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Iron Maiden: Flight 666 Review

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A documentary following Iron Maiden on the first leg of their Somewhere Back In Time tour across Asia, Australia, North and South America, on a schedule that would never have been possible if the band hadn’t purchased, customised and piloted their own pla

★★★★

A documentary following Iron Maiden on the first leg of their Somewhere Back In Time tour across Asia, Australia, North and South America, on a schedule that would never have been possible if the band hadn’t purchased, customised and piloted their own plane - Ed Force One Love ‘em or loathe ‘em, you’ve got to hand it to Iron Maiden. A bona fide musical phenomenon, they’ve sold tens of millions of records over a lifespan that most bands only dream of, with almost no commercial radio play. The secret of their success? They’ve always put on a bloody good show; you’d have to look long and hard to find a disappointed fan after a Maiden gig, and for those who could never make it to a performance, there’s always been an unusually extensive catalogue of concert DVDs. A precious few of these had documented the band’s early years, but none have ever really gone behind the scenes with them at the peak of their powers - until now.

When Maiden bought and customised their own Boeing 757, (Anti?)Christened Ed Force One and operating as Flight 666, someone had the bright idea of letting directors McFadyen & Dunn, who gave us the decent Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey a few years back, along for the ride. They seem a perfect match for the band; the filmmaking team’s unobtrusive style keeps the essentially shy group at ease, but in the end this does come at the expense of any real revelations (no pun intended). We get to see the effects of a punishing tour schedule –Australian shows suffer because nearly everyone still has the shits from playing in India a day or two before – but no Anvil or Metallica-like pearlers (or even the equivalent of the band’s own legendary audio-only blow up, Mission From ‘Arry) have made it to the final cut.

Of course, this could just be because at the heart of it, Iron Maiden don’t actually live the party lifestyle – away from the stage/hotel/plane, they’re playing golf or tennis, or visiting pyramids, or working; if they’re in the pub, it’s for a quiet pint, not a bottle of Jack Daniels. Consequently, this is a rock doc whose running time is still dominated by the songs, the live performance, and the band’s relationship with the audience – and that’s no bad thing.

Out front, the directors have caught some fantastic coverage, and the hi-def digital photography makes this look as good as any of Maiden’s many previous concert films. In cinemas for just one day – April 21st - see it on the biggest screen you can find, and see it LOUD.

You might wish for a bit more scratching beneath the surface behind the scenes, but as a document of a gruelling tour schedule its fine, and the concert footage is diamond.

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