Screaming into Austin on Tuesday for the first time since 1988, heavy metal troopers Iron Maiden proved they're still a hungry beast.
Attacking the Austin360 Amphitheater with more youthful vigor than a fired-up high school football team, the legendary British band opened with "Moonchild" amid multiple red-hot fireballs. The excitement never dulled.
Led by hard-charging, 55-year-old singer Bruce Dickinson -- who was ridiculously phenomenal in both operatic voice and boundless energy -- Maiden kept punching with "Can I Play With Madness," "The Prisoner" and "2 Minutes to Midnight."
Not one to hide in the shadows, bass-guitar hero Steve Harris zig-zagged a fairly sparse stage draped in tapestries depicting Maiden's iconic rotting corpse mascot, "Eddie," circa 1988's "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son."
The momentum steamrolled with "The Trooper" and "The Number of the Beast" as a crowd of about 12,000 maniacs shouted the chorus of "6-6-6." Nice.
Following "Phantom of the Opera," the aforementioned "Eddie" arrived on stage in staggering Frankenstein-meets-Jack Sparrow fashion as Maiden finished out the night with "Run to the Hills," "Wasted Years," "Fear of the Dark" and "Aces High," among others.
All told, Maiden's slashing guitar attack, galloping rhythm and deadly, spitfire blitz were nothing less than killer. Somewhere, Judas Priest should be more than a little worried.