Iron Maiden, Lauren Harris at Terra Vibe (2008)

Terra Vibe (Athens, Greece)

Iron Maiden, Lauren Harris
Intro [Yiannis]: Writing a report on IRON MAIDEN is usually like a thesis on the […]
August 2, 2008


[Yiannis]: Writing a report on IRON MAIDEN is usually like a thesis on the sun rising and setting. Nothing unexpected, you already know what's going to happen. This was my fifth time I would watch one of the bands that defined heavy metal rip our necks to shreds and the feelings were the same just like the first time I watched them 10 years ago. The set list was perfect, the weather was perfect, and the tickets expensive as always which meant only one of my friends made it (cheers Fotis for the company).

It's been a long while since I've been to Terra Vibe and not much had changed. The idea of separating the crowd in three sections had endured (mo' money, mo' money), there were benches on the sides for people who paid the large fee (and hopefully brought huge binoculars cause that was far). Also if you happened to be at ground level to the left, lots of boxes covered the stage, so the visibility was very limited and you had to move way back and close to the center if you wanted to see more. And what the hell happened to the grass? That beautiful field of green that made Terra Vibe really stand out had been replaced by some patches of half rotting weed which meant that there was dust rising every time there was some minor activity (let alone the headliners).


[Yiannis Z.]
: 30 minutes past 8, and Lauren Harris along with her band, hit the stage of TerraVibe. Full of energy, dressed in a tight black outfit, the daughter of Master Steve Harris welcomed the 25 thousand people that came to watch IRON MAIDEN, this hot Greek summer night. Calm Before The Storm is Lauren's first album and she seemed to enjoy the fact that she was singing in front of the most enthusiastic Greek Maiden audience. From the other hand I know that the Greek fans enjoyed the beautiful, barefoot singer and especially during Steal Your Fire I saw some lip-movement from guys that were singing the chorus. On the guitars the amazing (Star Wars fan) Richie Faulkner gave a strong performance and along with Randy Gregg (THIN LIZZY, Dee Snider), they made an excellent duet by Lauren's side on stage.

Lauren Harris was the perfect warm up before the IRON MAIDEN set, not only for her blood relation with Steve Harris, but with her beautiful performance she managed to win the applause from the Greek audience.

[Yiannis]: I should have known by the warning of Dimitris K. who just arrived from the frozen city of Chicago where he recently watched IRON MAIDEN perform; only bad thing is that I will have to go through HER performance AGAIN. Can she be that bad? I wondered. Then she appeared on stage. Lauren Harris, daughter of the legendary IRON MAIDEN bassist Steve Harris showed up a bit before the sunset and well... ok, I think this should pretty much cover my feelings for the following half hour.

I guess most of you have watched Platoon. Remember that scene where Willem Dafoe, is being shot by a regiment of VCs with enough bullets to kill Godzilla and he's on his knees with his hands way up in the sky in desperation? That's about it.

Only instead of the awesome dramatic soundtrack there was this mellow mix of something that sounded like Christian rock inspirational songs and Avril Lavigne. Actually my later example sounds like Gorgoroth on crack compared to her. She's probably more than ok for a pop act. Her voice is extremely girly and generic and she's pretty enough to make it on MTV airtime. But opening for IRON MAIDEN? It's just my luck, I've always gone through hell whenever I wanted to watch them. PHANTOM LORD, DRAGONFORCE and now this. The suffering, the suffering.

People in the front seemed kinda cheerful, but everyone went really berserk when she announced that this would be her last song. I mean you could just see the sheer happiness in their faces. Let's face it, if her last name wasn't Harris she wouldn't be on that stage. Or any stage of that size for so many people.


[Yiannis Dk]: Although there were a lot of people gathered that night for the gig most of them probably accidentally entered the doors. Why am I saying this? I am sick of that kind of persons that watch the band's performance via their mobile eyes. I cannot understand why someone paying such a heavy price for a ticket without enjoying anything just to record some parts of the gig. Not only it's complete insulting for any group that is above the stage but it's also a rather poor image seeing such kind of activities and not a kind of audience that really enjoys and likes of what happens in front of his eyes and ears. And that night the majority of the audience was just dead bodies. Except the front lines the other was like going to the opera for a theatre. Maybe IRON MAIDEN's performance was unable to win any attention or the people there was unfamiliar with Heavy Metal music, the whole effect was not what I expected of.

It is about 9:30 and the classic UFO's Doctor, Doctor explodes in a wonderful night. After that, the classic Aces intro and then, the ultimate song, the first of Powerslave. The performance is excellent with Dickinson revealing himself trying to raise up the people's adrenaline but most of them had in their minds how to capture a better photo instead of anything else. And then... I don't know why but when I'm hearing the Two Minutes To Midnight I am feeling like a whole universe collapsing in front of my eyes. Maybe one of the heaviest songs for the British masters, this riff is immortal. I don't want anything else, they played this, I saw Harris that's it. The gig was perfect!

Next is for informational reasons. They played the self titled, with the mummy Eddie looming out of a pharaoh's head, and that was the only DiAnno's era song they offered us. The Number Of The Beast with his fires explosions was perfect, Run To The Hills could be missing with something else in its place while the

Hallowed Be Thy Name
is must for any MAIDEN concert like Trooper and Bruce wielding of the blade. Revelations was also one of the highlights of that night together with Powerslave and the almighty Rime Of The Ancient Mariner. The last one is a unique experience. The creepy middle part with the whole fog above the stage dilates the senses of the people. What else? Well, from the Somewhere album Wasted Years was good enough and from the concept that no one knows what is about the Moonchild, Can I Play With Madness and the Eddie's revenge Clairvoyant plus the all time favorite hit Fear Of The Dark.

