Iron Maiden, Sheffield Arena, 10-5-17

I’ve been going to Sheffield arena since 1991. It took a few visits before we wised up to the parking being expensive & a bitch to get out of the place after the gigs. We started parking at Meadowhall. It’s only 10mins walk & free too park. Imagine our surprise to find out parking is now restricted there ! Supposedly there’s ANPR cameras & if you stay too long, you get a fine! We went in Meadowhell & i asked someone about the parking. She suggested going down road towards Arena & to park at “Valley Centertainment”(where cinema is) as it’s free there. Andy was still a bit paranoid about parking there,but after i’d chatted to a couple of people on their fag breaks, they said it would be fine. So we walked back to Meadowhell, did some shopping, had some food (In the most expensive Wetherspoons we’ve ever been in ! Even more than London prices!!) then walked to arena. They had an official booth outside selling the merchandise. Difference between Nottingham & Sheffield was they actually had an event shirt for today ! Just had to buy one 🙂
Once again, on entry, no searching, just checks that tickets matched to I.D.s I really think this is a great step forward to beat the touts 🙂
We had reasonable seats; about half way back on the side.  Shinedown play the usual 9 song opening set, starting with “Adrenaline”. Brent comes out with his usual shtick about saying hello to the people next to you etc. Before “Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom), he gets the crowd to split down the middle ,so he can walk in amongst them & get em in the mood for some jumping around. What would impress me here is if he was to STAY IN THE CROWD for the jumping. But he goes back on stage & says on the count of three, he wants everyone stood up & jumping. It’s an impressive sight. After that, the mood is brought down a little with the moody “How Did You Love”. “Enemies” is a highlight of the show for me. It just rocks. Then a complete contrast is next when they perform “Second Chance”. Still a beautiful song. Their set finishes with a rousing version of “Sound of Madness”

Maidens set is also the same as ever on this leg of the tour. Tonight, for myself, i didn’t think the first song had got the sound quite dialled in. But it improved during “Speed Of Light”. Next we get the classic old school 1-2 of “Wrathchild” followed by “Children Of The Damned”. Bruce is his usual talkative self. He says ” Ello !” & isn’t impressed with the reaction so then says ” I said Ello !!”. He’s now greeted with the cheers that should have happened first time 😉 He mentions how they’re gonna play a lot of the new album tonight “The clue is in the stage set “. He also talks about how they’re having a go at the ticket touts (which, as we all know, are in fact the ticket distributors who automatically push tix to the resellers sites…which the big companies own!) & have implimented a new system of having to match i.d. to who bought the tix. It’s been long overdue that someone took a real stand against those fuckers & i’m real proud that it’s Maiden who started the ball rolling. I have nothing but respect for them for taking this initiative ! I digress…. “Children Of The Damned” is a timeless classic.

We’re then brought back to the modern day songs of “Death Or Glory” & “The Red & The Black”. Can’t beat a bit of a sing a long 🙂 
“The Trooper” is great with Bruce hamming it up with Janick, messing about with the flag.

“Powerslave” is another classic. It takes me back to 1984 when i followed the tour around the UK – such great memories 🙂  I’m still not keen on “The Great Unknown” & would much prefer to hear “Hallowed Be Thy Name” in it’s place. But as we recently found out, there’s some old chancer trying to sue them over the song as Maiden did “borrow” parts of the original ‘Life’s Shadow’. Apparently, the matter was settled years ago, but now someone seems to be trying it on with Maiden.
“The Book Of Souls” comes over great

As ever, as the intro to “Fear Of the Dark” starts, we all have a great sing a long. Great stuff ! They finish the main set with “Iron Maiden”.
Come encore time we get “The Number Of The Beast”, “Blood Brothers” & the final song of the night “Wasted Years”.

