It’s time for the first Thrash Hits festival splash page of 2012! This dubious honour once again falls to Hammerfest. All of our Hammerfest 2012 coverage from the weekend will be linked to on this here post, so make sure you bookmark it as it’s all you’re going to need. That means individual band coverage in the form of photos and setlists, as well as reviews of each day’s highlights. Every scandalous rumour and dirty bit of gossip that our man David Keevill overheard, and every outrgeous photo of Pontins-based debauchery that Gary Wolstenholme snapped, will be here.
Times are tough. The economy is up the spout, your next payday is weeks away, and those blissful who-cares-about-next-week feelings that Summer festival season bring are even further away in the distance. Thankfully, Hammerfest IV is set to strike in March to alleviate that Spring slump, and what’s more, if you enter our competition to win a set of FOUR weekend passes to the event, you might be able to bust down to Prestatyn without even having to pay an entry fee.
It’s an interesting and suprising fact that Iron Maiden have never headlined a UK stadium gig. We were there for their first one and lifelong fan, Tony Hampton is just bursting to tell you exactly why it was so great.
To have shaped a genre, influenced every rock band and rock fan for over 30 years. To still be selling out tours in record time and shifting albums by the truckload. To have your iconic mascot emblazoned across millions of t-shirts around the world.
To encompass all that’s fantastic, theatrical and, let’s be honest, silly about heavy metal and to be riding a wave of popularity and acclaim that shows no sign of slowing down as each new generation discovers you, and, to still be making albums so good you’re in no danger of ever being labelled as a nostalgia act.
To say it’s a very interesting time for Iron Maiden would be the understatement of the century.
Watch the video to ‘Number Of The Beast’ by Iron Maiden
Anyone who has made the pilgrimage to Twickenham for the London leg of this, their Somewhere Back In Time Tour will bear witness to the fact that this is, bar none, the greatest show on earth right now.
Taking in material and the mystical Egyptian imagery from the legendary Powerslave era it’s a feast for both the ears and the eyes.
Hitting the stage to ‘Aces High’, the 60,000 assembled Maidenites go suitably crackers as the triple guitar attack of Murray, Smith and Gerrs rips into life and bassist/founder/God Steve Harris plants his foot firmly on the monitor.
What follows is astounding. ‘Number Of The Beast’ is illuminated with huge pyro bursts, the epic 13-minute ‘Rime Of The Ancient Mariner’ sees Bruce Dickinson rocking the wizard chic look.
Watch the video to ‘Run To The Hills’ by Iron Maiden
The crowd is screaming every word, strangers are hugging in the aisles, and people are air-guitaring and throwing the devil horns left-right-and centre. When Bruce Dickinson lets loose a trademark “Scream for me…” the energy levels go off the scale.
To be stronger, tighter, and more at ease with your legacy than ever before must be satisfying but Iron Maiden don’t do smug. They like a pint, and the singer is so humble he has an Oyster card and gets the tube around town.
Incomparable, overwhelming genius.
Iron Maiden @ Twickenham setlist
‘2 Minutes To Midnight’
‘The Number Of The Beast’
‘Rime Of The Ancient Mariner’
‘Heaven Can Wait’
‘Run To The Hills’
‘Fear Of The Dark’
‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’