Tag Archives: Glen Helen Pavilion

My Maiden Voyage – An Iron Maiden Virgin No More (Part 3 – The Concert Review)

I really did not expect this post to be a three-parter, but they say that 600 words are about all people want to read in a blog…and there was just so much fun, side stuff that came up, so here we are! (And do NOT word-count this one… DOH!)

Let me set the stage again. The venue is The Glen Helen Pavilion. My first visit, so I was also a Venue Virgin. Yes, this was a big day for me. The stage and sound are great… unlike the Forum, whose sound can SUCK, depending on where you sit. But as I said, the venue is a pain in the ass to get to and park at, especially in brutal holiday traffic.

Since there are no ins and outs we missed Exodus, which in retrospect was probably a mistake. Though I heard they had major sound issues. We caught a bit of Kamelot, who were okay and got to see a lot of Ghost, who were actually pretty good. The whole gothic, all wearing masks thing freaks me out a bit (Jason warned me)…as do songs mentioning Lucifer (Read Nice Jewish Boy) but this Swedish metal band formed in 2008 had some skills and really got the crowd going.

And speaking of the crowd… As I was coming out of the Men’s “Lounge” a guy at the very back of the line asked me “European?” Clearly I was too hot to get it, so when I said no, he said “Neither am I, but hopefully I will be soon.” (Insert Rimshot.) There were lots of “in bathroom” jokes flying around. Ahhh… men and our beer!

Maiden apparently does not call audibles like the other Bruce (Springsteen, that is) and so their set list has not changed in a long, long time. Fine for the first time viewer…but I would guess long time fans would want it mixed up a little. I knew going in I would not get to hear my favorite Maiden tune, “Run To The Hills,” so I guess I will just have to go back for the next tour. And yes, I WILL BE BACK!

Do they have huge “Eddie” inflatables, changing backdrops and monsters attacking the band? Hell to the yes!!!
About 25,000 in attendance? Check.
A few first timers? Oh yeah!

So away we go! Buckle up, Michelle, Casey and Christian. Rocking with you was a blast!!! Thank you for the food, drink and everything else! Thanks to KLOS for the tickets… Thanks to Leihua and Larry in advance for the kick-ass shirt… And Jason, thank you, thank you, thank you for the intro and kick in the butt! Your money is safe!!!

The PA system started blasting UFO’s “Doctor, Doctor” which we knew was their entrance tune and is such a great rocking song! And then my first Iron Maiden show shot out of the gate. The songs were heavy from the new album, Book Of Souls, (six out of a 15-song set) but I quite like the first two songs they did (also one and two on the record), “If Eternity Should Fail” and “Speed Of Light”…which I really, really dig. I also love the sing-along anthem “The Red And The Black” and it’s “Whoa oh, oh oh oh… Whoa oh, oh oh oh…”

But of course the biggest reaction was for the classics… and Maiden’s catalog is deep. Highlights for me were “Children Of The Damned,” “The Trooper”, and the set closer “Fear Of The Dark.” The encore was a perfect trifecta with “The Number Of The Beast,” “Blood Brothers” (soooo NOT the other Bruce’s tune) and the great ender “Wasted Years”!

The band is currently made up of:
Founder and bassist, Steve Harris (1976-present)
Guitarist Dave Murray, who has been there almost as long (with a short stint in 1977, and then from 1979 on)
Bruce Dickinson on vocals… and NOT the famed producer with the same name. (1981-1993 and then 1999 to present)
Janick Gers on guitar and with the band since the ’90s.
Adrian Smith on guitar, who went from 1981-1991, then took a break and came back in 1999 to present.
Nicko McBrain is the band’s fifth drummer, but has been playing with Maiden since 1983!

These guys are in their ’60s and rocking like 20 year-olds! Jumping, bouncing, running, going crazy and having the time of their lives. That on-stage joy is infectious, and while I know they have had their in-fighting issues, as does almost every band, it sure seems like this is a Rock N’ Roll Brotherhood!

