Metro/Shane Gibson Iron Maiden at the MTS Centre on July 24, 2012.

Best of the beast. Iron Maiden stuck to the hits (mostly) during last night’s show at the MTS Centre.

The British heavy metal band’s current trek, the Maiden England World Tour, recreates its 1988 jaunt in support of its then just released Seventh Son of a Seventh Son album. This mean’s an Arctic-inspired set, Seventh Son-style Eddies (the band’s monstrous mascot) and songs from the band’s classic catalogue.

After appropriately kicking its set off with Moonchild, the first track on Seventh Son, the sextet further upped the irons with shout-a-long songs Can I Play with Madness, The Prisoner and 2 Minutes to Midnight. Guitarists Dave Murray and Janick Gers merrily pranced around the stage, bassist Steve Harris showed off the fastest right hand in the bass business and frontman Bruce Dickinson proved why he’s nicknamed “The Air Raid Siren”, his powerful pipes putting to shame every amateur crooner in the crowd.

Firing on all cylinders, Maiden chose a weird time to pull out a deep cut. After a brief bit of bad weather-related banter, the band started into Afraid to Shoot Strangers from 1992’s Fear of the Dark. Not only is the song post-Seventh Son, it’s mostly associated with the much maligned Blaze Bayley, a set standard during the vocalist’s tenure with Maiden.

Momentum wasn’t lost for long as Maiden picked things up with fan favourites The Trooper and The Number of the Beast, the latter of which featured impressive hellfire. More flames followed during Phantom of the Opera, with Dickinson actually directing the pyrotechnics during the 1980 headbanger.

From the melodic Wasted Years to the million miles an hour Ace’s High to the rollicking Running Free, the rest of Maiden’s set and encore was a heavy metal highlight reel, but the best part had to be Run to the Hills. The band’s biggest hit – which details the conflict between Native Americans and European settlers – sounded absolutely epic, made all the more grand by a giant sword swinging Civil War-era Eddie.

It might be too obvious to single out the band’s biggest hit, but Tuesday night’s show was all about predictability, playing the song’s people want to hear.

Case in point, openers Coheed and Cambria played a solid set of poppy progressive rock to a somewhat enthusiastic audience before winning the crowd over with a cover of Black Sabbath’s Heaven and Hell.

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