Watch: PAUL DI'ANNO And GUS G. Perform Early IRON MAIDEN Classics At Athens ConcertDecember 15, 2022
Greek guitar virtuoso Gus G., well known in rock and metal circles for his work as Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist and as leader of his own band FIREWIND, has joined ex-IRON MAIDEN singer Paul Di'Anno for three concerts this month in Greece, where they are playing songs from MAIDEN's first two albums, "Iron Maiden" and "Killers". The first show took place last night (Wednesday, December 14) at Gagarin205 in Athens, while the second gig is scheduled for tonight at the same venue and the third will happen on Friday, December 16 at the Principal Club Theater in Thessaloniki.
Fan-filmed video of the first Athens concert can be seen below (courtesy of the YouTube channel Hronis Arva).
The setlist was as follows, according to Setlist.fm:
01. The Ides Of March
06. Murders In The Rue Morgue
07. Remember Tomorrow
08. Genghis Khan
10. Marshall Lockjaw
11. Strange World
12. Charlotte The Harlot
14. Phantom Of The Opera
15. Running Free
When the three gigs were first announced last month, Gus said: "Excited to see Paul after many years, and honored to play some legendary IRON MAIDEN by his side. For two nights only! Where else?"
Di'Anno, who has been receiving physiotherapy and lymphatic drainage treatments in Croatia, finally underwent his knee surgery on September 12.
Paul played the first show since his surgery on October 1 at the Keep It True Rising II festival in Würzburg, Germany.
This past May, Di'Anno came face to face with MAIDEN bassist Steve Harris for the first time in three decades before the band's concert in Croatia.
Harris, whose group kicked off the 2022 leg of its "Legacy Of The Beast" world tour at the 22,000-capacity Arena Zagreb, came out before the show to greet a wheelchair-bound Di'Anno and chat with him for a few minutes.
After his friendly meeting with Harris, Di'Anno stuck around long enough to watch some of MAIDEN's performance before leaving near the end of the set to avoid a huge traffic jam after the show.
Di'Anno spoke about his experience meeting Harris in person after all these years in a live video chat with Canada's The Metal Voice. He said: "[That] weekend was absolutely amazing. 'Cause me and Steve [have exchanged messages] about football [in the past]. But we actually hadn't met [face to face] for a long time. And it was brilliant, because I met up with Steve's sister Linda first, whom I hadn't seen her in about 30 years. And then [seeing] Steve was amazing, and then [meeting up with MAIDEN's longtime manager] Rod [Smallwood] as well, it's made my whole year, actually. It was fantastic. It was pretty awesome."
Paul went on to say that the last time he saw Rod was in 2013 when both he and MAIDEN performed — separately — at Brazil's Rock In Rio festival.
"I missed the MAIDEN show because I got swamped by bloody press and stuff, so I couldn't actually do anything to watch the band," he explained.
Asked if it was "awkward" meeting up with Steve for the first time in 30 years, Paul said: "No. It was great. I wish I wasn't in this sort of position [being in a wheelchair]. Yeah, it was quite emotional. If it had been the first time we spoke together in 30 years, it would have been maybe a little bit more weird. But, as I said, we talk about football and stuff like that, and Steve phoned me up a couple of times from [his home in] the Bahamas."
Calling himself and Harris two "happy-go-lucky geezers" from London's East End, Paul went on to say that he owes Steve dinner "big time, because he looked after my missus and son over in the States on the last MAIDEN tour in Connecticut, in Hartford. He really looked after them — gave them backstage VIP stuff and all of that. It was great. So when I get my legs back, I'll take him out to dinner."
According to Paul, Steve called him the day after the MAIDEN show in Croatia but he missed his call. "But I did text him back," Di'Anno said.
Paul also set the record straight about where he stands with respect to his former band, saying: "What annoys me is that everyone's spreading rumors around that we don't like each other and stuff like that. I ain't got nothing [against] IRON MAIDEN at all. I tell you, the show was brilliant on Sunday — absolutely amazing."
Di'Anno recorded two classic albums with IRON MAIDEN — a self-titled effort in 1980 and "Killers" in 1981 — before being fired and replaced by Bruce Dickinson. He went on to front a number of other bands, including KILLERS and BATTLEZONE, and released several solo records.
More than a decade and a half ago, Di'Anno told The Jerusalem Post that leaving the MAIDEN juggernaut behind was the best thing that ever happened to him, and that he had no bitter feelings toward his former bandmates. "I absolutely have no regrets about leaving MAIDEN — I wasn't right in the head at that time to be in the middle of all that," he said. "I was fed up and disillusioned; it would have been cheating the fans and myself if I had stayed. It was easy to walk away from, and I'm very happy the band got bigger and bigger."
Several years ago, Di'Anno told Metal Thunder Radio that he wasn't as involved with MAIDEN's songwriting as he would have liked. "Steve had most of the words and the lyrics [to the band's first album] all written. That was some of the bones of contention that we had in the band — that I didn't get to write as much as I wanted to. 'Cause I am actually quite a prolific writer, but a lot of my songs were not accepted. 'Cause it's Steve's band, obviously."
He continued: "That first album was a revelation, I've gotta tell you. It was amazing. And the second album, for me, not so much. That's when I started to lose interest a little bit. But [we] still [had] great times — really great times."
In May, Paul played his first full solo concert in seven years at the Bikers Beer Factory in Zagreb. The show was filmed and parts of it will be included in a documentary about Di'Anno, to be directed by Wes Orshoski, co-director and producer of the acclaimed 2010 film "Lemmy" about the MOTÖRHEAD icon.
The Zagreb concert was free to attend and was held as a way of thanking Paul's fans for their help during the most difficult time of his recovery. The show took place just a day before the IRON MAIDEN's gig at the Zagreb Arena.
Di'Anno recently teamed up with several Croatian musicians to form a new project called WARHORSE. WARHORSE entered the studio to record three songs, two of which — "Stop The War" and "The Doubt Within" — have been released as a special limited-edition DVD single.
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