In case you missed the last episode of Days of our Black Sabbath, the band has pulled out of all but one of its upcoming European dates, citing Tony Iommi’s health issues. Meanwhile drummer Bill Ward issued a public statement that he still wants to take part in the reunion, but is still waiting for a signable contract. With all this taking place, it looks like Europe will be getting an “Ozzy and Friends” tour instead, featuring Geezer Butler, Zakk Wylde, and some other “special guests.” Man, if I was on the other side of the pond, I’d probably ask for my money back.
But while North America won’t be seeing Sabbath anytime soon, there was some good news this week, as Iron Maiden announced its latest summer shindig, a recreation of its 1988 Maiden England concert set. Although I was deprived of my all-time favourite metal band in the flesh while growing up out west, I’ve made up for it since moving out here, having seen ’em three times and counting in the past six years. Make that four times come July 13th. I dig the fact that they’ve alternated between classic throwback gigs and sets featuring mostly new material on their last few outings, one of the reasons that keeps me coming back for more. And I gotta say, their opening acts keep getting better each time around.
I first saw Maiden in ’06 with support from Bullet for this Headofmine, a lameocore band that shares the same management. (I spent the entire set giving them the doigt d’honneur, which earned me some props from fellow concert-goers.) On their Somewhere Back in Time tour, the band made the mistake of taking Steve Harris’ 19-year-old daughter out as the opening act. Her rehashed 80’s cockless rock had most of the early arrivers making a beeline for the beer line, though her lead guitarist at the same, Richie Faulkner, has gone on to replace KK Downing in Judas Priest. Go figure.
When I last saw Maiden at the Molson Amp, they were touring with Dream Theater. Admittedly, I’m not a huge DT fan, but at least they finally found someone who belonged on the same stage. This time around, they’re bringing Alice Cooper out on the road, which is a bit of an odd pairing, but hey, I own a couple of his records and have never seen the man live, so I’ll make sure to get there early. It’s always good to see a decent double bill, at any rate.
Most of the Maiden gigs haven’t been added to Ticketbastard yet, but I’ve heard somewhere that they go on sale March 3rd. Something tells me the Maiden fan club members will buy up most of the floors, but I’ll gladly take whatever’s left. And let’s all hope for a full recovery from Iommi so that we’ll be seeing Black Sabbath next year. I’d hate to see him join Dio so soon!