Monday, June 16, 2008

Iron Maiden at Madison Square Garden

What to say, what to say...well, this happened, which pretty much sums up anything I could say about how awesome this show was. Playing soccer on stage while the crew deals with a blown speaker (during "Powerslave"...the irony is gigantic) and making it fun for 20,000 people to watch does take a special talent. Hell, watching a band play the exact same set list three months apart and loving every minute of it because they managed to make their show that much bigger the second time around (Madison Square Garden: big frickin' space with decent acoustics that sounds massive) is proof positive by itself that Iron Maiden is one of rock's premiere live bands. See them live, but don't take all of the tickets because I'll be coming back for more.

Before the show, I was explaining the rules of t-shirt wearing at concerts to my brother-in-law. Many people don't understand these rules, so it's worth going over them here, if for no other reason than that I was validated for following them immediately after the show. So, here we go:
  1. Do not wear a t-shirt put out by the band you're going to see. Doing so makes you look like a poseur who lacks a deeper knowledge of the subtleties of the music scene, or at least the understanding that there are other bands out there who play the same kind of music. On a corollary, don't wear a shirt put out by a fan of the band you're going to see paying homage to that band (like this shirt, for example. By the way, this picture makes me happier than I can say), for the same reasons. You'll just be That Guy, and no one wants that (although the legions of people I see buying shirts at a show and then wearing them during the show might disagree). Also, variety makes people watching far more interesting between sets.

  2. Don't wear a shirt of a band that has a long-standing disagreement or feud with the band you're going to see. For example, if you're going to see Megadeth, don't wear a Metallica t-shirt; if you're going to see Iron Maiden, don't wear an Ozzy t-shirt (or a maybe just a shirt with Sharon Osbourne on it, which would be pretty lame anyway); if you're going to see Dream Theater, don't wear a Queensryche shirt, etc. Much like breaking rule one, breaking rule two makes you look like a tool who doesn't pay attention to the subculture you're invading. Chances are this means you cost some fan who really does care about the music a ticket, which means you're an evil person. It's also possible you just don't care about feuds, but then you're missing the point.

  3. When picking a shirt to wear, the goal is to choose something that's either old or obscure or (preferably) both. Both factors give you credibility, and can help you strike up conversations with random people during the show. Having an old tour shirt (we're talking a piece of clothing that's a minimum of 20 years of age) can even let you break rule number one. I'm pretty sure I saw a shirt from the original Somewhere in Time tour last night, and even though it was a Maiden shirt, it was an old Maiden shirt, which made it pretty cool. People with shirts like that tend to have interesting stories.
Anyway, those are the rules. Follow those rules, last night I chose to wear a GWAR shirt I picked up during the We Kill Everything tour, and sure enough: walking back to my car, I was hailed by two guys who thought my shirt was the coolest thing they'd seen in the past half hour. Instant validation, at only pennies a day!


Charles said...

nice review, although I have to disagree on the 'Iron Maiden' exception rule. This band sells more merchandise and their fans, whether long standing or fairly new, where their IM concert t's to the Maiden shows as a badge. With any other band, I couldn't agree more (i.e. I break out the Kings X t- to an anthrax show). Iron Maiden however has millions of dedicated, loyal, and proud fans which enjoy showing their spirit, if you will. For instance, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga Falls show this summer had plenty of fans sporting their Toronto event shirts purchased only during the first leg of the Somewhere Back In Time tour. Letting everyone know, that yes they are true Maiden fans traveling the country to see such a spectacular show. Thanks for the blog...

Eric said...

Kinda like the metal equivalent of Grateful Dead fans? Interesting idea...I like it. Thanks for the comment!

Anonymous said...

If that's you in the picture with the scraggly beard, you need to shave! Looking ugly is not in anymore dude. Grow up and shave!