Further to the Cape Town review by Underground Press that summarizes the story of Iron Maiden, Carnival City hosted approximately 16 500 Iron Maiden metal heads in the gardens on Saturday 21 May 2016. It has been 21 years since Iron Maiden performed in South Africa and were back in 2016 to perform their ‘Book of Souls’ tour. The massive golden circle was and packed with fans all the way to the sound desk for the best view possible.
Battle of the Bands winner, Jasper Dan were honoured to open for one of the most iconic bands of all time. Their 30-minute set gave the sceptical crowd a taste of a southern rock which did not disappoint, giving the crowd something different to listen to before Raven Age took the stage to get the energy revved up for Iron Maiden. Jasper Dan is currently in the studio recording and I recommend keeping an eye on them.
Raven Age is a hot and heavy melodic metal rock band from London supporting the Book of Souls tour led by George Harris, the son of Steve Harris from Iron Maiden.
Then it was then time for the guests of honour do that thing that’s kept them going for 40 years. Respect! The stage was transformed into a Mayan jungle-like set up with gongs, incredible pyro techniques, hieroglyphics all over including Bruce Dickinson’s mic stand and on the arty drum kit (with a yellow teddy bear mascot on the kick drum). The intro 'Doctor, Doctor' was followed by a Mayan type tune breaking out into ‘If Eternity Shall Fail’. Bruce Dickinson’s voice best I can describe as the ‘soul of a man’ rocked the crowd. The rest of the show followed the same set as Cape Town, incorporating new and old tracks.
Intro: Doctor, Doctor - a song from the 1974 album Phenomenon by UFO
If Eternity Should Fail
Speed of Light
Children of the Damned
Tears of a Clown
The Red and the Black
Death or Glory
The Book of Souls
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Fear of the Dark
The Number of the Beast
Outro: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (Monty Python Song)
The crowd that was brought up on a diet of Iron Maiden went mad. A cultural mix across all ages, Iron Maiden t-shirts, docks, booze, old timers and dentures, and see some folk bringing their young teenage kids along to witness one of the best metal bands of all time. A flag saying “*F***ing Finally” was just another reminder of the love for Iron Maiden and that the fans share for them. Up the Irons!
From those who remember their school days drawing Eddie the mascot on their schoolbooks and schoolbags, he made his appearance as in the form of Mayan warrior looking somewhat like an Avenger and has aged remarkably well. He battles Bruce on stage during song ‘Book of Souls’ with his axe but Bruce eventually sticks his hand out sliding it under Eddie’s rib cage , pulling his heart out, tossing it into the crowd. Later, Eddie’s massive head hangs on a cable swinging from the roof. The backdrop screens continuously change to different imaging throughout the concert – visually inviting.
Every band member poured their heart and soul out into their stage performance, constantly moving around to reach all the fans. Iron Maiden has an unstoppable energy and stage presence, impeccable sound and lighting and I could feel the bass of the speakers move through my sneakers.
This is one of the most unbelievable bands that has performed in South Africa. You don’t need to be fan of Iron Maiden to appreciate who they are on a timeline of 40 years and are still going strong. Their years have not been wasted.
They won’t be hanging around our shores for some rest and relaxation unfortunately as they have to head back on Ed Force One to start their next European tour.
A well-organised concert in regard to security, access points, parking, merchandise, ablution facilities, food and drinks. Happy days! I look forward to the next one.
*Thank you to Big Concerts, Iron Maiden PR and Management, Publicity Workshop (Dionne and Benji Mudie), Underground Press SA, Jasper Dan and The Raven Age for a night we will never forget!
*Photos by Tarryne Rautenbach