IRON MAIDEN Ahoy, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 13 December 2003

It really has been a very long time since I saw these guys on tour. I think it was "The Fear Of The Dark Tour", in the beginning of the nineties, that I last heard Maiden play live. Then Bruce left, Blaze came and I completely lost interested in Iron Maiden; one of my favourite metal bands of the last twenty years. The two albums Maiden made with Blaze ("The X Factor" (1995) and "Virtual XI"(1998)) are the only ones that are not in my rather huge Maiden collection. But, all 's well that end's well, and the prodigal son returned to Maiden and they made an excellent come back album "Brave New World" and this year they released their latest one "Dance Of Death".

Since twenty years Maiden kick off their show with the first track of their new album, so this night that was "Wildest Dreams". The guys looked like they were really into it and the volume was f.. loud. There are still some "golden oldies" like "Can I Play With Madness" or "Lord Of The Flies" on the set, but from their last album Maiden played five tracks. "Journeyman", "Dance Of Death", the amazing "Paschendale" and of course the two rather commercial singles.

The production is huge and a lot of things happen on stage, but I still think that Maiden's best times are over. Do not get me wrong I still enjoyed the show very much, but on my way back in the car to my hometown I put on the "Live After Death" album (1985!) and came to the conclusion that they may never reach that fantastic level any more...

Live report by Martien Koolen