We did not have accreditations. Because we did not ask. But it does not stop us from doing what we know the best. Call it professional deformation, but wherever we go, whatever we do, we simply need to write. Because, metal is running through our veins. In my over 30 years of dedication to metal, I have seen Iron Maiden five times in different cities and countries. The rest of the magazine is much younger, so when we talked about the report, the idea was each of us to write our own retrospective so we could have three different perspectives, from generation to generation. But, we ended up with a one review. Life…
Three of four team members were in Belgrade Arena on June 24th, 2022. My presence was questionable. I have seen Iron Maiden for 5 times by now, and, may I be honest, the support band, Lord of the Lost, made me pull out the money out of my pocket, spend a huge amount and just go there. The team member who did not go, when I told him I will buy a ticket because I want to see LOTL wrote to me, and I will quote: “It’s nice that you’re not ashamed of your own madness.” On the contrary! I am proud of it!
And so it began…
What a teacher can afford is a “cheap” ticket. A bit over 40€ led me to the sealing. But close to 15 years of concert experience (my first show was back in 1998) made me wiser. If there is no security guard in the front of your sector, pretend you are deaf, blind, stupid, lost your ticket and go where you want to. I did not cheat that much, instead sector 505 moved to 504 because our Abaddon kid, the youngest crew member, simply couldn’t be left alone.
We were at the crime scene already at 18:30, an hour earlier. Exhausting Belgrade weather, as we are placed somewhere in the Sahara, not in the hole somewhere on hilly Balkan, we patiently waited for the Sun to come down because it was obvious security will not let us in before 19 o’clock. Of course, Iron Maiden is an institution, so, not typical for Serbian concerts globally, everything started right on time.
As already mentioned, LOTL was the reason I decided to go at the very last moment. The best supporting act Iron Maiden had, at least on those concerts I have visited. Chris Harms, metal chameleon, drew my attention a long time ago, but as an “actor” in Falco’s posthumous video “Kissing in the Kremlin”, which was recorded in 2010. I could freely say, the rest is history, but at least for Serbian fans not. Mostly no one knew nothing about the band, and what I heard after the show, people were comparing them with Fear Factory.
Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do…
Concert with Iron Maiden was the first one for LOTL in Serbia. I expected a spectacle and I got it. I did not expect too long set list, because, simply, if you are not the main band, never played in the country before, you have to choose the best of the best to represent yourself. On the other hand, yes, I expected more songs from the last album, at least “Priest”, but did not hear it. But “Born with a Broken Heart” and my personal favorite “Lorelei” just blew my mind. LOTL showed they are capable of pulling out the best of the Serbian fans, and playing in front of Iron Maiden, it is really hard to accomplish. From the first notes LOTL drag us to hell! Explosion of energy! LOTL continued with “Morgan” that led us to “Born with a Broken Heart”. “Under the Sun” followed. “Gospel of Judas” represented the band’s last opus “Priest” and it continued with ”Heartbeat of the Devil”.
“We wanna see your hands
We wanna see you dance
Like there is no tomorrow.
We wanna hear a yeah
Don’t wanna hear a no
Now raise your hands
And let’s go”…
At this point I really enjoyed the show like there is no tomorrow, and the next one was my personal highlight, and even I am terrible singer, I just could not resist at least singing the magnificent chorus:
Cry for Eden, Loreley!
Cry for Eden, Loreley!”
From what I have seen and what I have heard, Belgrade fans embraced Lord of the Lost and they showed it with fists up in the air. In a few words, their performance could be described as: La Bomba! Explosión! Kaboom!
My Iron Maiden saga began back in 2007, in Belgrade. Did I mention LOTL is the best support act I have ever seen with Iron Maiden? At that first concert I saw Lauren Harris. You know the old one: everything stays in the family? Obviously not, because, if anyone knows where she is now, please let me know. At least a thousand miles away from her father. On the next shows, Somewhere back in Time 2009, forgive me, but do not remember the support band. We had the opportunity to hear Ghost at Kalemegdan Fortress in 2014. And in 2018 in Zagreb Tremonti played.
Since the tour started only two days earlier in Zagreb, I simply did not want to know the set list. Five minutes before the show officially started, on the screen we could see “Transylvania”, Legacy of the Beast video game promo.
Of course, it has to begin with UFO’s “Doctor, Doctor” but where the hell is:
“We shall fight in France
We shall fight over the seas and oceans.
We shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air.
We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be
We shall fight on beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds,
We shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
We shall fight on the hills.
We shall never surrender.”
Where is Aces High?!
The first three songs were reserved for the last album “Senjutsu”. The title song led us to “Stratego” and from what I have heard and seen, at least from the people around me, reaction was let’s say mild. Maybe the fact geriatrics was placed in my sector and the last album they have heard was “Fear of the Dark”, I have no idea, but people were even eating popcorn during the first two songs. At the third one “The Writing on the Wall” they slowly started to crawl from their tombs and we saw something that might be described as an attempt of movement. Scenography was followed by the Japanese temple, on the screen were fragments of the video, nothing bombastic and spectacular till “Revelations”. From that moment on, the show has begun! And of course, Eddie was shown as a Samurai right from the beginning.
From all that I have ever seen on Maiden shows, one thing is for sure. Maiden fans, wherever they come from, are blood brothers!
The next song set brought us to the church. Amazing stained glass, candle chandeliers that I have already seen at Legacy of the Beast Part 1 Tour. Of course, I am talking about the “Sign of the Cross”. Another costume change, black cloak and wields an illuminated crucifix, red lights and ecstasy.
“Flight of Icarus”, personal highlight of the show, not just this one, but everyone at which they played it. You cannot remain indifferent. Gigantic, ill-fated Icarus above the stage, Bruce with flamethrower…
Dickinson with a death plague mask and lantern could easily afford himself to let the fans sing “Fear of the Dark” instead of him. 15000 thousand souls from 7 to 77 all sung together.
“Hallowed Be Thy Name” Bruce sang from behind bars before being faced with a hangman’s noose and at the end “The Number of the Beast” in a leather biker jacket. “Iron Maiden” closed the show. But of course, we all know it can’t be the end.
“The Trooper” and Eddie again opened the first encore. At the end of the song, on the screen the middle finger and blood on the hand were shown. Very clear message, say no more. “Clansman” followed and the encore was closed with “Run to the Hills”.
Fans all over the world when it comes to Iron Maiden are always hungry for more and there was more.
What I missed in the beginning came to an end. “Aces High” brought a real live spitfire to the stage. As Bruce once explained:
“…that’s the symbol of the fight against the Nazis during the Second World War.”
Still not relaxed enough, although I have already seen it before, in my mind was the thought: what if something goes wrong and the plane that hangs above the bend kills them all? Chances are small, but still… Dickinson was dressed as a World War II fighter pilot, by the way
The rich scenography, costumes fitting to the lyrical themes, great effects, energy, interaction with fans, everything was just perfect. The sound was not so good at some point, but nobody is perfect. What has left the bitter taste has nothing to do with Iron Maiden or their guests Lord of the Lost. Security was extremely rough, using excessive force to prove they have the power over people who have just come to enjoy the best they can. Although you are far from that, I will say:
Dear gentleman, educate yourself! Moshpits, headbanging, singing loud, screaming, legs kicking is typical behavior for metal fans. You should be ashamed of every child you forcibly kicked out of a concert with the hands on their back just for being who they are: true metalheads! You will never understand that, we will never forget, never forgive! Up the Irons!
Iron Maiden and Lord of the Lost were in Belgrade on May 24th. If you still have not seen any of those shows, be part of the legacy!