Iron Maiden – O2 Arena London Gig Review [27 May 2017]

London O2 arena – 27 May 2017

It’s the first time I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Iron Maiden in the flesh (does seeing Bruce Dickinson in Samson in 1979 give me any brownie points?) on the last night of their UK tour.

Given last week’s previous events security was relatively tight’ish, as fans entered through airport-style body scanners while armed police were to be seen in abundance.

The Crowd

Maiden fans really are dedicated. The ‘family’ as Bruce described them. Nearly to a man/woman I’d say 85% of the audience wore their Maiden regalia with pride and in brotherhood – they are all in the same gang wherever you are in the world. The number of different t-shirts on show, from over the years, was truly staggering. The old, the young, the tattooed, the bald, the long haired, the hipsters, the normal etc. from all over the globe their hugely loyal fan base was emblazoned with the iconic Eddie skull motif. Did I mention the flags? Chatting, drinking, eating, taking pictures and exchanging stories it was like the league of nations out there – one difference WE ALL GOT ON WITH EACH OTHER.

The queue for merchandising was long and winding and time consuming, but it didn’t stop the majority of fans from buying yet another t-shirt to add to the collection.  The merchandising division must rake it in, but I’ll hand it to them they do some pretty impressive stuff.Iron Maiden t-shirts

I’m just waiting for the Iron Maiden retrospective at the V&A. You listening Steve!!

The Stage

Up high in the gods, in a packed out O2 arena, enabled me to see the grandiose ancient Mayan jungle temple stage set in all it’s glory.  Elaborately laid out with huge stone pillars with ramps, gaps and runs for Bruce to bound around energetically stoking up the crowd (in fairness that was an easy job!).  The only Mayan thing missing was the human sacrifices – mind you many made extremely long journeys to be at the gig, so I suppose that counts!  There was a steaming cauldron, pyrotechnics and the rear of the stage had constantly changing backdrops depicting the songs – oh and don’t forget a huge inflatable Eddie and the devil (guess which song that was for 😊 ??).

Two huge HD screens topped it off, so all those at the back could see with clarity. Good stuff chaps.

The Gig

The sound was just pitch perfect with the band playing at ear-shredding volume without any distortion!

Dave Murray, Adrian Smith and Janick Gers riffed and solo’d throughout with gay abandon, whilst ‘West Ham emblazoned’ (we all have our crosses to bear) Steve Harris’s bass “machine gunned” the crowd whenever possible. Bruce is without doubt one of the greatest living frontmen in Rock and his iconic voice is simply phenomenal (all the more given the throat cancer scare a few years back).  Drummer Nicko was sort of invisible behind his enormous drum kit, but thanks to the huge screens we could see he was thrashing around like a demon.

The band have been around so long that they are totally in sync with each other and they performed with energy and professionalism – “scream for me London” – and they did!  A highly polished performance.  Everything in this band just gels seamlessly.  It’s clear that they all get on really well together.  Joking and playing around on stage, they clearly were having as much fun as the fans.

Cue 15 foot Eddie who made his appearance during ‘The Book of Souls’.  He stalked the band before Bruce ripped out his heart and threw it into the crowd (but sadly missed and it had to be mopped off the stage by a roadie – hey you can’t always get it right).

Much of the set came from their new album, but some old classics were there as well.  For 1983’s ‘The Trooper’, Bruce wore his traditional Crimean War outfit and waved the Union Jack.  Impressive stuff, the haunting sound of 20,000 voices singing ‘Fear of the Dark’ as one.

Set List

  • If Eternity Should Fail – [The Book of Souls 2015]
  • Speed of Light – [The Book of Souls 2015]
  • Wrathchild – [Killers 1981]
  • Children of the Damned – [The Number of the Beast 1982]
  • Death or Glory – [The Book of Souls 2015]
  • The Red and the Black – [The Book of Souls 2015]
  • The Trooper – [Piece of Mind 1983]

    Iron Maiden - London O2 - 28 May 2017
    Iron Maiden – London O2 – 28 May 2017
  • Powerslave – [Powerslave 1984]
  • The Great Unknown – [The Book of Souls 2015]
  • The Book of Souls – [The Book of Souls 2015]
  • Fear of the Dark – [Fear of the Dark 1992]
  • Iron Maiden – [Iron Maiden 1980]


  • The Number of the Beast – [The Number of the Beast 1982]
  • Blood Brothers – [Brave New World 2000]
  • Wasted Years – [Somewhere in Time 1986]

Bruce said they had been away too long (no UK tour) and they wouldn’t make the same mistake again.  They may be in their late 50’s but they have lots of life (and hair) left in them still based on this performance.  I for one will be buying a ticket for their next tour.

This is Maiden, it’s what they do and it was bloody brilliant.  At £50 a ticket it was a steal for 2 hours of head-banging fun.

Marko – 29 May 2017

PS – They played ‘Doctor Doctor’ by UFO before they came on and the crowd was going bonkers to the song! Well selected.

Poster - Iron Maiden - Book of Souls UK Tour 2017
Poster – Iron Maiden – Book of Souls UK Tour 2017

PPS – Shinedown were the support act. For what it’s worth, the PA was distorted and it was a wall of mediocre impenetrable noise. Not my bag at all. Someone is sleeping with someone for them to get this gig!



