The date was April 17, 2011 in Tampa, Fl. It was one of only two U.S. shows on Iron Maiden’s Final Frontier tour. I’ve been to countless concerts and have seen Maiden numerous times. This was different. The pre show party where Nicko made an appearance was more like a World’s Fair. There was a poster board outside for fans to sign. I looked and saw that the crowd was from everywhere. They came from Sao Paulo, Monterrey and Montreal and all places in between. The vibe was one of peace and friendship.
Before the song “Blood Brothers” Bruce Dickinson spoke of the turmoil that was happening in the world. Libya was in the midst of a bloody conflict and Bruce talked about the Maiden fans there. He spoke of fan club members in Iraq and throughout Africa. It dawned on me how important hard rock and metal is to the world. It is a bond that brings people of all religions, ethnicities and races together in harmony. Iron Maiden would be more adept to bring world peace than any politician.
Here’s the thing. Despite the perception that heavy metal and hard rock is the lowest form of entertainment, the reality is the music and the bands who create it taught me more about life than any politician, member of the clergy or coach. For this reason I contend that the music I love is quite the opposite of the perception.
Queen and Judas Priest taught me to accept gay people. Freddie Mercury was a genius and so is Rob Halford. Black Sabbath actually taught me to stay away from drugs. Listening to the “Hand of Doom” made me realize that I didn’t want anything to do with that shit. Rush taught me to think freely about society and politics. “Subdivisions” resonated with me on so many levels. “The Trees” guided me to explore social behavior and the impact of government. Iron Maiden guided me towards a love of history. I learned more the Crimean War because of the “Trooper” not from any class I took in high school or college. The live intro to “Ace’s High” introduced me to a life long admiration of Winston Churchill. After I heard that speech, I read anything and everything about the man. KISS taught me about business. I learned to admire how they worked through every type of human resource and financial storm to come out on top through grit and hard work.
In today’s crazy world, we would feel safer if we let the music do the talking instead of the presidents, pundits and prime ministers.
Written by Joe Becht. Follow him on Twitter @JoeBecht