The Playhouse, Edinburgh
13 September 1984
Having released their fifth studio album titled Powerslave, Iron Maiden were now taking their show round the world. Literally. The tour had started on the 9th of August 1984 in Poland and would finally come to a close in California the following July. They played in over 20 countries and the album Live After Death would be recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon in London and Long Beach Arena in Los Angeles. The album came with a booklet listing all the tour dates and gave details of the daily crew work schedule.
Anyone who saw them on that tour will remember the impressive Ancient Egyptian-themed stage set based on the Powerslave album artwork of Derek Riggs. The roadies would start at 8am and by 4pm all the lights, PA, band equipment and special flooring would be in place along with the stage set. After the sound check, the support band's equipment would be set up. The doors would open at 6:30pm and the show would start one hour later. After Maiden finished their set at 10:30pm it would take another three and a half hours to break everything down, load it into the trucks and set off for the next show.
It is only right and proper that I should mention all the hard working men and women who bring these concerts to us. The roadies, technicians, riggers, truck and bus drivers, catering staff and those at all the venues serving us drinks, selling us merchandise and yes, even the much loathed security staff, the bouncers. It took none other than Motorhead to sing the praises of roadies in their song 'We Are The Road Crew' from their album Ace of Spades. It's well worth a listen if you're unfamiliar with it.
The bigger the band, the more likely it is you will have heard of the support act and touring the UK with Maiden was Waysted featuring former UFO bass player Pete Way. It's not often fans will rush down to the stage and start chanting the support band's name before they come on but that's what happened with Waysted.
When the house lights went down heralding the arrival of Iron Maiden we heard the voice of Winston Churchill and his famous "fight them on the beaches” speech before Maiden launched into 'Aces High' from Powerslave. The set featured a mixture of songs from the new album along with favourites like 'The Trooper', 'Run To The Hills' and their theme song 'Iron Maiden'. Despite being at the back of the circle my ears took a real battering as this was undoubtedly one of the loudest gigs I ever went to at the Playhouse, eclipsed only by Motorhead later that year. But unlike Motorhead, Iron Maiden's sound was crystal clear.
These days venues will often supply free ear plugs but back in the 80s, having a buzzing sound in your ears for a day or two after a concert was part of the experience. I am probably not the only 40-something who suffers from tinnitus due to all the excessively loud gigs I went to in my youth and this is one of the reasons why I have become more of a folk music fan in recent years. Earache is no fun.