August 2, 2005. That is where this story, and my Iron Maiden journey, begin. That date would be the first time that I’d see the band live. It was also the last time that they played Columbus, Ohio. Columbus is the closest big city to my rural home. In the subsequent tours since that one, I’ve traveled to Detroit, Cuyahoga Falls, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati to see the band; hoping that they’d someday return to Columbus.

As fate (and my luck) would have it, the mighty Iron Maiden announced a Columbus date for their 2022 World Tour, so I immediately bought tickets for myself and my normal crew to be able to attend. In a sick twist of irony, the Columbus date would be on a Friday in October. I’m a high school football coach and my favorite band would be returning to my city on a Friday night in October. You can’t make it up.

As Friday October 7th was approaching, I resigned myself to the fact that I’d have to miss the gig, I decided to gift a pair of my tickets to my metalhead cousin and his son and the other pair to one of my buddies from high school who hadn’t had the chance to see the band live before. They had a blast and enjoyed the show. That made not being there in person a slightly less bitter pill to swallow. Luckily, for myself, the story wouldn’t end there.

The above photo was taken in 2012 before some of my usual Maiden crew made the road trip to Indianapolis to see Iron Maiden and Alice Cooper on their Maiden England tour. The young lady that is circled in the picture is my daughter. She had no choice but to grow up with Iron Maiden in her life, because while she was a child, it was I who controlled the radio. As a toddler she would sing “Run To The Hills” word for word. I don’t know what kind of father that makes me, but it is the truth. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that she doesn’t listen to Taylor Swift and the atrocity that is Nicki Minaj. She does. She’s a fifteen year old girl. However, in recent months, those playlists have started to pick up steam in the right direction. Lately, I’ve been more likely to hear Def Leppard or Metallica coming from her room, than I am to hear Megan’s Stallion or whatever passes off as music these days. I’ll take that as a win!

She was pretty upset with me in 2019 when I took my brother-in-law to the Cincinnati show instead of her, and she was bummed that the Columbus date landed on a day that I had coaching responsibilities and her cheerleading. On Saturday, the next day, she suggested we go to Detroit the following day and see the tour there. I obliged and on Sunday afternoon, after my Buffalo Bills kicked Pittsburgh’s ass, we headed up U.S. 23 and voyaged up to the Motor City.

My two prior Detroit trips to see this band were at the Palace at Auburn Hills; a massive basketball arena that was seemingly an hour north of the city. This year the band was playing downtown in the city’s recently built Little Caesar’s Arena, home of the Detroit Redwings hockey club. This venue would prove to be far superior as a venue and a much easier drive than trekking all the way to Auburn Hills.

DONINGTON ON BAIN, UNITED KINGDOM – JUNE 15: Sharon den Adel and Robert Westerholt of Within Temptation perform at Day 3 of Download Festival on June 15, 2008 in Castle Donington, England. (Photo by Chiaki Nozu/FilmMagic)

Opening the night were the Dutch symphonic metal band Within Temptation. Fronted by Sharon den Adel, this band is one that I have wanted to check out for a long time. There are a lot of bands from this genre that I’ve been exposed to by listening to bands like Sabaton and Amon Amarth; but simply haven’t been able to see due to them not touring the States very often. I’ve seen other opening bands receive lukewarm to even poor receptions (cough, Bullet For My Valentine) by the tough Iron Maiden crowd. Within Temptation, however, were received well and put on a great set to warm up the event. I’d certainly like to see them again, perhaps in a smaller venue and a longer performance.

Within Temptation Set List 10/9/2022 Detroit

  1. The Reckoning
  2. Paradise (What About Us)
  3. Faster
  4. In The Middle Of The Night
  5. Stand My Ground
  6. Supernova
  7. Don’t Pray For Me
  8. Raise Your Banner
  9. Mother Earth

After their spirited effort, the wait began for the main event. To this point, my kid had only heard me talk about what a Maiden concert experience was like, but now she was about to go through it for herself. Normally, I’m one of the head-banging masses that’s playing air guitar for two hours and belting out every lyric to every song. For this first time gig with my daughter, I took a more subdued approach and really embraced the show and the atmosphere. In all honesty, it is becoming more rare that the kid wants to hang out with her parents. In a story as old as time itself, she’s obviously becoming more independent and has her own friends, a boyfriend, cheerleading and FFA to occupy her time. So, when she does actually want to go to a concert with her Dad, I kind of turn into a softy and just relish the experience.

I’ve seen enough concerts throughout the years to be able to sit back and just enjoy it from time to time. This was one of those times. After a short wait, the familiar opening of U.F.O.’s “Doctor Doctor” blared over the P.A. and the mad dash began for four generations of Maiden fans back to their seats or the pit area for the long anticipated event. I’ve said this about a few bands that I’ve seen this year, and I’ll say it again, I think that perhaps the “layoff” for touring bands over the past few years may have been beneficial. Not that Maiden were struggling by any stretch. The Cincinnati show in 2019 remains the greatest overall concert I’ve ever seen; but there has been an urgency since live music has returned that has really been noticeable. They had three years of pent up aggression needing to be released and as always, Iron Maiden absolutely delivered.

This tour is a continuation of the 2019 “Legacy of the Beast” tour, however during the “down time” they put out a new album; the fantastic Senjutsu. For this 2022 trek, they changed up the set list a bit, so as to be able to include a few tracks from the new album. In fact, they opened the show with the first three songs on the record. When the album was first released, I recall lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson opining that the opening title track would someday make a great opener for a live concert. While I love the album, I didn’t share his sentiments when listening to that song. However, I was wrong. The thundering title track opened the show flawlessly and the band has never sounded better. I don’t know how they’re doing it but not only are they on the top of their game audibly, the visual aspects of the show continue to be a spectacle to be seen. I soaked in the opportunity of my child witnessing a Samurai version of Eddie (the band’s mascot) take the stage on the opening set, let alone the iconic Trooper Eddie, the giant Icarus inflatable, flame throwers, a replica WWII Spitfire bomber “flying” over top of the band performing below, and plenty of pyro. Things that up until then that she’d only heard me describe, she’s now seen on her own. It was a good night, even though she didn’t hold up her end of the bargain of staying awake on the ride home to help me combat the boring drive home. She didn’t even make it an hour into the trip home and was asleep before we’d even reached Toledo. Even though we didn’t make it back home until 2 a.m. and that made for an unfortunate 6 a.m. wake up call the next day, it was a trip that was well worth it. The experience was one that I hope will have a sequel on a future tour….

Iron Maiden Set List 10/9/2022 Detroit

  1. Senjutsu (2021)
  2. Stratego (2021)
  3. The Writing on the Wall (2021)
  4. Revelations (1983)
  5. Blood Brothers (2000)
  6. Sign of the Cross (1995)
  7. Flight of Icarus (1983)
  8. Fear of the Dark (1992)
  9. Hallowed Be Thy Name (1982)
  10. The Number of the Beast (1982)
  11. Iron Maiden (1980)
  12. The Trooper (1983) *Encore*
  13. The Clansman (1998) *Encore*
  14. Run To The Hills (1982) *Encore*
  15. Aces High (1984) *Encore*

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