Review: Iron Maiden at the AECC

Pictures by Andy Thorn.
Pictures by Andy Thorn.

One of the world’s biggest bands returned to Aberdeen last night and, after more than 40 years and more than 90 million album sales, they proved beyond any doubt they are still one of the best live acts around.

After a sold-out show at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro on Tuesday, Iron Maiden took to the stage at the AECC as part of the final leg of the band’s Book of Souls world tour.

Emerging onto the stage to the opening of If Eternity Should Fail, vocalist Bruce Dickinson’s voice filled the sold-out arena during the intro before the rest of the band kicked in and the arena sounded its approval.

Surrounded by a theatrical stage set modelled on Mayan civilisation, Dickinson was quick to shout a characteristic “Scream for me Aberdeen” and the energetic crowd was quick to respond.

Next on the set list came another track from their latest album, Speed of Light.

Although the new songs were met with loud approval it wasn’t long before the band belted out one of its 1980s classics in Wrathchild to the approval of the near sell-out crowd, with Children of the Damned following and Dickinson raising the slightly uncomfortable thought of some of the audience members perhaps being conceived to the song.

Maiden are rarely a band just to hang their hat on their tried and tested classics, however, and it was back to 2015’s Book of Souls for Death and Glory and The Red and the Black before fans were treated to The Trooper – with Dickinson in a red coat waving a Union Jack as Steve Harris, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith and Janick Gers lined up together at the front of the massive stage setup.

After powering through the 1983 track, with the crowd belting out the famous guitar line, the band moved forward just one year into its archive to deliver Powerslave with a Mayan- influenced Eddie backdrop.

As you’d expect from veterans like Maiden not a foot was put wrong the whole evening.

The stage set, lighting and effects were, as always, excellent and it’s evident the band still prides itself on the production of their shows.

Before rounding off their main set the band ventured back to their latest album with The Great Unknown and the album’s title track The Book of Souls, where the group’s mascot Eddie made his first personal appearance of the night, only for Dickinson to send him on his way after ripping his heart out.

To round off the set there were two classics in the form of Fear of the Dark – queue an arena-wide sing-a-long – and, the track that shares the same name as the band, Iron Maiden.

The second saw the traditional return of Eddie in an even more giant form as he loomed over the arena to the appreciation of the crowd.

After a brief obligatory break offstage the six-some returned with an excellent three-song encore with Number of the Beast, Blood Brothers and 1986’s Wasted Years.

As the band left the stage to the sounds of Always Look on the Bright Side of Life there was not a fan in the place without a smile on their face – hopefully Maiden will make it back to Aberdeen on their next tour after Dickinson promised to ensure the wait for a return was not as long next time.