Before you read it: THIS IS JUST MY OPINION!
I wasn't well when I left for Bangalore; I took pills with me for the journey and for the stay. By the time I reached Bangalore (a day before the gig), I had recovered. I felt glad that now I would be able to stand all day long and see THE BEAST third time live in the last three years. Iron Maiden loves INDIA and there is no single doubt about it.
I got late for the gig and the time I was redeeming my actual ticket for the e-ticket I had, the first band "Slain" got started. They won the "Vonamor Band" competition and were here to play their brand of melodic/progressive rock / Christian metal. From what I could hear from outside, the sound was not that great. But I had to be in, and experience the band to comment! When in, there were several stalls for food, drinks, one stall for Bungee Jumping, and the band merchandise. I rushed in for the merchandise and got an Iron Maiden and Kryptos tee and then went in for the gig-area. It was time Slain had completed their set and Abraxas were to start. There were two stages: a smaller supporting stage and the huge large Main stage. When I got in I saw lot of people sitting near the main stage capturing their positions in the front row to see Maiden live which would not happen until 8:00 PM. I personally do not think that’s the way to enjoy a gig! I think you got to be at the stage where the music is been played to support the supporting acts and showing the world what Indian rock / metal scene is all about. If not all, at least support the music that you love!
Abraxas started with an OC (Original Composition) and played an all-OCs-but-one-cover set. It seemed the cover they played was because there were chants of Lamb of God all over the place. They covered "Hourglass" by Lamb of God and I should say it was tight. The OCs were far better than their covers and I was seeing what I had heard about this band on forums. Considering the time they have been playing this, they played a killer set - a great interaction with crowd, a killer stage presence and a slaying performance. From what I had known, I thought they were a melodic death metal band but seeing their music live I feel they are a good blend of melodic death / thrash metal and metalcore. The solos were a treat to watch, the drummer had the double bass and great drum patterns going around, and the vocalist was all over the place. I should mention again -- considering the time they have been in the scene, they have a great stage presence. As the set got over, the crowd asked for more, but their time was up and they had provided a great start to one of the best Rockfests in India - a complete justice to opening chance they got for Iron Maiden.
Synapse, the Bangalore band was next. They play nu / alternative rock / metal. Not my type of music - as there was big dominance of rap vocals and typical-nu-metal screams and the chords one would jump to! I stood there for two songs and thought I would get a drink and come back by the time we would have a new band playing. There was a good support from the Bangalore crowd for Synapse. They had a good sound and I could see people found the set OK - it's just that this genre of music does not work for me that I moved out. There was a time when the vocalist saw people standing like zombies - with no energy as an audience and to pump them up he told them to sit down and on his count of "JUMP THE FUCK UP" asked them to jump with as much energy as they can. Haha, what a scene! Anyway, I just do not connect to their type of music. Their set was average but not my type. This is just my opinion.
Next up was Cyanide Serenity. I did not at all get a chance to hear these guys before (I mean as in audios). Cyanide Serenity is from UK and they formed the band late last year. From what I could hear, it seemed to me like a blend of progressive and thrash metal and also Pantera influence. Just as they started their first song, you could feel the difference in the sound - what the previous (Indian) bands had and the one this band from UK had. They had an AMAZING sound. They had the same energy level going throughout the set. The bald vocalist reminded me of Phil Anselmo in his Cowboys-From-Hell era, he was so pumped up, crazy and also ANTI-BUSH! He screamed FUCK BUSH and the crowd followed! Their songs were fast, had the speedy palm muted riffs and lightening solos. The vocalist mentioned that they were happy to be in India and play for us. He added that India has great bands and they have been seeing the play or doing sound check last day and they all were fucking kickass - you should be proud that you have a music scene - And the crowd screamed to say thanks!
