By Sebastian Vazquez
(Photos by Chris McFly)
September 5th 2017, Brick By Brick, San Diego CA: Former Iron Maiden frontman Blaze Bayley made a San Diego stop on his ongoing North American headline tour to promote his new record, ‘Endure and Survive: Infinite Entanglement II’, as well as to play some Iron Maiden tunes, of course. Blaze/Maiden fans in the San Diego area gathered at Brick By Brick last Tuesday September 5th.
I first heard from a close source that Blaze Bayley does not particularly play an entertaining set, so I came into the show with low expectations. But as soon as he took the stage with his live band, all reservations were shattered as he opened the show with an incredible and contagious energy in his performance of ‘Endure and Survive’, the opening track of his new record.
Blaze’s music is no dramatic shift from the stuff that he was producing when he was in Iron Maiden, and if you are fan of his work there, you will definitely find pleasure in the stuff that he is putting out as a solo artist. I would not say that he is washed up and trying to relive the glory days, but he does well in putting in a modern twist to the classic Maiden sound he became known for. I actually listened to his new album after the show, and it is surprising really well done. Kudos, Blaze.
After the first song, they went right into the tune ‘Escape Velocity’. A driving, upbeat tune with a catchy chorus. At the song’s conclusion, they blasted away into ‘Futureal’, a Maiden song off the record ‘Virtual XI’. It has been close to 20 years since Blaze put out that song, but you could have hardly noticed that as he performed the song admirably. From what I have seen, he has not lost a step in his performance.
Blaze would eventually perform four other Maiden songs, ‘Virus’, ‘The Clansman’, ‘Lord of the Flies’, and ‘Man on the Edge’. Each song was performed excellently. At times I stood in awe as Blaze performed because he still captured a raw energy and drew in the crowd. There was probably a little less than 40 people at the show, but I can guarantee that almost all of them threw their hands in the air when Blaze requested, and there were even a good number of fans singing along to his solo record stuff.
One thing I really enjoyed was the long, inspirational sermon that Blaze gave during the middle of his set. He remarked that he has definitely seen larger stages with brighter lights, living a life with incredible highs and rock bottom lows. But the fact that he is still doing what he loves and producing new music to fans that come out to his shows is something that he is eternally grateful for. He spoke with brevity and with absolute passion. The crowd clapped with immense support afterwards and Blaze continued on with the show.
Blaze even went back to his Wolfsbane days and performed the tune ‘Manhunt’, and included a lengthy solo section featuring a drum and guitar solo. It was very well done.
His backing band performed really well too, and I was impressed with his touring guitarist. That guy has some serious chops. Diehard Maiden fans would appreciate his level of musicianship. Hell, I think for the fans that enjoyed the Blaze era Maiden stuff, they will definitely enjoy a lot of his solo stuff. I had a great time at the show, and if Blaze is ever around in your town, you should make an effort to go catch him. You might be surprised.
01. Endure and Survive
02. Escape Velocity
03. Futureal (Iron Maiden cover)
05. Silicon Messiah
06. Fight Back
07. Virus (Iron Maiden cover)
08. Calling You Home
09. Stare at the Sun
10. The Clansman (Iron Maiden cover)
11. Manhunt (Wolfsbane cover)
12. Man on the Edge
13. Dark Energy 256
14. Lord of the Flies
15. A Thousand Years
Remaining Tour Dates:
09/09/2017 – Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
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