Home ReviewsConcerts Report: Iron Maiden & Tremonti @ Arena Zagreb, 24.7.2018

Report: Iron Maiden & Tremonti @ Arena Zagreb, 24.7.2018

by Ivona Bogner
Iron Maiden

The latest iteration of the Iron Maiden Live Experience was named “Legacy of the Beast” and the buzz surrounding the whole thing began quite a while ago. Naturally, it was imperative to get the tickets as soon as humanly possible. Iron Maiden need no introduction but their support on the tour was Tremonti, according to some, a next big thing on the scene, or so to speak. Buckle down, this is going to be a big one!

For those of you who don’t know this excellent guitarist, award-winning American musician Mark Tremonti is the lead guitarist and founding member of the famous Rock bands Creed and Alter Bridge, and since 2012 he’s been on the road with his solo project that takes his last name, being also responsible for the band’s lead vocals. Since emerging in 2012, he and his band mates – Eric Friedman (guitar, bass) and Garrett Whitlock (drums) – have built the foundation for such an ambitious statement. Their full-length debut “All I Was” bowed in the Top 5 of the Billboard Top Hard Rock Albums Chart and Top 30 of the Top 200. The 2015 follow-up “Cauterize” hit the #1 spot on the Top Rock Albums chart on iTunes when it was released. In 2015 saw the front man take home “Best Guitarist” at the Loudwire Music Awards just a year removed from his 2014 “Riff Lord” win at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods. In between sold out headline gigs and festival appearances everywhere from Rock on the Range to Shiprocked!, 2016’s Dustmaintained that momentum. So yeah, not a bad track record for such a young band. If you had any doubts about the quality of this band, this should be enough to get you started, even if you only came to see Iron Maiden.

Tremonti

After two decades at the forefront of all things guitar, a Grammy Award win, 40 million-plus units sold between Alter Bridge, Creed, and his eponymous Tremonti, and countless other accolades, Mark Tremonti once again summited an uncharted creative peak in 2018. For the very first time, the guitarist and singer crafted an immersive concept and accompanying novel for Tremonti’s fourth full-length album and first for Napalm Records, “A Dying Machine”.

Tremonti

“A Dying Machine” is the first concept album of Tremonti’s career and the music is inspired by a story that came to Mark while on the last Alter Bridge tour. The story takes place at the turn of the next century where humans and fabricated beings called “vessels” are trying to co-exist. With new album, Tremonti reaches new heights like never before.

Tremonti hit the road in support of “A Dying Machine”. The band began a tour over Europe in mid-June for seven weeks which includes dates as direct support for Iron Maiden alongside headline shows and European festival appearances.

The band comprised of Mark Tremonti on vocals and guitars, Eric Friedman on guitars, Garrett Whitlock on drums and Tanner Keegan on the bass started at 19:30 and the first three songs have just flew by. Playing a mix of Hard Rock, Rock N’ Roll, Speed Metal and Alternative Metal, this Detroit-based band did a pretty good job. Now then, I really could not spare much time listening to their latest album with peak concentration, so I suppose my enjoying of this performance was about as good as I could, while laboring in the trenches of the photo pit. Generally speaking, this music isn’t, or rather, shouldn’t be my cup of tea given my (rather well known) Doom Metal background, and yet I love Alter Bridge to death, and some of Tremonti’s stuff really scratched that particular itch, yeah they managed to leave an impression.

Mark Tremonti has shown tremendous ability of well-earned acclaim for his guitar work, which has shone as usual on “Another Heart” to the little bit heavier “You Waste Your Time” and “My Last Mistake”. So I need to say, there were times when I felt that there were a couple of sections where Mark Tremonti just re-adjusted a lot of old Alter Bridge. Songs like “Throw Them To The Lions” are signature Tremonti that fans have come to love from the trio. Songs like “A Dying Machine” take everyone to new places sonically, all backed by Tremonti’s signature vocal style.

