The Square and the Trooper

Another concert has come and gone, and one of the few of the summer. It felt so nostalgic coming back to this venue; I haven’t been to it since KISS and Def Leppard in 2014. This concert was Ghost opening up for Iron Maiden.

By now, this would be my third Ghost ritual and my first time seeing Maiden.

The day of the gig just had to be on the same day as an indie race happening in Toronto so it was super noisy while walking to the Budweiser stage. Yes, that is what it’s called now, and I still refer to it as the Molson Amphitheater, just like I still call the south mall in my hometown Hopedale even though that is no longer its name!

I gotta say the walk was nice, especially through that park and alongside of the harbour towards the venue. I only got myself a nice Ghost keychain which I still have to put on my purse and chatted with a few fans. Most of them were there for Maiden, but I still saw a few Ghost fans too.

Ghost as the opening act

We were in section 300, and it felt so different seeing Ghost as just an opening act this time due to my two previous rituals they were headlining. So, it’s safe to say their show was short but sweet. There’s been a lot of drama in the fandom when the lawsuit was filed, and at first I was heartbroken because when I first got into Ghost: I saw them as a band, like a group of musicians working together to create something unique, but sadly that’s not what Ghost really was. I ended up taking down my article sharing my thoughts of that due to a potential old cyber-bully threat returning from the fandom because of my opinion not matching theirs. (which is ridiculous AF to bully someone because they disagree with you), but anyway, let’s get back to the positive. I do not wish to let this incident ruin my experience as a fan, I’ve been through enough already.

As much as it disappointed me to learn the truth, I couldn’t let that get to me, because what is really important to me with any band, at the end of the day, is the music. I shouldn’t let my values get in the way. I have always loved Ghost’s music so I put the drama aside and went in with a smile ready to see them again. They came out to do their set in the same stained glass background, starting with Square Hammer which I was able to sing this time, as well as some favourites such as Ritual, Cirice, and Monstrance Clock.

Once that was over I thought to myself how was I going to enjoy Iron Maiden? They have quite a large fanbase here for a British metal band. I remember listening to one of their songs ages ago. I think it was The Number of the Beast. 

Eventually the band did take the stage and if there’s one thing that they have in common with KISS, it’s a signature intro. I actually really liked the way the stage was set up: torches, and ancient architecture which I assumed was Aztec once I saw the background of the Chichen Itza pyramid.

Iron Maiden takes the stage
I felt like an outcast because I know next to none of Iron Maiden’s songs. They were just one of those bands I never really got into. It’s not that I don’t like them; there are no bands I dislike, there are just bands I’m not into yet. But that being said the crowd went wild, and after catching one picture, I put my phone away for the remainder of the gig to take in the moment. This was my chance to discover something new. I continued to listen and all their songs sounded great despite me not knowing any yet! When we talked with fans and I told them I was new to the band, I also added: “You never know, maybe afterwards I’ll start by listening to what was on the setlist and go from there!” 

A sea of cell phones erupted in the crowd when the band brought out an inflatable Eddie head before the encore much to my dismay, but I thought Bruce stole the show. He was amazing as a frontman, and after all this time the band’s been around; despite them being new to me, it just goes and shows that they still got what it takes to put on a show that gets the crowd going. Even though all I could do was sit (or stand!) and watch and listen, there’s possibly a desire inside me that I want to hear more. I think that means I should look up the setlist and start by listening to what was on there. Luckily, the songs might just grow on me.
Thank you Iron Maiden and Ghost for a great night. Any Maiden fans are welcome to give me song suggestions in the comments below.

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