Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, Toronto - July 3, 2010

JASON MACNEIL, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:11 PM ET

TORONTO - Following Iron Maiden’s roughly two-hour set Saturday night before a packed house at Toronto’s Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, a fireworks show lit up the sky with plenty of oohs and ahhs.

Sadly, the longtime British heavy metal outfit didn’t have as many spectacular moments.

You see, Iron Maiden’s previous jaunts were heavy on early hits and lean on new material. Yet for this current trek, the band has decided to put warhorses such as 'The Trooper' and 'Run To The Hills' on ice to primarily concentrate on albums from 2000’s Brave New World onward.

Add to that the fact the group is only playing one song entitled 'El Dorado' from their forthcoming studio album 'The Final Frontier' and you’re left with a show that’s sort of out there.

Regardless, the band – who brought along with them a Star Trek-like stage design with towers, spaceships and a backdrop of stars – began the 16-song evening with 'The Wicker Man,' a fast, fist-pumper fuelled by the tireless singer Bruce Dickinson.

“Hello, good evening Toronto,” Dickinson said early on before the adventurous, guitar-driven 'Ghost Of The Navigator' was doled out.

The seemingly all-ages crowd seemed to separate themselves though the longer the show went on. As Iron Maiden tossed out oldies such as 'Wrathchild' from 1981’s 'Killers' quite sparingly, the energy hit another level. However, as one newer tune after another was executed, older fans appeared to realize a hits package just wasn’t in the cards this time around.

What were in the cards were lengthy, intricate efforts that often veered into six or seven minutes such as the minstrel-tinged 'Dance Of Death' and the stronger 'The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg' which was quite well received. And considering that the group has three guitarists in Dave Murray, Janick Gers and Adrian Smith to choose from, solos were aplenty.

Dickinson also held his own, belting out plenty of vocally-demanding numbers when not conducting the crowd on sing-alongs and “easy claps” during 'Blood Brothers,' a song dedicated to the late metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio which evoked a loud ovation and thousands of devil-horn hand salutes.

Fortunately if there was one constant, it was the fact the band always has its beloved yet hideous looking mascot Eddie in tow. Appearing behind Iron Maiden on a myriad of various backdrops depending on the song, a huge Eddie also sauntered onstage during the song Iron Maiden. Resembling a cross between a robot and a cadaver, Eddie playfully fought Gers before donning a guitar and doing a solo himself.

But in the end it’s about the songs. As much as some fans enjoyed newer tunes like Wildest Dreams, Brave New World and These Colours Don’t Run, the homestretch featured the rollicking The Number Of The Beast, Hallowed Be Thy Name and Running Free. These three definitely were the highlights, something the younger half were grateful to hear for the first time live while the older fans wondered where these were earlier in the night.


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