San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Music Beat

PHOTOS: Iron Maiden blows Costa Rica away with Book of Souls tour

The English metal band Iron Maiden never ceases to amaze its fans with its unique performances. On March 8, Iron Maiden offered a memorable show at the Ricardo Saprissa stadium in Tibás as part of their “The Book of Souls” world tour. This is the band’s third performance in Costa Rica. The band arrived to Costa Rica on Monday on their own airplane: the Ed Force One, a 747-400 Boeing, flown by the band’s vocalist, Bruce Dickinson.

Bruce Dickinson makes an amazing entrance with his cauldron.

Javier Lang/The Tico Times

The evening began with the presentation of The Raven Age, a metal band from London. The stadium continued to fill during their set; an unforgettable night for Costa Rican metal fans was just beginning. Next came the U.S. thrash metal band Anthrax, with sick guitar solos from Scott Ian to heat up the audience. Vocalist Joey Belladonna continually thanked the audience in both Spanish and English. Their performance ended with Belladonna saying, “Thank you so much! We love you! Pura Vida!”.

Bruce Dickinson’s mystical silhouette.

Javier Lang/The Tico Times

Now the fully-packed stadium waited ecstatically for the main event. While the stage being prepared for Iron Maiden, The Tico Times spoke to some of the band’s fans.

“I love Iron Maiden. I’ve listened to all of their albums and have gone to four of their concerts. I’ve seen them in England and here,” said Joanna Argüello, 37. “I like their lyrics because they speak about history, the military, war, and all the vicissitudes of battlefields.”

“I’ve been following the band since I was 7 years old. I like their sound; their lyrics are very elaborate, and tell interesting stories. They’re heavy, but not to a degree in which it becomes annoying,” said Carlos Madrigal, 18.

Cell phone lights all over the crowded stadium.

Javier Lang/The Tico Times

Bruce Dickinson.

Javier Lang/The Tico Times

At 8:05 pm, lead singer Bruce Dickinson made his appearance o stage in front of a ferocious audience shouting for the band. The night began with “If Eternity Should Fail” from their latest album, “The Book of Souls.” While playing, Dickinson performed some sort of ritual involving a cauldron.

Dickinson shouted, “Hello, Costa Rica!” and the audience responded with an enthusiastic “Oe, oe, oe! Maiden! Maiden!”

Rapturous fans.

Javier Lang/The Tico Times

While Dickinson moved around the stage, guitarists Dave Murray, Janick Gers, and Adrian Smith each rocked the stadium with their distinct, amazing solos. Bassist Steve Harris and drummer Nicko McBrain kept the beat going. When the band played “The Trooper,” the audience went nuts. Dickinson strode from one side of the stage to the otherwith the Union Jack.

Janick Gers.

Javier Lang/The Tico Times

Steve Harris in the house.

Javier Lang/The Tico Times

As the night progressed, so did the band’s and audience’s euphoria. A lucha libre-masked Dickinson appeared onstage screaming: “SCREAM FOR ME COSTA RICA!” and the audience obeyed. Throughout the concert, McBrain had a special character on his drum set: a teddy bear dressed for the occasion. The teddy bear was rocking along with Iron Maiden throughout the night.

Nicko McBrain, the teddy bear, and Bruce Dickinson perform.

Javier Lang/The Tico Times

One of the most awaited acts of the night finally arrived: Eddie the Head appeared on stage. This zombie-like creature, which is the band’s most important symbol, delivered a performance of its own as the musicians played with him onstage. Dickinson pulled Eddie’s heart out, placed it on the cauldron, and squeezed its blood out.

As the band played “Hallowed by Thy Name,” the guitarists and bassist lined up in front, while Dickinson hit the cymbals with a rope and McBrain kept a steady rhythm.

Adrian Smith rocking Saprissa Stadium with one of his solos.

Javier Lang/The Tico Times

From left to right, Adrian Smith, Steve Harris, and Dave Murray.

Javier Lang/The Tico Times

Again, Dickinson screamed: “SCREAM FOR ME COSTA RICA!” and the audience complied as the band began playing “Fear of the Dark.” Gers swung his guitar into the air, caught it, placed it on the stage and played with his feet. McBrain threw his drumstick towards the audience.

However, that was not the last song of the night. “The Number of the Beast” drove the audience crazy once again, followed by “Blood Brothers.” The night ended with the song “Wasted Years.”

Undoubtedly, Iron Maiden gave their fans an unforgettable night.

Contact Elizabeth Lang at elang@ticotimes.net

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