The Maiden Live Tour-nament: Iron Maiden Tour

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
Iron Maiden:
The Live Tour-nament

With Maiden currently on the road for their epic Legacy Of The Beast Tour, I thought it would be interesting to take a journey back through time and take a look at every single tour the band has had. And I want to bring MaidenFans as a whole along on this journey. We’ll be going through the band’s live history bit by bit, and discussing how good each one of them is as a part of a ranking ‘game’. Each tour will have four categories that will be ranked from out of five on a scale of how good they are. These categories are:
  • Setlist: the songs played and how well they fit together.
  • Stage Set & Props: the overall design of the shows and their aesthetic.
  • Individual Performances: vocals, guitars, bass, and drums (+keyboards) and the stage presence of the players.
  • Legacy: how important the tour is to the overall Maiden canon in hindsight.
Participants will not be asked to add a vote in a poll, but rather to talk about what they feel about each of the categories and add their scores at the end of those thoughts (see below for mine, which will be considered samples for the rest to follow.)

Beyond just doing another list, I’d like this to be a broad discussion of the evolution of Iron Maiden as a live act. How did they get to where they are today? Was it vicious marketing or just their energetic performances that made them superstars? Bit by bit we’ll be piecing together their history and I’m excited to see where the discussion will take us. We’ll discuss one tour at a time, and move on to the next whenever discussion seems to have died down.

So to start with...

Iron Maiden Tour (1980)

Setlist
Supporting Shows:
  1. The Ides Of March
  2. Sanctuary
  3. Prowler
  4. Remember Tomorrow
  5. Running Free
  6. Transylvania
  7. Phantom Of The Opera
  8. Iron Maiden
  9. Drifter
Headlining Shows:
  1. The Ides Of March
  2. Sanctuary
  3. Prowler
  4. Wrathchild
  5. Remember Tomorrow
  6. Charlotte The Harlot
  7. Killers
  8. Another Life
  9. Drum solo
  10. Transylvania
  11. Guitar solo
  12. Strange World
  13. Innocent Exile
  14. Phantom Of The Opera
  15. Iron Maiden
  16. Running Free
  17. Drifter
  18. I’ve Got The Fire

Also played:
  • Women In Uniform
  • Invasion
The long and short of this is that the band had one album released and a handful of songs written prior that would appear on the second album, and as such, there wasn’t a whole lot to choose from. I’m not a big fan of the Killers album, and Drifter, Another Life, and Innocent Exile don’t excite me. That said, the other songs here are at the very least pretty decent and the setlist fits together quite well, although I think the supporting tours may have been more interesting to see. But it’s definitely far from the band’s best setlist and as such I can’t give it too high of a score. Seeing this lineup perform Phantom Of The Opera would have been pretty cool though. 1.5/5

Stage Set & Props
Well I mean... again, as a young band there wasn’t too much they could do at this point with regards to the big theatrical get-ups the band has become revered for. They made the most of it though, utilizing smoke, lights, and Eddies crawling out of the woodworks during Iron Maiden, but it pales in comparison with what was to come. 1/5

Individual Performances
I think it’s well known that I’m not a big Paul fan, and he’s better on the studio albums than he is live. There are times when his gravelly style works and times when he just doesn’t seem to be 100% there. The rest of the band, though, is really tight, particularly after Adrian replaced Dennis Stratton. The guitars are ripping while Steve and Clive unite to hold down the sound. There’s a lot of energy coming from the music and it’s really cool. On the downside though, the band’s stage presence isn’t quite as good as it would be, and in hindsight they feel like a club band that happens to make better music than bigger acts. So it’s a bit of a mixed bag, but ultimately I’m leaning positive towards it. 3/5

Legacy
It’s clear that this band was full of fire and it’s already in plain sight here during their first tour. With a few tweaks to the aesthetic (and a changing of singers) they would be set on the path to superstardom. Yet watching clips of this first official outing as an entity is a pretty magical experience. It was an entirely different incarnation than the theatrical shows we know from the Maiden of the present day, and, simply for the fact that this was their first ever tour, it’s very important to the overall Maiden history. Would they get better? Yes, but in 1980 this was already some good shit. 4/5

(FYI: I didn’t know if this one would go in the Meaningless Polls board because it is a ranking thread or in Maiden Chat because it’s also a discussion thread, so I went with the former and mods can decide if it should be moved or not. Cheers.)
 
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Kalata

Out of the Silent Planet
Iron Maiden Tour (1980)

Setlist

With only one album released (and the first tour in support of an album), you can't do much expect to play it in full and that's what they did - and rightly so.... this is a timeless album and for me it is the best debut album ever. They also played a couple of songs from the Killers album (which were unreleased at that time) - ''Drifter'' was a live favorite until 1983 (the song was extended live with the ''yo-yo'' chants, similar to the extension of ''Running Free'' live after 1983). If I'm not mistaken, ''Innocence Exile'' was one of the oldest songs that Steve has written, so it was not surprising that was played. They even played a cover song (concert closer). And ''Phantom Of The Opera'' was epic, especially for 1980! The performance of it in Live At The Rainbow is so brutal and fast - pure gold!!! 2/5