What I didn't like?

1.The pussy mobile people as I mentioned above.
2.The beer plastic cup suffered by x ray attack with consequence of reducing its size. In the previous festivals some weeks before it had a normal size but now the Greeks foxy mind thought that with so plethora of people they could make more money. Respect is something complete unknown in this land.
3.IRON MAIDEN could be less professional with more rock n' roll feel. Professionalism is good but all things must have a limit. Sometimes I was thinking that everything I watched had been studied meticulously before like an actor before his show.
4.The price of the ticket was very expensive if we mention the inexistence of a support band.
The rest is history and Steve Harris is the ultimate metal figure.

[Yiannis]:Half hour after the indifferent daughter, it was time for her dad and the crew to show how it's done. Lights dimmed twenty minutes before ten, and... UFO's Doctor Doctor played in its entirety while the crowd was going crazy followed by Winston Churchill's famous speech and Aces High. At that point the stage was revealed (but the boxes were not removed). Influenced by Powerslave, the set was pi shaped, the walls had Egyptian hieroglyphs on them, statues of sacred cats in the corners with red glowing eyes, while in the back there were different versions of Eddie that changed according to the song being played, of course accompanied by various fireworks now and then.

2 Minutes To Midnight and Revelations followed and you could already tell that even after all these years the bands has lost none of its legendary energy that keeps them going. Bruce Dickinson's voice was in great shape though he did sound tired at some points, Steve Harris delivered his galloping bass lines as perfect as ever; Dave Murray, Adrian Smith and Jannick Gers had great fun on stage and were impeccable as well. I don't know what Nicko McBrain did since I could only guess he was there, hidden by the boxes cluttering the stage but he sounded no less great than the rest.

The Trooper was up next and Bruce showed up as a Red Coat, waving his British flag around like a madman and running around like he discovered the cold fusion reactor and replaced his heart with it. Does he ever get tired? Of course the crowed obeyed his every Scream for me Athina! shout and his every gesture for people to go wild.

A short pause after the song to ask an incredibly stupid fan to stop pointing his laser pointer on them, or if someone next to him could do that for him. I don't care if you take pictures, if you record bootlegs, if you download our music or upload them on Youtube, I just want to be able to watch them tomorrow if I want to. Well said, hope the laser pointer ended up were no pointer has gone before.

A short speech about all the years that IRON MAIDEN have been around was followed by Wasted Years. I can remember some wasted hours with a couple of their later releases, but years? Never.
...Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the Beast, for it is a human number, its number is Six hundred and Sixty Six. Need I say more? Horns up in the air, his Evilness on stage and the crowd goes mental again for The Number Of The Beast. Bruce joked about them playing a jazz song after that, reminding that Nicko was a jazz drummer. Can I Play With Madness was a nice example why we should be glad he's not into jazz anymore.

Two of my favorite songs followed. Rime Of The Ancient Mariner had great presentation. Bruce dressed as the cursed seaman (yes, it's always a funny word, get over it) delivering us the lyrics taken from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's epic poem written more than 200 years ago in a captivating way. The sounds of the broken ship, the fog during the narration, a truly theatrical and dramatic presentation, excellent from any point of view.

Then there was Powerslave. Bruce was wearing his weird wooden mask with the feathers on, giving a great performance of one of their most powerful songs, simply amazing.
A couple dozens of lucky fans appeared on Heaven Can Wait which was up next to chant along with the fans, followed by their two huge -overplayed- concert hits Run To The Hills and Fear Of The Dark. I have to admit, those two songs haven't found their way in my playlist for years, mainly to the fact that I must have listened to them around 50.000 times when I was younger. But no matter if you're like me, when IRON MAIDEN play them live you will always have the need to sing and chant along and let them take the clock two decades back.

The IRON MAIDEN brought out the tall walking version of Eddie along with the thoughts that this will never, ever get old no matter how many years go by or how many times I watch them.
A short pause for an encore and the band returns with Moonchild, The Clairvoyant and the morbid bells of Hallowed Be Thy Name, a perfect way to end a perfect night.

Once again people were chanting for Alexander The Great and once again Monty Python's Always Look On the Bright Side of Life was the respond. It was many years ago since Bruce sang the chorus and promised that next time they would play the entire song for us; I stopped believing since then but it is sad to give a promise and not delivering, I'm not waiting for them though to ever practice a song that's not in their regular set list just for the Greek audience. Maybe if they decide to include it in one of their next tour. Until then this chorus and the performance from the female cover band IRON MAIDENS is all we have to remember.

You know what you will expect when you go to see a band like this. A great show, fans dedicated to the band, people of all ages, from little kids to grandparents. It will never be as special as the first time I saw them but it is always a very special event for metalheads of all kinds. Even if you're not a hardcore IRON MAIDEN fan, the sheer aura of this happening is enough to make you no less wild than their most dedicated fan. And that, in my opinion is something that only this band can deliver. I hope they will be around for many years to come, showing the younger generation how it's really done. As a side note, I wouldn't mind a solo Bruce Dickinson tour either.

Pictures by Yiannis Dk. and Yiannis Z.



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