Words by: Robert Sutton
Images by: Robert Sutton Photography
The Iron Maidens played the first date of their new eighteen date European tour on the 14th April at O2 Academy Islington London. The support for the night was Forever Never.
Forever Never: A five piece metallic rocker band from Essex comprising of Renny Carroll -Vocals, Mitch Witham -Bass, George Lenox -Guitar, Frank Ransom –Guitar and Sam Curtis –Drums…who have not been around for a couple of years , but are now back in full force. They played a nine song setlist, that included a cover of John Farnham’s ‘You’re the voice’ to give the audience a bit of sing-a-long practice for later!!…Oh and did I say that they were from Essex as Renny had to keep reminding us throughout the performance!! Good opening act, but perhaps could have had a bit more stage movement/ interaction from/between the guitarists??… Otherwise a good opener. Their next live gig is at the Camden Rocks Festival on the 4th June.
The Iron Maidens: Labelled as the World’s only all-female tribute band to Iron Maiden, comprising of Kirsten Rosenberg (a.k.a. Bruce Chickinson) – Lead Vocals, Linda McDonald (a.k.a. Nikki McBurrain) –Drums, Wanda Ortiz (a.k.a. Steph Harris) –Bass, Courtney Cox (a.k.a. Adriana Smith) -Guitar and Nikki Stringfield (a.k.a. Davina Murray) -Guitar.
I am not really into tribute bands, especially when the real band is still playing/touring and have only been to about half a dozen such events, but was assured that these were worth a watch and as they hadn’t been to the UK for many years I made up my mind that I should go and see what they had to offer. I had got it into my mind that I was expecting to see some rather butch, biker type, looking females all covered in tattoos. However it was a treat for my eyes to see such a lovely group of ladies..(With no tattoos… well not that I could see!!), who made me smile before they played a note, and even had their guitar leads ‘girly’ coloured pink!
Then, when Kirsten started to sing the first notes of ‘Aces High’ from the ‘Powerslave’ album, I thought Wow…this is going to be a show to watch. By the time they played the second song ‘Revelations’ from ‘Piece of Mind’ I think the whole audience was sold on them and gave as much support to the band as if it had been the real Iron Maiden.
They carried on with some classic Iron Maiden songs, with Kirsten coming onto the stage wearing a red-coated British army uniform and waving the British union flag when they played ‘Trooper’ and several extra ‘creatures’ also sharing the stage throughout the performance as well as having a bit of smoke and fake flame effects on a few of the songs, this all made it a bit more of a show, all-be-it not on the same grand scale that the real band now perform with..
Then about two thirds of the way though the set they played ‘Rime of an Ancient Mariner’ ….my word, how excellent was this..and not played by the real Maiden for several years…So, so excellent to hear this track from them, both vocally and also instrumentally from the band, superbly performed. They followed this with the classics of ‘Number of the Beast’, ‘Phantom of the Opera’ (also played and sung superbly) and finished their standard set with ‘Fear of the Dark’ before the band said their thank you’s and left the stage.
The encore comprised of ‘Hallowed be thy Name’ and they ended the night with ‘Run to The Hills’.
With some excellent vocals and some super playing from the band this group really is a bit more than just another tribute act and a ‘must see again’ when they come back to the UK.
1: Aces High
3: Wasted Years
4: 22 Acacia Avenue
7: The Prisoner
8: Still Life
9: Rime of the Ancient Mariner
10: Number of the Beast
11: Phantom of the Opera
12: Fear of the Dark
13: Hallowed by thy Name
14: Run to the Hills