Almost 37 years into his career as bassist and principle songwriter for Iron Maiden
, Steve Harris still gets a kick out of the young, fresh faces he sees that still pop up during the heavy metal band’s massive world tours.
Now out on a 34-date North American leg of its Maiden England Tour, designed to closely mirror the U.K. band’s 1988 outing behind Seventh Son of a Seventh Son in both look and song selections, Harris says during a recent phone interview that it’s pretty scary how so much of the crowd, not yet born when the majority of Maiden’s classic material was recorded, nonetheless sing along to every single word of key tracks from crucially influential albums like The Number of the Beast (1982), Piece of Mind (1983) and the legendary Long Beach recording Live After Death (1985).
“They’ve definitely done their homework,” Harris says, with a slight laugh, of newer Maidenheads.
The Maiden England production, which arrives this week for two shows (Thursday and Friday) at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine, boasts cuts culled almost exclusively from the group’s ’80s prime – although given the massive audiences that are annually roused worldwide by vocalist Bruce Dickinson and the rest of the sextet, its heyday is arguably ongoing.
In addition to required elements from Seventh Son (1988), the band’s sets include several pieces from Powerslave (1984) and Somewhere in Time (1986)” and key tracks from the earlier staples – even a couple off the band’s 1980 self-titled debut, when Paul Di’Anno was briefly frontman. (Dickinson, a far more agile and sky-scraping singer, replaced him after 1981’s Killers.)
“We haven’t changed the arrangements or anything like that,” Harris assures. “The songs still stand up as being strong as they are, so we’re not changing them. We got a few different things we didn’t play – quite a few things that we didn’t play – back on the ‘88 tour to mix it up a bit and keep it more interesting for us, and the audience probably.”
Read more with Steve Harris of Iron Maiden on the Soundcheck Blog.
Iron Maiden plays Aug. 9-10 at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, 8808 Irvine Center Drive, in Irvine. Coheed and Cambria are up first at 7:30 each night. Tickets are $40-$160.
Photo: Frontman Bruce Dickinson and Iron Maiden return to Verizon Wireless Amphitheater for two shows this week. By: John McMurtrie
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