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OP-ED: Iron Maiden: America Was Not What I Expected


Photo by Javatyk / CC A-SA 3.0 Unported

As I lay in my sweaty twin XL bed, staring at the posters on my wall and feeling a slight twinge of nostalgia for the dying art of a good poster, I try to recover from this embarrassing day. Less embarrassing than not losing my virginity during NSO, but probably even more embarrassing than if my roommate were to find my diary tucked into my genius hiding spot under my mattress.

Let me explain. I heard about this concert over the summer in the Class of 2021 Facebook page, right? You know, the same page where I found the friends who I partied with last weekend but will avoid eye contact with next semester. Yeah, that’s the one!

How could I miss Iron Maiden: America? Iron Maiden is my FAVORITE band of all time! The group is prolific, inspiring, unapologetic, and honestly timeless. I even named my diary after The Book of Souls. Why bother listening to white boys butcher Spanish when your ears could bleed to the intensities of heavy metal?

I bought my ticket for Iron Maiden: America as soon as I could. I thought it was super cool seeing Jay-Z publicly promote it, too. Who knew rappers could also be metalheads?

The weekend finally arrived. I had grown my hair out and practiced my “rock on” hand symbol and head banging, maybe-whiplash dance moves. I was amped. Pun intended, lmao. And let me tell you, I was decked out: Iron Maiden shirt, leather pants, various black accessories with spikes, even a heavy coat of eyeliner. I was ready to rock out with over 60,000 fans for two whole days of Iron Maiden's greatest hits!

My Uber driver dropped me off near Benjamin Franklin Parkway. I opted out of an uberPOOL – THAT is how excited I was to arrive. I walked to the entrance, and found myself puzzled. Why was everyone wearing red, white and blue? Since when is white Converse and CamelBaks filled with God-knows-what the attire of choice for optimal moshing? Who are The Chainsmokers, and where is their guitarist?

Still confused, I asked a girl wearing an American flag bandana as a shirt if she was excited for Iron Maiden.

“Yeah, oh my god, sooo excited! Their new song is amazing! But I’m more excited for Marshmello. I really hope he takes off his helmet! Cool costume, by the way!”

“What?” I asked. “They haven’t released an album in two years. Marshmello? I didn’t know there was going to be an opener. And this isn't a costume, this is how Iron Maiden fans dress.”

She showed me her mapped out weekend on iCalendar, complete with designated Porta Potty vomit breaks, and it was then that I realized a few things: Iron Maiden wasn’t even performing, I had gotten so excited over nothing, and the lineup was horrendous.

So I wandered aimlessly for a bit, pretended to care about a couple C-List performers and Budweiser products, and spent too much money on an Uber ride home. Maybe Jay-Z is taking suggestions for next year’s headliners? It doesn't make sense to have an Iron Maiden: America festival and not include the legendary British metal group of the same name.