Iron Maiden, Bristow, VA, 2012

Posted by tom on July 03, 2012

Got an extremely early finish from work as someone decided to cut straight through the main power supply on site, which was going to leave the job site without power until Monday, so I got back home at 8:30am. We set off from Powhatan Point around midday, our route from Ohio to Bristow, VA took us through Ohio, West Virginia, Pensylvannia, West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia. We stopped twice along the way to swap drivers and have a toilet break. Got to our hotel around 6pm, checked in then headed out to get some food.

We were staying in a shopping area, so there were plenty of places to choose from to eat, so we tried out Ruby Tuesdays as we had never eaten there before. We both had ribs, I had the Memphis Dry Rub and Tree went for the BBQ ribs. After food we walked over to Sports Authority to buy some swimwear as we had left ours at home, and it was still 100F+ having seen the high around 110F for the day, and we thought a nice dip in the pool would cool us off before going to bed.

When we got back to our room we found out we were on a severe weather warning which usually means Thunderstorms or something along those lines, tonights was Severe Thunderstorms with 90mph winds, possible hail and maybe Tornadoes - tidy! This warning always comes with a seek shelter in a sturdy structure and stay away from the windows warning, natually I was up at the window seeing what was happening, and it was all still outside, so I went back to lie down on the bed and watch TV with Tree. About 20 minutes later the lights started flickering so we guessed the storm was close by, so I got up, and had a look out the window, and it was wild. The wind was blowing, it was pouring it with rain and the lighting was constantly flashing. I told Tree to come have a look, and with that a lightning bolt hit the carpark and the electricity in the hotel went out. We decided this was probably a good time to get away from the window. Fortunately hotels being hotels the emergency generator kicked in about 5 seconds after the power tripped. Then it was time for sleep

People always say things happen for a reason, and if it wasn't for that guy nearly blowing himself up on site, we would have been caught smack bang in the middle of that storm on our travels.

We got up to the news that two people (which later on ended up being 5) had died during the storms the previous night and that 1.5 million people had been left without power, and would be without power for upto a week. Todays forecast had temperatures of 110F again, how sorry we felt for those people without aircon etc. We got dressed and hopped into the truck and checked out our route to the venue for later (it was only 1.5 miles from the hotel, but thought is best just to check it out). We then carried on our way to Washington D.C. (which was about 40 minutes from where we were staying). Parking was very interesting as the multi-stories don't seem to be "truck friendly," but as this was our first time here, and we were only going be be there for a short while we weren't too worried, but more research will be conducted before our next visit. We ended up parking on the street, which was limited to 2 hours. From there we walked across to the White House.

We didn't get inside the White House, nor it's grounds, as the queues were too long and it was far too hot for us, it was 10am and 95F. The sun was brutal. So we decided to walk around the the park to see what we could. We saw the back of the White House and then went for a walk to try and get to the Lincoln Monument (the one in Night At The Museum, where he gets up out of his seat, etc). On the way there is the Washington Monument so we stopped there. This was closed due to earthquake damage suffered in September 2011, but you can still get some good photos of it. We started walking towards the Lincoln Monument but decided it was too hot for it, so we turned back, crossed the road and had a look at the front of the White House. We then slowly made our way back to the truck to go round the the Hard Rock Cafe. That was only 3 blocks from where we parked, but we had to move the truck anyway.

We did our usual in the Hard Rock, we sat down, had our food, took a brief walk around the inside, then went into the shop to pick up a tshirt, some pin badges, and in this particular instance, Tree got herself another hat. We then strolled back to the truck and headed back to the hotel. When we got back we were trying to decide whether we should drive or walk. I was preferring walking all the way to this point, but due to the heat etc, we decided it was far safer to drive. We got to the venue about 4:45pm and the doors were due to open at 5:30pm. We spoke to Mummy & Daddy P on the phone, whilst we were sat in the aircon of the truck. Then at 5:35pm we made our way over to the gates. They hadn't opened by the time we got there, but fortunately there was a lot of Tree cover close by, so we took shelter under there. The gates finally opened at 6:15, grrr!!!!

