As a lifelong Maiden fan I’ve always wanted to meet any of the guys but also aware that I may be a bit star struck if I ever did. I, therefore, was filled with both excitement and trepidation when I was approved to review Steve Harris’s British Lion. They had billed this as a mini tour of six gigs before Christmas with the new album coming out mid-January followed by a tour of north America.
As I was given a crew band I was privileged enough to enter the venue while the crew were still setting up.
I spotted the tour manager and had just walked up and introduced myself when he got a tap on the shoulder from behind. It was only Steve Harris! To say I was speechless was a bit of an understatement. I felt frozen to the spot. I’d like to say at this point that I said Hi, we instantly hit it off and I’m popping round to his for Christmas, unfortunately my inability at this moment to produce any saliva resulted in me not speaking a word and Mr Harris walking off, bugger!
Both support bands Voodoo Six And Nine Miles Down were really tight with Voodoo Six’s lead singer having an impressive stage presence. Unfortunately half way though his set there was a small bang and all the power died leaving the band asking does anyone know a joke! A few swift actions from the road crew popped the equipment back into life and off they went again.
As I sat waiting for British Lion to start, I pondered on how much I knew of the band apart from Steve. I’d remembered an album coming out a while back (turned out to be 2012) and I’d listened to the new tracks this week beyond that this was all new.
What turned up was a band who loved to play live and although I didn’t know the tracks I settled into appreciating the show. Steve is still highly energetic on stage and machine gunned us, with his bass, whenever he could. The front man Richard Taylor was animated throughout but with a measured voice quite different from ‘Arrys usual stage companion.
Graham Leslie and David Hawkins on guitar while somewhat overshadowed (how couldn’t they be) were perfectly gelled into the band and the solos, while short, were worthy of any pro axeman.
Once I’d finished taking my pictures I retired to the back of the venue and this is when I realised what I think this is. Mr Harris started over 40 years ago playing small gigs to a frantic energy filled crowd. Over the years as the production got bigger a separation of the live experience developed. This is him going back to his roots and giving back to all those, who like me love what he has done and what he means to us.
The crowd pushed against the barrier arms aloft singing along, maybe this is similar to what it was like all those years ago.
As the set came to a close the cool thing for me to have done would have been to quietly exit with some great memories of an amazing night. What actually happened was that I couldn’t work out how to get down off the balcony and walked into Steve’s dressing room by mistake (he wasn’t there) and I had to be shown the way outI