IRON MAIDEN at the PNC Pavilion, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA on 22/7/19

 

Iron Maiden continue to prove that if “Father Time” is actually knocking on their proverbial metal doors, the band must be opening up that doorway and having Eddie beat the ever-living crap out of him time and time again.

The band continued the current U.S. leg of their Legacy of the Beast tour at the PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, North Carolina this past Monday with a performance that if it had to be described in a singular word, that word would be legendary.

As the day’s twilight faded into the darkness of the night UFO’s, “Doctor Doctor” began to play over the venue’s PA system.

This, of course, is a signal that all die-hard Iron Maiden fans have come to know all too well as being the final countdown to the lads storming the stage to begin yet another one of their vaunted live performances.

One by one Steve Harris, Nicko McBrain, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith and Janick Gers sauntered onto the PNC Music Pavilion’s stage slightly before Bruce Dickinson and a life-sized replica of a WWII era RAF Spitfire joined the band to take on a rousing rendition of the show’s opener, “Aces High.”

Iron Maiden – Charlotte, North Carolina (United States) – July 22, 2019

Perhaps no other hard rock or heavy metal band in history have been known to go bigger than England’s own Iron Maiden as it pertains to live show production values.

Despite this fact’s existence, any human or even wild animal that’s had the opportunity to bear witness to Maiden’s current Legacy of the Beast tour has to still be taken aback by what the band has brought to the table this time around.

It’s not just the life-sized World War II-era plane buzzing the stage throughout “Aces High”, the gargantuan revolutionary clad era Eddie engaging in swordfights with various band members as they played “The Clansman” or the giant cross Dickinson menacingly wields about the stage as he belted out the lyrics of the rarely played live “Sign of the Cross.”

Iron Maiden – Charlotte, North Carolina (United States) – July 22, 2019

Iron Maiden instead uses these props alongside their music to immerse their fans into a world of heavy metal madness that is as much a live concert music experience as it also both a lavish Broadway production, as well as a Michael Bay, directed action movie buoyed by hair raising explosions and countless unexpected twists and turns.

And just when you think you’ve seen it all there’s even a point in the performance where Dickinson actually shoots fire out of his very own fists as he wears what appears to be a flame-throwing jetpack.

Iron Maiden – Charlotte, North Carolina (United States) – July 22, 2019

For the last decade or so when Iron Maiden have taken to the road they’ve chosen to often highlight a particular era of their recorded music to serve as the basis of any particular tour run.

This time around fans of the band’s early to mid-1980’s catalogue must have been overwhelmed with joy as Iron Maiden’s sixteen song setlist in Charlotte featured eleven songs from that period alone.

This included the band performing a number of tracks that many fans likely haven’t seen or heard live in over a decade, such as “Revelations” and “Flight of Icarus,” both of the 1983 classic, Piece of Mind.

Iron Maiden – Charlotte, North Carolina (United States) – July 22, 2019

Who knows if Harris, Murray, Smith and Gers are taking the equivalent of metal Viagra or Cialis but for a gang of musicians now in their fifth decade of performing, the quartet were a non-stop motor of metal hysteria from the very moment the band’s performance began until the final note of music was played on the evening.

Gers, in particular, was beyond animated as he and his guitar were a whirling dervish of ferocity throughout the entirety of Maiden’s time on the lighted stage.   The guitarist also shared more than a few evil moments with Dickinson as the pair regularly engaged while hamming it up for a crowd that continued to beg for more and more from their storied British heavy metal heroes.

Iron Maiden – Charlotte, North Carolina (United States) – July 22, 2019

Harris, who has served as the backbone of Iron Maiden since the band’s inception, never disappoints as a showman either, as he too shared countless personal moments with the fans while also regularly striking his all too familiar machine gun pose with his ever trusty Fender bass by his side.

Although a bit less animated than Gers and Harris, and let’s face what musicians would even dare keep up with that pair’s live performance pace, Murray and Smith dropped countless surreal guitar solos on the night, while also delighting the crowd every time they came together to trade off leads.

It’s tough to say exactly how many more years, albums or tours Iron Maiden may have left in them.  However, considering the success of their last recorded effort, 2017’s The Book of Souls, as well as the sheer amount of ticket sales that tour, as well as the current Legacy of the Beast Tour,  have generated, it’s likely safe to assume that the lads in Iron Maiden have no plans to run off into the hills anytime soon.

And to that I say, thank God or maybe more appropriately, thank Eddie.

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Written by Robert Forte

In addition to my outlet writing & photography contributions I serve as a gear photographer for Banker Custom Guitars, Collings Guitars & Elixir strings. I've provided tour photography for bands such as Anthrax, Royal Thunder & the Marcus King Band. My photography has appeared on major label record releases and it's also been used by high profile bands for tour merchandise & promotion.

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