Iron Maiden and Megadeth Concert Review, Raleigh, NC 9/03/2013
Iron Maiden announced a few months back that they were going to add an additional short run of dates to play some cities in the USA that they rarely played, if ever. Opening night of this leg was Raleigh, NC. After discussing with Kelz who lives in Raleigh we decided to set up another “MitchFest”.
What is MitchFest? It’s what Kelz and I call our meet ups to see shows. We’ve done several over the years…Foetus, Sabbat, Loudness and a few others. We tried to get some other friends from our home state of Virginia to come in but not everyone could do it. I joined the Iron Maiden fan club to get presage tix for next week’s Austin show and realized I could get 4 tix for each of the other USA shows. I have Kelz a club code for Megadeth and we got 8 seats all together. The final group was Kelz, his wife and 2 kids, Petey, Wade and Baird. Kelz, Petey and I all met 30+ years ago and have been close since. I was in a band with Wade in the early 90s. Baird is Wade’s nephew who I hadn’t seen since he was a toddler. That kid is all grown up now.
Through Facebook I saw that some other old friends were going to be there and I was pretty excited to be able to see them.
But we’re not done with MitchFest. For what ever reason Kelz and I have called each other bitch monkey for years. That morphed into Mitch Bunkey and ultimately into just Mitch. Hence MitchFest. Got it? While we were walking around looking for the record store, we walked by Mitch’s Tavern. Really? On the way back to Kelz’ house we went by Bunkey’s car wash. No, really. You can’t make this stuff up.
My trip started with flying to Virginia to see my dear Mom and brother and to hopefully catch up with some folks in Virginia that I hadn’t seen since I left in 2006. Success! It was a quick trip but a good one.
I drove from Norfolk to Raleigh on Monday and got to Kelz’ place around 3. We’re in touch pretty regularly so there’s not much to catch up on. We hung out with his wife and kids and went to get some grub. I needed some NC style pork BBQ and got my fill. After some more jibber jabber and a beer or 2, we all crashed out. His kids had school the next morning.
On the day of the show, Petey was driving in from Richmond and Kelz and I went into town to hit a record store or 2 and grab some food. After finding the record store we wanted to see, we were going to head back to the house as Petey was 30 minutes away. Walking out if the store Kelz points across the street and it took me a second to see what he was talking about. Maiden Lane! What a coincidence. So if course we nerd out and take pics. As we’re driving back, see Smallwood Drive. What? Really? For those not in the know, Rod Smallwood has been Iron Maiden’s manager forever. Another weird coincidence.
Petey arrives, we nerd out some more and hang out with Kelz’ family until show time. After a quick bite to eat we get to the venue and meet up with Wade and Baird. We all go in and I run into some old pals that I had known since middle school. I also ran into a guy, Ben, that lived a few miles down the road from me when we were kids. I hadn’t seen him since around 1991. Mid show I ran into Ben Hogg who sang with Beaten Back to Pure, a band that My old band did several gigs with in the early 2000s.
Megadeth hit the stage promptly at 730 and went through their set pretty fluidly. I’ve seen Dave and company a few times in recent years and was neither blown away or bored by the set. Of course I only want to hear songs from the first three albums, but such is life. My main complaint is that their current drummer just isn’t that good. I’m still not sure why Dave keeps him around. I mean seriously, the double bass at the end of peace sells is that that difficult. GET IT RIGHT ALREADY!
After about a 30 minute set change, UFO’s Doctor Doctor starts playing and that’s the cue that Maiden is coming up next. We’re all excited even knowing that the setlist hasn’t changed in 2 years. It’s Maiden. The favorite band of Petey, Kelz and myself. We were there together and that’s what mattered.
Now, the three of us all saw Maiden together for our first time in 1988 so that made this reunion even more special. Maiden hits the stage with Moonchild and run through their set with ease. Bruce was as energetic as ever and the band sounded great. The mix could’ve been better as Dave and Adrian’s solos seemed low in the mix. We were just off of center not far from the soundboard. Steve was low as well. I’m still amazed that Nicko can play like he does. His right foot is just as awesome as it ever was. Adrian’s solo were great but Dave’s seemed a little off. Seems like he’s decided to change some things up over the last few years. Of course Jannick Gers is still in the band much to my dismay. I’ll say it again that I can’t stand that guy. Whatever. Bruce’s vocals were really strong and clear. The only time I saw him struggle was at the scream in the end if Aces High. He knew he couldn’t hit the note and just winged it. No bother. The dude has still got an incredible set of pipes unlike most if my other favorite older singers. Bruce still can do it live. No surprises in the show. It’s the same setlist as before, which is a bit unfortunate. I understand that their set changes are choreographed, but hell, just throw in some odd numbers and not worry about the big corresponding backdrops.
But the show was incredible. Yes, we got to see our favorite band again but all of us being together made the night and the whole trip even better.
I’m seeing the band again in Austin next week with some more great friends and already excited about it.
One thing about the show, and most shows in general these days, is seeing the people who go to these shows and just get obliterated. I saw so many people on the verge of passing out, puking and just acting like utter bumbling idiots. Don’t get me wrong, I like to party and get some beers in me seeing shows, but I also like to remember the show. Especially when spending $100 on a ticket, ya know? Maybe I’m just getting old and curmudgeony. It just doesn’t make sense to me.
Again, whatever. It was awesome and I can’t wait for the next show and the next MitchFest!
Written by The Metal Files
September 4, 2013 at 12:17 pm
Posted in 2013, adrian smith, bruce dickinson, concert review, concert reviews, concerts, dave murray, dave mustaine, heavy metal, iron maiden, megadeth, nicko mcbrain, north carolina, raleigh, the metal files
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