Iron Maiden, Megadeth - Mandalay Bay Events Centre, Las Vegas NV 12/09/13

Pakman2525 travels over to Sin City to catch Iron Maiden and Megadeth!

Pakman2525 is in Sin City to catch one of only 7 dates in the US where his two favourite bands, Heavy Metal Legends Iron Maiden are playing with one of thrash metal’s Big 4 – the one and only Megadeth.

The gig is being held in the Mandalay Bay’s Event Centre and has been sold out for weeks.  The walk up the Strip from where I am staying to Mandalay Bay is an event in itself, hundreds of black shirts plastered mainly with the moniker of Eddie adorn the crowd, but some also have Vic Rattlehead.  The crowd is abuzz with excitement and that buzz grows louder as we find the will call and merchandise booth outside the entrance to the venue.  Plenty of drinks are being downed by the crowd and everyone is enjoying themselves, I am lined up to get my obligatory shirts in the merchandise line that snakes on forever in the foyer when a security guard passes by with a comment of Megadeth being on at 7.30.  Merchandise is forsaken at this point as I’m not missing Dave Mustaine and co.

In my previous Maiden gigs I’ve been to, Maiden crowds tend to just enjoy having a drink and going to see Eddie & the boys themselves, however as the stage goes dark and the strains of Prince of Darkness kick start a Megadeth chant, I look around and see that there is a good portion of the crowd already in here.  Megadeth kick off a 9 song blistering set with Hangar 18 and play well known gems such as In My Darkest Hour, Tornado of Souls, Symphony of Destruction & Peace Sells before finishing off with Holy Wars…  The only song from Super Collider is Kingmaker and there is about half the crowd who know it but most are just headbanging along to it.  The guys in Megadeth look very happy to be out there and put on a great show.  Chris Broderick makes intricate solos look easy while revving up the crowd to get louder, Dave Ellefson and Shawn Drover just drive the songs beautifully.  Dave Mustaine is just Dave Mustaine – no more else is needed to be said.  He finishes with a great line to thank the crowd – “You’ve been great, We’ve Been Megadeth!”

I now race off to get merch now as I’ve got 30 minutes to Maiden come on, with shirts I want now sold out in my size – oh well one of my sons will be happy as I get a smaller size of that one.  So getting back onto the floor we have been moved back further due to the build-up of crowd and I am now beside the mixing desk, not a bad place to be for sound. I only just make it as I get down there as Doctor, Doctor by UFO has been playing. 

The band bounds out onto stage with a large burst of pyrotechnics, into the opener, Moonchild.  The triple axe threat of Janick Gers, Adrian Smith and Dave Murray manage to blow you away with power but not descend into just becoming a myriad of noise.  Steve Harris runs around the stage singing along to every word while his fingers are a blur picking away on his bass.  It is beautifully in sync with Nicko McBrain as we settle into just under  two hours of a damn good show.  The set list is about 17 songs long and each song has a massive backdrop that is usually a single cover.  We are treated to crowd favourites as 2 Minutes To Midnight, The Trooper, Number of the Beast, Fear Of The Dark and Run To The Hills.  Bruce stops and lets rip at some guy up the front in the middle of 2MTM who has apparently been treating the crowd up front with disdain as he tries to make his way back to the front.  He is summarily told to “Get the Fuck Out of my gig”.

A few songs are in this gig that I haven’t been able to catch live previously and I only have to wait to the third song before the voice of Patrick McGoohan blares out over the speakers in the intro to The Prisoner.  The others are Afraid To Shoot Strangers, Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son and one of my all-time favourite Maiden songs – Phantom Of The Opera.  All of the songs go down a treat.

There is a mechanical General Custer Eddie that comes out through Run To The Hills and plays Janick’s guitar for him, and also another couple in later songs as well as the biggest Eddie in Iron Maiden.  There is fire and lighting displays as well but all through, the crowd is on their feet and singing along with every song.  This is a band, who even though put on a great spectacle of a show, at the end of the day it is about the music and that is what has everyone here and enjoying themselves.  Looking into the mixing area and I spy Rod Smallwood, the bands long-time manager, who is scanning the crowd at most times to gauge the impact the gig is having but also bouncing and singing along whilst enjoying a drop of Trooper Ale.  He smiles and happily acknowledges the crowd members who wish to get a shot of him.

Bruce flags a little towards the end of the gig, but then he gets a second wind and finishes in fine style.  The lights come up and Monty Python’s Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life still has most of the crowd singing along or doing silly dances as they walk out of the gig looking to have thoroughly enjoyed another great Iron Maiden gig.