However, if you’re more into Old School Metal music, you might consider Tremonti a bit too “soft” for your taste, but as a straightforward rock band they more than deliver it on stage. Before the show, I was pretty sure the attendance would be light (as in, drinking beer outside) but I was wrong. Although the stands were only starting to fill, the crowd who hung in there reacted positively. Well, as much as it was possible. You see, it is a really ungrateful task to be opening for as big a name as Iron Maiden, so there was obviously a lot of constraints in place. The biggest issue though, was really poor sound quality which threatened to throw off the whole experience. A real shame, since Tremonti are capable of doing much much more, delivering with more intensity and more power. They likely will, but to pretty much everyone involved, this event was not about them.

Tremonti setlist
1. Radical Change
2. So You’re Afraid
3. Catching Fire
4. Flying Monkeys
5. My Last Mistake
6. Throw Them to the Lions
7. A Dying Machine
8. Cauterize
9. You Waste Your Time
10. Wish You Well

This is also a carryover from the Tremonti show at MedalDays today, and of course we got that covered for you as well. According to our very own Karlo Krešimir Kaštelan, the show was quite good, the photos look amazing and we can’t wait to bring you some more of it.

And now, I turn over to my dear colleague Ivona who will present a much grander description of the events that would follow than I ever could.

Iron MaidenSince Vedrana was in charge to write Tremonti report, and she did a great job, now it is my turn to write the essay of one and only – Iron Maiden. My saga actually begun in November 2017 when I bought ticket for “Legacy of the Beast Tour”. At the end of July 2018, part of Serbian Metal Jacket crew packed the bags and left Belgrade by November weather. As soon as we crossed Croatian border, the metal Gods upon us sent us the sun. After painful eight hours we finally reached Zagreb (should I say we are talking about 395 km?). It was clear that the Zagreb Arena will be over packed when we saw on paying toll miles of cars from all over Europe. All over the city you could see German, Austrian, Czech, Slovenian, Italian and of course Croatian fans. All drinking a liters of beer and recalling previous Maiden shows. Speaking of it… I have been listening Iron Maiden at the age of ten. Somehow, somewhere in Serbia I heard “The Number of the Beast”, saw poster of a guys dressed in tight pants with white Nike sneakers and that was it. Love at first sight! If I add the fact that was the period of crazy, non sense war, hyperinflation and embargo, if anyone would tell me that I would ever see Maiden, I would say not a nice “F” word. For a couple of times… And now, here I am, my fourth Maiden show, first in Croatia (previous three times I saw them in Belgrade).

With intent of avoiding support band, I was cruising around Arena, trying to make a fans profile. And I saw everything: three years old kids, their proud parents, even grandparents, of course inevitably Chinese tourists who, you can guess, didn’t resist to take few shots with crazy white people in Iron Maiden t-shirts.

Iron MaidenFirst shock when we entered Arena: no strip search! In Belgrade Arena, to pass friendly security in five seconds is mission impossible (without Tom Cruise unfortunately). The cheapest ticket I bought turned out to be the best one. Iron Maiden Team that sets the stage work as it is a matter of life and death, so at 20:50 we already heard “Doctor, Doctor” and we simply knew what’s next.

We shall fight in France
We shall fight over the seas and oceans.
We shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air.
We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be
We shall fight on beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds,
We shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
We shall fight on the hills.
We shall never surrender.

“Aces High” brought a real live spitfire. Still not relaxed enough, I have thought what if something goes wrong and the plane that hangs above the bend kill them all? Chances are small, but still… Drama queen… Dickinson was dressed as a World War II fighter pilot, by the way.

Later, in his speech Bruce explained:

We started the show with spitfire flying around. To us, that’s the symbol of the fight againts the Nazists during the Second World War.

“Where Eagles Dare” brought us motives from ice cold mountains, Bruce dressed in white shirt with winter trapper’s hat.

“2 Minutes to Midnight”… Euphoria… From this point to the end of the show two hours later the energy was exploding from one to another song.

