In the beginning, there was darkness. And the Devil said,” Let there be Metal”. So Sir Winston Churchill speaketh, “…. we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender,” and the cymbals hit hard with the guitars riffing. Mumbai screams in unison, the bass commands us to Jump, the lights go haywire, and Bruce Almighty jumps out of nowhere , over the monitors in his army cargos, and orders
“Run, live to fly, fly to live, do or die
Run, live to fly, fly to live. Aces high.”
I was there. HELL YEAH! I look around to see only one reaction, the headbanging, the fingers closed perfectly to show the devil’s horn and the music taking control. IRON MAIDEN ripped us all apart. And when you just wanted to take a breather, the shredder reveals another killer with the drums rolling to the Anti-War Anthem “2 Minutes to Midnight”. The crowd goes frenzy, and chaos prevails. My first bruise, my first kick on a guy’s back (now his T-Shirt reads the mirror image of Size 9), and even more jumps and pushes. Ladies who were expecting some sort of courtesy and ahem, respect, got the unexpected answers. Hilarious it was, when a lady started to roam around searching for her lost boyfriend, and my pal told her, Auntie, you won’t be able to manage yourself in the first row. It took her not more than two minutes to realize that.
Track 3: The very AC/DC-ish Revelations. The crowd responds as Bruce commands and that’s what you expect at a Maiden gig. Personally, not one of my Maiden favorites, and add to that, the great fall of Sujoy. I do a “Konhi to Konhi” (elbow to elbow) Dance to stand up, to be pushed down furthermore. And before I could even realize, I was at row 10 from the barricade. I somehow managed to get a breather when Dicksinson engaged the crowd with his English English. My dear neighbors thought I had passed out , I replied , not yet!! Yeah right! Unaware of what was coming up next. Track 4: “The Trooper” and you know what that means to “We, the Maiden Maniacs”. How many times have we blasted our stereos with that track, how many times have we airguitared to that riff, and how many times have we been scolded by the nasty neighbour auntie- Mrs.Shukla for making her ears bleed. And to see that song come alive in front of me, can be best described as next to Heaven. The crowd goes O-o-o-o-o-o-O-o-o, and I go completely dry, I mean dehydrated. As Mumbai faces the Charge of the Maiden Metal Brigade, I try to somehow keep myself in senses . And as the song descends, I am yet again doing the Konhi to Konhi dance to find a way to the nearest Pepsi stall. 10 bucks for a glass of water, 30 bucks for a glass of Pepsi. Gulped down, I donno how many. And before I could realize, Maiden had already opened the envelope to “Wasted Years”.
Track 5: The Number of the Beast:
I left alone my mind was blank
I needed time to think to get the memories from my mind
What did I see can I believe that what I saw
that night was real and not just fantasy
Just what I saw in my old dreams were they
reflections of my warped mind staring back at me
Cos in my dreams it’s always there the evil face that twists my mind
and brings me to despair.
And then the inhuman scream that tears every mortal soul. Bruce Dickinson at 49, pierces through every fucking metalhead’s heart with as much ease as he could always.And if you thought you’d get some time to settle down, behold, coz Run to the Hills was next, and for those who missed the United Chorus of MMRDA’s rendition of Run to the Hills, you’ve missed D-Moment.Talking about the showmanship stunts, Bruce rules with his costume changes, dry Brit humor, and his jumps which would put any athletic teenager to shame. Steve Harris and his stunts with the Bass have always been popular, and he doesn’t disappoint us. Adrian Smith – the most sober, the most calm guitarist ever and makes his job look so easy , even while executing some of Metal’s most complicated guitaring. The next three tracks that followed were- The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Powerslave , Heaven Can Wait and Can I play with Madness ( never expected them to play that). Some unexpected additions to the playlist, and the crowd grew more and more impatient to listen to the most awaited song –Fear of the Dark, and as the silence ambience resonated to the four hits by Nicko on the Hi-Hat, the guitars lead the path to the crowd’s hum. The most recognized crowd song comes alive, and Bruce says: Fear of the Dark, You…Fear of the Dark. And then, the British Wave washed us down, and I jumped high with my glass of PEPSI. Spilled it on some bloody mindfuck who pushed me. Neither did I, nor he gave a fuck about it, and as the song rose to a crescendo, all of us sang along the O-o-O-o-O, and my head refused to go along, but the headbanging was inevitable and uncontrollable. I knew I had to save some for Hallowed.
This was the time when I actually so wanted to hear to Phantom of the Opera , or may be Bring your Daughter, which Maiden, surprisingly skipped. But then, how much can you ask for. Dickinson says Good Night, Thank You Mumbai, and we aren’t surprised. Because we all know, NO MAIDEN concert is complete without Hallowed, and so before even the most ignorant Maiden Maniac started screaming “Maiden ..Maiden”, we all knew that the Band is gonna come back for their encore. And yes they were.Track 13: Iron Maiden: Eddie is brought back to life, as the 12 feet cyborg Eddie walks around in his “Somewhere in Time” avatar with his muscular system showing and his gun in hand. Mr.Harris lets his bass rest against Eddie’s gun (see below). Now that’s Diabolic.
Moonchild and Clairvoyant play next, and all I can NOT feel now is my legs. Bruce Dickinson continues to go Higher and Higher and run and jump around. GOD, what does he eat (or rather DRINK)? And then…. the final nail in the coffin, the last blow, the Bazooka… as the Bell Rings and Darkness prevails, there comes a blue light, and an image singing to ME-
I’m waiting in my cold cell when the bell begins to chime, Reflecting on my past life and it doesn’t have much time.
And as Dickinson goes from running Looooowwwwwwww to Hiiiiigh…the song ascends to a level which cannot be experienced anywhere else but a Maiden concert.
I stay numb, helpless, not understanding what to do, and awestruck by the sheer power of Metal that can make so many lonely souls, who have been complaining about their mundane daily routines of 9 to 6 jobs, come together and exhale the same emotion and experience the same state of mind, simultaneously. Hallowed Be Thy Name marked the end of the first concert of the Somewhere Back in Time World Tour, but the Metal was far from over. As I walked out of the venue, I see around smiles, angry faces and happy faces and well, T-Shirts soaked in sweat and dirt all emoting “Hell Yeah! I JUST FUCKING SAW MAIDEN LIVE”. If you weren’t there, where the fuck were you? Dream realized! End of Story. Peace!
Coming Up Next: The Story in Pictures.