Guns N’ Roses, Iron Maiden kick things off in the desert – Orange County Register

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Thousands of rock and heavy metal music fans descended upon the Empire Polo Club in Indio on Friday, Oct. 6 to come together for the first-ever Power Trip.

The three-day celebration of the genres began with marathon sets from English heavy metal band Iron Maiden and Los Angeles-based rock band Guns N’ Roses. Next up over the weekend will be Judas Priest and AC/DC on Saturday, Oct. 7 and Metallica and Tool on Oct. 8.

ALSO SEE: Power Trip bassists weigh in on the rock and metal event before it hits Indio

For the first day, the fans ventured onto the festival grounds early as gates opened at 4 p.m., the peak heat of the day when temperatures were just about 100 degrees. It was a scorcher, but that didn’t stop the die-hards who were mostly clad in black shirts — some of which had seriously faded to gray with age that displayed both Guns N’ Roses and Iron Maiden’s previous tours from years or even decades before — from showing up to party with thousands of their new friends.

“The whole world is here,” Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson said during his set.

In just chatting with fans that smooshed into the massive pit area directly in front of the stage on Friday night, we met people who had made the pilgrimage from the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil and Mexico, just to come to Power Trip. Guests explored the festival grounds, after navigating a horrific traffic flow that caused Maiden to postpone its set by about 15 minutes to allow more people into the event, or at least that’s what Dickinson blamed for their tardiness.

Some people went a bit too hard too early and underestimated the power of the blazing sun and were spotted “napping” in the grass as their buddies stood guard, or took some passed-out selfies with them in between the two acts. Though there are just two bands playing each day, this is still a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a long day and very late evening.

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Maiden played for two hours, delivering mostly the same set from its latest The Future Past Tour. The outing has included songs from the band’s newest album, “Senjutsu” with “The Writing on the Wall,” “The Time Machine” and “Death of the Celts” and its 1986 “Somewhere In Time” record with “Wasted Years,” “Heaven Can Wait” and “Alexander The Great.”

This is a mighty, mighty band with players that deliver mind-blowing sounds as guitarists Adrian Smith, Dave Murray and Janick Gers absolutely just shred while Steve Harris stomps around the stage, holding it down on bass and drummer Nicko McBrain sets the pace back on his massive drumkit.

But for Power Trip, the set seemed a bit lackluster compared to other Maiden turns through the years in Southern California. It felt like this audience wanted a more all-killer, no-filler type of set as fans responded the most to the sprinkled in hits including “Fear of the Dark,” “Iron Maiden,” “The Prisoner” and “The Trooper.” It also wasn’t as big of a theatrical spectacle as Maiden is known for, but we did get a brief firepower battle between Dickinson and the band’s towering mascot, Eddie, and a bunch of fireball pyro in the encore.

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