We finally got in to find that there was no event specific shirt for the gig - bugger - so I bought 2 other tour t-shirts and we headed round to find our seats (as for the first time ever I was (we were) sitting down at a Maiden concert. After we got our seats I decided to go see about upgrading us to the V.I.P area which I did. This was a good move as it was more shaded than the undercover bit we were currently in, and it has air-con in the toilets, so we didn't have to use port-a-loos. When we were sat in the V.I.P area I noticed that the woman on the merch stall had given me the wrong t-shirt, so I had to go and swap them around, fortunately there was no problem and I got my t-shirt. We then headed to our new V.I.P seats which were smack bang central and 2 rows from the pit (standing area)

First up was Alice Cooper. He put on a fantastic performance, even taking away the stage show. It was pretty much a greatest hits set, but I have to say it was probably the best I have ever seen him. It was some good stuff. The set list was:

Vincent Price (Intro)
The Black Widow
Brutal Planet
I'm Eighteen
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Hey Stoopid
Guitar Solo
Billion Dollar Babies
Feed My Frankenstein
Wicked Young Man
I Love the Dead
School's Out

Next up were Maiden. They put in a cracking performance as always, plenty of Pyro, which was really unwanted on an evening as hot as this, everyone was on top of their game. The one thing that did annoy me and a lot of the locals was him saying "scream for me Washington" or "scream for me D.C." I was quite surprised that he was doing that, and di all evening. A lot of it was maybe down to the person in charge of the tour who put Washington D.C. as the location, which also appeared on the back of the t-shirts. This really did annoy some people who I saw throwing them to the ground in annoyance.

The opening to the set was as expected, but come the end of the night I was left a little disappointed by the overall setlist. It was far too close to the Somewhere Back In Time set list and also included classics that were played on The Final Frontier Tour. The stand out differences were; The Prisoner, Afraid To Shoot Strangers and Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son; Other than that it was all the same. For those people who only saw Maiden on legs 1 through 3 of the Somewhere Back In Time Tour, the other difference was The Phantom Of The Opera, but they played that on the 4th leg. For me they should have replaced Fear Of The Dark, Wasted Years, Run To The Hills, Aces High, with Infinite Dreams, Still Life, Killers and Die with your boots on, as they were in the original Maiden England set from 1988. I can take or leave Heaven Can Wait. But as always, no band can ever keep everyone happy unless they stand there and play every single song they have ever recorded. The complete Set List was as follows:

Doctor Doctor (UFO song) (Intro)
Can I Play With Madness
The Prisoner
2 Minutes to Midnight
Afraid to Shoot Strangers
The Trooper
The Number of the Beast
Phantom of the Opera
Run to the Hills
Wasted Years
Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
The Clairvoyant
Fear of the Dark
Iron Maiden


Churchill's Speech (Intro)
Aces High
The Evil That Men Do
Running Free
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (Monty Python song) (Outro)

Getting out of the Venue was easy enough and the carpark and exits were excellently organised. This lot know how to handle a mass exodus of people and the Police know exaclty how to keep the traffic flowing. The sound in the venue was superb, infact, all round I have to say this is possibly my favourite venue I have attended a gig at. Superb. We were back to the hotel within 20 minutes of setting into the truck, and with 25,000 people there, that was a fair effort. Then is was sleep time

Up and checked out on time, we got into the truck and set off on our merry way back to Ohio. We decided we would stop at a place called Falling Water on the way home so we set the Sat Nav to do this. Of course, it had been playing up over the weekend, probably due to the heat, so it didn't take us to Falling Water. Oh well, we shall visit there next time. We couldn't be bothered to take a full break anywhere else so we stopped to change drivers and to get some fuel to make sure we got back, which we managed easily and were back by 5:45pm. We got back to a Severe Weather Warning, but the storm was a disappointment. I even setup my camera on it's tripod ready for the lightning, but it was rubbish.

All in all a good trip away, and we will be going back to D.C. for a proper visit and look around the place as it seems like a lovely city

Tom & Tree