Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson emerged from behind torches, stones and a makeshift Mayan temple last Monday night as his five bandmates launched into “If Eternity Should Fail.”
While the music easily captured fans’ hearts during the band’s Book of Souls World Tour stop at Chesapeake Arena, creative visuals conquered their minds.
During the surprisingly danceable “Death or Glory,” Dickinson donned a monkey mask and tossed bananas into the crowd. He wore a red coat and waved a British flag while performing “The Trooper.” During “Powerslave,” he wore a luchador mask.
But it wasn’t all fun and games. Dickinson promoted acceptance and unity when he spoke between songs. He welcomed fans who were holding flags from their home countries, including Russia and Honduras.
No matter where fans are from, the raw power of “The Book of Souls” was enough to unite any group of people. Many Iron Maiden songs are extravagantly powerful, especially played live, but this song topped them all. Even after performing for decades, Dickinson belted every lyric of every song with intensity. Stage pyrotechnics emitted blasts of fire. If you were close enough, you could feel the heat.
During “Fear of the Dark,” a tall skeletal monster (or a guy on stilts in a costume, but reality didn’t really matter) emerged. After wandering the stage, it got into a sort of battle with Dickinson that ended when Dickinson ripped out its heart and threw it into the audience.
However, that wasn’t the only beastly combat. A giant inflatable model of the creature’s head and shoulders slowly ascended from behind the temple during “Iron Maiden.” At the end of the song, fireworks exploded, figuratively blasting it to smithereens.
The almost immediate encore featured a realistic, giant goat-man that visited during “The Number of the Beast.”
The crowd let out fierce cheers and thunderous applause as the whirlwind show ended with “Wasted Years.” Anyone who wants to see this band live but hasn’t been to many metal shows should bring ear protection to avoid any discomfort during or after the show.
Before Iron Maiden took the stage, Swedish band Ghost warmed up the crowd. The dark auditorium was filled with something akin to Latin hymns or Gregorian chants. All members wore shiny masks with devil horns except for the singer, who donned a robe, a pope hat with an upside-down cross and skeleton face makeup.
They launched into the electrifying “Square Hammer.” Their set felt more like a theatrical performance than a concert. Maiden fans and metal newcomers alike headbanged and cheered to songs like the beautifully dark “Cirice.”
“Will you sing a song loud and clear to celebrate the female orgasm,” asked the lead singer in his Swedish accent, “in the name of satan?”
After finishing “Monstrance Clock,” band members bowed to the enthusiastic audience. They’re a must-see live band for anyone who loves the performance aspect of music.