Sorry for the delay in completing this review. It has been a busy couple of weeks and I wanted to make sure I made the photos available to the bands first. I have broken up the concert into 2 reviews: The Iron Maidens and Freewill – The Rush Experience and then the 2 local bands, Empire of Dezire and Oddity Paradox. This review will cover The Iron Maidens and Freewill.
The Iron Maidens
The Iron Maidens were the headliners of the show. They are an all-female Iron Maiden tribute band that is currently fronted by lead vocalist Kirsten Rosenburg (a.k.a. Bruce Chickinson), guitarists Nikki Stringfield (a.k.a. Davina Murray) and Courtney “ccshred” Cox (a.k.a. Adriana Smith), bass player Wanda Ortiz (a.k.a. Steph Harris) and drummer Linda “drummerLinda” McDonald (a.k.a. Nikki McBurrain). The band is a Los Angeles, California band that was originally formed in 2001.
The only real difference between The Iron Maidens and Iron Maiden (not counting the sex difference) is that The Iron Maidens only have 2 main guitarists while Iron Maiden now tours with 3 guitarists. However, there was no major difference in sound with only the 2 guitarists. Sometimes tribute bands can seem to “just walk through” the performance, but The Iron Maidens really seem to enjoy performing and put all of their heart and energy into their performance.
The one thing I really enjoyed about the performance was the selection of songs. Lately Iron Maiden is either touring supporting a new album or recreating a classic album with a few of their popular songs thrown in. At tonight’s concert I actually heard songs that I have never heard live before including “Sun and Steel”, “Flash of the Blade” and “Stranger In A Strange Land”. Just hearing these 3 songs was well worth the ticket price.
Linda McDonald does not have the extreme drumkit that Nicko has, but she definitely played the hell out of her kit. She even jokingly looked at me as I photographed her. Courtney, “ccshred” lived up to her handle as she tore into her guitar grinding out power riff after power riff. She traded lead roles with Nikki who provided many of the band’s guitar leads. Between Nikki and Courtney, they complemented each other trading lead and rhythm roles. Wanda was similar to Steve Harris in providing the song’s bass lines. She also was animated running up to the front of the stage playing to the audience and then moving back and getting air as she jumped to the music. Kirsten as just amazing in her performance. She moved around on the stage just like Bruce, poring her heart into each song. She even put on the Trooper jacket and came out waving the flag during their performance of “The Trooper”.
I have seen Iron Maiden a number of times and it was hard not to compare this show against the ones I have seen in the past. One good thing about this concert, I did not almost pass out from the heat. Two of the Iron Maiden shows I saw in the recent past were during the summer at Ak-Chin Pavilion, an outdoor venue in Phoenix, Arizona were the temperatures each time was over 110 degrees. As far as the performance, The Iron Maidens are top notch. They sound almost exactly like Iron Maiden with the exception of Kirsten’s female voice. However, that is not a real problem because she has the tone and quality in her voice and presentation that sounds amazing. From the reaction of the crowd, they also really enjoyed the show and shouted very loudly for an encore.
If you get the chance to see The Iron Maidens, I would highly recommend it. They put on a very good show and play some amazing songs that you might not hear at an Iron Maiden concert. Currently The Iron Maidens are touring the USA. Luckily, it looks like they will be coming back to the Phoenix area in December again at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe, Arizona. I hope to see you all there.
You can checkout more about The Iron Maidens on their website and Facebook page.
Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2021, All Rights Reserved
The Iron Maidens Setlist:
The Wicker Man
2 Minutes To Midnight
Sun and Steel
Stranger In A Strange Land
Alexander The Great
Flash of the Blade
The Number Of The Beast
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Run To The Hills
Freewill – The Rush Experience
Unfortunately, it looks like Rush will no longer be touring or performing. Their drummer, Neil Peart died in 2020 and Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson indicated that they could not see Rush going forward without Neil. If you are a dedicated Rush fan then this is a major disappointment. So, the only way you can relive the energy of a live Rush concert is to see one of the tribute bands.
Tonight, we got to see one of these Rush tribute bands, Freewill – The Rush Experience. Just like the real band, Freewill consists of a trio with David Cornwall (Getty Lee part) playing bass, keyboards and singing, Richard LeSchander (Alex Lifeson part) playing guitar and Rob James (Neil Peart part) on drums.
They did a good job of recreating the Rush sound. David’s bass playing and keyboard work was great, but his voice just didn’t seem to have the same high tone of Geddy. However, David did a fantastic job with each of the songs. Richard guitar playing and stage present was just like Alex’s. It was easy since Alex never really seemed to have a lot of stage antics that Richard had to recreate. Alex is just an amazingly technical guitarist and Richard did a great job of mimicking Alex. Unlike Neil’s later performances, Rob’s drumkit looked like an earlier version of Neil’s drumkit. Rob did a good job of providing the beat and rhythm for each of the songs. It was a little weird to see Rob wearing a similar hat that Neil wore and David wearing glasses just like Geddy wears.
The crowd really liked Freewill and sang along with many of the songs. Having seen Rush in the past and watching a number of DVD and Blu-ray Rush concerts, Freewill did a good job recreating the Rush’s sound and performances. If you want to see a Rush tribute band, then I can highly recommend seeing Freewill – The Rush Experience.
You can checkout more about Freewill – The Rush Experience on their website and Facebook page.
Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2021, All Rights Reserved
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