The concert begins in dramatic fashion as the arena lights are killed, swirling spotlights illuminate the crowd, and the gothic strains of "Declamation" fill the air. When the stage lights kick in, the band immediately tears into Dance Of Death's opening track, "Wildest Dreams", and you get your first awesome glimpse at the enormous stage. "Wildest Dreams" is a balls-out rocker that is easily one of the best songs on the album, and made for a killer show opener.
Speaking of killer, the show then turns full-circle taking you all the way back to 1981's Killers album with the short but explosive "Wrathchild", which was followed by the evening's only Seventh Son representation, "Can I Play With Madness". They could have played that entire album, and it would have been perfectly fine with me. A requisite performance of "The Trooper" soon follows, whipping the loyal legions into a frenzy, and making this one hell of an intense start to a concert.
From there, they dive straight into more of the new material including Dance Of Death's two monster epics; the title track, and "Paschendale". Each song clocks in at over ten minutes here and were easily two of the show's highlights. "Paschendale" is a remarkable song that tells the story of a soldier who fought and died in one of the bloodiest battles of World War I. The performance begins with one of the evenings most intense lighting and sound effect sequences, as stage hands dressed in WWI army uniforms recreate the horrific battle field scene, complete with barbed wire fences and dead soldier props. Bruce Dickinson sings the entire song in a WWI era wool trench coat and infantry helmet. Now that is dedication!
They dramatically close out the first set with the title track from their 1980 self-titled debut album, Iron Maiden, and it is here where they unleash the first Eddie on the worshipping crowd. Near the end of the song a monstrous, 20-foot, Eddie puppet, dressed as the Grim Reaper, rises menacingly from behind the drum kit pointing his Bruce Dickinson-sized finger at several unsuspecting victims in the crowd. Only Maiden could pull this off and make it look so cool.