APRIL 2, 2009 - Bank Atlantic Center - Sunrise, FL

Iron Maiden returned to South Florida for the first time in over a decade, and my cousin, who took me to my very first Iron Maiden concert (and first concert period) in 1983, and I decided we had to go. It was the last show of their "Somewhere Back In Time" tour, and a sort of homecoming for drummer Nicko McBrain, who lives in the area. It was a very good time.

Lauren Harris and her band took the stage first. Yes, she is the daughter of Steve Harris, legendary Iron Maiden bass player. But before you cry nepotism, the band is pretty cool, and she has a cool voice. It was high energy hard rock. About a half hour set. Good job.

The masters came on soon after, and man, they rock. They haven't slowed down at all. They went through classic after classic. In fact, this was basically a greatest hits tour. They didn't do anything from their most recent CDs. They also used classic stages props from their major tours of the past.

Singer extraordinaire Bruce Dickinson is still very much the master showman he's always been. Engaging, charming, extremely high energy and actually pretty spot on with his vocals, Dickinson never let up. He explained how they were sort of putting on a special show since it was the last night of the tour, and more than once promised that they would be back in 2011!

Steve Harris has always been the "soul" of Iron Maiden, and man, he never lets up either. The man behind the signature galloping rhythms of all those Maiden classics just never slowed down. His classic bass sound filled the arena, especially during the 13 minute epic, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Janick Gers is the Maiden guitarist I know the least about since he came into replace Adrian Smith and I sorta forgot about the band for a few years. But he's a great guitarist and damn, the man doesn't stop moving. He's practically a blur on the stage!

And then there's Dave Murray and Adrian Smith. These two guitar gods are really quite underrated. I mean, most people will cite them first if discussing guitar tandems, because their dual guitar work is just classic and amazing. But individually these guys are just awesome. Murray has a bluesy, more soulful feel, but it is quite a shredder. Smith shreds it up with a more typically hard rocking approach. They both feed off each other perfectly. They blew me away.

So I don't get to concert much anymore, but I'm really glad I went to this. Iron Maiden is a phenomenon. They never went mainstream, but have a amassed a following of very loyal fans that sing along to every song and go to every show they can. The audience was indeed made up of old timers like me, but also had plenty of young people to keep the power of Iron Maiden from never shutting down. When they belted out semi-lost classics like Children of the Damned and one of my favorites, The Phantom of the Opera, the crowd just went insane. Just a great show. Up the Irons!