There are few bands for me that are on the same level as Iron Maiden. The songs, the lore, the musicians, the routine onstage shooting fire columns, the longevity, the theatrical performances, and Bruce Dickinson.
Angie, Sam and I picked up these tickets within minutes of them going on sale with neither of them having any idea who this opening act “Ghost” was. I, of course, knew who Ghost was and knew it was going to be an interesting evening watching those guys do what they do.
No-one however mentioned to us that one of these bands seemingly have a problem with Air Conditioning. They requested the Sprint Center be no cooler than 83°. Sure doesn’t sound horrible, but this is inside with no air movement. It got sticky quickly.
Anyhow Ghost was setup first and had some expected Satanic imagery on their graphics:
As I expected they opened with some Gregorian chant style music I presume to give a feeling Church is in session. With all this and what I knew about their style of music my interest was peaked “I have never seen any sort of hard core Satanic group perform, will there be blood and chicken guts?” I kept thinking. Chicken guts! Probably smells horrible in this heated up arena.
So Ghost started playing their stuff with the “Papa Emeritus III” talking mostly about sex. Having sex, the pleasure of sex, how he wanted everyone to go home that night and have sex. It was clear this guy has some strange obsession not being “Satanic” but “Sexual”.
It was very, VERY odd. So here is this Swedish band known for Satanic lyrics and Satanic themes sounding like someone in the pop-rock type genre with clearly Satanic lyrics continually mumbling something about Sex. Sure the music wasn’t horrible the musicians were good but damn it was really weird. Like watching Pee-wee Herman + Jack Sparrow sing Satanic music level of weird.
A clear advantage Ghost had was being able to use the light bar setup for Iron Maiden, which was of course spectacular (worth noting Ghost did not utilize the side video screens):
Ghost was on about 30 minutes, followed by a quick set change (took the stage hands like 15 minutes to switch out, I was impressed at the organization of the seemed like about 30 stage hands):
Right at 2000 Iron Maiden comes on the set, friggin’ Iron Maiden – yes I was pumped:
There is an old saying “A bad day of fishing is better than a great day at work”. Well Iron Maiden was awesome, but again a “bad” Iron Maiden is better than damn near anyone else. So what did you expect me to say. I did think that Dickinson’s microphone dropped in an out frequently, which was annoying, but all of the guys just nailed it. Again, it’s Iron friggin’ Maiden.
Throughout the show the back banner would change with the various incantations of Eddie, this mixed with the on stage presence of a Eddie and a about 20 foot tall blowup (I presume it was a blowup might have been a paper mache type setup) of Eddie – Eddie was all over. Picture roll ahead:
Following the 20 foot Eddie was a probably same size Minotaur, again who else puts on concerts at this level?
One more in case you thought the light bars weren’t totally impressive:
Several times throughout the show Dickinson would wear various suits, masks. At one point a monkey mask and tossing bananas into the audience – a memento banana? Kinda weird but the crowd seemed to love it.
Wrapping up all this was some fireworks and the drop down from the ceiling of another Eddie picture:
A genuinely badass concert. Seriously if you have questions if this was a concert of epic proportions I suggest you scroll back up and look at my fuzzy out of focus pictures again. Put on “Genghis Khan” and imagine Dickinson running around like a over-caffeinated crazy person.
Oh and this; Angie, Sam and Me in our Iron Maiden shirts being way cooler than your family 😉