When Bruce announced on stage during the last Iron Maiden concert here that they planned on coming back with a new album, I didn't really let myself believe it. Fast forward two years, and there I was, finding my to my seat for the Final Frontier Tour, just like they promised.
A good deal of people have expressed disappointment with this tour, and for fair reasons. The most common complaint is that the setlist was weak. I, for one, thought the setlist was great. A large number of fans who came out to see this tour were very disappointed with a setlist that was almost entirely made up of songs from Brave New World and on. I had anticipated a lack of 'Golden Era' songs given the setlist last tour, and was pleasantly surprised to only hear three songs repeated from the Somewhere Back In Time setlist, which were of course the three songs that get played at every Iron Maiden Concert. Even more pleasantly surprising was the inclusion of Wrathchild and a particularly spirited rendition of Running free, were Steve and Nicko noodled around while Bruce introduced everyone and had the crowd more engaged than they'd been most of the night.
Which brings us to the only other real negative aspect to the show; the crowd was, not surprisingly, considerably more subdued than the crowd of maniacs I saw last time around. This was due to several obvious factors; the novelty isn't as great when it's only been two years since the last time the band came round as opposed to two decades. The setlist contained a lot more material that people were less familiar with and less passionate about. And the show just wasn't quite as much of a spectacle this time. But the SBiT tour is a tough act to follow, and not reaching the same level takes nothing at all away from this tour.
The band, even older now, still brings an abundance of energy to the stage. Bruce did a great job of keeping the crowd engaged, even if some of it didn't particularly want to be. The guitarists spent a fair amount of time at the sides of the stage allowing everyone to get a 'moment' with them. Unfortunately, from where I was seated, the stage blocked off almost all of Nicko, so all I really got to see of him was a three-quarter of a second flash on the screen. To me, that was the only real disappointment of the show, and that was due to the arena, not the band or its stage.
A lot of people, in a few years time, will look back at this show and think it forgettable. I will look back and consider it the absolute perfect compliment to the previous tour, and a very worthwhile concert that I'm glad I got to see.