seating there but the cheap seats are on a sloped section of grass behind the seats called the Green. People will bring tarps and blankets to sit on and make little shanties during the concerts there. I mentioned how boring this concert was, earlier. Well I wasn't the only one feeling it. Joe got smashed wasted and was sitting on the grass with his head slumped down in a booze riddled haze. Finally when Iron Maiden broke into a good song, his head sprang up to attempt a single head bang. This solo effort to rock out would prove to be his demise. The inertia of throwing his head back and then forward and thrusting his fist into the air set him off balance on that sloped piece of grass. Joe tumbled head over heels down the incline. Over people's tents and eventually ending only after he got wrapped up in someone's tarp like a pig in a blanket. His girlfriends had to run down and unwrap his sodded ass.
They didn't lose me as a fan entirely. I will always love them; they just made me realize how much more I have always like the Priest. I still love their old tunes and seeing hipsters wear their shirts still annoys me to no end. I heard someone say that hipsters wear Iron Maiden shirts so they can pretend to be metal. It seems like to me they wear the gear to mock it. So they can crack jokes about the 80's when the majority of them hadn't even born yet. Even the local hard rock radio station plays plenty of Judas Priest but is devoid of Maiden. Fuck they aren't even a heavy metal band anymore. They sound like some Yes or King Crimson now days. And what happened to their originality? They just seem to follow the same formula for every progressive hard rock song they write. As I wrote this I figured I should jam some Iron Maiden. I don't know maybe it would change my callous view. Ney, it only reinforced my opinion. I couldn't even bring myself to listen to anything Bruce has sung on. Actually, I used to get angry when people would say that they only like the Paul Di'Anno era. I think I am one of those people now. Bruce Dickinson is a dode. Perhaps he is one of the greatest metal vocalists of all time but he is still an asshole. I could go on bashing old Bruce. Talking about all the shit he talks about Metallica or the Ozzy beef but I find that the people who have beefs with him suck just as bad as he does. This article isn't just about Bruce though. The whole band has let me down. I know the set lists aren't written solely by Bruce, I imagine the whole band has a say or better yet I thought this was Steve Harris's band. So for that I hold the entire camp of Iron Maiden in contempt. They have dropped the ball. I know it sounds like I hate these guys now but I do not. I just feel let down by a band that I have supported since I was a little kid. I will always have some allegiance towards the mighty Iron Maiden but sad to say I don't think I will pay to go see them anymore or at least I'm going to sit this one out coach.