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Live Review and Photo Gallery: Iron Maiden at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

| August 25, 2019

Iron Maiden

Thursday August 22, 2019

Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, Tinley Park

Full disclosure… August 5, 1982 I was forever ruined by Iron Maiden. That was the day of the band’s legendary appearance on the shores of Lake Michigan at ChicagoFest. I had already seen the band several times at that point, but that night was something truly special, the performance that night was so incredible, powerful and raw that it left a scar on me that I would carry the rest of my life and set the bar for the next 50+ times I would see the band live. Fast forward 37 years as 20,000 metal manics converge at The Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Tinley Park to witness Maiden’s “The Legacy of the Beast” tour and I have come full circle.

There was a real electricity in the air as opening notes of UFO’s “Doctor Doctor” boomed thru the PA to announce the pending arrival of the band. Cue the house lights to the sounds of modern warfare complete with gunfire, aircraft engines and explosions with the voice of Winston Churchill and his famous 1940, “We shall fight on the beaches” speech to the British people. The gathered metal masses erupt as the band hits the stage to “Aces High” complete with a full-size replica of a World War II-era British Spitfire airplane hanging from the light truss. The band is off on a 90 minute plus high speed romp of Maiden classics and deep cuts including “2 Minutes to Midnight”, “Where Eagles Dare”, “Flight of Icarus”, “The Trooper”, as well as the return of “The Wicker Man” from 2000’s Brave New World LP. Two surprising inclusions to the set find “The Clansman” and “Sign of the Cross”, both tracks from the Blaze Bayley albums of the mid ’90s. While the original versions of these songs were weak at best, with Bayley at the mic, singer Bruce Dickinson breathes new life into these songs with his thunderous delivery, as only Bruce can do. Dickinson, now a full two years recovered from his throat cancer, is a man on fire. You can see and feel him having a real enjoyment on stage and enjoying life now to the fullest. On The Book of Souls tour, you could tell he was still recovering. This tour we see he is hitting all cylinders at full throttle. While some of his contemporaries from the early to mid-’80s have diminished vocal abilities, Bruce is still in near perfect 1982 form.

Certainly, if I wanted to quibble with the setlist I could easily do that. Do we really need to hear “The Number of the Beast” or “Run to the Hills” again after so many years? Would I rather hear “Die with Your Boots On” off of Piece of Mind instead of “Revelations”? Of course I would. The inclusion of “For the Greater Good of God” from 2006’s A Matter of Life and Death would not be at the top of my list of songs to hear live, yet with the passage of time this song has matured and fits in perfectly with the rest of the set, even if half the crowd had no idea what the band was playing. If I had to complain about one thing, it is guitarist Janick Gers’ occasional Ritchie Blackmore imitations are sometimes unnecessary.

The only real disappointment from this show was that it wasn’t another 10 songs longer and that it came to an end far too early. Was this Iron Maiden show the best I had ever seen? Nope, nothing could ever top their epic Chicagofest appearance, the bar is just set too high. That withstanding, it’s one of the best shows I’ve seen from Iron Maiden in the last 20 years! Up the hammers.

Review Mike Engel, Photos by Ed Spinelli.


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Category: IE Photo Gallery, Live Reviews

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