Also keep in mind that Bruce Dickinson had throat cancer AND throat surgery. I caught his voice dropping out from time to time, but DANG… What a showman, and ALL OVER THE STAGE!

It was at this show that I realized the true meaning of Head Banging!!! Actually, head banging, neck snapping, body aching!!! In fact, Michelle and I both kept commenting on how physically sore we would be the next day… and as my head went up and down to the beat, I could feel almost a Rock N’ Roll concussion coming on. Ah, to be young again. And why did I not get into Metal in my ’20s???

Before the show was over, Bruce said a few things I wanted to share. He pointed out that we may have noticed a few mistakes…but that is what happens when a band plays live and without hiding people backstage or using “canned” vocals. Cheers to that!

I cannot tell you how many bands do this… bands that you would never think would do this. Hell, when I saw Fleetwood Mac in Anaheim on the last tour, we were sitting so high and to the side we could see an extra drummer “hidden” behind the wall next to Mick’s drum set up… and while he did not drum on every song, I was floored!

The last things Bruce said were pretty powerful. Basically he said that “everyone came in safe… and everyone needs to leave safe. Right?” The crowd roared, though I have to say, the huge bonfire some of the fans made in the lawn area gave me concern…and I questioned how security did not shut it down. But…
Oh yeah!!! They made an actual and rather large BON FIRE in the middle of the lawn sitting area, and danced around it all night long… actually ran around it in a circle!!!

The band takes their bows and throws guitar picks and drum sticks out into the adoring crowd and heads off stage as Monty Python’s “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life” comes over the PA. This is more than appropriate as Metal music often seems to have a dramatic flair, and regularly involves a battle between Good and Evil. It can be mythic and iconic, in music and lyrics…and certainly in stage antics!

Here is the setlist…

  1. If Eternity Should Fail
  2. Speed of Light
  3. Wrathchild
  4. Children of the Damned
  5. Death or Glory
  6. The Red and the Black
  7. The Trooper
  8. Powerslave
  9. The Great Unknown
  10. The Book of Souls
  11. Fear of the Dark
  12. Iron Maiden
  13. The Number of the Beast
  14. Blood Brothers
  15. Wasted Years

But what I would like to leave you with, is one of the last things Bruce said to the crowd:

It’s a message that should resonate with all of us. And as I posted on Facebook, it’s a shame that so few of our leaders and politicians speak up like this.

He said: “We need to come together, do no harm and go to bed with whoever we want to because we love them.”



And Long Live Rock!!!


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Filed under Live Music Reviews, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me

My Maiden Voyage – An Iron Maiden Virgin No More (Part 2)

As my buddy Rob and I were leaving a post workout meal at The Habit two weeks ago, we decided to do a quick Trader Joe’s run before they closed. He asked me if I was going to see America at the Canyon Club on July 1st, and while I LOVE America, I told him I HAD to go see Iron Maiden that night, but as of yet, I had no tickets.

I got in my car for the two-minute drive to Trader Joe’s, and as the radio came on, I kid you not, the DJ on KLOS was literally announcing free Maiden tickets for the 10th caller.

Dial, busy, hang up. Again. Dial, busy, hang up. Again… Ring, ring, ring…
“Who’s this?”
“Hi, Marc. You just won a pair of tickets to see Iron Maiden.”
“Ummm. Wow! Okay… I have to tell you this story…”
And so I regaled her with what had just happened… and yes she loved it!

Talk about putting something into the universe…WOW!!!

July 1st – Glen Helen Pavillion – San Bernardino, CA… CONCERT DAY!
The build up was a bit crazy… My first buddy bailed. Then my cousin bailed. But that gave me the chance to offer the ticket to my friends Michelle and Casey (He had NEVER seen them either!) Casey’s son Christian (21) also joined us… and yes, unlike his Dad and me, he had seen them about 9 years ago.

