Maiden United Islington Academy 03-05-15
The evening started with a 30 minute unplugged set from the Dutch act Chapter 7 who were led by the gravelly voice of Jeroen Bruers and they impressed in this format.
I have loved Iron Maiden for over 30 years and so the chance to see Maiden United who play songs from right across Maiden's career and many not played for a very long time was too good to miss.
Are they a tribute act?In my opinion no.They may play songs from another band but the way they have torn apart some songs and rebuilt them and made them their own is fantastic.
Led by the outstanding vocals and theatrical style of Threshold's Damian Wilson who is a show all on his own.On acoustic guitar is Within Temptation's Ruud Jolie,on bass Joey Bruers from Up The Irons,on keys Huub van Loon from Dreamworld and for a few shows only Joe Lazurus from Voodoo Six on drums who's dad runs Iron Maiden's fan club!!
For an hour and 40 minutes we were treated to a magical journey of stripped back songs that we all know and love played lovingly by fans of the band who happen to all be wonderful musicians.
Here is what they played
Quest For Fire
2 Minutes To Midnight
Only The Good Die Young
Children Of The Damned
Flight Of Icarus
22 Acacia Avenue
The Evil That Men Do
Encore of Die With Your Boots On
As is his way Damian was thanking everyone in the front row for being there as the lights went down.
First song The Trooper is the first stripped back to the bone.A picked guitar riff from Ruud and Damian's passionate vocal have you amazed at what they have done to the song.Stripping it right back leaves you at awe of the song and that is really what they are doing.Re inventing a song played a million times and even the mid song whoa whoa's are sang in a completely different key.A mid song guitar solo and then keys solo over military drumming again blow the mind!!
And that was just the first song ended by Damian asking the crowd to join him on the whoa whoah's!!Wow.
Quest For Fire starts on a picked guitar riff and Damian's superb vocal.In all my 26 times I have seen Maiden one I have not seen played before!!
As each song ended to huge applause you thought what next.
Revelations was stunning as it was torn apart and played like you have never heard before 2 Minutes To Midnight had us punching the air and bellowing the chorus back.
Who needs loud guitars!!
Only The Good Die Young from Seventh Son was another not played live by Maiden and in a way is played nearer the original all be it with an acoustic guitar and keys riff!!When you say acoustic metal(!)you don't expect to see drumming of the calibre Joe Lazurus produced.Beating his kit into a pulp he was fantastic.
Every song was a highlight really with Damain the star man.His witty banter with the crowd about everything from issues with monitors,leads,women and Dutch men had the crowd in hysterics and he talked about staging diving as he has at the Threshold show in November.He had again been told by management no but that didn't stop him joining us for a wall of death!!He split the crowd in two and then proceeded to do a world class passionate vocal on Children Of The Damned that had him drawing it right up from his boot straps as he walked right to the back of the venue singing with the crowd.
Flight Of Icarus is a song that I wish Maiden would revisit on tour and hearing it in this format made you remember what a great song it is!!And that is what Maiden United are all about.
22 Acacia Avenue was superb.Again parts played similar to the original with a quite superb guitar solo from Ruud and the second part played by Huub on keys before Joe's drumming took it back to the original version.Brilliant.
Strange World from Maiden's debut album was next with a song that appears on Maiden United's new album Remembrance due out on the 22nd of May.Another wonderful Damian vocal took the evening to new heights.
The Evil That Men Do starts on a piano and Damian vocal that build and builds up to the chorus.Another song played down a key or two and pace too and more help from the crowd on the chorus as fists punched the air.
Infinite Dreams is another I would like Maiden to revisit.Ruud picks the main riff and Damian nails the vocal on one that is played nearer to the original at times!!We even get a mid song gallop with added bass!!!
Wasted Years is a classic show closer played with more pace and plenty of crowd involvement on the huge chorus.Another great song that the band have by the bucket load.
Die With Your Boots On is probably the most torn apart song of the evening.Different key, pace and even riff at times before mid song it explodes nearer the original.Joe again shows of his thunderous drumming style and more Damian interaction with the crowd on the Die part of the chorus.
As you think the song is ending they go up a notch and we get most of the band playing on their feet as the song build to it's finale.
Damian ends the show in the crowd thanking everyone for attending as is his way!!
A wonderful night out with fans of Iron Maiden in the crowd and on stage all United in the love of their music.