Kryptos was next, a band from Bangalore. I have been listening to Kryptos since last two years. They play a good blend of melodic-classic-metal of the 80's (Iron maiden, Dio, Judas Priest etc) and old-school-thrash (old-Metallica, Megadeth, Testament) and also one can cite the influence of Dark Tranquillity and Nevermore in their music. But one has to admit, the sound Kryptos has despite all these influences is unique and all their own. I have always been praying to get a chance to see them live and there it was! They played "Expedition to Abnormalia", "Tower of Illusions", "Heretic Supreme", another song from the new album "The Ark of Gemini" which I think was “Sphere VII”. I have got hold of the new album just last week back and it is plain kick-ass. You have to listen to it to believe it. Kryptos ended their set with the very crowd favorite "Decension" which we sang along with full energy. With their brilliant set, Kyrptos made Indian Metal proud and did a complete justice to the opening chance they got with Iron Maiden. I just hope good times start with the metal bands in India and they get to tour abroad. You can see a picture on the Iron Maiden website with Bruce wearing Kryptos tee and holding the Brit Music award for the Best Live Act" that Iron Maiden received recently.
Next up was "De Profundis". I had heard their few tracks during the trip to Bangalore. I find their type of music more of progressive/depressive/doom metal. Every song has sections which vary a lot musically- you would find melodic playing, melodic breakdowns, speedy riffing, fast drumming and the extreme growls. When I listened to them before the gig, I loved the songs. The band has one member on guitars who is of Indian origin. De Profundis took some time for the soundcheck and I stayed near the stage for their first song. They did not have a good sound live and the guitarist kept talking to the soundman in gestures form the stage to adjust his guitar volume. They did not sounded much like what I had heard them on the audios - the sound sucked. After the first song I went out to grab an overpriced-and-distasteful-chicken-burger which would keep me standing for the rest of the show. When I returned, De Profundis' show was about to end and the sound still looked terrible. I have heard their tracks several times since I returned from the gig and they are good – the band though had a bad sound day in Bangalore!
The acts of the supporting stage were done and it was time for the acts on the main stage to start. I moved to the main stage near to the front row. Lauren Harris (the daughter of Iron Maiden's bassist Steve Harris) was the first to play on the main stage. It's the third time I have seen her band live and they sound the same always - just OK. They play hard rock.
Just after 15 minutes of the start, people started boo-ing them by shouting BC-MC, showing middle fingers, and screaming offensive language along with chants of “Iron Maiden! IRON MAIDEN!”. You dumb-fuck retards - don't you know Iron Maiden would not come before 8 PM to play for you and the supporting acts would not step off the stage even if you choose to show your displeasure? It's not just you, it's India's image you carry to the world. People also threw wrapped papers, bottles on the stage and Lauren Harris when ended her set kind of said "Bangalore, you look disappointed". In no way did they play a terrible set! The set was average and the crowd was mostly people who were there to see Iron Maiden because the only song they had heard was "Fear of the Dark". During Lauren Harris' set a bunch of posers were singing the intro the fear of the dark showing their love for Maiden. I then moved out of the crowd and the front row to see this happening from far. I saw another group shouting "Parikrama! Parikrama!” and showing middle fingers to Lauren Harris. It's not what happened in Bangalore two years back.
I am not sure why DNA put up the idea of two stages. People in India are not accustomed to it, may be they will eventually. Many kept sitting near the main stage and saw the supporting acts play on supporting stage from their main-stage-sitting-area. After Lauren Harris was done on the main stage and Parikrama was assembling their set at the main stage, the band " Brandon Ashley & the Silver Bugs" started on the supporting stage. A mix of hard rock, alternative metal and electronic music - again not my cup of tea. They got a cheer-girl with a near-perfect figure which I am sure was treat for all to watch in their set. The music was not what I liked but they had a good sound, good energy and crowd control!
After the supporting stage band ended playing their set, it was time Parikrama were to start on the main stage. There were a LOT OF Parikrama fans by this time - you could feel it by the screams of the band's name. Parikrama throughout their musical career (15-16 years I think) have been most of a cover band and it's only since two years back that they have started playing an all OC set. This "favorite" band has not yet come up with an album to their credit which is shocking. They had a good sound, good energy but I did not like any of their originals. They really looked like some riffs and melodies you would have heard here-there-somewhere and did not sound unique. The new songs failed to make an impact in my opinion. They had to cut short their set because it was time for Iron Maiden to come on stage.
