Iron Maiden AECC Aberdeen (17/5/17)

Review for the previous night: Iron Maiden SSE Hydro Glasgow (16/5/17)

Following bands around the country is really not my thing, I find it sad and an waste of money, but when Iron Maiden announced they were coming to town, I decided to double dip for tickets and attended both Glasgow and Aberdeen shows. The end result was two nights of exquisitely played heavy metal.

The Aberdeen show sadly did not take place in the awesome Music Hall in the centre of town. Unfortunately, this little get together took place in the dreaded local shed, the oddly shaped and awful sounding AECC exhibition centre in the Bridge of Don. This venue is big enough to hold many great bands but has sadly become a place for novelty pop bands and low life sporting events like the darts (is that even a sport?). This tends to give us local folks no choice but to travel two hundred miles to one of the many superior venues.

Aberdeen’s AECC is well known for normally being completely disorganised and usually ends up as a complete disaster for those attending. Much to the annoyance of many people, the tiered seats were removed giving the floor a lot of extra room. Unfortunately the hall is that wide that the people who stand in these areas do not get a great view. This also meant that parents couldn’t take their children as the standing was for fourteens and over. This move was clearly quite inconsiderate to these families and based solely on making as much money as possible.

I personally have some physical disabilities and unless I can score a place at the barrier for much needed support, I have to sit back in the disability platform or find a seated section. When advertised, there were suppose to be two platforms, one down the side and another right next to the sound desk. Sadly, the jackass running the show failed to notify anyone that this was incorrect and the disabled people who ranged from broken legs to broken backs were relegated to as far back as possible and made to feel like utter rejects in our little dark corner with an obstructed view. When we approached the area to get our seats we were presented with a seven foot stack of chairs and were told to help ourselves. That’s great and everything, I’ll just go mend my spine so you don’t have to do your job. The way this was all handled was an utter disgrace.

Thankfully, someone did have common sense to set up a PA stack pointing in that direction so we did in fact get rather clear sound. Much to my surprise (and I can’t believe I’d say this) but the sound at the AECC last night was much cleaner and a lot easier on the ears then that ear piercing sound from the SEC Hydro. The drums came across powerful and clear, the vocals didn’t feel like they were going to rupture your ear drums and Iron Maiden’s three guitars all could be heard at equal volumes.

Shinedown played the same set list from the night before and used the same scripted dialogue between songs, which is cringe worthy once never minding hearing it two nights in a row. But to give the guys credit, they put on a good show and really looked quite professional on that stage. You can tell that these blokes are very well rehearsed as they were extremely tight and didn’t miss so much as a beat. The crowd seemed to enjoy their set, but they didn’t get as much of a reaction as they did in Glasgow. I was also surprised to see that the lead singer didn’t run down the centre of the crowd like he did down south. I don’t know if it was the smell of the locals or their scary squinting teeth that scared him off, but it was an interesting thing to note.

As far as their opening slot goes, this is the wrong place for Shinedown. The music is a clearly dated concept but the boys played well and I can see them going up a storm with the likes of Avenged Sevenfold or Black Stone Cherry, somewhere with a younger trendier crowd and less greying shrivelled fifty year old metal heads. But I’ll give them the respect they deserve, they put on a good show for two nights in a row and that is all that counts in the long run.

A good half hour passed and we were treated to the intro song Doctor Doctor by UFO. This song itself got just a big response as Iron Maiden when they hit the stage. It does make me wonder why UFO have never had a big audience in the UK if Iron Maiden fans know this word for word and will rock out to it even if it’s just on playback.

Anyway, Iron Maiden hit the stage playing the opening track If Eternity Should Fail from The Book of Souls. The crowd were ecstatic and absolutely buzzing singing with every word. They quickly bashed their way through Speed of Light, a song which sounds much better live then it does on the studio album. Then came the classic Wrathchild, a song I have never liked Dickinson singing. But I have no problems admitting that these past two nights, he had done a great job with this track. By this point it was clear that we were getting the same set list as Glasgow which featured Death Or Glory, The Red And The Black, The Trooper, Powerslave and so on.

I have to say that even in a considerably smaller venue, the bands Aztec stage design looks quite detailed, impressive and was really quite effective. The use of pyrotechnics literally gave the show a little extra bang but the band really did not need the theatrics. Iron Maiden in Aberdeen sounded a lot tighter then they did on the previous night. The only exception being Nicko speeding up the beat during the chorus for the song, Iron Maiden. But that is nothing new there. Again, The Book of Souls title track stole the show with that magnificent opening riff and tasteful melodies. It may be a little too long but it really sounds magnificent live and I do hope that this song is mainstay in the bands set list, assuming they even come back to Scotland.

We were treated to a couple of stage mishaps like Bruce Dickinson dropping his microphone off the stage and looking absolutely puzzled when he couldn’t find it. There was also a couple of moments where the stage itself caught fire resulting in Bruce Dickinson giggling to himself whilst trying to sing and demanding a sausage to roast from the road crew.

But even with all these problems, the show was still very well put together and the sound was excellent, especially for the shed that is the AECC. We could hear every drum, cymbal, guitar solo and riff, a pleasant surprise considering they can’t even sound that clear on their studio albums. The fans had an absolute blast and failed to leave the venue after the encore featuring The Number of the Beast, Blood Brothers and Wasted Years. This resulted in what could have been a second encore but was more of an awkward look of confusion and a chorus of boo’s. I guess bands don’t do legitimate encores in 2017.

At the end of the day, this show was superb value for money. We had a great crowd of people, most of which had a great laugh and were making plenty of friends before they even got in the venue. Both bands sounded extremely tight, put on a good show and were very consistent over both nights. Catch this tour on the road whilst you can, it was easily one of my favourites of the year.