Iron Maiden at Glen Helen Amphitheater, San Bernardino, CA., July 1, 2017
The legendary Iron Maiden and The Book Of Souls World Tour 2017 made its way to the Glen Helen Amphitheater in the wilds of San Bernardino where fans would experience the rock concert performance of a lifetime. Before the main event, three openers would take to the stage, all placing the pedal to the metal in celebration of Maiden’s grand return to Southern California. Bay Area Thrash Metal Icons Exodus kicked off the show with a raging set of tunes that sent the mosh pits into overdrive. Opening with the pummeling Bonded By Blood, Exodus played fans favorites such as A Lesson In Violence, Blacklist, and The Toxic Waltz under the realm of the punishing San Bernardino sun. Kamelot then reigned supreme on the Glen Helen stage with their own inspiring brand of symphonic metal. In addition to the soaring vocals of Tommy Karevik and thrilling musicianship from the entire Kamelot court, stunning guest performances were unveiled by Kobra Paige from Kobra and the Lotus and Lauren Hart of Once Human. In direct support the Maiden extravaganza, the mysterious Ghost enraptured the audience with a wickedly imaginative set of hard rocking reveries. Haunting selections such as Mummy Dust and Monstrance Clock had a crowd hell bent on seeing the headliner absolutely captivated.
The bewitching hour of the Iron Maiden experience had finally arrived. The harsh sun had set and a comfortable chill was enveloping the entire grounds of Glen Helen highlighted by glorious fires on the stage as well as the more ominous ones raging up high on the lawn. The one and only Bruce Dickinson appeared on the rafters, his hands raised over a boiling chalice summoning the Mayan gods of the past and the metal hordes in the present. Joined onstage by the rest of his Iron Maiden comrades, the band launched into an epic rendition of If Eternity Should Fail, the dazzling opening track from their current The Book Of Souls manifesto. The journey through the dark tapestries of their 16th studio magnum opus continued with the rapturous refrains emitting from Speed Of Light – an instant Iron Maiden classic that many in the audience were singing along with. It was then time to blast into the throes of Iron Maiden’s vast and wondrous auditory legacy, commencing with Wrathchild from Iron Maiden’s 1981 album Killers!
Showing just how expansive the metal generations are within the Iron Maiden army of fans, Dickinson took a survey from the stage inquiring just how many fans were born after 1982 – and a massive amount of hands shot up proudly throughout the Glen Helen Amphitheater grounds. Dickinson would then note that most of them were probably conceived while their parents were listening to this next song – and Maiden launched into the almighty Children Of The Damned from 1982’s The Number Of The Beast. Death Or Glory and The Red And The Black from The Book Of Souls would bring us all back into the present day of Iron Maiden’s illustrious career. Dickinson would then grab the British flag and Maiden would unleash The Trooper from 1983’s Piece Of Mind with a skilled assault force precision. Powerslave from 1984 was then issued, sending intense waves of metal liberation into a crowd that was absolutely thunderous with their collective response.
You very well know a current studio album from an iconic band is truly great when a band proceeds to fill their set with multiple selections from their recent entreaty – and the crowd was treated to two more endeavors from The Book Of Souls! The Great Unknown and the sweeping title cut The Book Of Souls’ one-two punch of magic and mystery showed a band at the very height of their creative prowess. Fear Of The Dark from 1992 would now ensue – the perfect song for an evening of metal at Glen Helen. Then it was time to go all the way back to the dawn of Iron Maiden’s legacy, where the title namesake cut from their 1980 debut recording. And on that note, Iron Maiden left the stage and the fans went wild, raising fists in the air, cheering on for a very well deserved encore! And of course, Iron Maiden would arrive back onstage and return the adoration tenfold. And what a trio of songs Maiden delivered to conclude The Book Of Souls Tour 2017 here in the Southland – namely The Number Of The Beast, Blood Brothers, and Wasted Years!
Iron Maiden in the year of 2017 remains a devastation force in the worldwide metal arena – whether they are playing the amazing new songs or launching into the time tested classics, this legendary band is a definitive crowd favorite who render any night an event for the ages. Bruce Dickinson possessing a majestic vocal range and overall exuberance that is thrilling to witness, sending the songs soaring into the stratosphere. And what a massive three-guitar assault force Maiden delivers upon the world at large, the trio of accomplished axe pros Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, and Janick Gers presenting a mesmerizing wall of vibrant auditory excellence. Bassist Steve Harris and drummer Nicko McBrain are indeed a rhythm section for these metal ages, relentlessly tight and infinitely persuasive in their approach. Iron Maiden would depart San Bernardino aboard Ed Force One, leaving a treasure trove of everlasting heavy metal memories. If you are within the path of the remaining Book Of Souls Tour 2017 dates, be sure to catch this truly historic concert event while you still can!
(Review by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue
Want to see more pix! Jack Lue photo galleries are here!
Iron Maiden on Facebook