WELCOME to Dino-ville, the land that style forgot. In this place,

pubescent worries are forgotten. No-one makes you wash, change your

underpants, or nags you about your homework. In this place you're free

to express the essence of your uniqueness. And in this merchandising

heaven, there are four brands of individuality: black or white, long or

short sleeved. Twenty notes buys you a place in the gang. Simple.

So there we were, a barrowload of heavy metal fans and myself, giving

it devilish finger signs and screaming for The Maiden.

Suddenly they were upon us, five bad-assed show ponies prancing around

the stage. Maiden! Maiden! As they blasted into their latest single, Man

on the Edge, the crowd's roars turned shrill. Our bodies fibrillated in

time to the music. Maiden! Maiden!

And then we noticed that dozens of fans were on stage, singing along

to the chorus of Heaven Can Wait. A kind of Ging Gang Goolly around the

fires of hell, with Steve Harris and Janick Gere running through every

guitar cliche ever conceived. Outstanding.

Of course it couldn't last. With the first notes of Fortunes of War

from the X-Factor album, frenzied campery gave way to the odious

balladeering for which heavy metal is so justly reviled. The spell was

broken and we saw The Maiden for what they really are: middle-aged men

playing mediocre music. Sad really.