Bruce Dickinson / Kill II This

Wolves Wulfrun Hall

December 4 1998

So, being a Friday, and all the usuall shenanigans that go on in the UK on a Friday, I arrived just as Sack Trick were leaving the stage. Which was a major disappointment as I really did want to see them live again. And I was only 10 minutes after the doors were SUPPOSED to open. Someone somewhere told me porkys when they said doors open at 7.30pm. I don't think so.

So getting over the disappointment of having missed ST, it's time for Kill II This. A weird one. I like the album, yet it annoys me. Simple things just winding me up. Which I can't figure if that is good or not. I guess it must be that it bothers me. And live those things remain. It's no problem the samples they use, such as on tracks like opener Crucified, or Funeral, and the like. It's that they're trying to fit like half a dozen genres at once. There's the samples and the technology. The new metal riffs and look from Minett. The growl style vocals in places which mesh with the female operatics singer. It's progressive metal, while at the same time being new techno metal. Which is good, but it's just I'm not sure where it's going. And neither did the crowd, who seemed pretty indifferent it has to be said, despite Minett's attempts to get them going between each song. Which I still think as admirable as it is, is the frontman's job, not the guitarist. That's it, that's the other thing that bothers me, I've just remembered. It seems like a one man band. He writes all the music and lyrics, carries the fight to the people. It feels uneasy.

The Bruce is back, and he's sold this place out. And he's not a happy chappy, as is evident by the venom being poured into the opening salvo of Trumpets of Jericho and King in Crimson. Something is bothering him, and as the instrumental section breaks, he tears off stage and lambasts one of the helpless roadies. The song ends, "blackout please ... thankyou" he instructs whoever is dealing with the lighting. Not happy. Still, the band nip through more of the Chemical Wedding, including the title track itself, Book of Thel, Gates of Urizen and Killing Floor, during which standin guitarist "the Guru" (hey, he's American, he's allowed a daft name!) misses his cue for the chorus. "Your turn" Bruce reminds him. Ooops. It's all kinda tense feeling in a way I've never associated with Dickinson before, and it pouring out of him asd he leaps and hurls and just simply looks more animated and into things than he has done in many a long year.

And that might have something to do with the reception he's receiving here. It seems the man can do no wrong. As the first segment ends, things lighten as they go into Tears of a Dragon. Oh yeah, and Adrian Smith is still around, playing the non pentium, non Bill Gates affiliated plank of wood. Or acoustic guitar.

It's all very old school, yet very now as well. Some bands could learn a lot if they would just put aside their prejudices and some of the trend influenced behaviour. At the end of the day, things boil down to good music, and the likes of Accident of Birth, The Tower, Darkside of Aquarius and Road To Hell, although they don't dominate my stereo and listening habits, are bloody good songs, and live you're reminded of how good this stuff really can be. So much so that I think I'll be digging out those CDs when I get back home. That's the mark of a good gig I think. Do you want to put on the CD when you get in. Especially if you've not listened to it for a while. This made me want to.

And then of course, there is the real history, represented here tonight by Powerslave, 2 Minutes to Midnight and Flight of Icarus. And they didn't sound dated at all. Still essential. Because see, trends may come and go, quitar squeaks and squeals will get replaced by the next generations interpretation of these things, but a good song remains a good song. A good performer remains a good performer (well, apart from loosing some of the overall capacity, of which Bruce has been guilty, as is the Ozzmeister), and a good gig is a good gig. This was good.