Hard Reviews 3
by Martin Popoff

Iron Maiden Concert
Massey Hall, Toronto, Ontario
July 22, 1999

A palpable and heartening metal buzz was on as Maiden hit town for one of the smaller shows on the tour, Massey Hall packed to its capacity of 2500 while the band just came off of a show in Montreal that saw 8000 Quebecers out for a blast of the new Bruce-ful Maiden spectacle.

But it didn't matter, band and fan alike celebrating in deafening fashion this emphatic rocket-up-the-butt reunion with Bruce. Seriously, I've never seen a bunch of old guys rock out so fast and hard, every last piece of this chemical wedding commanding his own presence. Dave was his usual smiling, rocking out self. Steve drove home the point of every song with his unswerving glare and cool habit of shouting all the lyrics at the crowd. Nicko could barely be seen but his performance was prime, youthful McBain. Janick was the craziest of them all, lashing out, limbs flying everywhere, pyrotechnic axe trickery of every sort tossed in and tossed off often. Bruce was simply manic, acting out a portfolio of dramatic metal theatrics, racing back and forth across the stage, inciting pockets of crowd frenzy at every pit stop, although the other blokes were often busy doing the same thing. It's amazing there weren't more collisions.

Anyway, the band was faultless, absolutely pumped full of energy, establishing a heart-stopping pace to the proceedings that almost took it into Helloween terrain. I must say that with Bruce at the helm and the inescapable leveling distorted electrics of the live show, the Blaze songs fit right in, especially Man On The Edge and Futureal, while The Clansman was still in the need of a good edit. For some reason my lasting impression of this show was one of full-on, layered speed, everything and everyone seemingly on this express mission to bring metal back but good. Highlights included 2 Minutes To Midnight, Powerslave, The Trooper, Wasted Years, Wrathchild, The Trooper, and grudgingly I admit, Fear Of The Dark, each chorus of every song just driving everybody nuts.

I don't know what more to say. It's just a frighteningly energetic show by a bunch of guys who seem to think they have something to prove, and then get on nailing the point dead, until everybody's wondering where they got the teenager pills. Adrian wasn't on this particular date, given that his father had recently died, the two having been very close. This may have accounted for a slight slack in the guitar sound. But the mix was acceptably, no glaring faults, Bruce's vocals loud and clear, like I say, this inspiring onslaught of anthems linked by their upratcheted velocities and their classic ranking within the history of metal. Could be one of the first rumbles of the new revolution. Let's just hope they don't burn themsleves out before they deliver the new record.