The Gods of Heavy Metal finally arrive in Singapore, more than 30 years late.
When LAMC announced last year about the possibility of heavy metal Gods, Iron Maiden, heading towards Singapore as one of the stops of the Final Frontier Tour 2010-2011, fans went rabid, snapping up tickets from the day it was released. The day finally arrived on 15th February, their debut performance in the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Fans started queueing since the night before, with hopes to get the front rows at the show. Even then, by 1 PM the next day, the queue was disappointing, with only 2 rows of people waiting eagerly under the scorching sun. However, as the time of the concert drew near, more people arrived as the skies turned dark. It soon started to rain and the crowd were moved into the shelter, with unclear instructions and atrocious crowd control leading to instant chaos and curses and swears hurled towards security. Further unclear instructions were given out, causing people who have already dried themselves to get drenched once more. It was only after a few huge confusions that fans were finally let into the stadium at around 7 PM.
A band of Maiden’s stature certainly needs no opening act, and it was therefore surprising to see the banner of the opening band, Rise to Remain (featuring Bruce Dickinson’s son as frontman) on the stage. It was not long after fans started entering the venue that the band started their show. The mismatch with Maiden‘s music, with the breakdowns, the screams and the whiney vocals in their music aside, Rise to Remain‘s set felt almost like a filler time for people to move into the venue. The donning of a Taake shirt by singer Austin certainly did not help matters as it felt almost blasphemous, seeing a metalcore frontman in a black metal shirt (the black metal elitist side of me seeps out…). Austin certainly has huge shoes to fill, considering father Bruce’s reputation in the international heavy metal scene. While some of the fans in the front were going crazy with the intense shoving, moshing and crowd surfing, people at the back waiting for the real show to begin were taking a breather from the earlier chaos, sitting down and taking a break before Maiden gets the show going. The real cheers came when the band announced their final song as it marked the moment that everyone has been waiting for…
1. Satellite 15… The Final Frontier
2. El Dorado
3. 2 Minutes to Midnight
4. Coming Home
5. Dance of Death
6. The Trooper
7. Blood Brothers
8. The Wickerman
9. When the Wild Wind Blows
10. The Talisman
11. The Evil that Men Do
12. Fear of the Dark
13. Iron Maiden
14. The Number of the Beast
15. Hallowed be Thy Name
16. Running Free
More cheers started emitting from the crowd as Satellite 15 played over the PA, complete with 3D animations played on the screens at the both sides of the stage. As Satellite 15 ends and The Final Frontier began, the crowd went insane as the members of Maiden finally grace the stage. Iron Maiden had previously promised that this tour will showcase not only works from their latest opus, The Final Frontier, but also a number of classics from their discography. Songs like 2 Minutes to Midnight and The Trooper certainly brought the loudest cheers, with the most epic moment of the set being Fear of the Dark, which never fails to bring the crowd to sing along with the tunes. The highest point came as Maiden played their closing song, the self-titled Iron Maiden, when the new incarnation of Eddie came on stage, and Janick Ger’s teasing by throwing his guitar towards Eddie. A guitar was eventually passed to Eddie, with Eddie “playing” along with the band for the final riffs of Iron Maiden.
Throughout the show, Bruce proved what it meant to be a frontman, and not just the singer of the band with his numerous antics. Constantly dancing to the tunes, jumping and doing a mid-air split, coming on stage in a military-styled uniform and the Union flag was only a small part of what he was capable of doing to charm the crowd. Perhaps the perfect example would be on Dance of Death, where he sings and acts out the emotions of the song, yet not losing any of his pitch, further proving his capabilities as one of heavy metal’s greatest voice.
Of course, how could we forget his famous ranting onstage? As he mentioned about his experience earlier in the day of having another Englishman telling him how dead the crowd in Singapore was going to be, he was greeted by cheers, proving the notion wrong. On the closing song of the encore, Running Free, the band also got the crowd to participate with the shouting of “Running Free” during the chorus, and as the final moments of the song arrived, Bruce asked the crowd if they were ready, only to be greeted by uncertain cheers by some, to which he commented “Awww fuck! Come on, are you guys ready?” and it was only then that a definite cheer was heard. There was even a short moment where Bruce poked fun at the strict (and even ridiculous) laws of Singapore. As the show came to an end, the band promised the crowd that this was not going to be the only time they will head to Singapore (and I certainly hope so as well!), ending the concert with the lighting up of the stadium and Monty Python‘s “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” over the PA system.
One thing that caused the show to falter slightly was the sound of the show. While standing in the middle of the pen gave a bad sound, standing nearer the back gave a more decent sound, while not perfect. At times, Bruce’s vocals could not be heard, and so were each of the guitarists’ solos. However, this did not stop Iron Maiden from giving a kick-ass show.
Few bands actually manage to jerk a tear in me (probably not even other metal legends like Metallica), but Maiden certainly did and it was almost like a spiritual experience, watching the band who have crafted classics like “The Number of the Beast” and the likes performing live onstage in front of me. Despite the crappy experience before the show, Maiden more than made up for it and this is one show that will certainly go down in Singapore’s heavy metal history.
Iron Maiden’s gonna get… All of you!!!
Album Review: Iron Maiden – Dance of Death
Album Review: Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier
Album Review: Iron Maiden – El Dorado (single)
Interview with The Iron Maidens (The world’s only female tribute to Iron Maiden)