Iron Maiden's Rockumentary : Flight 666

If you like the idea of an insider’s view of a major rock metal international tour, you’ll love this documentary film

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If you like the idea of an insider’s view of a major rock metal international tour, you’ll love this documentary film, and if you like Iron Maiden, you simply must see it according to local resident Anne Thorpe.

She writes, "The film-makers accompany the band on their legendary 50,000 mile 2008 tour, Somewhere Back in Time, flying to 23 huge gigs in India, Japan, Australia, South, Central and North America in their very own Boeing 757, painted with the characteristic Iron Maiden logo.

"Bruce Dickinson is not only the lead singer; he’s also a pilot and flies the band, with their crew, kit and sometimes families, around the world and the camera captures some stunning shots of the plane against beautiful backdrops."

Iron Maiden: Flight 666

You go with the band to the gigs, backstage, on stage and into hotels and gradually get to know something of the characters. Nicko, the drummer, is "the social one", constantly addressing everyone as "boys and girls". Adrian, guitar wizard, seems oddly self-effacing. Yanik is the acknowledged "jester". Steve is the musical anchor and cornerstone. Bruce is – well, what can you say? Leaving aside his multiple talents as pilot, fencer, and broadcaster, he just has exactly the right voice and personality to front up Maiden gigs, leaping about like Puck in a slightly weird pair of trousers that look as if they are made out of leaves.

The other stars in this film are the fans. They span all the ages, they come in their thousands and their passion knows no bounds.

In Japan, the band were mobbed by teenagers. The cinema audience chuckled out loud when one of them said, "I would like to be Steve Harris’s…" (pause, and we all wondered if she was going to say "girlfriend") – "daughter"! (Yes, they are not in their twenties any more, but I have to say, they are all looking pretty good.)

They played in a stadium in Costa Rica, where the fans were so grateful to see their heroes, it made me feel a little guilty at how easy it is to see major bands in London. "We live in the ass of the world, this is once in a lifetime". One of them had quit his job so he could be at the gig.

Columbia was scary. Mounted policemen took away the fans' belts and wouldn’t allow them to take in any food. The fans were hungry but undeterred. It was very emotional; grown men were crying real tears as the band closed with "Run to the Hills".

In Sao Paolo, a priest had Iron Maiden tattoos all over his body (Eddie, the ghastly mascot, stretched from nipple to neck) and works some of his sermons around the lyrics of Maiden songs!

There are plenty of fascinating behind the scenes glimpses into their life on the road. On the way back to the hotel after the gig in Mumbai, they had only five beers between them and the crew – "Not enough, man! I think we could afford more!"

In the U.S. they played tennis with Pat Cash, who has apparently been a fan for years. Of Adrian’s tennis standard, he gallantly said, "Adrian is a much better tennis player than I am guitarist!"

Niko plays a lot of golf. In Central America, he got hit by a golf ball on the wrist. A half inch lower, apparently, and it could have brought the tour to an end.

Iron Maiden are the jewel in the crown of British metal music. With virtually no mainstream media promotion, they have an utterly loyal and steadfast global fanbase, millions strong. Over a 30 year career, they have produced a huge catalogue of great music.

They have influenced many other bands. In fact, one of the snippets in the film is seeing Lars Ulrich (drummer of Metallica) visiting them backstage in L.A. and joking that"“if he (Niko) got some smaller drums, he could actually see what he was doing!" You could see what he meant – the shots from above showed the biggest array of drums you can imagine one drummer possibly being able to reach.

Finally – the music! Great cinema sound quality did full justice and we heard sizzling live performances of lots of our favourites, including: Trouper; Fear of the Dark; Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner; Powerslave; Can I Play with Madness and, as an amazing finale to the tour in Canada, Hallowed be thy Name.

Highly recommended!

Anne Thorpe

April 25, 2009