Stage Set & Props

Obviously the Marshall amplifiers were the basic stage design (for most of the bands during that time). But this was the first tour, you cannot do that much, but the Eddie mask spitting blood above the drums with the big light inscription IRON MAIDEN were cool details. And they added the album cover from their debut album behind the drums afterwards (they did the same for the next 2 tours). The smoke during ''Remember Tomorrow'' and ''Iron Maiden'' was also great and the Eddies with the spotlights (even Rod was one of the Eddies) were a sign of what will come in the future. It was not the Eddie from the LAD, but hey/. 3/5

Individual Performances

Paul was at his vocal peak during this tour. Steve was amazing even in his early days, Dave is essential to the band sound and was already a monstrous guitarist back then. Clive was a beast on the drums as always (his peak was BOH concert), Dennis was good, but with Adrian everything rise up to a different level. Live At The Rainbow concert is an amazing performance from the whole band, but sadly was not released in full. Adrian and Dave really showed the power of the ''twin guitar attack'' even in the early days. Great energy of the performances of the whole band. 4/5

Legacy

I think it was clear even after the first tour (and the first album) that this band is different and will become very big - the songs, the performances, the great musicians in the band and they already added some stage theatrics which now are something like trademark for the band.... they were a supporting band, but they played like they were the headliners and with so much confidence. They supported KISS in 1980, but the general vibe was that KISS were the supporters of Maiden. This first tour was important to put the band into the map and to show the world who will be the next leaders of the genre! 4/5

P.S. : Love this thread! Cheers @Diesel 11 ! :ok: .... this thread is not for the Meaningless Polls section IMO.
 
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LooseCannon

Yorktown-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
I think this thread would be more meaningful with well-sourced links to videos, pictures, and boots, as well as recommendations for official live releases.

Atop that, you're missing the Metal For Muthas tour.
 

LooseCannon

Yorktown-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
Probably to keep it clean. Yeah, if you're serious about continuing this @Diesel 11 we should move it to Maiden chat - it's a real discussion.
 

Ariana

Black-and-white leopard
How can you objectively rank a tour that happened 35 years ago? Were you there? Did you see the lights? The props? The available lighting/ audio options at the time? The rig, the stage? Did you hear the performances, felt the energy, witnesses the crowd's excitement? How does a setlist of 15 available songs compare to one where there are 150 to choose from? How are you going to objectively assess the attendance? Price? Fan base? Price per fan capita?
 

phantomoftheicarus

Bleeding Freak
Well I think that's a bit harsh. I don't see why we can't just roll along with it and see how it goes. If it doesn't work out, then we know for sure, and maybe we'll see if there's things to adjust and change as we go along. No point bashing if we haven't tried it
 

Ariana

Black-and-white leopard
I'm not bashing it. I genuinely don't see how we can rank tours nobody has witnessed here. I wasn't trying to lash out at Diesel, I was just pointing out that none of us has the necessary knowledge to assess the aspects mentioned in the opening post for all tours.
 

Mosh

And I should contemplate this change
Staff member
It’s a cool idea and would be fun to discuss Maiden’s live history and setlists.

I agree with Ariana though, forcing a rating on everything is pointless and in some ways cheapens the art of what Maiden did/do. How can you dismiss the stage set and performances with low ratings when even at the time they had the reputation of being one of the most exciting live bands? I think it’d be more productive to forget the rankings and just talk about tours more qualitatively. Not everything needs to be a number game.
 

Perun

And the world, unheeding, turns
Staff member
I think having an in-depth discussion on Maiden's tour history would be very interesting. Although personally I wouldn't do it this way, having a breakdown in the categories suggested is one possible way of doing it. However, I don't see why it has to be a ranking game and what the benefit of that would be. Let's go through it tour by tour and see the evolution Maiden has had over the years.
 

Edington

Let's Get Volatile
I like this idea, but I also don't see how you could put a numerical ranking on an event you weren't at. Like this:

Stage Set & Props
Well I mean... again, as a young band there wasn’t too much they could do at this point with regards to the big theatrical get-ups the band has become revered for. They made the most of it though, utilizing smoke, lights, and Eddies crawling out of the woodworks during Iron Maiden, but it pales in comparison with what was to come. 1/5
I agree with everything here, but I find the score particularly harsh. Bearing in mind that they were, as said, a young band who just couldn't do what they wanted to - and would later - do with their live stage set yet still managed to put on an entertaining show that helped make a big name for themselves. The fact that they managed so much with so little is worth full marks. Obviously I can't speak as somebody who was there, but I can't imagine many people at the time were saying "Ah well, bit naff-looking, innit? 1 out of 5".
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
We can scrap the whole ranking / rating shtick if that’s general consensus.
 

Zare

Automaton Sovietico
This would be way more fun if we could provide opinions or rating of a particular live song in that particular tour. Especially some of the early days songs are played every second tour or more frequent, we could compare how they changed throughout the years.

Because comparing early days live gigs with latter stuff won't work. Yes the club mask and fake blood look shitty compared to Somewhere on Tour props, we're all aware of that.

But the idea isn't bad overall.
 

srfc

Ancient Mariner
There's a fair amount of official recordings from this period, and IMO they are all excellent.

Sanctuary Bside: Drifter, I've got the Fire
Live+One: Sanctuary, Phantom*, Drifter
Women in Uniform Bside: Phantom*
The Live at the Rainbow: Wrathchild, Killers, Remember Tomorrow, Transylvania, Phantom, Iron Maiden

*same version
 
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