Published Sep 01, 2003This triple bill was made for old school metal-heads. Motörhead kicked things off, storming the stage early and sending the crowd scrambling for their seats. Ploughing through classics like "No Class," "Metropolis" and "Killed By Death," the trio played deafeningly loud and left everyone with a lust for more after a fantastic encore of "Ace Of Spades" and the ultimate closer "Overkill." Dio had a lot to live up to and failed miserably. While the 63-year-old warbler still has a hell of a voice, even his honed chops couldn't lift a lifeless, limp performance by the rest of his band. The end of Dio's set couldn't arrive quickly enough, especially knowing Iron Maiden was up next. And up they were. This was the Maiden set I have always dreamed of. This show was nearly perfect. With a set depicting their mascot Eddie throughout his different incarnations, they opened with five straight songs from their peak: "Number of The Beast," "The Trooper," "Die With Your Boots On," "Revelations" and "Hallowed Be Thy Name." You couldn't have asked for a better beginning and they just built on it. Playing before the largest crowd they've had in Toronto in more than a decade – at least 12,000 – the band made good use of their allotted time and wowed the crowd. Upcoming single "Wildest Dreams" was the only new song; its "Wickerman"-style intensity shows promise for the upcoming album. The rest of the show was classic after classic. Vocalist Bruce Dickinson had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand and was in fine form, except during "2 Minutes To Midnight," when he was busy kicking beach balls into the crowd. His exuberance and the band's surprise at the warm reception Toronto gave in return supercharged their performance and made it the best metal show I have seen in Canada this year.