Overall, i think i prefered the show in Nottingham over the Sheffield one. But hey, it was still great & maybe i’m being a bit picky. Tonights show was the 51st time i’d seen Maiden, so maybe i have the right to be picky lol.
We didn’t hang about afterwards & went straight to the car. Had a feeling it would be a pain getting out of the place & damn it was ! Just getting out of car park was hard enough, but once on dual carriage way, we just didn’t seem to move ! Andy was getting stressed that the car looked like it was over heating & eventually when we got to Meadowhell, we turned off & parked up a while. We took a totally different route out of the city, via Rotherham, parts of which we remembered from when we visited the “Magna Centre” for the HRH AOR show back in 2013 ! Whilst this was a longer journey, i think it was a wise choice. We got home around 02.00AM & damn was i knackered ! As ever, huge thanks to Andy for driving tonight, it was most appreciated. Will we go to Sheffield Arena again ? Hmm, i dunno….but have already figured out a better place to park if we do go 😉

http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/watch-iron-maiden-perform-in-sheffield-england/

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Iron Maiden, Shinedown, Nottingham Motorpoint Arena, 4-5-17

I’d been really looking forward to this one as after the fiasco of Download to see them indoors once again should be great. Not only that, it was also a special one for me as it’s the 50th time i’ve seen Maiden live 🙂 Andy drove us to Nottingham. We parked up at the park n ride. Got a special “event” tram ticket (only £2 return) & went into the city. Had a wander around & visited a couple of pubs. The Pit & Pendulum was pretty busy & full of metal heads 🙂 Did the usual of having grub in The Roebuck & then walked to the arena. Despite all the advance warnings, such as no large bags would be allowed in & there would be searches, they DIDN’T search ! Though they DID make sure tickets matched the name who ordered them & checked id. We had seats on Row A. They were a bit lower than i expected ( Row B would have probably been perfect ). But still got a decent view even if had to stand up a bit.
Shinedown have some quality songs & they sound great in the live environment (assuming everything IS live 😉 ) I’ve seen them a few times before but i now find their achilles heel is when Brent comes out with the same lines about greeting the person to you left or right… Thankfully they did that early in the set & as they were a support act tonight, there wasn’t as much talking as usual & they delivered a fine 9 song set.

 

I’d seen a few clips from the German shows so knew Nottingham was gonna be a good one as they’d be properly warmed up. The setlist hasn’t really changed much from last years. They replaced 2 songs. Still looks a nice long set. We had seats on the side on the front row, so got a decent view…
As ever, they play “Doctor Doctor” over the PA, so you know it’s not long till the mighty Maiden hit the stage. Once that’s finished, there’s an animated film shown on the video screens,. Maiden have uploaded the intro film, so here it is for all to see :

Bruce appears behind a smouldering cauldron & it’s straight into “If Eternity Should Fail” 
They don’t hang about & carry on with “Speed Of Light “. Already they have the audience in the palm of their hands….

Next it’s real old school classic “Wrathchild”. It’s a nice addition to the set; that song is just timeless to me. Bruce then greets the crowd & says how he’s going to speak ” The Queens fucking English ” haha . He also comments how people have got it wrong about where he originally comes from. He is in fact from Worksop, which of course is in Nottinghamshire. The audience lap it up & cheer like crazy 🙂 He then introduces the next song, another super classic “Children Of The Damned”.

After that we get “Climb Like A Monkey” aka “Death Or Glory” 🙂  Then it’s another “new” song , the epic “Red & The Black”. Next it’s two songs from the real glory years ; “The Trooper” & “Powerslave”. During “The Trooper” Bruce wears the old regalia & jokes around with Janick by covering him with his flag.  For “Powerslave” Bruce appears wearing what i call a “Gimp Mask”. Must confess, i prefered the 1984 mask with the feathers….but i guess the gimp mask is easier to look after & the feather mask has died many years ago haha.