The drive out there SUCKED. And because of Waze re-routing my friends, I wound up doing the whole drive solo… and it was a CRAWL… THE. WHOLE. WAY. OUT!

Who the HELL is going to San Bernardino for the 4th weekend???!!!
I pulled into the very first and “UNMARKED” lot, and was told by a kid working it:
a) I was in Lot 6
b) It was a short walk to the venue. Ha!

It took me about 15 minutes before I could even see the venue… And yes, I got horribly lost at the end of the night and might not have found my car if it had not been for my good, visual memory)… BUT… This lot offered a very easy out! I think I was at least 30-45 minutes into my drive home, when my friends called to tell me they were STILL stuck in the lot! So much for the $20 “VIP” lot.

Thanks to KLOS for the tickets and a pre-show BBQ, which kept me fed and hydrated and had me winning a Judas Priest CD (Ironic) and a Cheap Trick download of what I thought was the great new album, We’re All Alright!, but was only three songs… Strange!

After that it was back to the grassy parking lot, where we found some shade and drank some beers in the parking lot… Another irony since the venue information says no tailgating, but EVERYONE was doing it. Yes, I am a rule follower… Ha! Thanks to Michelle for bringing a nice selection of booze and making everyone sandwiches! Mahalo!

And what is with you Millennials???  You claim to be so high and mighty on the environment, and then leave ALL your trash on the ground, when a trash can is five feet away. Lazy, entitled you know whats! Another Wow right there!

We missed Exodus, because we thought they were on second. Bummer… though apparently they had some sound issues. We walked in when Kamelot was playing and they were not bad… but not quite my thing.

This was most definitely not my usual concert crowd, and I think many folks thought I was a NARC. Literally! I was NOT wearing black, nor an Iron Maiden shirt… I had no tattoos, and probably looked a bit… well… conservative in my grey and black camo shorts, my Under Armor shirt, my black Nike Big Ten baseball cap and my Ray Bans.

One guy selling bootlegged t-shirts LITERALLY stopped hawking them when he saw me walking towards him, and immediately shoved them under his own shirt and walked quickly away. Doh!

So back to the shirts for a second… I know, I know… I seem obsessed… but there is a method to my MADNESS!

This is an actual picture of Jason’s “A” Maiden Shirt. Look at the care he takes! That is a perfect Gap fold right there, folks! Did you use a board, Jason???
Now I want this one, too… and the Best Of The Beast shirt. Hint, hint… Bday in August… Wink, wink, nudge, nudge… What? Maiden shirts are HIP! But here is my bigger point on all the Maiden shirts.

I was always led to believe that unless it was a really unique shirt, and there were some of those, too… that it was UNCOOL to wear a band’s shirt to see THAT band. Clearly that is NOT the case for a Maiden show!

ALMOST EVERYONE had a Maiden shirt on, which is a HUGE TESTAMENT to their marketing prowess and skill at selling EVERYTHING MAIDEN. There were multiple times when we stopped and told people what a cool shirt they had on. So there you go!

Maiden is one of the few bands that continues to sell out shows around the world… and may also move the most Merch of any band! And believe me…the lines at the Merch tables were deep and wide. Should have snapped a photo of that… and of the selection of probably at least 12 different shirts.

And then there was this…

Genius. Expensive genius!

My buddy Jason did not think I would like Ghost, as they all wear masks, which can be a bit creepy… but they were great musicians and this Swedish Metal band really played to the crowd. Again, the Lucifer references made this nice Jewish boy a bit uncomfortable, but today was about the head banging.

And being with family and friends, of course. I don’t know who these people are, and what you can’t see is that the kid’s jacket also had an Elmo patch on it! And yes, he was wearing ear plugs.

Long live Rock N’ Roll! And yes, I am flashing the Metal Horns!

Come back Friday for the final Part 3, and the actual review of my first Maiden show!!!



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Filed under Life... Plain and Not So Simple, Live Music Reviews, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me