I attended my first rock concert when I was 16: front row at Iron Maiden on their “Piece of Mind” tour.
My musical tastes have changed since then, but when I found out that Maiden was coming to a town near me – for the first time in 21 years – I just had to go and relive my long-haired “Wayne’s World” youth.
I was not disappointed. Thirty years (!) after the first time I saw them, these guys still put everything into their performance. Front-man Bruce Dickinson has more energy than should be humanly possible for someone half his age.
But the highlight for me was beforehand, when hundreds of aging metalheads in black t-shirts were waiting to get in to the arena. The show was in Nashville, and directly across the street from the arena there’s a bar where a country band plays on a patio. Much of the Maiden crowd was cringing at the country music infecting their ears – and then the country band suddenly launched into “Sweet Leaf,” a classic Black Sabbath tune.
The stunned metalheads turned around – almost in unison – shocked at what they were hearing. After it sunk in that the country band was paying tribute to one of their gods, they pumped their fists in the air and shouted in appreciation.
It was a “can’t we all get along” moment I would never have expected.