Getting back after the quarantine period and the absence of proper live shows was going to happen sooner or later. The opportunity that came with an Iron Maiden tribute sounded ideal.
That’s how we went down to the Crow Club for a promising 3-hour show from Iron Beast and Blossom Death, who were opening. It was the first time I was going to watch these two bands live.
My first experience with Blossom Death I must say that was positive. It’s a very interesting band whose sound is influenced by many different things that the band has filtered and made them its own I guess. There is an underlying melancholy that brings Paradise Lost, HIM, the 69 Eyes in mind, but they also have touches of southern rock, stoner and heavy metal. Add to all that the combination of male and female vocals from Kostas Katoikos and Marita Makaronidi respectively, whose voice sounds very special, deep and sentimental. They were quite at ease on the stage and except from their song they also played “More” by Sisters Of Mercy, as well as Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game”. In general, they were good and the audience liked them and I will surely wait to listen to their debut full length album, which will be out next year through Sleaszy Rider Records.
And now… the main event: Iron Beast, with the much anticipated 3-hour marathon show featuring 30 songs (actually they played 29 which were on the setlist and two more because of public demand, so the songs were 31 in total)! Truth is that this might sound exaggerated and too much, but when we are talking about a band as popular as Iron Maiden, as well as all the great classic bands we grew up with, a 15, 20, even 30 song setlist might not be enough. Even if the band itself was playing, you’d probably to listen to something more. Of course, it’s impossible to keep everyone happy, surely not the guy who wanted to listen “Virus” and was screaming for it, but with a set that contains the classics, a couple off the beaten track, a song from Blaze Bayley era and a few special guests, then you are on the right track.
Having a band that can easily play all those songs keeping a high level of performance on every song, good stage presence, energy, passion, fun and most of all a true love for what it does. Although they had to play without their guitarist, Babis Lampridis, who was replaced by Takis Tzanimis, from the also amazing Keepers Of Jericho, the Greek Helloween tribute, they did show no signs of weakness. Actually, if you didn’t know about that, you wouldn’t notice since this guy was playing like he’s been with them for ages.
In general, the feeling that these guys were playing the Iron Maiden catalogue with ridiculous ease was floating in the air. Their comfort is surely something that others might feel jealous and it comes as a heritage of great Greek tribute bands that set the bar very high, like Remember Lizzy, Maidenance, No Remorse, Rock’n’Roll Children. The Iron Beast guys set the example for others that might want to form a tribute to their favourite band. Also, something very important was that they were reflecting positive energy and they were smiling all the time loving every moment of it. And nobody stood stuck in their position. Tasos Lazaris was running up and down the stage, jumped, took the union jack flag on “The Trooper”, left the stage several times getting next to the crowd passing the microphone and finally went behind the bar and took a shot with the bartender while he was singing “Wasted Years”. How could they not snowball everything on their path?
In the artistic part now, they played songs from all the band’s eras, with their strongest point being Dickinson’s songs, thanks to their vocalist. I remember the first time I saw Tasos singing my favourite “Revelations” on Crow Club’s Jam Night and I was impressed. Now, some years later I was still impressed. For Di Anno’s songs he is following Bruce’s method and sings them with his own style, without trying to imitate Paul, since that would have been impossible. Anyway, Maiden’s first era is so much different of what followed, at least vocal-wise.
But, apart from the singer we must comment on the other four members of the band, the powerful rhythm section of drummer Jim Stamatis and Gi Ni on bass, playing the role of the Chief. Kostas Grammenos on guitar was irritatingly perfect playing all the songs and solos note by note, faithful to the originals. Takis Tzanimis was great too. You could hardly find any mistakes in their performance. And remember we are talking about a 3-hour long show.
The moments I would describe as highlights are certainly “Walking On Glass”, an instrumental that Murray/Smith used to play on the “Somewhere In Time” tour and has its own history, “Clansman”, the only song from Blayley’s era, “Alexander The Great”, which is doomed to be played only by tribute bands around the world, and not the band and surely the end of the show were despite the weariness the boys managed to play two more songs, “22 Acacia Avenue” and “The Prisoner”.
It was a great live show taking place in weird and tough times, which are new for everyone. But, their fresh and positive energy gave everyone the courage to wait the live concert normality, which unfortunately seem to be far away.
Caught Somewhere In Time, Clairvoyant, The Wickerman, Prowler, Wrathchild, The Clansman, Flight Of Icarus, Powerslave, Phantom Of The Opera, The Trooper, Afraid To Shoot Strangers, Judas Be My Guide, To Tame A Land, Transylvania, Losfer Words, Aces High, 2 Minutes To Midnight, The Number Of The Beast, Alexander The Great, Walking On Glass, Stranger In A Strange Land, The Evil That Men Do, Revelations, Blood Brothers, Fear Of The Dark, Iron Maiden, Hallowed By Thy Name, Wasted Years, Running Free
22 Acacia Avenue, Prisoner