Iron Maiden - Leeds University 22nd November 1980
Setlist: The Ides of March / Sanctuary / Prowler / Wrathchild / Remember Tomorrow / Charlotte the Harlot /Killers /Another Life /Drum solo / Transylvania / Guitar solo / Strange World /Innocent Exile / Phantom of the Opera / Iron Maiden // Running Free / Drifter / I've Got the Fire (For some reason, I think they also played Women in Uniform somewhere in the set)
I remember Maiden from about 1978 onwards and even in those early days, I often wondered what it was that made this band so damn good. They never seemed like the other bands that had the outstanding guitar genius, the gorgeous singer, or the manic drummer. Looking at them objectively, Di’Anno, Murray, Stratton, Harris and Burr were good but didn’t look destined to set the Thames on fire. How wrong could you be? On stage they were devastating. Anyone who saw them in 1979/80 will never forget Phantom of the Opera live.
Live, in those early days, they were actually, very sorted, just not as lavish as the later tours. They knew what they wanted but didn't have the money [until after Number of the Beast went stratospheric]. Eddie’s level of sophistication was limited to a roadie in a rubber mask running on with a fire extinguisher. It wasn't subtle, but it was effective.
Before 2002, I had last seen Iron Maiden live on the Iron Maiden Tour: Leeds University, November 22nd 1980. They had supported Judas Priest earlier in the year on the British Steel tour, which had kicked them up to the next level. In my opinion, as mighty as Priest were at that point - at the peak of their powers - Iron Maiden were better. That was the eye-opener. I'm not saying that they blew Priest away, I don't think that would have been possible in 1980, on that tour, but the writing was on the wall. Maiden, Def Leppard and Saxon were all vying for the spot of top NWOBHM band, but Maiden just seemed to be able to take it to a level that no other band could match. Anyone who saw them live could see that. Saxon were less polished and Leppard had not come up with the goods after the first album.
By late November 1980, Den Stratton was gone and new boy Adrian Smith had but a couple of weeks to get up to speed. Leeds was his second gig with the band. Being perfectly honest, I just remember it being a great gig and having lots of fun. I have no idea who the support act was, as we got there just before Maiden went on. It was very hot, very cosy, and very loud and I was pressed against... never mind...
A chunk of the set was off the new album, so no one knew any of those new songs, but it didn't matter. Maiden then was an experience, as it still is, it was just more raw, more unpredictable. Imagine, Iron Maiden at a uni gig...
Mark L. Potts
The God of Thunder