Finally, after trying and waiting to see my favorite band of all time live in concert, I finally did on September 12, 2013 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV. I’ve been trying and waiting to see them live since 1982.
In the summer of 1982, July I think, I had tickets to a festival concert at Anaheim Stadium. On the bill were Huey Lewis and the News, Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Foreigner and one other band, I just can’t remember (Loverboy? maybe). But I never made it. The girl I was dating at the time, Bridget, and I broke up a few weeks before the show, so she wasn’t going. My friend, Tim, said he’d go, but had a family emergency the night before and couldn’t go. I found out about him when I got home from my summer job at Six Flags Magic Mountain around 1:00 AM. I spent all Saturday morning calling everyone I could think of trying to find someone to go with with. Everyone was working or had other, unbreakable plans. I event tried to give the tickets away so they’d at least get used. No takers. I was only 19; I didn’t feel comfortable going to a massive show like that by myself. I ate the tickets.
In 1992 I had another opportunity to see Iron Maiden when I was stationed at Homestead AFB, a few miles south of Miami, Florida. They were headlining; Anthrax was the opening band. One of my friends and I got tickets and got a shift change for one day so we could attend the concert. We were listening to the radio at work and heard the concert was cancelled because Bruce Dickinson was sick. Foiled again! We also heard that several members of Iron Maiden would be at this “club” called the Plus Five Lounge in Fort Lauderdale that night, so Jeff and I got our ticket rend and headed up to Fort Lauderdale to find this place. It took us a couple of hours — this was before Google Maps — to find the place. But, alas, by the time we got there, they guys were long gone. The Plus Five Lounge was in a strip mall, but it was kind of a dive inside. But, that was ok because we found out that they had live bands 6 nights a week, no cover for military and locals, relatively inexpensive drinks and waitresses and barmaids that were pleasing to the eye. It became our semi-regular Saturday night hangout.
I was shipped off to Germany later in 1992, but a) Spangdahlem AB was pretty much in the middle of nowhere, and b) I was gone on temporary assignments probably 35%-40% of the time. So if I was around when they were playing a gig in Germany, it would have been a rather large schlep to go see them. Iron Maiden played Las Vegas in 2000, but I didn’t go. I didn’t even know they were here. They hadn’t been back since. They played in Washington D.C. while we were living in Central Virginia, but I didn’t get tickets that time because a) it’s a 2 hour drive and a 30 minute subway ride to DC from where we lived, and b) I had no one to go with (my wife, Stephanie, doesn’t like them). I don’t really like going to concerts by myself.
It all changed this year, though it was far from certain. I heard in March that Maiden was coming to Vegas for the first time since 2000. A friend of mine bought tickets and we were set to go. Then a few weeks later he had a major stroke. As the concert date drew near it was plain that he wasn’t recovered nearly well enough to attend the concert. Fortunately, his kids’ mom stepped up and arranged it and she, her son, her friend and I could go.
I’ve seen several of the concert DVDs Iron Maiden has released over the years. So I knew it was going to be a great show. It was all that and better. I can cross off an item from my bucket list!
Here are a few photos from the show:
And a video: