• Jarmo Leppinen

(Not so) Wasted Years - Travelling to Iron Maiden concerts

There are hobbies and then there are passions…

What and why


2005 Helsinki, 2006 Helsinki, 2008 Helsinki, 2010 Pori, 2011 Frankfurt and Helsinki, 2013 Paris, Zurich, Stockholm and Helsinki, 2014 Budapest, 2016 Vienna, Gothenburg, Hämeenlinna, 2017 Dublin, 2018 Helsinki, Helsinki, Munich, Geneva and Krakow…


Since year 2005 I have seen Iron Maiden play live 20 times, nine times in Finland and eleven times abroad. For those who are not familiar with Iron Maiden, they are a heavy metal band, formed in London in 1975. They have released sixteen studio albums since 1980 and sold over 100 million albums total. Check Wikipedia if you want to know more.


“Don’t you get bored seeing them so many times?” and “So they didn’t come to Finland and you had to travel here?” are questions that I hear often. No, I don’t get bored and no, Iron Maiden don’t skip Finland on their tours. Some people travel to the same destination every year without getting bored. My Iron Maiden travelling is actually still quite moderate, some people see 20 concerts in a year…


The main reason not to get bored is the passion that both the band and the fans have. The band has no off-days, they give 100 % performance every night. For fans it is a bit similar like supporting a sports team, except that your team always wins. Even if I don’t usually socialise much with other fans, it is still easy to feel fellowship with the other fans, when you see the city filling with Iron Maiden t-shirts before and after the concert. In some cities it does not show that much, but for example in Gothenburg and Krakow it was quite clear which band was in town. In concerts there are always people who see the band for the first time and other who have seen it multiple times. Nowadays there can be three generations of fans, all enjoying the show on their own way and leaving home smiling.


There are certain parts of the show that stay the same and create sort of a safe, familiar feeling, but there is always something new too. I think that keeping certain things old school is one reason for the popularity of the band, for example using large backdrop drapes instead of fancy led panels. Many bands that have been playing this long play mainly the classics as the new material is not that interesting. With Iron Maiden this is not the case, they have managed to make new classics that fans want to hear as much as the old ones. Music itself is of course the main thing, but Iron Maiden is also a very visual band, which is an essential part of the appeal, especially for visual persons like myself.


Not so much different than other travelling, but there are certain things to note


Song suggestions for travelling soundtrack: Wasted Years, Coming Home, Journeyman


Tickets to Iron Maiden concerts usually come to sale approximately nine months before the concert. Tickets tend to sell fast, but there is almost always a presale for fan club members, which is very convenient and stress-reducing. Registering to the ticket vendor’s website is a good idea to do beforehand, so that everything is ready when the sale starts. Expect to pay around 90 euros for the standing area tickets. Surprisingly the tickets can be as expensive or even more expensive in countries that otherwise have lower price rate, like in Poland and Hungary, than they are in more expensive countries, say Finland or Sweden for example.


As for any other trip, I check the flight and hotel options beforehand, but I book the concert ticket first, as it is the cheapest part if something goes wrong. When the ticket is secured, I book the flights and hotel, as they can sell out fast too, at least in smaller cities.


Travelling just for the concerts would be a bit expensive, so I usually book several days to see the city too and make it a combined concert/city trip. This means that after booking the concert ticket, the planning of the trip is not that different from other trips. My existing packing list already includes concert ticket, earplugs and a band t-shirt, which I just ignore in case of a non-concert trips. I look beforehand the route to the venue and especially back from there, as public transportation might not run that often at night time. That’s pretty much it, then I’m ready to go.


Summary


Planning the next travel destinations is always fun, but planning them with a freshly released tour calendar is even more exciting. Combining a concert with a city trip makes it also easier to choose cities that are not necessarily at the top of the list.


The most important thing to remember is that although the bands performance is still on top level, they are not getting any younger. Same thing with anything you want to see, a band, a natural wonder or whatever. Don’t wait too long, go now.


From left to right, top to bottom: Frankfurt 2011 fan meeting at the city centre, Paris 2013 outside the arena, Gothenburg 2016 Ullevi Stadium, Geneva 2018 Geneva Arena.


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