Former Iron Maiden vocalist Blaze Bayley made an appearance at the Fish Head Cantina here in Arbutus and I have to be honest in saying I was not prepared enough for what I saw. Not only did he perform an excellent set from his vast catalog of songs, he also played a 90 minute set which I could never have expected. And the performance? Outstanding is the only word I could even consider because it was exactly that.
“Endure and Survive,” the title track off of his new album of the same name, started the evening then was quickly followed by “Escape Velocity,” another song from the new disc. Wow. Just wow. I was floored and it was only two songs into his set. I had not seen Blaze perform since Iron Maiden came to Hammerjacks in February 1996 on the X Factor Tour and I was loving every second of this show. “Futureal” was the first Maiden song he performed and it was 1996 all over again for me. “Virus,” “The Clansman,” “Man on the Edge,” and “Lord of the Flies” were the other four he performed throughout the evening too. It was nice to hear these songs again as Iron Maiden rarely play these lost classics from Virtual XI and The X Factor. He told a story about how his head always thumped because of Steve Harris’ bass playing every night because it was so loud. Blaze has several solo albums (well worth checking out if you haven’t heard any) and he played a nice variety from them including “Stare at the Sun” and “Silicon Messiah.” A surprise from the night was when he dug up a Wolfsbane song, “Man Hunt,” and the night was complete. Wolfsbane was his first major band back in the 90’s who toured with Iron Maiden as support before he was asked to join them.
If you ever get the chance to see Blaze perform, I strongly recommend it and look forward to one day watching him play again.