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Iron Maiden’s First Portland Show in 30 Years Included a Choreographed Sword Fight, a Spitfire Replica and Real Christian Protesters

Iron Maiden’s kitschiness came off as endearing more than a stale attempt at relevance.

It wouldn't be an Iron Maiden show without at least a little Christian dissent.

Outside Moda Center on Sept. 6—the band's first Portland show in more than 30 years—attendees were welcomed by a few picketers for Christ, whose messages ranged from offering redemption to condemning concertgoers to hell for their devotion to the '70s iconoclasts.

Inside the venue, heavy-metal believers were delivered their own kind of salvation—Iron Maiden put on a show full of theatrics and the old-school essence expected of them. It's easy for theatrical tours to seem corny or hokey, but thankfully, Iron Maiden's kitschiness came off as endearing more than a stale attempt at relevance. The production began with military men stoically removing camo netting that hang across the stage, unveiling the band, the loudness of "Aces High" and an ultra-realistic, moving replica of a Spitfire.

The atmosphere was thick with a specific type of fandom. One lone headbanger seated in the floor section properly swirled locks to "2 Minutes to Midnight." Frontman Bruce Dickinson requested for those who share the band's performance of "The Clansman" on social media to make sure to spell the song with a C, and most definitely not a K.

Iron Maiden are not ones to lack showmanship. The band's gargantuan mascot Eddie came out during "The Trooper" for a sword fight with Dickinson. Bursts of hellfire exploded onstage, and Dickinson made several outfit changes.

Part of the three-song encore, "Run to the Hills" was the obvious choice for $12 beer-filled patrons, but the entirety of their set proved the band still has a fire burning within them. Even if God doesn't like Iron Maiden, we sure do.