Monday, February 16, 2009

Iron Maiden, Bangalore + Aero India = Exhiliration!

Thinking back about the weekend - Aero India 2009 on saturday and Iron Maiden concert on sunday seems just about a perfect weekend! And it was worth each ounce of energy spent over the last 2 days!! 

My dad gave me 2 passes for the Aero India show which was given to him at his office. A lot of my friends were also enthu about going to the show - but some of them backed off and the others could not buy tickets in time.
So, it was just me and Murali - we started on Murali's bike at 8:30AM and reached the AFSY (Air Force Station, Yelahanka) at 9:15AM. There was a long queue to get into the arena. The air display was exhilirating - the roaring, deafening sound of a fighter jet taking off barely 200 meters from you, is something you have to experience once! Even though its deafening, you won't feel like protecting your ears - you want to take it all in and feel that rush! Of the lot, I loved watching the Sukhoi-30MKi and FA18-super hornet. Our indegenous Tejas LCA was quite impressive too. For a relatively small aircraft, its speed and maneuverability were excellent. Also, what left us with more of the "wow!" effect was listening to the kind of flying-hours experience those pilots possessed! A big salute to them all :) 

We went back home by 5PM and just rested, as another big day was coming up - Sunday - For the second time, Iron Maiden in Bangalore! With some experiences from the last time, we went a bit late this time around. 

We (Me, Murali, Naren and CBZ) reached the arena at 5:30PM. CBZ did not have a ticket but was able to get it easily at the venue itself. We were fortunate enough to have got 2 free passes (will not name my source :D - want to reap benefits the next time too!) We went through the security checks and just surveyed around - found that still the opening acts were going on. Not so much interested in those, we queued up to get some snacks to fill our tummies - we do not want to collapse of exhaustion, do we?! We went in just in time for Parikrama - their performance was good - enough to get the crowd packing up towards the front rows. We stood right beside from where the camera and lighting people had setup a mid-arena bunker. Parikrama's performance ended at 7:45PM - similar to last time. Crowd started the "Maiden Maiden..." chants as stage techs were working/moving back 'n forth around the stage setting things up, etc. All this while the crowd expectation soared up without bounds. 

Then at 8:11PM it all started with the Churchil speech and the guitarists running out with the opening of "Aces high". 

There goes the siren that warns of the air raid
Then comes the sound of the guns sending flak
Out for the scramble we've got to get airborne
Got to get up for the coming attack

Run, live to fly, fly to live. Aces high

The oldies setlist was excellent for this concert. They played rare concert songs like "Phantom of the opera", "Children of the damned" and "Wasted years" - I don't think they have ever played any of the songs from "Somewhere in time" album. "Wasted years" probably was the first! The epic "Rime of the ancient mariner" was a near perfect repro. Considering that its a marathon 13 minute song, Bruce did give us an opportunity to "go run, have a hot-dog or a samosa!" :) 

The best moments for me were the guitar solo of "Phantom of the opera" and guitar solo of "Wasted years". Of course, the crowd chanting of "Fear of the dark" cannot be missed out. The eddie that came out during the song "Iron Maiden", was the one from "Somewhere in time" - I think this is the first time that the album "Somewhere in time" found some places in their concerts. 

They all left the stage after doling out "Run to the hills", but came back shortly after for an encore, consisting of "The number of the beast", "The evil that men do" and "Sanctuary". 

The energy levels were soaring high, the adrenalin rush is something to be experienced. Without these its not possible to stand, scream, jump around for close to 2 hours non-stop! The band's energy on stage was simply brilliant. Considering they all are well into their fifties! Also, a band usually feeds on the crowd's energy too - and there was no lack of energy in this crowd! 

We started to walk off the arena just as the song "Sanctuary" started - knowing that it's going to be the last song, we wanted to avoid the traffic jam after the concert. As we were walking, hearing Bruce talk about a new album and a return back to India in a year's time for that new album's tour was the perfect icing for the whole day's worth of cake! We drove back listening to some of the other Maiden songs on the car stereo. 

These are the kind of things one needs to put out the feeling of growing old - its needed every now and then. Weekends like this is just what a doctor would prescribe :) 

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