Best Arena Rock Show

Photo: Michael W. Bunch

While the Garden State’s favorite son is a shoo-in to win this category any time he brings his “heart-stopping, pants-dropping, love-making, earth-quaking, Viagra-taking, legendary” E Street Band to Bridgestone Arena — as he did for the third time in six years back in April — there was something especially transcendent about this Nashville Springsteen show that left the nearly sold-out crowd speechless. That is, whenever they weren’t singing along. And the three-plus-hour concert’s many emotional high points (like a show-closing stadium-sized solo-acoustic campfire-sing-along “Thunder Road,” or the first stateside performance of “Born in the U.S.A.” in five years) were the talk of the town for weeks to come. But Bruce wasn’t the only boss to rip the roof off Bridgestone Arena in the past year. When Iron Maiden took over the ’Stone for their first Nashville show in 21 years, Music City metalheads — like Springsteen fans — filled the enormodome like parishioners ready for a revival. And they reacted accordingly, screaming for astoundingly tireless, age-defying frontman Bruce Dickinson and head-banging along to galloping Maiden classics like “Run to the Hills” and “The Trooper” religiously for a relentless two hours.

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