It’s been nearly two years since Iron Maiden released ‘The Book of Souls.’ In that time, the band has embarked on their most aggressive two-year touring cycle of this century. On Saturday, the ‘Book of Souls’ Tour rolled through Toronto for the second time in as many years. While the show was largely identical to the one that came through town the year prior, it’s exactly what fans in attendance had lined up to see.
Not since the ancient Egyptian-themed ‘Powerslave’ tour in the mid-1980’s, have Iron Maiden so convincingly laid their claim on a mysterious culture long past. With ‘The Book of Souls,’ the album and stage show carry a strong Mayan theme. This was evidenced from the opening track “If Eternity Should Fail,” which featured a mysterious, robed Bruce Dickinson appearing above a smoldering pedestal.
From the moment Bruce’s opening sequence ended, and the rest of the band joined him on stage, the energy level was peaked for the remainder of the show. Maiden went directly into the second song from ‘The Book of Souls’ with “Speed of Light” before throwing it all the way back to their second album (‘Killers’) with “Wrathchild.”
For anyone watching an Iron Maiden show, it quickly becomes apparent just how much these guys still enjoy performing live. This band released their debut album back in 1980, yet they still perform on stage with an energy and life that would challenge most bands half their age. There were several occasions throughout the evening where Dickinson would leap off of one of the monitors on stage, with his full mic stand in hand, showing the crowd just how much fuel he’s got in his tank. Meanwhile, guitarist Janek Gers has long been a master at twirling his guitar mid-song in just about every way imaginable.
The remainder of the set provided an ideal balance of brand new and very early material, covering older classics like “The Trooper,” “Powerslave” and the essential “Fear of the Dark,” as well as their eponymous track “Iron Maiden” and “The Number of the Beast.”
A highlight every Maiden fan looks forward to is the appearance of their mascot, Eddie. For this tour, that happens during “The Book of Souls,” when a Mayan-themed Eddie takes the stage and approaches the different band members while they’re performing. After Janek tries several times to dispatch him with this guitar Bruce finally manages to rip Eddie’s heart out and spray its contents before tossing the remains into the crowd.
Later in the set, the series of rotating backdrops were replaced with a massive inflatable Eddie bust during “Iron Maiden.” It’s this kind of bombastic production that reminds fans in attendance why Iron Maiden have not only achieved their status at the top of the heavy metal food chain, but also why they’ve been able to maintain such a stature for so long.
While this touring cycle is all but complete, with only a few shows remaining, I’d like to think we’ll get another chance to see Iron Maiden again in the near future. Whether you’ve seen them multiple times, or if they’re a band you haven’t managed to catch yet, make this show a priority. Iron Maiden put on a nightly clinic of how to bring heavy metal to the masses, and it’s not to be missed.
- If Eternity Should Fail
- Speed of Light
- Children of the Damned
- Death or Glory
- The Red and the Black
- The Trooper
- The Great Unknown
- The Book of Souls
- Fear of the Dark
- Iron Maiden
- The Number of the Beast
- Blood Brothers
- Wasted Years
Photos and text by Charlie Meister