Iron Maiden-Flight 666
We all age unfortunately, but some age better than others. Iron Maiden’s prime was back in the 1980’s going on that great run of the first seven albums. The 90’s was a far more inconsistent decade for this band, but “Brave new world” in 2000 showed some life. The last two releases have seen the band not only come back to form, but actually re-establish themselves. Even now almost thirty years after their debut there is something about this band that makes seem very genuine, but at the same time we are in awe of them because of all that they represent. This two disc set documents their “Somewhere back in time tour” that took place back in early 2008. The first disc documents the journey itself and the second disc is a performance with each song being filmed in a different city on the tour. At this point in my life a film about the behind the scenes part of a band’s tour would not interest me much at all. However, this is Maiden and even something that may be dull or routine with other bands is bound to be extraordinary with them. This film is no exception. This film isn’t just about the band, it’s also about their music, the fans and the impact the band has had upon their fans. That is as it should because all of these elements are part of what makes this band great. Maiden’s source of transportation is their plane piloted of course by Bruce Dickinson. The image of this machine in flight with the mummified Eddie on the tail fin is astounding. The band seem much more mortal now than they did twenty years ago. I mean we know they have aged, but we get to see the fatigue set in with different members during this grueling tour. It’s not a weakness though, but instead it makes them even greater when we see them work through their problems. Even when they are tired or banged up like when Nicko receives a huge bruise on his wrist from a stray golf ball, they still get fired up and charge out there like it was 1985 all over again. We knew all that though. Where this film really succeeds is in showing the fans. We see the piles of screaming fans at every stop. Then we get the individual fan stories like the young fan in Costa Rica who talked about Maiden's stop being "the thing" and the fan in Colombia who says Maiden's visit was every metal fan's dream or the guy in Japan who says that the great thing is that the band has never lost their spirit. All of these show the passion and respect that the fans have. The band is just as charged as they ever were and the fans are equally fired up no matter where the band goes. Maiden never fell into acting or thinking they were rock stars because they were too busy concentrating on the music and the tours. That's a large part of what has made them so great. Steve Harris sums it up late in the film when he says "It's all about the music and I think the people know that". Indeed we do know that and seeing them go through 23 shows in six and a half weeks and still sound great just adds to their legacy.
Disc two is Maiden live with 16 tracks plus the Churchhill's Speech introduction. The venues vary from arenas to outdoor stadiums. Always the fans are bouncing, screaming and singing along to "Powerslave", "Moonchild", "Heaven can wait" and all of the other selections. The band are just as excited as their fans. Comparing this to last year's re-issue of the fantastic "Live after death" is interesting. Almost 25 years later and Bruce is still running all over the place, Harris plays the bass without looking, the guitarists are amazing while making it look easy and Nicko look like an octopus with arms swinging everywhere. Just flat out fantastic performers who keep going at it with everything they have. I didn't need to see this stunning two disc set to know that Iron Maiden are the best metal band of all time, but it's still a must see for all fans.