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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Iron Maiden with Alice Cooper - Live in Detroit 2012

Chambers of Rock Guest Review

Iron Maiden with Special Guest Alice Cooper 

Wednesday July 18th 2012 
Pine Knob Music Theatre (DTE Energy Music Theatre)

My thanks go out to guest reviewer, Dave Dunford, who kindly agreed to cover reviewing the show he recently attended, the impressive Iron Maiden alongside old favourite Alice Cooper!
Wish I could've been there, but ... It wasn't to be ....

So I turn this review over to Dave, who it seems, he didn't have the best experience with the venue's operations on this evening ... Been there Dave, through that and know excatly what you mean!
Over to you Dave!

After many, many years I finally got to see Iron Maiden again. To be honest, I’ve always like Maiden (although don’t know their more recent stuff anywhere near as well as their 80’s ‘classics’) but for one reason or another I haven’t invested in a concert ticket to see them …… until they announced Alice would be opening for them on select dates on their “Maiden England” world tour. Even though the Alice set would be a shortened version of the same set he toured with last year I still have to make my annual outing to see him and his super band!

So, with Alice being the main reason for my journey to Pine Knob you can only imagine my frustration at missing half of his set!!
Even though we arrived in plenty of time, I had to stand in line at Will Call for almost thirty minutes….only to get to the window and have to wait another ten minutes while the lovely lady tried to figure out why she couldn’t locate my tickets?!!

Surprisingly, I remained patient while listening to the opening Cooper classics I could clearly hear playing inside the venue. When the lady returned only to inform me that I actually didn’t need a ticket, all I had to do was have the person at the entrance swipe my credit card (used to purchase the tickets initially) and they would be able to print me an instant ticket and I’d be good to go !!

Ed's note: Hopefully Dave, you don't find that you're charged twice for those tickets mate!

So…..another ten minutes in line to enter the venue…..and a short five minute walk from the entrance to our seats meant that by the time I arrived half the show was over.
Thanks Pine Knob !!

I felt sorry for Jeff…..who has suffered for years hearing me tell him that there must be something wrong with him for never attending an Alice Cooper show previously. Here he was, finally about to fulfill a musical dream of his (My words, not his!) and we finally get to the stage halfway through the show!!
Anyway, it was still in time to catch Orianthi’s solo (What a fantastic addition to the Cooper touring band) and the guillotine.

Orianthi with Alice Cooper - Photo: Dave Dunford

Rumour has it that Mr. Cooper will be touring again towards the end of this year with a new stage and set list and of course, I’ll have to be there and I’ll drag Jeff along again to enjoy the full experience this time…….

What more can one say about the legend? Personally, I’d love to hear this band playing some of the more obscure Cooper tracks (Maybe something from Special Forces, Dada, Lace & Whiskey or the really underrated The Last Temptation….and I could go on….).

Ed's note: Couldn't agree more Dave!

Longtime bass player Chuck Garrick, and (like Maiden) the three guitars of Orianthi, Tommy Henriksen and the returning Ryan Roxie are worth the entrance fee on their own merit.
Orianthi is just 21 years old but has already played with some pretty big names……she was due to play lead on the Michael Jackson “This is It” shows but for obvious reasons that didn’t get to happen. Can you imagine that call from her agent?
“Hey, I got some bad news…..the Jackson tour is off…….but the good news is that Alice just called you!!"

Alice with Chuck Garrick - Photo: Dave Dunford

Back up a little to the line for Will Call. While standing in line I got talking to a couple of guys who claimed to have seen Maiden on pretty much every tour since 1985!
I had a little chuckle about that because 1985 (by my calculations) was actually the last time I saw them!!
Really, 27 years since I last caught these guys at the Odeon in Birmingham (England) on the Piece of Mind Tour!!!
I can’t honestly remember if I ever caught them at one of their Donington shows back in the 80’s, so I’m sticking with the 1985 tour.

Iron Maiden live in Detroit, MI 2012 - Photo: Dave Dunford

Overall, it was a great show. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was glad to get to see them again, the band plays with a lot of energy and Steve Harris and Bruce Dickinson just don’t ever stop running around covering every inch of the stage. It’s unusual perhaps nowadays for a band to still include the exact same members as it did in 1985, the only difference in 2012’s Iron Maiden is the inclusion of the third guitarist Janick Gers (who has been with the band since 1990).
Ha-ha, I saw Gers as part of the band (Ian) Gillan in the early 80’s……….

Ed's note: Dave, I can go one better mate, saw him with Gillan too, but also saw him in White Spirit, back in 1980!
Anyway, Maiden opened with Moonchild, Can I Play With Madness and The Prisoner (a seldom played track from the Number Of The Beast album that sounded great).
The set looked like something out of the ice age, everything on stage (including speaker stacks, monitors and lighting rigs) was draped with a sky blue tapestry of Eddie montages from different eras throughout the last 3 decades.
At the back of the stage the huge backdrop changed after pretty much each song to reveal a new image of Eddie that matched the period of the song they were playing.

After racing through 2 Minutes To Midnight, Mr. (Bruce) Dickinson announced to the crowd the “Detroit” stage was too small for them to fit all of their usual stage props and he received a very frosty (matching the stage set) response from the crowd who let him know of their displeasure at that comment ! However, he quickly got back on friendly terms by introducing another seldom played oldie called Afraid To Shoot Strangers and then straight into The Trooper – dressed in 18th century British military blazer waving his British flag around every corner of the stage. This was followed by Number Of The Beast,  Phantom Of The Opera, Run To The Hills, Wasted Years and Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son.

Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson, flying the British flag! - Photo: Dave Dunford

Great to hear some tracks from Maiden’s very first album……that some will be surprised to hear did not include Bruce Dickinson on the original vocals!!!

The Clairvoyant, Fear Of The Dark and the classic Iron Maiden closed out the main set, the band leaving the stage behind some extremely hot flames and firecrackers.

Returning to play Aces High, The Evil That Men Do and finally Running Free (another from the first album that I remember seeing the original band play on the old BBC's, Top Of The Pops back in 1980 – music hasn’t really changed much in 32 years, has it?)

Like I said previously, really enjoyed the show, got a kick out of the changing backdrops that brought back great memories of the early Maiden albums and the evolution of Eddie and refreshing to see everyone in the band appearing to be genuinely excited about playing, putting on a great show and introducing some seldom heard songs into the new set.
Steve Harris is without doubt the heartbeat of the band, along with Dickinson’s energy and lung power. He still belts out the notes and is such a great front man.

I definitely don’t intend to wait another 27 years to see Maiden (mainly because at that point I’d be 72!) and would certainly like to catch them again soon.
It was definitely value for money and a reminder that even though bands come and go and styles and genres change like the weather, there really is no substitute for quality and Maiden undoubtedly are still doing it and are still capable of putting on a quality production and entertaining us.

Go check them out…….!!!

Official band websites:

Thanks for the review Dave, what do you think? Kudo's to Dave, I think so!


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