I went with a friend to see Iron Maiden last Saturday at Gexa Energy Pavilion down at Fair Park. My first time at the venue, and it is a large ampitheater with good sight lines and decent sound. After some real digging in the recesses of my mind I came to the conclusion that it was the first concert I’ve been to outside a club or theater in a decade, and the first show with over 10,000 people in attendance in roughly 20 years. I’m not big on the giant crowd experience.
As you can see from the pictures my friend Aaron took, we had good seats, in the second row of the second section, about 20 feet from the sound board. We missed openers Coheed & Cambria, wandering in to our seats during what proved to be the final song of their set. I’m not a fan, and based on what I heard that wasn’t going to change if I had seen them play.
Iron Maiden played the same setlist they had all tour, opening with “Moonchild”, with “Running Free” closing the encore. In between, they managed to make me like songs from Seventh Son of a Seventh Son which I’ve always slagged off (like the title track, which turned out to be a surprising solid centerpiece of the set), and dug out a couple of much-loved if lesser played tracks in “The Prisoner” and “Phantom of the Opera”. Both brought goosebumps to my arms.
The show was not without a few issues, primarily with Bruce’s mic. At least I think it was the mic, for it seemed to drop precipitously in the mix pretty regularly, and not when Bruce was breathing heavy from running around like a madman. It took them a few songs to get the mix right, with the bass sometimes rising to greater prominence than Maiden usually place it (which is pretty damn forward), and Dave was nearly inaudible at one point early on.
It definitely changed my mind a bit when it comes to big shows. I think I’d go see a band with a following like Iron Maiden, where the crowd is there for the music and absolutely adores the band. A festival, with all the competing agendas of the concertgoers, is still another thing.