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Iron Maiden & Killswitch Engage: Live at the O2 Review

One of the glaring gaps in my live music experience was filled on Friday night, after catching Iron Maiden at the O2 in London.

Before the main event though, support was provided by a band I'd happily pay to watch a headline set by, Killswitch Engage.

The Massachusetts natives hit the stage at 1930, tearing into "Strength Of Mind" to a decent reception. Given that everyone was there for Maiden, the arena was far fuller than normal for an opening act, indicative of the quality of the metalcore pioneers.

The power of their performance and material really struck me at the end of the 2nd track "A Bid Farewell" and the beginning of the following song, "Hate By Design". The two guitars of Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel, along with the bass of Mike D'Antonio all locked in on the same riff, doubling and then tripling for a visceral audio punch.

" My Last Serenade" from the seminal "Alive Or Just Breathing" was a mid set highlight,  but the undoubted peak was "The End Of Heartache". Vocalist Jesse Leach left the stage at the start of the song to be replaced by Howard Jones, performing with the band for the first time since he left in 2012. Leach rejoined part way through, the former and current frontmen delivering a powerhouse and moving rendition of the title track from their 2004 album.

" My Curse" and "In Due Time" rounded out the set before they closed with their version of Dio's "Holy Diver" .

An excellent band, one I'd happily see again. The only thing missing was "Rise Inside" from the aforementioned "Alive Or Just Breathing".

After 30 minutes for the road crew to do their stuff and get the stage ready for Iron Maiden, the lights went back down, UFO's "Doctor, Doctor" got the crowd's vocal chords loosened up and then "Churchill's Speech" brought everyone to a fever pitch of excitement."Aces High", complete with Spitfire over the stage, got things off to a high octane start.

 "Where Eagles Dare" showcased Nicko McBrain's dexterous kick work before an all-time classic metal riff from Adrian Smith kicked off "2 Minutes To Midnight".

"The Clansman", so much better live than on record runs into another classic, "The Trooper" that, as well as featuring band mascot Eddie sword-fighting with lead singer Bruce Dickinson, brought to an end to the first themed part of the show. 

The martial set gave way to a cathedral like setting and a group of religion themed songs with "For The Greater Good Of God" being the highlight. I still had the chorus in my head the next morning. "The Wicker Man", "Sign Of The Cross" and "Flight Of Icarus" end part two with Icarus sinking in shooting flames down to meet his fate in the underworld.

The final 3 songs, beginning with another highlight, "Fear Of The Dark" had Bruce Dickinson at his most theatrical. "Number Of The Beast" and "Iron Maiden" brought the main part of the set to a close. Amazingly, some people started to leave at this point, despite the house lights still being down!

Of course the boys came out again, and tore it up with a 3 song encore, including my 2 favourite Maiden tracks, "The Evil That Men Do" and "Hallowed Be Thy Name" before the inevitable "Run To The Hills". Pyrotechnics and rapturous applause brought the show to a close and sent 20'000 fans home very happy.

An amazing night, with two great, but very different bands rocking hard. If I was choosing the set list, then I'd have swapped "Revelations" for "Wasted Years" and "Number Of The Beast" for "Can I Play With Madness", but that's just being picky.

Up The Irons!

(Thanks to Martin Stanesby for the photos)


  1. What an awesome review Powderfinger...I have nothing really to add, accept that I was there...and won't forget it.
    I concur with what you have Said. I would have liked a bit more from Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, but that's me being picky too.

    The highlight wife Killswitch was most definitely Jesse and Howard on stage together, and 'Evil that men do by Maiden.

    I have to remind myself who I Just saw on stage together. Such a privilige that I hope to see again.

  2. That should read 'was' not 'wife' 😂


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