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Iron Maiden: shouts and sweat
Iron Maiden: shouts and sweat

After the run of big-name concerts that was Belsonic, the 24/7 office has been a-buzz with nostalgic tales of first gigs and best gigs. We thought we should share them with you! Iron Maiden: shouts and sweat



Back in 1996 I was a 16-year-old struggling musician growing up in a council estate in Newry. I had been an Iron Maiden fanatic for nine years and counting and yes, I was one of “those” people at school.

After enduring some excruciatingly endless months of saving money since they announced their first NI headline show in an age, my wait finally came to an end on a cold wintery night in January.

As myself and my former band-mate Joe boarded our rented mini-bus to Belfast ready for the night of our lives, we felt a little intimidated by the sight of dozens of older, hairier men all glaring back at us, but our common love of the Irons bonded us together. Looking back on it now, it was probably more to do with the booze they were guzzling rather than a shared admiration for Steve Harris’ galloping bass-lines, but I digress.

As we slowly trundled toward our destination I noticed that, while I came armed with a lunchbox filled with two Dairylea sandwiches made by my mum, everyone else brought beer and funny cigarettes.

As soon as Maiden came on stage, the next two hours went by in a blur.

I remember grabbing Janick Gers’ guitar, bassist Steve Harris grinning at me as I stood engulfed in a sea of beer guts and Maiden’s then-singer Blaze Bayley singling me out and giving me a much appreciated thumbs up.

Other than that it was all sounds, shouts and sweat and I loved it. It didn’t matter that I would later get the worst flu of my life from the trip or that it would take a full week before I got my voice back, because I had the best night of my life.

I never did get to eat those sandwiches though. Sorry mum!

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