The first concert was Iron Maiden, fulfilling a promise made to kingfox nearly 4 years ago when I dragged him to a Marillion show. So myself, he, jedimentat and sonofman carpooled in the Prius down to the PNC Bank Arts Center for the show.
First opening band was Lauren Harris, the bass player's daughter. We were up by the concession stands, eating and drinking, for most of this one. It sounded fine but really wasn't worth actually watching.
Second opening band was Trivium who weren't bad (I liked the drummer a lot actually) but were a little over-the-top with metal cliches, the lead singer repeatedly encouraging us to "get up out of [our] fuckin' seats and clap [our] fuckin' hands." Again, not something I'd go out of my way to watch but not unreasonable for what it is.
Then, the main act. I'm not extremely familiar with the Maiden repertoire, but I'm told this set is heavy on the classics, and the stage set and many of the things are again evocative of the bands' 1980s heyday. And yeah, they were pretty good. Bruce Dickinson is a madman, running around, jumping up and down, and hitting his notes. Having 3 guitarists and a bass player was a bit distracting at times--sometimes it seemed there were too many people on stage, like a convention of guitarists, or a bunch of metal guitarists queueing up for the bus. I think my favorite song was "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" because it's their most proggy song they played and long songs make me happy. But I was impressed and now perhaps kingfox will leave me alone.
His pictures are at http://flickr.com/photos/kingfox/sets/72157605649186216/.
Then, just four short days later, I went to see Fish at B.B. King's in New York. I took the train in and went to the pre-gig meet at Twins Pub. There was some confusion--the bartender there didn't know anything about the event organizer's (a fellow fan) discussions with the owner, but he still managed to get the upstairs bar opened. We went upstairs, and Fish himself eventually showed up, and about 100 of us all patiently stood in line, got autographs, and talked to him. He was funny, and just extremely nice to everyone. I bought some T-shirts (one reason for the meetups was to help him avoid the 25% take of merchandise gross at the venues), and got my copies of "13th Star" and "Candlelight In Fog" signed. Talked to a bunch of fans, and the aforementioned bartender, who mentioned that Iron Maiden were in the very spot a few days earlier before the MSG show for a VIP party. Weird.
After the pre-gig, it started raining, but we waited it out and walked to the venue on 42nd street. I went in and ordered an iced White Russian ($10 but worth the symbolism) and got a spot near the stage.
Opening act was 3--not the 1980's prog-pop supergroup but a prog-metal band from Woodstock, NY. They were good--they have a keyboardist-percussionist who stood, played keyboards, then turned to face the crowd and banged on the drums.
Fish came out and started his show which was mostly composed of songs from "13th Star" and "Clutching At Straws" as well as an impressive amount of hilarious between-song banter. He was on fire. And this is despite the fact that his voice is not what it used to be--his head voice is non-existent and he has to sing the "Clutching" material 2 steps lower than the original. It was better than when I saw him in 2000 (the "Candlelight in Fog" show in Philly, recorded on the CD I mentioned above) when he had a cold and had no voice whatsoever. And his new material is written for his new range (a gravelly baritone) and goes over quite well. The band was top-notch, especially the guitarist Frank Usher who really let it rip.
My pictures of the pre-meet and the show are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrfantasy/sets/72157605700956050/.
It was great to meet the man (again!) and think about how much his music has brought to my life. There's a rumor he'll be back to the US next summer, let's hope.
So that's my concert going for a while--I've had to balance my desire to see every show I want with my finances and my life. I had planned to see Yes July 28th but they cancelled the tour due to Jon Anderson having a horrible asthma attack and respiratory failure. He's been ordered to 6 months rest minimum. Let's hope he gets better soon.