The Early Days Tour
May – August 2005
In support of
The Early Days Tour – also known as Eddie Rips Up <enter the name of your country here> – kicked off in Eastern Europe at the end of May 2005. The first two gigs comprised an old classic that could have made many an old fan happy worldwide, namely "Charlotte The Harlot", but this song was sadly dropped in favour of another classic, "Wrathchild", that has been so re-hashed in the past 30 years that it's become actually boring to hear. Another thing that was dropped – and luckily this time! – were the girls dressed like little devils who were inanely dancing around the band while they played "The Number Of The Beast". It was so cheesy to watch that it is understandable that the band decided against having them on stage after a few gigs.
All in all, the gigs were great, showing that Iron Maiden had lost none of their earlier energy on stage, as well as pleasing the older fans and introducing the younger ones to their early material. How many of us, long-time fans, have smiled upon hearing 16-year-olds going, "What's that?" when the band played "Another Life"? I know I did. What wasn't so nice was to hear some of the crowd requesting "Fear Of The Dark", whereas Bruce had made it clear that they were only going to play songs from the first four albums. The blatant stupidity of some people can be quite distressing...
The North American leg of the tour was mainly performed within the Ozzfest festival, where Maiden were reportedly stealing the show from all the other bands present. That's no surprise, considering that, with the notable exception of Metal legends Black Sabbath, most of the younger bands obviously weren't in the same league. Some problems arose when Bruce Dickinson commented publicly about Ozzy Osbourne and his infamous appearance in a well-known reality show. Those remarks angered Sharon Osbourne, Ozzy's wife who uses her bewildered husband as a money-making device both on TV and for the festival she organises, and her response was – to say the least! – both childish and very unprofessional. The last show of the American tour was somehow sabotaged, as some of the crew tampered with the P.A. and Sharon recruited her daughter and a few others to throw eggs at the musicians during the performance. The band and their management demonstrated the most professional attitude when dealing with these events and their aftermath. I wish the fans had been the same, but hate websites were set up against Mrs. Osbourne, insulting her in the worst ways possible. No matter how irresponsible her behaviour was – sabotaging a show and the pleasure of thousands of fans IS irresponsible – she certainly didn't deserve the flow of hate that came her way.
In any case, the Early Days Tour was as brilliant as any other Iron Maiden tour, despite its shorter length and the fact that they only played festivals and open-air venues. Steve Harris and his gang haven't lost an ounce of energy after some 30 years on the road and we all hope that they'll keep it up for many years to come.