In 2017, Iron Maiden arrived in St. Paul, Minnesota during the Book of Souls tour. This was my first Iron Maiden concert and I love that it was at the beautiful Xcel Energy Center, home of the Minnesota Wild. This concert was the first concert they had played in Minnesota since August, 2000 at Roy Wilkins Auditorium,...seventeen years ago. On Monday, they returned for the epic Legend of the Beast tour (spanning and theming songs along the bands massive history and mobile game featuring Iron Maiden mascot/character: Eddie).
We got into Minneapolis/St. Paul right around 6pm. Rush hour traffic was expected, though I had forgotten about the state fair that's running now in St. Paul. This made for a lot of extra traffic, along with some really large road construction projects. However, all went well and we reserved at parking spot before even arriving (thanks to my fiance). Irony showed it's face as the parking code to register when we got there started with "666", I had a good laugh. We then get just inside the security at the "X" (Xcel Energy Center) and "Yay!" the Ticketmaster app isn't working. It took nearly 10 minutes at the gate, signing out/signing back in/repeat, before the tickets finally came up. Thanks for charging a "convenience" fee for an inconvenience. Not to be snarky but "software development fail". Whatever, it's Maiden!! 🤘 So, we get find our seats after the "world's longest escalator" (not sure if this is proven). The Raven Age was really good. I was slightly familiar with them but their stage performance was really cool. A mixture of 90's groove metal but showmanship similar to Iron Maiden or Alice Cooper (minus the props).
Then time for Iron Maiden. FYI, Legend of the Beast is an Iron Maiden mobile game. As with last time, an introductory animation video of Iron Maiden character "Eddie" played leading up to "Welcome to the legend of the beast". This was followed by a reenactment of LOTB characters unwrapping the stage before the lights go out.
I had allowed myself only to see snippets, so I knew of the accurately sized Spitfire plane (complete with spinning propeller) that flies above the band during the opening song, "Aces High". The Spitfire airplane hangs over the bands head and moves as if flying. Understandably, bands assume a good amount of risk, queues Rammstein as a prime example. It was interesting and fun to see the plane deflated after the song. After all, it looks real but an inflatable falling from the ceiling would end in less of a catastrophe.
"Where Eagles Dare", from the 1983 album Piece of Mind, followed as song #2 followed by "2 Minutes To Midnight" from 1984's Powerslave. Also worth noting is Nicko McBrain's brand new custom drunk kit to coincide with the Legacy of the Beast including beautiful artwork from many of the different stages of Eddie. This includes an Eddie version of the Jaguar logo as well as versions of Eddie for: Fear of the Dark, Number of the Beast, Killers, Matter of Life and Death, Somewhere Back in Time, The Trooper, Seventh Son, Powerslave, and Iron Maiden (1st album).
Focusing back on the concert, played for the first time in many years, came "The Clansman". This song has one of my most beloved guitar instrumental introductions. It's very soft, deep, and melodic. It's pieces like this that really let Iron Maiden sink their hooks into me. "The Trooper" followed, which Dickinson has always carried around a worn and beaten English flag. Interestingly enough, a worn American flag was also present in this performance, along with the ten foot Eddie walking the stage, attacking members. "For the Greater Good of God" was also played, another of my favorite melodic introductions. It was great to hear "The Wicker Man" live again, also. It's an iconic song as it's from the first album, Brave New World, that Bruce Dickinson returned to the band and right at the starting tip of the new millennium.
Long-time fans worry not as fan favorites "Fear of the Dark", "The Number of the Beast", "Hallowed By Thy Name" were also played along with starting the encore with "The Evil That Men Do". Dickinson made plenty of jokes about their age, however, it's great to see how seemingly healthy Bruce Dickinson, Adrian Smith, Dave Murray, Steve Harris, Nicko McBrain, and Janick Gers look despite their age. They're as active as ever.
Skipping far ahead: Thank you very much section 203, Row 3, Seats 1-4 who likely smoked five bowls of pot regardless of any consideration of other people (or the law as MN stands). My lungs (asthma) hurt enough by "The Wicker Man" that I couldn't sing along. Oh, two more bowls? No problem. By the end, Jill was very nauseated and I had a headache. Smoke, that's fine, but keep it away from other people....just...have consideration. We were high up, so the heat was pretty bad. I can't complain though as I was thrilled to see nearly or above 30,000 people there. I love bands to have a big turnout because then they come back.
Avoided heavy traffic after the show, thanks to GPS, stopped at QuikTrip for coffee and munchies before the 4 hour drive back to Fargo. We were, luckily, both looking forward as a shooting star zipped across the sky. My fiance was more than loopy by 2am.If anyone has ever wanted to see her drunk, it was pretty close. We arrived at 3am, took the dogs out and fell into bed...likely face down.
The Wicker Man
Fear of the Dark
For the Greater Good of God
Legend of the Beast (Game Trailer)
Legend of the Beast 2019 Tour Trailer