I don’t remember when was the last time I experience at a concert so much anticipation and excitement for a musician or a band. Maybe I should go back to 2013 and Warlord’s first show at the same venue. I am not sure and just between us it doesn’t really matter. But what matters is that Paul Di’Anno was in our country and a packed Gagarin would give him the warmest welcome that the iconic former Maiden singer so badly needed (and still needs, actually)! Personally, I won’t even bother with the familiar social media threads about Di’Anno, Dickinson and the like. All I will say is that those of us who have had the pleasure of “stealing” some of Paul’s precious time, we encountered a changed and calmed down individual who at the same time retains that very authentic air of those early days. You know what I mean! Let’s see some of the details of the concert…
There are two ways to evaluate Wednesday’s live show: the first is to judge Paul’s performance strictly, coldly and completely “clinically” and the second is to put emotion into the equation. And you know something? It is not possible to speak or capture the pulse of this particular live without emotion. At least I can’t. Time is relentless and not only for Di’Anno who is confined to a wheelchair, and we hope to see him standing soon on his feet and offering us a regular live as he truly deserves so. But time is relentless and for all of us who had in front of us a hero of our teenage years and could not remain unmoved by the whole spectacle and Paul’s struggle to put on a great show despite the unbearable pains that forced him to leave the stage often as he was unable to sing.
Heavy metal or if you prefer music in general is an emotion and Paul conveyed this to us in great quantity that night. Of course, he had with him the best backing band that ever appeared with him on stage in Greece! Gus G. was fantastic as was Elena Kotina on guitar, Kostas Taltabanis on bass and Minas Hatziminas on drums. We finally heard for the first time in a Paul Di’Anno concert the Maiden tracks as they should be played and for me personally – in this sense – it was his best performance on Greek soil. Yes, he was definitely under a lot of stress and he didn’t stop telling us about it with his well-known phlegmatic humor, but let’s not forget that this was his third live in 8 years! Add to all this, the well-documented health-issues with his knee surgery and we all understand his titanic effort.
Now don’t expect a set list and specific songs. For God’s sake, we’ve heard the anthems from Maiden’s first two albums and each one has his/her own highlights. For me personally, I include “Remember Tomorrow”, “Killers” and “Phantom of the Opera” in them (regardless of the fact that he stopped “Phantom…” the first time because he couldn’t sing due to unbearable pain). As we said…emotion; that’s the most important factor!
90 minutes passed by very quickly and we all left visibly moved by what we had experienced. I’m sure that when we see Di’Anno back on his feet again, we’ll get the full show as we all deserve so. For now, if only for a little while more…we are still at the Gagarin venue!
PS1: Many congratulations to Ilias Aravidis and all the guys of the promotion company for their impeccable work in this difficult task they had.
PS2: Well-done to the fans that did not stop cheering and applauding Paul and the band.
PS3: Up The Irons…Forever!