Live review: Iron Maiden, Glasgow OVO Hydro

Iron Maiden invoke Marty McFly levels of silliness and spectacle as they take Scotland into the vibrant glory of their Future Past…

Live review: Iron Maiden, Glasgow OVO Hydro
Sam Law
John McMurtrie

Ever wondered what it'd be like if a laser gun-toting time-traveller threw down with a sword-wielding Samurai on a Monday night in Glasgow? Fucking awesome, that's what!

Having conquered Donington (again) with last year's breathtaking, hit-laden Legacy Of The Beast showcase, London legends Iron Maiden are back on home turf with a host of deeper cuts as they kick off the UK leg of their globe-trotting Future Past tour. Swapping the hallowed grounds for more intimate confines this time out – yes, 13,000-cap hangars like the OVO Hydro count as 'intimate' when you're Iron Fucking Maiden – there's a feeling of greater theatrical detail and control, from the more technically testing moments of their setlist to the clever-clever Easter eggs hidden away in their old-school fabric backdrops. When Bruce Dickinson steps up with that immortal demand, "SCREAM FOR ME, GLASGOW!" at the outset of Caught Somewhere In Time, however, the outpouring of sheer adulation from this completely sold-out crowd threatens to rip off the roof.

First up, shadowy Hamburg crew Lord Of The Lost are no strangers to the potentially thankless task of supporting one of the greatest metal acts in history. They're far sharper this evening than they were opening 17 dates of last year's Legacy Of The Beast European run, though – a run in front of the bright lights and TV cameras of the Eurovision Song Contest certainly helped with that, as do the battery of bangers from last December's Blood & Glitter like Destruction Manual and weirdly on-brand highlight The Future Of A Past Life. There remains a host of naysayers claiming they're simply a pale imitation of bigger, badder Teutonic countrymen, but LOTL just about hold their own.

From the moment the volume cranks, the curtain drops and the disavowed orchestral version of Vangelis' iconic Blade Runner score begins to blare, mind, Maiden are operating several levels above. Flashing strip-lights hanging over and (gasp!) flickering video-screens to either side bolster the timelessly wobbly production. And if the 'Future Past' concept – simultaneously celebrating 1986's underrated Somewhere In Time and 2021's Senjutsu – seemed odd on paper, the transition between Stranger In A Strange Land and The Writing On The Wall confirms the genius of bringing together an old record about the unknown future and a new one fixated on the distant past.

Bass gallops. Guitars wail. Drums pound. At the centre of it all, Bruce is a ringleader on mischievous form, whether carrying off some absurd sunglasses, riling up the seating sections one letter at a time, pondering the exact electricity it'd take to send a DeLorean the wrong way through the space-time continuum, explaining the meaning of a "Dystopian future" or simply taking the piss: "I don't want to wear you out tonight, with too much cheering and having a good time…"

The songs are brilliant. Of course they are. The Time Machine. The Prisoner. Can I Play With Madness. Heaven Can Wait. An epic Death Of The Celts even comes with an awkward assurance that it's meant to be fantasy rather than wishful thinking. "There's a lot if you out there," Bruce tells the army of Scots piled in front of him. "You're not extinct at all!" Then an astonishing Alexander The Great, still on its first handful of plays, ever, bowls the whole room over.

And the madness just keeps ramping up. You want silliness? How about four different Eddies, including one who ends up in a pyro-loaded firefight with the ever-game frontman? Mega hits? Fear Of The Dark and Iron Maiden never fail – though we get neither Run To The Hills nor Hallowed Be Thy Name this evening. Then an encore for the ages? How about a flame-drenched Hell On Earth, The Trooper's heart-hammering cavalry charge and dizzyingly euphoric closer Wasted Years.

Two hours flash past in the blink of an eye. It’s proof that, for all its retro-futurist themes, Future Past is the kind of show that makes people glad to exist in the here and now, holding every soul in this thousands-strong audience in the magic of the moment. Up the Irons, forever.

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