Steve Hackett – 19 May 2017 Gig Review

Steve Hackett – Genesis Revisited with Classic Hackett 2017 tour – Gig Review

So back to Steve’s roots in London for the last night of the Genesis Revisited with Classic Hackett 2017 tour.  Only just made the packed London Palladium to see the start of the 2 part show (19:45 prompt).  So part 1 was Hackett solo stuff and part 2 was basically Genesis stuff with his favourite songs from “Wind and Wuthering” featuring prominently.  As it happens I attended my first ever Genesis gig on 22 Jan 1977, Leicester De Montford Halls, on their Wind and Wuthering tour (wow where did those 40 years go??).

Steve had his mum, sister and brother there (his brother John doing a bit of flute work on Serpentine Song – which was inspired by his late dad and the Peter Pan statue on the Serpentine in Hyde Park where he used to sell his paintings).

As always start with a classic to set the tone for the evening – welcome ‘Everyday’ which really showcases Steve’s extra ordinary guitar skills and tumultuous applause from the eager crowd (I admit I was surprised to see so many ladies in the audience – they generally don’t do prog rock).

Steve Hackett – Genesis Revisited with Classic Hackett 2017 tour
Steve Hackett – 19 May 2017 – London Palladium

There were a few new songs which I must admit I didn’t recognise from his ‘The Night Siren’ LP.  Some were better than others but the first half closer was the full-length version of ‘Shadow Of The Hierophant’ starting with Amanda Lehmann’s high pitched vocals and just continuing to build and build repetitively, bolero like, on intensity and volume.  Nick Beggs, resplendent in kilt, sat down next to his bass pedals hammering them with his fists.  He was in the groove, a bleached blonde mass of hair at one with the music.

In fairness Steve and Nick are the main show stoppers in this band. Steve the maestro guitarist and Nick the flamboyant (sorry Nad) mad bassist who always looks like he is totally lost in the music and dancing to his own tune – wonderful!

We barely had time to relive our prostrates and get back to our seats in time for the second half to start.

The second half featured Nad Sylvan, with his usual period regalia outfits (like an Earl himself, puffing on an (unlit) pipe to enhance effect), on lead vocals to do the Genesis songs. Occasionally his voice let him down, just not hitting the right notes but hey, he can sing better than me any day!  The only surprise of the night was the inclusion of ‘Inside and Out’ from the “Spot the Pigeon” EP (they didn’t have room for it on the Wind and Wuthering album).  Phil Collins wrote the lyrics, which Steve says were great and before he got into his ‘relationship issues period’!

The encore was Los Endos with the entire audience on their feet at the end celebrating with a thunderous and sustained applause.

London Palladium Set List

Set 1 (Classic Hackett):

  1. Every Day – (Spectral Mornings 1979)
  2. El Niño – (The Night Siren 2017)
  3. The Steppes – (Defector 1980)
  4. In the Skeleton Gallery – (The Night Siren 2017)
  5. Behind the Smoke – (The Night Siren 2017)
  6. Serpentine Song (with John Hackett) – (To Watch The Storm 2003)
  7. Rise Again – (Darktown 1999)
  8. Shadow of the Hierophant – (Voyage of The Acolyte 1975)

Set 2 (Genesis Revisited with Nad Sylvan):

  1. Eleventh Earl of Mar – (Wind and Wuthering 1977)
  2. One for the Vine – (Wind and Wuthering 1977)
  3. Blood on the Rooftops – (Wind and Wuthering 1977)
  4. …In That Quiet Earth – (Wind and Wuthering 1977)
  5. Afterglow – (Wind and Wuthering 1977)
  6. Dance on a Volcano – (A Trick of the Tail 1975)
  7. Inside and Out – (Spot the Pigeon EP 1977)
  8. Firth of Fifth – (Selling England by the Pound 1973)
  9. The Musical Box – (Nursery Cryme 1971)
  10. Slogans / Los Endos – (Defector 1980 & A Trick of the Tail 1975)

At 67 Steve has a full head of dark hair (in fact he’s had the same haircut for donkeys) so I’m guessing his wife does a good job with the hair dye 😊.  On Steve’s stage left the same goes for 56-year-old Nick Beggs with his long blond hair.  Nick is the only member of the band who looks like he’s enjoying himself and getting down with the music rather than performing it ad verbatim.  He played bass, 6-string and double neck stood up, sat down and generally bopping about).  How did this 80’s Kajagoogoo pop man make the move to Prog?

The second set went down much better than the first (I kind of guess there were a lot there just like me who suffered the first half to get to the gems in the second) from where I was sitting in row F of the Stalls.

So, all in all a very accomplished gig from a tight knit unit of muso’s.  Prog Rock is in the safe custody of Mr. Hackett.  Please continue touring with the old Genesis catalogue for as long as you can Steve – you’ll make a lot of old grey haired (or bald) men very very happy!!

The only down side was seeing the keyboard and woodwind chaps in FCK BXIT t-shirts.  Stick to the music and fuck your politics chaps – we are not interested in anything but the music and I certainly don’t need preaching to – dick heads)!

Marko – 20 May 2017