Horns were Raised and Sacred Chants were Praised

The Iron Maidens at OCC Roadhouse, Clearwater, FL on October 21, 2022

Horns were Raised and sacred chants were praised!

The world’s only all-female Iron Maiden tribute band, The Iron Maidens absolutely ripped the OCC Roadhouse in Clearwater, FL to shreds on Friday, October 21, 2022. This was a show I had been looking forward to as soon as it was announced. This show was very special to me as 2022 has been a record breaking concert year for me in the number of shows I have seen, the number of different bands I have seen and the number of cities I have seen shows in. And the show that broke the record for the most shows I have seen in a single year was The Iron Maidens in Milwaukee two months ago. The night was also memorable because I got to hang with two of my ‘Jedi behind the lens’ friends.

Eight weeks ago to the day I had a work event in Chicago and saw that The Iron Maidens were playing a short hour north in Milwaukee so I rearranged my trip to be able to attend (as the Chief Metal Officer I have that authority and flexibility). After returning and catching up my show history, that show turned out to be the record breaker for me in the number of concerts I had already seen this calendar year and that show was a masterful performance put on by these amazing musicians. Fast forward a few weeks to Rocktober and with the exception of the most Biblical Metal tour ever, my concert calendar included four out of my last five shows to be Iron Maiden related. A date with Iron Maiden in Chicago early this month, this The Iron Maidens show and then Iron Maiden again here in Tampa on the 27th has made me refer to Rocktober this year as ‘the Maiden Month’.

A local Judas Priest tribute band, The Priest, opened the show and put on a great performance. We heard them playing from the grass parking lot outside the main parking lot for the venue. There was already a solid crowd on hand if we had to park that far away so already my show going comrades with lenses knew we were in for a great show. The Priest covered all of the classics one would expect, and their lead singer had quite the vocal range hitting all of the high notes Rob Halford of Judas Priest belts out. Heads were banging, horns were in the air and the crowd appreciated their efforts to get us ready for the main event.

The Iron Maidens are Kirsten Rosenburg (a.k.a. Bruce Chickinson), guitarists Nikki Stringfield (a.k.a. Davina Murray) and Courtney Cox (a.k.a. Adriana Smith), bass player Wanda Ortiz (a.k.a. Steph Harris) and drummer Linda McDonald (a.k.a. Nikki McBurrain).

As the minutes counted down to what was my sixth time seeing The Iron Maidens I felt that excited anticipation as I knew just how deep their set list would be, playing classic Iron Maiden tunes that even the real deal do not dive into for their concerts, so just the uniqueness of what we were about to hear make it totally worth the ticket price. The lights go out and the band tears into the first notes of ‘Rainmaker’ and already the crowd is fully into the show even though we’re literally only seconds in. Also what an unexpected great deep cut to open their set with!

During ‘Fear of the Dark’, in the crowd right up front a noticed a young girl who couldn’t have been more than ten years old, perched atop her dad’s shoulders singing along word for word with as much expression and passion in her delivery as Kirsten on stage or even the man Bruce Dickenson himself. It was amazing to be hearing one of my favorite Iron Maiden tunes in this setting with the Maidens kicking ass right next to me as I am side stage watching this little metalhead who knew the song as well as I do! 

Their fourteen song set included certain fan favorites including, ‘The Trooper’, ‘Wasted Years’, ‘The Number of the Beast’ and ‘Aces High’. I love how the Maidens mix up their set list as the deeper cuts were certainly different than when I saw them in Milwaukee as few weeks ago. This night we were treated to ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’, the title track of the first Iron Maiden release, ‘Iron Maiden’, and ‘The Clairvoyant’. How freaking awesome is that. A set that spanned nearly the entire Iron Maiden discography!

While there is no replicating the voice of Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickenson, lead vocalist Kirsten’s passion for the songs is undeniable as she belts out song after song with as much emotion as the man Bruce himself. And to close your eyes and just listen, you would swear you are at an Iron Maiden concert, these amazing ladies are that spot on to the musical technical exactness that is Iron Maiden. The dynamics of Nikki and Courtney trading off solos is music to this metalhead’s ears as they so effortlessly shred and trade licks of historic value to me. I have to constantly remind myself how it is not possible to headbang and take good photos at the same time. Add in Wanda’s amazing ability to replicate the sounds, style and moves of the great Steve Harris and when she joins Nikki and Courtney at center stage it is always a crowd favorite and a moment I love capturing from behind my lens. While Linda does not have quite the same massive kit as Nicko has, she certainly keeps the band in musical rhythm and it is impossible to count the number of times she flashes her smile from back there as it is evident she and all of the other Maidens are enjoying every moment and note on stage.

I must take a moment here and mention the addition of some graphics behind, on and around the stage depicting Edwina T. Head, the female mascot version of Eddie the Head who also was created and designed by famed artist Dereck Riggs. While Eddie makes a couple of appearances on stage while the Maidens, are jamming away I have yet to see Edwina portrayed in a live setting beyond my The Iron Maidens t shirt I so proudly wear. Would be great to see Eddie and Edwina on stage holding hands and ferociously scowling into each other’s eyes.

This night totally kicked ass. It was a night of some great music and I was able to share it with a group of some really good friends. I was able to get a 20×30 print signed I had taken of Wanda on the 2018 Monsters of Rock Cruise and it was great to be able to chat with her both before and after the show. My Jedi friends and I then proceeded to seek out food and had a great chat how great the show was as it was both of their first time seeing the band live.

 Horns were Raised, torches blazed and sacred chants were praised. I cannot wait for my seventh time seeing these amazingly talented and kick ass ladies. If you get the chance to see The Iron Maidens live, by all means I cannot recommend it enough. Their shows are highly entertaining and you will hear some musically and technically precise amazing fan favorite songs and some deep cuts that you will not hear at an Iron Maiden concert.