Saturday 3rd August 2013
I headed off to London via a London Midland train to Euston, instead off my usual Met Line route, due to ‘upgrade works’. Plus, most of London’s roads and various tube stations were closed due to the ‘Prudential Ride London Free Cycle’ weekend. However, since I had to get to King’s Cross station, this wasn’t too much of an issue. I was abour half-an-hour getting to King’s Cross but didn’t have to wait that long be David called to say that he had arrived. Considering it has been about 19 years, since we last saw each other, I spotted him straight away.
We headed out of the station and crossed Euston Road and, turned down Judd Street to find a quiet pub. (All the pubs on Euston Road were rammed with football supporters, since the season was beginning today.) Roughly 200 metres down Judd Street we came across ‘Skinners Arms’, so in we went. The pub had that ‘Olde Worlde’ feel to it so we ordered our drinks and then we checked out the menu and ordered some food. We then spent the next hour-or-so catching up with what we had been doing for the last two decades. TWO DECADES!!! As we caught up memories came back and names and faces flashed across my mind and, suddenly, it was as though we were back in the early nineties. After finishing our lunch we headed back on to Judd Street, which we followed to Brunswick Square and then Grenville Street. We then went through Queen Square Gardens and out on to Southampton Row, then Kingsway, then Aldwych, then Arundel Street until we arrived at Temple Place. Because of the ‘Prudential Ride London Free Cycle’, which had closed roads off around Westminster and The Embankment, we had to wait for wardens to stop the cyclists so that we coud cross the road. Once we had crossed Victoria Embankment we decided that we still had time to kill, before we caught our Thames Clipper to the O2 Arena, so we got the wardens to stop the cyclists so that we cross back to The Walkabout pub. As we watched the cyclists of all ages and sizes going up and down the Victoria Embankment, David and I just sat watching them from our window seat in the pub. Deciding it was time to head to the South Bank (we were catching the Thames Clipper from beneath the London Eye) we headed back out on the Victoria Embankment and got the wardens to stop the traffic, again. Once we had crossed we got the wardens to stop the cyclists, yet again, and crossed back.
Having crossed the River Thames, via Waterloo Bridge, we looked at some of the stalls and sampled some of the various drinks that were on offer, before playing ‘snap’, which involved spotting other Maiden fans who were wearing the same Iron Maiden shirts as us. David won hands-down as we saw fewer of his shirt. We finally boarded the Thames Clipper at 16:45 and took in the sights as we headed East to see Iron Maiden at the O2.
As soon as we had disembarked, we headed straight up the O2 and had a good scout around. There were people of all ages in every type of Iron Maiden shirt, bandana, denim, make-up, and I felt at home. Of course, the bars were packed but the Union Bar had set up a small bar, serving bottled beers and ciders, outside. The strange thing was that no one had seemed to notice it… except us. And, the bonus was, they had Iron Maiden Trooper Beer!!! Bonus! Soon other people noticed what we were drinking and, unfortunately, Trooper Beer was soon sold out. Still there was other beer, or cider, plus there were Iron Maiden cocktails. Seeing as it just wouldn’t be right not to try an Iron Maiden inspired cocktail, two were ordered. There was a ‘Run to the Hills’, an ‘Invaders’ and a ‘Bring your daughter to the slaughter’. We went for the ‘Number of the Beast’ cocktail.This wonderful drink was made with Vodka, Rum, Tequila, Triple Sec & Gin shaken with Sweet & Sour, Lemon Juice and topped up with Pepsi. We only had the one, before we wandered off to our seats.
Looking out from the stage we on the left-hand side and roughly two=thirds of the way up. Not bad seats at all. According to what I gathered from the people sitting near us, the warm-up act, Voodoo Six, were okay but nothing special. Within minutes Iron Maiden hit the stage. WOW! With an all new stage set, a whole new light show and new incarnations of Eddie the show was incredible. They began with ‘Moonchild’ and played classics like ‘The Prisoner’ and ‘Run to the Hills’ to ‘Wasted Years’ and ‘Fear of the Dark’. This was Iron Maiden having a blast and giving back to all of those who have stood by them and those that have just found them. It was a ‘thank you’ and a ‘stay tuned’. This was Iron Maiden putting in a frenetic, powerful and roof-lifting performance. This was an Iron Maiden that show no sign of slowing down. This was classic Iron Maiden; The Iron Maiden of the eighties and the nineties. The Iron Maiden who never disappoint. The Iron Maiden who bought their own plane to fly to the countries that no other bands can get to.
I am not sure that the show ever finished, as we were surrounded by the sounds of Iron Maiden on the Thames Clipper, back to Embankment, and on the Northern Line to Euston. We managed to catch a train, to Watford, within minutes of arriving at Euston. David was heading to Watford, too, as he had a friend coming to pick him up from Watford Junction to drive him back home. A nice friend who dropped me off at home first, before driving all the way to March, Cambridgeshire.
All-in-all a fantastic day out with a great friend who I will stay in contact with, and a band that haven’t aged or lost their enthusiasm throughout the 31 years that I have been following them. (I bought ‘Run to the Hills’ as a single, back in 1982, when I was 10. It was the first single I bought… and I still have it.)
Here is a link to my ‘YouTube’ video of the gig.
MAIDEN ENGLAND 2013 TOUR PLAYLIST
‘Can I Play With Madness’
‘2 Minutes To Midnight’
‘Afraid To Shoot Strangers’
‘The Number Of The Beast’
‘Phantom Of The Opera’
‘Run To The Hills’
‘Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son’
‘Fear Of The Dark’
‘Churchill’s Speech’ / ‘Aces High’
‘The Evil That Men Do’
UP THE IRONS!!!!!!!!!