IRON MAIDEN – Oslo – Telenor Arena

IRON MAIDEN – Oslo – Telenor Arena

As a kid, discovering the finest music that the devil had on offer for us, I went through the usual stages that were common for most of those my generation spewed forth. These stages amounted to a gradual ascent up the mount – the further up you travelled generally meant that you were becoming accustomed to sounds that were harsher and vocals that had less and less to do with melody.
From Queen to Guns N’ Roses/Bon Jovi to Thrash (stage one was the big four, stage two would be the more abrasive such as Kreator etc) and then onto Death Metal, Black Metal, Grindcore or whatever it was that was your specialist area from then on.

A glaring omission from my own background is Iron Maiden. Never ever got into Maiden. Shocking, eh?. My justification (if such a thing is needed) is that a buddy and myself both dipped our toes into the Rock/Metal waters around the same time and just as kids can have the "My Dad is tougher than your Dad" rivalry (or was it "My Mother is hotter than your Mother"?…actually seeing as I had the hots for his Mother, it probably wasn’t that), we inadvertently adopted opposing corners. I was G n’ R and he was Maiden.


Over the years, I have never really back tracked into the Maiden catalogue but as a twenty year plus veteran of dank, sweaty Metal bars I am well versed in the Maiden catalogue of classics, enough to acknowledge just how incredibly important they have been and continue to be. More important for me though is the respect they deserve aside from their recordings.

The last ten years have seen so many bands that I once loved drive me almost to inconsolable shame so pathetic has been their desperation to remain active in the eye of the public for anything but reasons artistic.
Metallica making an album in 2003 that was, as they saw, tailor made to fit into what was then musically fashionable and in turn betrayed every artistic value they should have upheld.
Anthrax. Selling every facet of dignity to try and reclaim some glory points by fucking their friend and, let’s be honest, musical saviour John Bush in the ass. Ousting him in favour of a man they openly despised, a man who was not even in the same league as Bush.
Megadeth. Drama. Drama. Flogging a dead horse. Pathetic.
Slayer. Luckily have escaped the disgrace of their so called "Big Four" peers…..but…come on…..they are still touring their first five albums aren’t they? Does anyone really give a shit about anything after "Seasons…".


OK, if I am going to highlight one area that separates Iron Maiden (in terms of being veterans and pioneers) from these other bands. It is this – touring and playing one album in it’s entirety (a "classic" album). The new fad. That to me says this "OK, we are still making albums and of course we have said our new album is our best and most mature ever….but we are going to tour and play one of our classic albums from start to finish…because basically we know that our new stuff is dull and we are desperate to keep some public interest". To me it is an insult to those who have continued buying the albums and going to the shows through the years. Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax, Metallica have all taken part in this classic album bullshit, whether for a tour or a highly publicised event. But then there is Iron Maiden. Thank the Devil for that.

What do Maiden do? They tour and they play the entire NEW album. They tour and play a set consisting mostly of stuff from their past four albums. Now before you pull the "Somewhere Back In Time" card…let me point out that they said from the offset that this tour in particular was simply because they do not play that nostalgia card year in, year out. It was a gesture because Maiden are a band that are driven by the love or the desire for music and by music, I mean the ongoing love for music and not, like the others, for recognition, for adoration, for the stroking a frail ego.

So, there was a gig to be discussed here too wasn’t there? There was. So the Maiden juggernaut rolled back into Oslo this July.Telenor Arena. 16,000 on a school night. Wow. The atmosphere was electric. The sound was incredible. The band on absolute fire. As I said, I am no Maiden devotee so there are so many songs from the recent albums that I just do not know and that is simply what makes this so surprising because so many songs that I knew not at all and yet sounded absolutely fantastic. It boggles my mind how a band around for this length of time can remain so fucking vital.


Bruce Dickinson???….man. In all honesty, as an Irishman, if one were so inclined I think he would probably epitomise the sort of ‘stuck up’ Englishman that would ruffle the feathers of your day to day Paddy in between sessions of fisting the sheep and impregnating the wife. Point being that he is an easy target to despise for those of us from the Emerald Isle and yet he is idolised……and rightly so when you take a step back and listen to the guy sing. It is insane. Just turned 53 years of age. The man must be alien.

Simply seeing how the band conduct themselves and how the manage to bond with 16,000 folk in a way that is just not condescending is an absolute joy. I think that there can simply be no man on this earth that I respect more than Steve Harris. Having guided this ship for so many years and keeping it afloat whilst his own feel have never left the ground is a feat I can hardly fathom. And, yes, Maiden were brilliant!