There are almost as many Iron Maiden live albums as there are studio albums, which might seem like overkill, but it’s a testament to how much the band cares for their fans. If you see a Maiden show, the chances are very good you will eventually get a live album, DVD, or both as a fitting memento from what was probably a memorable and fun night. Additionally, every Maiden tour is a distinctly different (number of the) beast, each with its own specific theme, be it a new album, a look back at a specific era of the band’s long history, or in the case of the wildly successful Legacy of the Beast tour, a video game.
My wife and I saw Maiden’s Legacy show in Edmonton on Labour Day weekend in 2019 in that city’s stunning new arena, and wound up having the best time. In fact, I’d call it one of the happiest and most rewarding concerts I have ever attended. It’s a pretty funny story, too. I bought floor tickets for the both of us six months prior, but as the months went by I started to worry that five or six hours of standing wouldn’t exactly be something Stacey would be keen on doing. She was game to try, which was awfully accommodating, but on the morning of the show when we were making the six-hour drive to Edmonton I was granted press accreditation, which I was totally not expecting. Whenever I wind up with extra tickets I try to give them away, but I knew no one available on such short notice. So we had four seats for two people, and we thought, why not live luxuriously for one night?
In addition to the floor tickets, we were given incredible seats, super wide, padded, crazily comfy seats, so after consuming goodness knows how many beers in the swanky lower concourse bar during the forgettable opening band, I dropped Stacey off at our seats and I took off to enjoy the show amidst the excited mob on the floor, returning to her for the start of the encore. She was completely gobsmacked by the show, and I was over the moon because of all the times I had seen Iron Maiden, this was the best show I’d ever seen them do.
I’ve never seen a band pull out all the stops like Maiden did on the Legacy of the Beast tour. Thematically inspired by the video game of the same name, it afforded the band a chance to build a really cool setlist, playing stuff they’d missed playing, and tunes they knew the fans would love. As a result, they dusted off some much-loved tunes as “Flight of Icarus”, “Revelations”, “Where Eagles Dare”, “The Clansman”, and “The Sign of the Cross”. Better yet, each song had its own visual effects, which were often jaw-dropping. They opened the show with a replica Spitfire flying above during “Aces High”, and it just took off from there, climaxing in a show-stopping performance of “Icarus” which featured the gigantic titular character plummeting to his doom. By the time the band had torn through “Hallowed Be Thy Name” and “Run to the Hills”, I was breathless. We grabbed some donairs and pizza on the way to the hotel, and hung out with our fittingly-named pup Eddie (named after Mr. Izzard, not Mr. Head) for a post-show party. Best night ever.
Naturally, the resulting and inevitable live album is a real treat. Recorded in Mexico City in August 2019, Nights of the Dead, Legacy of the Beast: Live in Mexico City (there’s a handful) is one hell of an energetic performance. I don’t know what had the six guys on fire during that tour, but they were positively en fuego. I do kind of wish the three guitars were a little higher in the mix, but the performance is so scintillating that I can let that slide. Bruce Dickinson is in tremendous vocal form, and Nicko McBrain drives the entire thing with his propulsive, ebullient drumming. “For the Greater Good of God” and “The Evil That Men Do” are two tracks from this album that really stand out for me, but to be honest, the entire thing is so darn fun that I just eat it up like the Maiden nerd that I am. Up the Irons, always and forever.