Next we get the other change to the set list ; “The Great Unknown”. Afterwards, Bruce has a bit of a rant about the fact there’s “Butt Wiper” beer on sale here. I was expecting him to push the Trooper beer,but he didn’t need too considering the cheers he got when he dissed the American Butt Wiper beer…”…it’s fizzy fucking pop with a little bit of alcohol in it !…” He also explains that after the US tour, where they hope to educate them about real beer, they’ll be packing away this production & will have a think about the future. Of course, the next song is very long “The Book Of Souls “. During this one, the “Mayan Eddie” makes an appearance on stage & Janick jokes around running between his legs. Eventually Bruce rips out Eddies heart & throws it to the audience.
After that, it’s the classic sing along song “Fear Of The Dark ” closely followed by the standard “Iron Maiden”. It’s already been a great show, but of course there’s gonna be the inevitable encores 🙂 The first one starts with the familia intro over the PA ” “Woe to you, oh Earth and sea, for the Devil sends the Beast with wrath.Because he knows the time is short. Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the Beast ,For it is a human number, its number is six hundred and sixty six”. There’s loads of fire up on stage…and it’s not just from the actual flames ! Fantastic stuff all round. 
Before “Blood Brothers” Bruce explains how the Maiden audience is one of the most sociable around . He picks out the various countries flags in the crowd. Mentions he hopes everyone goes away happy , despite the fact that most of their songs are about mass murder etc, the irony of which is not lost on him. 🙂
The show finishes with “Wasted years”. Again as is customary nowadays, Bruce jokes around with Adrian moving his microphone around during his vocal parts. It’s all done in jest & you can see they’re having fun up there.
That’s it ! Last song of the night & what a bloody fantastic night it was. I’ll always remember my 50th Maiden show as being one of the best,no matter how long i live. They’ve always been great & will continue to be in my world ! 

P.S.  As a special bonus, here’s a 2 camera clip of Powerslave. Many thanks to “Painkiller” 🙂

P.P.S. Blabbermouth website picked up on my clips

http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/iron-maiden-nicko-mcbrain-says-getting-back-on-stage-for-first-time-in-over-six-months-was-nerve-wracking/

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Download Festival, Iron Maiden, Janes Addiction, Halestorm, Delain, Shinedown, Donington park 12-6-16

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Back in 2012 i vowed i’d never go back there again until they improved the set up for the punters. Awful memories of the car getting stuck GOING IN on first day, rivers of MUD & generally a crap festival.I’m only going Sunday, mainly because Maiden are headlining & being a British band, they STILL wont do a proper UK tour – bunch of cunts! There’s a couple more decent bands & i’m also really looking forward to meeting friends there 😉

I realy shoulda listened to myself hey ? It was as crap as 2012, if not worse ! The day started early with Andy picking me up & driving us to our “usual” hotel in Nottingham. There we met Ady & went off to the gig in his car. I’d got the disabled parking permit, so, that was a bonus as we get to park on the hard standing surface instead of the rivers of mud. As i’d arranged this a bit late, it seems they’d cocked up & didn’t send something to get me in on the disabled entry though. First stupid thing : The portacabin for disabled tix etc was all muddy in front of it. An easy example of how they could improve things for the punters : How about some tracking or pallets placed in front of it? After some discussion, eventually a guy came to see us & after i complained, he took us to the disabled entrance,thus jumping the massive queue 😉 Good chap.
The festival site was an absolute mess! Talk about rivers of mud ! I’d hate to think what crap was in there & it’s really not the best place for me to be,due to my immune system dropping right now. But i am rock n roll & i’m doing this mofo !
I didn’t take hardly any photos/videos, due to the crap weather…
First band we saw was ” Monster Truck ” on the main stage. Good old school, kinda southern rock n roll. We stayed there to watch Amon Amarth. They had some nice fire breathing dragons onstage, & we were asked to raise our horns 😉 First time seeing them for me & i doubt i’d go out my way to see them again. Musically good,entertaining yes, but vocals meh !
We then went to the other stage to watch Delain. Finally the weather got a little better & could use camera. I was surprised how it wasn’t very busy. But they did a nice little gig.DSC07243

