Many of you have asked me what I think of the new show that the almost fifty-year-old Iron Maiden inaugurated on May 28th in Ljubljana. I believe it is pointless to dwell too much on the setlist itself, or the stage setups (in which Iron Maiden excel, regardless): everyone will have formed their own opinions, as nowadays in the era of social media and global sharing, we have already seen everything. The volume of videos, photos, impressions, and curiosities about the new production is already widely available online. But being a bit old school myself and having had the opportunity to attend the second date of the tour in Prague, I allowed myself the “luxury” (because unfortunately, these days it is) of disconnecting from social media for two days and experiencing the thrill of going to the concert, knowing nothing about it, as it was at least until the sunset of the 1990’s.
With plans disrupted by Covid, Iron Maiden couldn’t afford a show entirely dedicated to their latest studio effort, Senjutsu. So they made up for it by including three songs from the new album in the recovery of the previous tour (Legacy of the Beast), and this year they had the idea of combining it with the celebratory tour of one of their past masterpieces, Somewhere in Time. In my opinion, it was both an inevitable and spectacular idea, invaluable in terms of emotions. But also a lot of anger. Why? Simply because without that f*****g pandemic, after the Legacy tour, we would have witnessed the tour entirely dedicated to Senjutsu and this year the replica of the Somewhere on Tour ’86/’87.
The choice was dictated by having lost two years of live performances at a time when, unfortunately, the weight of the years is felt in the band, and it is when you think it is better to live day by day as you can no longer make long-term plans. So, it was an almost obligatory choice, but no less effective for that.
Time, this tyrant, flows inexorably and does not give discounts. Time, the protagonist of that historic album that makes us increasingly understand how even back then, Harris’s band saw further.
As a first result, even before the tour started, rumors and predictions, corroborated by astute marketing campaigns, made this setlist the most anticipated ever.
Somewhere in Time taught us so much. Iron Maiden always teaches us. First of all, the album itself represented an epochal turning point from a musical point of view, showing us a side of metal that was previously unknown and unexplored. Then, it made us study some history to better appreciate Alexander the Great. But above all, that album centered on the elusiveness of the present, on the future to be built, on the past that returns, taught us how to live “somewhere in time”. And it is on this that I would like to dwell, more than on the concert itself, in the hope that whoever is reading this can identify with it.
Starting from that young boy, full of energy and hopes, with a whole life ahead of him who, in December 1986, set off for Milan to see his idols again, along with many who were attending an Iron Maiden concert for the first time. Somewhere immediately became the soundtrack of my late adolescence, accompanying me through moments of joy, sadness, and personal growth. Songs like “Wasted Years” inspired me to follow my dreams, not to waste the precious time I had. “Stranger in a Strange Land” made me reflect on the sense of alienation I sometimes felt, while “Alexander the Great” transported me back in time, opening the doors of history.
And now, after 37 years, I relive that past time. Looking at myself in this selfie (unthinkable back then to bring a camera to a concert!), I see a face marked by time, wrinkles that tell stories, and hair that has turned white. Life has taken me on adventures and challenges that I could never have imagined back then. I have experienced love, loss, success, and disappointments. But there is still a flame inside me, a passion that ignites every time “they” take the stage.
I know that the band itself has changed over the years. The musicians have aged like me, they have faced ups and downs in their careers, but their dedication to music has remained constant. And as I stand there, surrounded by thousands of fans who share the same passion, I realize that we have all grown together, that we have faced the challenges of life and taken different paths, but Iron Maiden’s music remains an indissoluble bond between us.
They have been the only fixed point, the only constant from which this journey of life has departed and returned for these thirty-seven years. They are the fixed element that defies the passage of time and reminds us of who we are and where we come from. So, while everything around us has changed and life has taken different directions, the love for Iron Maiden has remained strong and unchanged. Their music has adapted to the different stages of life, offering comfort, inspiration, and a sense of community with their fans. And so, we find ourselves “somewhere in time,” embracing the past and looking to the future. Iron Maiden represents an indelible connection to the essence of who we are and the path we have taken. They are the constant that allows us to embrace change and face the challenges of life, always with the strength and passion that only their music is capable of. Singing with Bruce, jumping and shouting together with the crowd, I felt alive and young once again.
The band is a bridge that connects the past to the present, a call to those special moments we have experienced and that have shaped us. “Caught Somewhere in Time” transforms itself into a mantra that resonates in the mind and heart, echoing as a call to continuity and coherence. It is an immutable reference point, while everything else has danced in the whirlwind of life. The words evoke a sense of nostalgia and reflection because, in fact, an entire lifetime has passed since that young Iron Maiden fan embraced their music with such passion. Marriages have been celebrated, children have come into the world, careers have been built and destroyed, tears have been shed for those who have left us.
Somewhere in time, the energy of that youth embarks on a journey and merges with mature experience. Close your eyes, you’re a kid, open them, you’re a man, and Iron Maiden is still there. And at the first notes of “Blade Runner,” everything seems to fall back into place. Not “Somewhere.” Rather, “Always.”