Iron Maiden

Reading Festival 2005 review

By Scott Williams | Published: Wed 31st Aug 2005

Friday 26th to Sunday 28th August 2005
Richfield Avenue, Reading, Berkshire, England MAP
£125 for weekend (including camping) - SOLD OUT, £60 any day
daily capacity: 55000
last updated: Tue 9th Aug 2005

Heroes of my youth, I was well aware of the fact that Bruce had joined Iron Maiden after a conversation backstage. I’d heard that they only play songs off the first four albums and kind of hoped they’d throw in some more recent ones for an encore. That didn’t happen, yet despite that, Iron Maiden rocked Reading.

After standing in the crowd singing to the warm up metal tunes we all cheer as singer Bruce and the boys take to the stage. Well two stages as they’d brought their own stage from the tour and put it on top of the Reading stage, complete with split level platforms and it looked superb! The band open with the blistering 'Murders In The Rue Morgue' and it’s great to see the three guitarists and bassist Steve Harris back to back as the screen behind them shows the Killers album cover . Nicko is thrashing the drums and Bruce is running around like a mad thing full of energy able to sing, scream and dash around.

After some warm up ‘yeah’ chanting, the back drop changed for 'Another Life' and Steve’s basslines went into over drive. The crowd were going too mental directly in front of stage, young fans so I headed to the right slightly. The band were all smiles and Bruce and Steve were happily talking together. Bruce continued to race around the stage or stand with his back to us facing Nicko and his sooties!

After more screaming for them, the backdrop changes again this time for 'Prowler' before the image of Eddie from the single heralds the start of 'The Trooper' played in brilliant form, at one stage a little Eddie as The Trooper comes on stage. Bruce runs from one platform to another waving The Union flag and getting huge cheers. Bruce tells us there’s a telegraph pole about 100 yards from him that’s still there today under which he was asked to join Iron Maiden during the festival in ‘82.

'Remember Tomorrow' is next up, I personally don’t rate this one and wish they’d put ‘Flight of Icarus’ in instead. Ah well, it’s a huge sing along to 'Run To The Hills' and a chorus get together 'Wrathchild' the band playing superbly tightly on the instrumentals.

Bruce says how they’ve been playing festivals all summer all around the world to the largest crowds they’ve ever played to and how, "10 years ago nobody would have believed that we would still be in a field with more f**kin' people than we had 10 years before that. Absolutely amazing!" Before launching into ‘Revelations’ and more scream for me Reading moments.

Bruce introduces the band and Janick Gers goes crazy throwing his guitar in the air and catching it one handed playing mental riffs around the back of his head, it had to be seen to be believed before breaking into ‘Where Eagles Dare’ which together with ‘Die With Your Boots On’ are more chorus moments, as most of the crowd clearly know them less than any other songs.

Bruce tells us how he was here in the crowd watching Iron Maiden supporting the band he was in Samson. Then he mentions Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath and the music press or waste paper as he calls it. He says, “If you can’t get this song then there is something in your genetic make up which means you cannot ever listen to a heavy metal record.” And they launch into ‘Phantom Of The Opera’ and the crowd go into space, sure enough a few casual fans leave to watch a ‘boyband’.

'The Number Of The Beast' is their finest moment at Reading, with more of the crowd singing that on any other number, it seems everyone knows this one. A giant red eyed horned beast rises from the floor issuing smoke. Bruce mentions a curfew and the fact they have to stop.

In the silence the crowd scream for more and Bruce was lost for words when we chant “Maiden, Maiden, Maiden!” and commented that it didn’t happen very often, that he was unable to speak! Instead the band tear into ‘Running Free’ with more crowd participation and more ‘YEAHS’ before it all goes a bit quiet for ‘Drifter’ so Bruce gets the crowd involved again. The final song is ‘Sanctuary’ and it’s superb. At some point a giant Eddie comes out and attacks the band.

Then suddenly it’s over, we’ve had some pyrotechnics but there’s no big firework finale. It’s a bit depressing but at least we get ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.’ Another Reading over and Iron Maiden have, I would suspect, succeeded in winning over both new fans and bringing back old ones. They played fantastically on the night and proved your never too old to rock ‘n’ roll.
review by: Scott Williams

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