IN THE live music arena there are few certainties. Yet over many years circumnavigating the globe, the mighty Iron Maiden have crafted what must be the near-perfect metal show.
Very rarely do Bruce Dickinson, Steve Harris and co. suffer from poor sound, ill-advised song selection, lack of focus or dwindling energy.
A Maiden show is never anything less than jaw-droppingly entertaining with outrageous stage effects befitting their reputation as genre leaders and multi-million pound earners.
Maiden even manage to get the support band right nine times out of 10.
In young Aussie upstarts Airbourne, they delivered one of the best emerging rock ‘n’ roll acts on the planet in a bid to whip their tough-to-please diehards into a frenzy.
The O’Keeffe brothers might not appear to be a natural fit for a metal behemoth being more AC/DC than Maiden.
They do, nevertheless, possess a natural talent for putting smiles on faces and imprinting riffs on brains.
Airbourne’s happy-go-lucky, singalong bar room anthems are the antithesis of the headline act’s more absorbing progressive metal epics, but maybe that’s a good thing.
The Aussie quartet blasted through a set which grabbed the attention without taxing the audience.
And that’s exactly what’s required when tunes like The Talisman and When The Wild Wind Blows are looming.
As if to prove that even they have frailties, Maiden actually kicked off the show in unconvincing fashion.
A muddled sound meant the famous three-pronged axe attack was lost in the mix and the best of the band’s new material suffered as a result.
Normal service had been resumed by the time Dance of Death rang out, the audience rising as one.
Another of Maiden’s strengths is that they’ve never lost a special bond with their most loyal fans and it shone through a powerful mid-set drive that peaked with the brilliant Blood Brothers.
A brace of over the top Eddie incarnations punctuated crowd favourites The Evil That Men Do and Iron Maiden before an encore unrivalled within the metal world – the fret-melting hat-trick that is The Number of the Beast, Hallowed Be Thy Name and Running Free.