OK, so the Iron Maiden Future Past tour has now kicked off. The Hawk is a bit late to this, granted, but is not at all averse to a bfit of bandwagon jumping. So here we go with this blog’s view of the setlist. SPOLIER ALERT: if you want it to be a surprise, quit the article NOW.
No Live Spoilers!
First things first – The Hawk isn’t here going to comment much on the performances on the tour so far. Like most people reading this, my Youtube feed is clogged with clips from the shows so far, but I’m resisting anything but a very light sprinkling of viewings. It’s one thing to check out the setlist, but The Hawk is looking forward to seeing the show in person.
So in this post, we’ll just be commenting on the song choices – because there are certainly some interesting ones.
Before we get into the main set, The Hawk is pleased to see that they still play ‘Doctor Doctor’ over the PA before the band come on. Regular readers will remember that song getting a mention in our rundown of classic Iron Maiden B-Sides. It’s a big tradition by now, and long may it continue.
Main Event – Album Countdown
But anyway, onto the main event. Looking at the big picture, the clue is in the tour name – ‘Future Past’, and as we pretty much already knew, Future refers to Maiden’s latest album, ‘Senjutsu’ which supplies 5 songs, whilst ‘Past’ is mostly concerned with the classic 80s album, ‘Somewhere in Time’, which gives us another 5.
Aside from that, things are pretty evenly spread albums-wise, with a single offering from each of ‘ The Number of The Beast’, ‘Piece of Mind’, ‘Seventh Son of a Seventh Son’, ‘Iron Maiden’ and ‘Fear of the Dark.’
Back in Time…
The tour was always a bit of a Somewhere in Time revival, especially so since nobody captured any decent footage of the tour at the time in the 80s, and many of the songs haven’t appeared much in live sets since then. So now we can be sure that we’ll have plenty of live footage for posterity. That’s true from the outset, with a strong opening pair of ‘Caught Somewhere in time’ and ‘Stranger in a Strange Land.’
The first of those is somewhat of an underrated album opener – but as far as The Hawk is concerned it’s right up there. Have another listen to the original from all those years ago – Bruce Dickinson was disengaged from the song writing process, having been burned out from the Powerslave tour that preceded it. There was also a new direction, sort of, with guitar synthesizers brought in for the first time.
But somehow it all came together.
‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ is probably the song that best captures the synth sound they were aiming for. I expect we won’t see the gradually inflating Eddie from 1986, (or the classic Bruce Dickinson codpiece for that matter) but hearing the song live will be great.
…and Forward Again
After that, we get 3 Senjutsu numbers in quick succession – ‘The Writing On The Wall’, ‘Days of Future Past’ and ‘The Time Machine.’ Now we’re a bit into the usual generational debate – would we rather hear older songs or new ones. And The Hawk has mixed feelings there.
After all, Classic Metal Hawk is nothing other than a nostalgic heavy metal site, and for me, it’s still mainly the oldies that get the pulse racing the most when hearing them live. But you can’t deny that Senjutsu is a strong album, and there are plenty of younger fans to consider. So no complaints yet – let’s hear them.
Maiden England Revisited!!!
Still, there was plenty of cheer when it turned out that next up was ‘The Prisoner’ – a real oldie from ‘The Number of the Beast.’ The Hawk first heard this when as a young fan, he picked up a copy of the live video ‘Maiden England’, and loved it. (First live heavy metal video ever purchased / listed to over here). Here it goes – can’t wait to hear that one again, especially since it’s such a leftfield choice. It was rolled out live in 2012-14, but before that, we have to go back to 1991, and then back to Maiden England itself.
Next up, we’re into another Sentjutsu number, ‘Death of the Celts’, and the first real epic of the set, clocking in at over 10 minutes. It’s in the same ‘freedom from oppression’ vein as ‘The Clansman’, but stretched out into a much more complex piece. Someone in the band with Scottish ancestry? Who knows?
Classic Run In
Then, we have a run to the line with one classic after another. First, there’s ‘Can I Play with Madness’, also a comparatively rare bird on Maiden live sets. It also appeared on the Maiden England video of course, and was famous for its Monty Python connections in the video when it was released as a single – read more about that on the Seventh Son album blog here.
Then it’s back to ‘Somewhere in time’, with ‘Heaven Can Wait’ and, the one we’ve all been waiting for, ‘Alexander the Great’.
The latter of course has never been performed live by Maiden until now, and it’s great that they’re putting that right. Another Maiden historical epic, which deserves to get it’s time in the sun. Have a listen again before you head out to the show to remember why.
The former has been played plenty, though very little since the turn of the millennium – we welcome it back.
The main set is rounded out with perennial favourites ‘Fear of the Dark’ and ‘Iron Maiden’. Has there ever been a Maiden gig not rounded off with ‘Iron Maiden’? I mean in the early days, maybe, but since they hit the big time? Shout out in the comments below if you know.
Into the encores now, and we kick off with yet another epic, this time Senjutsu’s ‘Hell On Earth’ – definitely The Hawk’s favourite of the newer epics, if you get what I mean. ‘The Trooper’ comes next, and we round out by visiting ‘Somewhere In Time’ for one last hurrah. This is as it should be, and the song is ‘Wasted Years’, the biggest hit from the album and a recap of how Adrian really made his name as a songwriter in the band. I mean sure, he’d contributed plenty up to then, but this was where he seemed to step up in confidence and write what he wanted.
So there we have it. Before we go though, there has to be a word about some of the notable omissions. No ‘Hallowed be Thy Name.’ That one really blindsided The Hawk – can’t remember the last Maiden gig I went to with out that. Same goes for ‘Number of the Beast’ which also fails to appear. So they’ve been brutal in some ways – though it’s good that these things aren’t undroppable. If nothing else, it gives space for some new choices, and we should all give thanks for that.
What else have they left out? Well, loads, obviously, given the size of the back catalogue. But a few eye catching ones include ‘Run to the Hills’, ‘Aces High’ and recent favourite ‘Sign of the Cross.’
Look, it’s always tough choosing 15 or so songs to keep eyeryone happy – in the end, The Hawk can’t wait to take in the show, and hear them for himself. The early reviews are promising, so fingers crossed.
And, since we’ve been vibing on it already, let’s play out with the Maiden England classic version on ‘Hallowed be Thy Name.’ You won’t hear it on this tour, but hopefully it will give us a few more classic performances like this preserved forever.
Looking forward to the show? What about that set list? What are you looking forward to? What are you most pissed off that you won’t hear? Share your thoughts in the comments.