The sound check was done, and the lights went off. I could feel the excitement in the year. I am having goosebumps as I write and remember the time; and as I listen to Iron maiden on the PC right now while writing this. Huge screams on the top of lungs shouting
MAIDEN! MAIDEN!” faded when the track "Doctor! Doctor!" started. I knew I was just minutes away from seeing them again third time. They played "Doctor Doctor" audio in Chicago on the same tour last year and I knew what was to follow. Next up was "Maiden and the Flight 666" video showcasing the Somewhere Back in Time tour, and then was "The Churchill's Speech" – you would know now that you’re moments away from seeing the BEAST on the stage again! As the intro to the "Aces High" hit, there was a huge roar from the crowd and one could easily experience how crazy the atmosphere was from the push-and-pulls in the front row. It was hard to breathe and take care of the two tee shirts I had purchased in that atmosphere where people moved, pushed hard to come forward to the front row. Iron Maiden came to stage and Bruce launched to this vocal attack with the high pitched screaming vocals the song. The sound was amazing - it had to be the best in the night.
He told it's because of you that Iron Maiden would continue to tour India. Iron Maiden would release a new studio album next year and come back to India for a tour. Iron Maiden came twice to India for the Somewhere Back In Time tour - what testimony would one need for their love for the fans here? The movie "Global Metal" has already shown the madness, the passion and the love fans in India have for Iron Maiden when Sam Dunn, in the movie showcased the Bangalore 2007 concert. It's a must watch. Bruce also mentioned that the Iron Maiden movie "Flight 666" would be in Theatres in April and it has a LOT of coverage from India and why Iron Maiden loves playing in India. It was one of the very proud moments for every Indian metalhead hearing these words from Maiden!
Bruce told, the next song is about "when man tries to fuck with nature" and "albatross" and "if you have to go get something, go get fast because for the next 13 minutes….". I knew it was time for "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and they played it beautifully. The only thing missing was the use of effects, pyros and HUGE SMOKE (as seen in Live After Death DVD). Indian law does not allow these to be used in concerts here. Bruce mentioned the same too. The “Somewhere Back in Time” gig I saw in Chicago had the pyros, effects and smoke all over the place. "Fear of the Dark" really looked like the crowd favorite and it was the time when the atmosphere was the craziest of all - the biggest Maiden sing-along I would say. The one-song-maiden fans screaming during Lauren Harris’ set must be happy to have witnessed the song live. :D Iron Maiden returned for the encore and played "The Number of the Beast", "The Evil That men Do" and "Sanctuary". During the verse of "The Number of the Beast" Bruce sang.. "I'm coming back, WE WILL RETURN.. I have the fire, and WE WILL MAKE INDIA FUCKING BURN". They took a couple of breaks during "Sanctuary" and interacted with crowd telling they will return next year. If they come and I am here, I am going to go for sure. Can one get tired of seeing Iron Maiden live? FUCK NO!
Oh! And I missed talking about Adrian, Janick, Dave, Steve, and Nicko!! Janick like always played with his jumping and guitar-herioic acts, Dave had the clarity and speed of notes as ever, Steve slayed the crowd like always with his gun-and-bullet resembling bass postures in many songs, Adrian and Nicko were perfect as always. Iron maiden has to be the biggest heavy metal band in the world and there is no question about it. I am very lucky and proud to have seen them live three times. I just hope and pray I get to see them live at least once every year.
The setlist Iron Maiden played in Bangalore:
Intro: Churchill's Speech
2 Minutes To Midnight
Children Of The Damned
Phantom Of The Opera
Rime Of The Ancient Mariner
Run To The Hills
Fear Of The Dark
Hallowed Be Thy Name
The Number Of The Beast
The Evil That Men Do