Iron Maiden @ Madison Square Garden (7/30/2003)

Logo - Iron Maiden

Artist: Iron Maiden
Venue: Madison Square Garden (New York, NY)
Opener: Dio & Motorhead
Label: EMI Music
Date: 07/30/2003

This past July, the famous Madison Square Garden arena in New York City saw the appearance of three of Heavy Metal’s most senior titans. Iron Maiden came to visit and brought Dio and Motorhead with them.

Starting the night off was Motorhead. Now, I thought they were terrific but for some reason there was not yet a full house for them. People were still milling about and getting beers from the concession stands instead of supporting this classic act. By my recollection, I don’t think Motorhead had ever played the Garden so I was surprised at the lackluster response from fans. To their credit, Lemmy and crew rumbled through tunes like “Killed By Death” and “Iron Fist”. Since they were in NYC, Lemmy made mention to dedicate a song for Dee Dee and Joey Ramone who the punk music scene had lost over the past two years. The song was “R.A.M.O.N.E.S.” which I think can be found on the Ramones Tribute album that was recently released. If I am incorrect, please pardon the flub. There was another highlight for me when drummer Mickey Dee (formerly of King Diamond) did an excellent drum solo. lotsa power behind this guy he is one of the best Metal Drummers we have going. Their set was a little over 30 minutes and before you knew it they were done. Loud and Fast, Solid and Heavy that is one thing I love most about Motorhead music.

Ronnie James Dio was up next and his set was great. I have not seen Dio since the “Sacred Heart” tour way back in the 80’s, so it was very different to see a non-decorated stage with no dragons, castles and such forth. Instead, Dio painted these pictures to our minds with his songs. He is truly a master of this craft and still has a killer voice. Joining the former Black Sabbath and Rainbow frontman was Craig Goldy (former House Of Lords) and Simon Wright (of ACDC) on drums. I was not sure who played bass or keyboards for him so I apologize. Simon Wright also had the chance to do a drum solo, but in my opinion it was uncalled for. Let me explain where this comes from. It was an almost a hit for hit bite of a solo done by the late Cozy Powell, a brilliant drummer who we lost a few short years ago in a car crash. When Cozy played in Rainbow, he did the 1812 Overture. Simon’s solo was more than reminiscent of this, and not one mention was given to Cozy. Anyways, some tunes of note from Dio’s appearance were “Killing The Dragon”, “Last In Line”, “Rainbow In The Dark”, “Holy Diver”, “Stargazer” (a Rainbow tune which was awesome to see done).

Iron Maiden soon hit the stage, opening to the “The Number Of The Beast” while a huge “666” was draped behind them. At the time of this writing, the new CD of Maiden’s entitled “Dance Of Death” had not been released. This made Maiden decide to do more of a Greatest Hits show. The focus was on older material with the stage frequently changing in backdrop and projected images of Eddie over the years.. Here are some but not all of the tunes played, “The Trooper”, “Revelations”, “Wicker Man”, Run To The Hills”, “Hallowed Be Thy Name”, “Two Minutes To Midnight”, “The Clansman” (now this tune is a Blaze Bailey number, but I honestly think Bruce does a better job at it).

An interesting portion of the night was when Bruce Dickinson made a statement about music downloading. He said that Iron Maiden has been together some 15-20 years and over the past few they have not noticed any decrease in sales of their catalog like so many other artists complain about. He feels that Maiden fans will still buy what they download, so we should go ahead and continue because they don’t care. “Let the bands with one good song on a bunch of crappy albums worry, since they will be gone in two years anyway”. This met with resounding crowd response. I was lucky enough to had been moved down by some friends of friends who worked the venue. I was about 15 feet from the stage, and wish I had a camera, but alas that was not to be the case. It’s amazing to see the level of energy this band still has in a time where many of their peers are simply standing onstage and not doing anything at all. Bruce bounds across the stage rousing the crowd while the triple threat of guitars Dave Murray, Adrian Smith and Janick Gers duel almost consistently. Some fans debate the relevance of this having three guitar players. I liked the idea because Gers came in and kept the band going strong while Smith did his own thing. When there was a reunion, it was great to see that Gers was not kicked aside and they just added Adrian back in. Steve Harris, probably the most solid and influencial metal bassists was on the money keeping the Wildman Nicko McBrain busy on the drums. It’s very interesting to me how Nicko sets up his drums, as you cannot see him at all. He is literally buried by his Cymbals and angles of his drumkit. Still, he rocks.

Bruce also made mention that Madison Square Garden was one of their favorite places to play and that they would be coming back again. It is my guess to support the new album “Dance Of Death” that is now in the stores. When he introduced the members of the band, he teased Nicko McBrain by saying he was straight from Alcatrazz (or something like that). This was because Nicko had gotten into a little incident with a security person at the show in New Jersey. He was not being allowed in, so he ran the guy down with his car (no serious injury, but he still got in trouble for it).

All in all, an evening of powerful music delivered with expertise.

Dio Set List:
1. Killing the Dragon
2. The Last in Line
3. Stargazer
4. Stand Up and Shout
5. Rock and Roll
6. I Speed at Night
7. Dream Evil
8. Rainbow in the Dark
9. Holy Diver
10. Heaven and Hell

Iron Maiden Set List:
1. The Number of the Beast
2. The Trooper
3. Die With Your Boots On
4. Revelations
5. Hallowed Be Thy Name
6. Wildest Dreams
7. The Wicker Man
8. The Clansman
9. The Clairvoyant
10. Fear of the Dark
11. Iron Maiden
12. 2 Minutes to Midnight
13. Run to the Hills

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Editor’s Note: This article was written for another medium prior to the 2005 launch of and has been added to our content for your enjoyment.

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