We then made our way back to the mainstage for Halestorm. Whilst there i met Tina & her friend Carol. Tina seemed very impressed with Halestorm, especially Lzzys great vocals 🙂 Tina DownloadDSC07248
As the lads are not into Brent Smiths over talking, we decided to move to the other stage (We all like Shinedowns music, but, Brent just goes on too much between songs…”Look to your left…shake the hand off that person..blah blah lol). They went to watch Breaking Benjamin, whilst i waited around to meet Tess. Stood near the “Big Download Dog” (a photo opportunity similar to the Harry Potter thing down London, except, you didn’t have to pay here lol) i could watch a bit of Shinedown on the screens. Totally thought of the lads when Brent did his preaching 😉 With Ghost having cancelled earlier, there were really only two bands i really wanted to see : Janes Addiction & Maiden.The weather was still rubbish & walking through the mud was a PITA. Once Tess arrived,we decided to make our way over to the Encore stage & get a coffee before Janes. Totally random, we bumped into Matt & Vicki Wright ! Was great to see them again. We then all carried on in the direction of Encore stage. Myself & Tess nipped to get a coffee before Janes Addiction. Now i love Janes, have done for many years, but sometimes the “same” show gets a bit much. Today however, was different as i was watching it with a fellow Janes lover who totally gets them 🙂
Starting with the usual “Up The Beach” we float into Janes world. Perry is still the Pimp Daddy, in his great old style clothes.

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Then it’s the familiar “Stop” quickly followed by “Ain’t No Right”.Cannot help but shake my ass to this stuff ! Bloody love it.
Tess is beaming as classic after classic is played. During “Mountain Song” the world was exposed to my crappy vocals 😉
Next they play the only really modern song of there’s ” Just Because”. To think this came out in 2003….how quickly time flys.
Next it’s the monumental ” Three Days “. This is one of my all time fave songs by any band. I just love how the bass starts things off & the song ebbs & flows. It’s just amazing

Next it’s the song that everyone knows by Janes Addiction ” Been Caught Stealin “. After “Ocean Size”, there’s a shock when they cover Bowies ” Rebel Rebel “. I really dunno if it worked on not tbh.

Finally we get “Ted Just Admit It”. During which, we had the
suspension girls flying above the band. Why does it not surprise me that Tess said she wants to do that ? 😉 DSC07267DSC07270
The encore is the usual ” Jane Says”. Cracks me up how “comfy” Navarro looks 🙂

DSC07272So that was that. Easily my highlight of Download 2016.
Said my goodbyes to Tess,then me & Andy wandered off to see Maiden.
Maiden is a band i’ve followed for many years. Back in the day, i followed tours around the UK. I’m lucky to have seen a bunch of shows from the real “glory years”. In fact, they are in 2nd spot for the band i’ve seen the most. Strangely, it’s a certain German band that currently hold to top spot… So anyway, as soon as you hear UFOs “Doctor Doctor”, you know it’s time. First song was “If Eternity Should Fail “. Took them that song & “Speed Of Light” before it sounded any good. Particularly thought the Nickos drums sounded very tinny. But they got it better for “Children Of The Damned”. An old chestnut. It was a nice moment when Bruce dedicated “Tears Of A Clown” to the late Robin Williams. Was great to hear the classics “The Trooper” & “Powerslave”. Brought back so many memories of the ’80s for me. I think we stayed untill encore time. It had been a long day & it really was taking its toll, so myself & Andy decided to leave early & wait for Ady at the car.

My highlights of the day were Janes Addiction & finally meeting Tess properly. So nice to have a real good chat etc. It was a good craic 🙂
So, once again, i say to myself i won’t go to Download again….& this time i mean it ! The money grabbing bastards !

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Sonisphere Festival , Anthrax , The Prodigy, Iron Maiden, Anthrax, Ghost, Babymetal, Sebastian Bach, Voodoo Six, Alestorm, Ally (Virginmarys), Knebworth Park, 4/5-7-14

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Thanks to my mate Greg & in turn his mate Scott, we had AAA passes for the show! Got to see two different sets by Anthrax, The Prodigy were great, saw an exclusive acoustic set by Ally from The Virginmarys, the strange Babymetal & the mighty Maiden. A great couple of days for sure 🙂

 

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Download Festival , Castle Donington, Iron Maiden,Megadeth, Velvet Revolver, Wolfmother, Hinder, Buckcherry, Slayer, Machine Head, 30 Seconds To Mars, 30 Seconds To Mars,Linkin Park,Evanescence, Killswitch Engage, Stone Sour, Lamb Of God, Mastodon, Papa Roach, 8-6-07

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