Iron Maiden + The Raven Age
Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney
6 May 2016
Review by Matt Bolton
Photos by Jess Miller
Any band has big boots to fill supporting a massive headline act like Iron Maiden. But UK five-piece The Raven Age did a pretty damn good job of that tonight. The thudding drums of Jai Patel, sees front man, Michael Burrough starting up the crowd, making them clap in sync as the stomping riffs of Dan Wright and George Harris; son of Maiden bassist, Steve Harris, take hold of the arena.
Opening up with Uprising and Promised Land, it’s The Death March, a new song from the latest EP that gets the crowd going. The vocals are all clear and crisp. The band is tight and come across as one great live act. Eye Among The Blind, off the band’s debut EP is a highlight as is The Merciful One, with a most welcome guitar solo. Lighters and phones are encouraged to light up the arena as the band rip through, Salem’s Fate, finishing up the set with the bands most well-known number, that being, Angel in Disgrace. The Raven Age’s modern metal goes down pretty well here tonight, but we all know it’s time for some classic metal and that’s what we are all here to see.
Starting the set with the first song off their sixteenth album, The Book of Souls, which is generously spread out tonight among the classics is the epic, If Eternity Should Fail. Bruce Dickinson’s distinct vocals haunt the room and a tingling feeling is felt down the spine. The man’s voice seems stronger after each year goes by. It’s amazing how fit and full of energy the men are, having formed in 1975. If it’s not Bruce running across the stage like a mad man, the dual-guitar wizardry of Adrian Smith and Dave Murray. It was third guitarist, Janick Gers, who spun his guitar around like a windmill and strut around putting Angus Young to shame.
New songs went down well like, The Speed of Light, The Red and the Black, Death or Glory and Tears of a clown, a tribute to the late Robin Williams. Bruce, being a hit with the crowd as always, joked around when introducing, Children of the Damned, saying the song was for the ‘legacy’ members, saying if you were shagging at the time of this song that you were exactly that, Children of the Damned. The infamous Eddie made an appearance during the title track from The Book of Souls, wreaking havoc on stage. The many backdrop changes tonight were breathtaking, going hand in hand with the song played at the time. Die-hard fans were happy with classics such as Powerslave, Hallowed Be Thy Name, the crowd sing-a-long, Fear of the Dark and even title track off their debut, Iron Maiden. The massive head of Eddie bobbing around looked just like a monster had taken over the arena.
After a brief encore, an evil backdrop of Beelzebub and red flames was on display to the bands swansong, The Number of the Beast, which proved how tight the band were as musicians yet again. After Bruce telling us it was great to see so many different races and genders, not knowing how many there are now, that we are all ‘Blood Brothers’, hence the next track, off Brave New World. The galloping bass of Steve Harris led into the final song of the night, Wasted Years, with Nicko McBrain pummelling the kit one last time. As always finishing up with Monty Python’s, Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life. Iron Maiden just proved again why they are the greatest metal band in the world.