Before the next song block, Dickinson commented on World Cup:

It was a really, really fucking good game of football. You played fucking great.

He continued:

This next song is about something that everybody has a feeling for. And that is the feeling of liberty and freedom. Every single person is gonna have a different view about what it is to be free, what it is to have a liberty and we’re not gonna argue about that because you know in your heart what’s right. But sometimes when other people try to steal your rights and your liberty, you have to stand up and you have to fight. And this is one of those stories. This is a story about medieval Scotland. It’s about a guy,  William Wallace, Braveheart. One man who thought, you know what? the English are steeling my liberty. and so he decided to do something about this. This is that story, he was a Clansman!

And that was the only Dickinson’s speech. He let the music speaks for itself.

“The Trooper” and here comes Eddie! Bruce demonstrated his fencing skills. It seems he is the highly payed standard-bearer in the world. This time, besides UK, he raised Croatian flag too.

Iron Maiden

The next song set brought us to the church. Amazing stained glass, candle chandeliers… This block was reserved for “Revelations”, “For the Greater Good of God”, “The Wicker Man” and “Sign of the Cross”. Another costume change, black cloak and wields an illuminated crucifix.

“Flight of Icarus”, personal highlight of the show, ecstasy… Gigantic, ill-fated Icarus above the stage, Bruce with flamethrower… If I have to die, now the moment has come. Instead of dying, I was only cried. Luckily, I was looking like I came from swimming, so no one could tell if I am really crying, sweating or what…

Dickinson with death plague mask and lantern could easily afford himself to let the fans sing “Fear of the Dark” instead of him. Red air siren was hardly fighting with 20,000 fans who were singing in instantly formed Iron Maiden choir.

“The Number of the Beast” and Bruce is now in leather biker jacket. I was melting down in t-shirt far from stage lights, and thinking how I will collapse. Than, watching Bruce, I thought if he hadn’t have heath stroke yet, who am I to complain?

Iron Maiden… In one word: damn bloodshed. Well, two words, but who’s counting.

Short break and they are back!

“The Evil That Man Do”, absolute surprise, and now I faced social phobia hugging crazy Slovenian fans. I am cured!

“Hallowed Be Thy Name” Bruce sings from behind bars before being faced with a hangman’s noose and at the end “Run to the Hills”. Somehow, just somehow, even we all knew it is impossible, we thought they would come back and sing at least one song but…

If it should be described in one word, this concert will take epithet as an epic one. From the scene, costumes, effects to an interaction, energy, skills… This was the best Iron Maiden concert I have ever been. Why? Bruce Dickinson sang better than ever. Bruce Dickinson have never changed so many costumes. Scenography was never that rich. Effects were never better. Setlist… Well, if they would what each fan would like to hear, we would still be in Zagreb screaming for them!

The concert was completed after both, Serbian and Croatian Metal Jacket team united, because: our time has come, get ready fight, sisters and brothers in metal unite…

And that night, that Tuesday, that July 24, 2018, Iron Maiden united region.

Thank you Croatia! Thank you Bosnia and Herzegovina! Thank you Serbia! Thank you Montenegro! Thank you Slovenia! Thank you Macedonia!

Well, maybe not by that order, but I am 100% sure he mentioned all former Yugoslav republics.

We proved that Iron Maiden’s gonna get you no matter how far, so the sky is our limit! See you next time and till than – Up the Irons!

Iron Maiden setlist
Intro: Churchill’s Speech
1. Aces High
2. Where Eagles Dare
3. Minutes to Midnight
4. The Clansman
5. The Trooper
6. Revelations
7. For the Greater Good of God
8. The Wicker Man
9. Sign of the Cross
10. Flight of Icarus
11. Fear of the Dark
12. The Number of the Beast
13. Iron Maiden
Encore
14. The Evil That Men Do
15. Hallowed Be Thy Name
16. Run to the Hills

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