This was an interesting gig. It’s been a good few years before I’ve even attempted to be at the front of a standing gig. Usually at the Arena I opt for seats just to be able to pause for a little while and rest my weary bones, however this time around I ended up with a standing ticket. My original plan was to leave my gig buddy to get himself down the front while I hovered at the back where there was space and just hope to be able to catch a glimpse of the show on the stage. Then Paul got picked for First To The Barrier Wristbands. What can I say, I had to give it a chance. I reasoned that if it became too much I could just duck back and revert to the original plan. It turns out that I stayed there at the front (off to the side, I’m not insane) for the whole gig and got to see the show from a completely different perspective than usual. Largely ignorant of the vast crowd behind me, it was brilliant to get to see the band up close. We were right below one of the pedestals so Bruce would often appear right above us.
About a third of the set list was from the latest album, Book Of Souls, including the title track. The rest were a cross section of well known songs, all very much appreciated by the die-hards down the front. Theatrics included Eddie’s heart being ripped from his body, offered in sacrifice and finally flung out into the eager audience. The energy from the stage was almost tangible at these close quarters. I may have ended up with sore feet and back ache but it was worth it to see just how much fun seems to be had on the stage. Plus the negatives were definitely out-shone by the sheer joy of enjoying the music. I still can’t believe this was my first gig of the year, I know I’m starting earlier next year, no fear!
As you may be able to tell I got some reasonably good photos on my little camera, and although it seems like I took a lot I really did spend most of my time taking in as much of the show as I could. The interplay between everyone on stage was entertaining and this is a band that knows how to work a crowd whether you are at the front or at the back. Bruce leapt around the stage with such energy that I was knackered just watching and it was good to see that the recent health scare hadn’t taken any of that performance away. Maiden is always good value for your ticket money and this show was no exception. If fate decreed this to be the last time I get to see them live, I couldn’t complain. It was an amazing night.