Sunrise Gets Put into The Iron Maiden

By on February 27, 2016


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Bruce Dickinson (Photo-Travis Failey RSEN 2016)

A global event happened in Sunrise Florida on Wednesday night. It didn’t have to do with any kind of natural disaster or alien attack but something special was taking place inside the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida when Iron Maiden kicked off their 2016 North American tour. Ok, some might say that they saw an alien throughout the night, but that was Iron Maiden’s mascot, Eddie, who was on full display during their performance.


Adrian Smith (Photo-Travis Failey RSEN 2016)

You might think that I’m exaggerating when I say that the Iron Maiden show was a global event, but when the limited tour dates were announced last fall, people started circling their calendars and made plans for a road trip to South Florida to see the show. For weeks the metal community was a buzz and the question “You Going to Maiden?” was circulating everywhere.


Support from far and wide was evident as I spoke to fans from Brazil, Puerto Rico and even Portugal who made the trip to see their favorite band. Even though some of our communication was difficult due to a language barrier, Iron Maiden’s music provides an unspoken communication, and the anticipation prior to their performance was overwhelming.

The crowd consisted of men, women and children of all ages that were wearing their Iron Maiden gear proudly and faithfully. At most concerts, wearing the shirt of the band that you’re seeing is a cliché’ but not tonight, as the older and rarer the shirt, the more Maiden “street cred” you attain. Speaking of women, I was shocked at the amount of females that were at the show. This wasn’t an 80’s hair band rock show. It was a metal show, and there were more girls at this show that sang along and raised the horns like no other that I’ve seen before. Were there some woman there just support their man? Absolutely. But I think they went home with a new appreciation, not only for the music, but the sights and sounds that encompass a Iron Maiden show.


Murray, Harris & Smith (Photo-Travis Failey RSEN 2016)

After a short delay was concluded, the opening notes of UFO’s “Doctor Doctor” played over the loud speakers and Iron Maiden’s 19-month on stage hiatus was over. Out in support of their new release, The Book of Souls, Bruce Dickinson voiced the opening verse of “If Eternity Should Fail,” while kneeling between two burning tiki torches and a smoking cauldron. Next was Iron Maiden’s first single from their 16th studio release, “The Speed of Light.” This was the second of six songs Maiden played from The Book of Souls.


Bruce Dickinson (Photo-Travis Failey RSEN 2016)

Playing six songs off a new release may seem odd, but Iron Maiden likes to play a lot of new material at their live shows because their fans are so loyal. Most Maiden fans are familiar with the new music and sing along with the vocals as if they were their old school hits. Most rock and metal bands usually play only one or two songs off their new album as their fans only want to hear the hits.

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Bruce Dickinson (Photo-Travis Failey RSEN 2016)

The first surprise of the night was next as Iron Maiden performed “Children of the Damned” for the first time since 2009. The song was highlighted by guitarist Adrian Smith being showcased with Smith playing acoustic and electric guitar parts. Smith and Dave Murray are known as one of the best founding guitar tandems in metal, while bassist Steve Harris and drummer Nicko McBrain are also considered tops in their craft. Harris’ sound is legendary, with his galloping tone and guitar playing style that changed the way the bass was looked at as an instrument.


Steve Harris (Photo-Travis Failey RSEN 2016)

There was another member of Iron Maiden who really stood out tonight, and that was the sixth member of Iron Maiden, guitarist Janick Gers. Gers was absolutely amazing. Throughout their set and during many leads, I looked towards Smith and Murray and saw that they were playing the rhythm parts of the song and Gers was handling the solo. It was obvious why Gers remained with Maiden in 1999 after Adrian Smith returned to the band, as he’s become one of the band’s main songwriters and is a stellar showman on stage.


Janick Gers (Photo-Travis Failey RSEN 2016)

Maiden’s 12 song set (sans encore) included “The Trooper” from Piece of Mind and “Tears of a Clown” from Book of Souls, after which the guys took a well deserved short break backstage. Iron Maiden doesn’t do guitar or drum solos and all the members are on stage throughout the entire set, except maybe for a wardrobe change by Dickinson.


Bruce Dickinson (Photo-Travis Failey RSEN 2016)

Maiden came back on stage with the Vatican’s favorite “The Number of the Beast” with a fire red backdrop and enough pyro to make the on-hand Fire Marshall nervous. Throughout the night, the backdrops were changed while your attention was diverted to something else on stage, like Maiden’s mascot Eddie. Eddie has taken many forms throughout the years, and tonight was no exception. During the song “Iron Maiden” Eddie’s face donned white war paint and he was dressed in a Mayan motif, which is the prevalent theme of the Book of Souls double album.

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Dave Murray (Photo-Travis Failey RSEN 2016)

Prior to the second song of the encore, vocalist Bruce Dickinson addressed the crowd regarding the state of our crazy world and reminded the fans in attendance that we are all together as one. Dickinson then introduced the very apropos ‘Blood Brothers” from the Brave New World album.

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Adrian Smith (Photo-Travis Failey RSEN 2016)

Bruce Dickinson is the quintessential front man and even after recovering from throat cancer, his performance during his first show back was fantastic. Some fans were a bit critical of him during the second part of their set, but I’ve seen Maiden countless times and Dickinson was classic Bruce. His command of the crowd, his vocal versatility and longevity has gained him legendary status and his epic “Scream for Me Fort Lauderdale” during “Powerslave” was a highlight of the show.

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Bruce Dickinson (Photo-Travis Failey RSEN 2016)

As Maiden was finishing up with “Blood Brothers,” I wondered what would be their final song of the night. Would they go to an old classic in “Run to the Hills” or “Running Free” or maybe even “Aces High?” None of the above. They went off the reservation and surprised everyone with “Wasted Years” from the Somewhere In Time album. It was a perfect way to end the night filled with audience participation that was deafening during “Hallowed Be They Name” and “Fear of the Dark.”


Janick Gers (Photo-Travis Failey RSEN 2016)

As the house lights slowly came on, and I walked through the halls at the end of the show, I noticed that the merchandise tents were packed with fans with Iron Maiden shirts were flying off the racks. The after-show buzz was electric and I came across a mother and her son that just left the building who were discussing the show. We had a short conversation and it was evident that it was a special moment for both of them as it was for many others in attendance, including myself. We had a short conversation and it was evident that it was a special moment for them as it was for many others including myself. To once again be a part of something special that crosses borders and brings people together from all over the world. Not for a concert but for a global event, and that event is….Iron Maiden!!!


(Photo-Travis Failey RSEN 2016)


Steve Harris (Photo-Travis Failey RSEN 2016)


Bruce Dickinson (Photo-Travis Failey RSEN 2016)

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Dave Murray & Steve Harris (Photo-Travis Failey RSEN 2016)


Adrian Smith (Photo-Travis Failey RSEN 2016)

For more information and tour dates:

Set List:

If Eternity Should Fail

Speed of Light

Children of the Damned

Tears of a Clown

The Red and the Black

The Trooper


Death or Glory

The Book of Souls

Hallowed Be Thy Name

Fear of the Dark

Iron Maiden


Number of the Beast

Blood Brothers

Wasted Years








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