Sunday, June 21, 2009

Iron Maiden: Flight 666 - The DVD

Iron Maiden has released another DVD masterpiece for your viewing pleasure. Flight 666: The Movie is the ultimate souvenir of their Somewhere Back In Time world tour, capturing the first leg which took place in February and March of 2008. This two disc set provides an intimate look behind the scenes of one of the greatest rock bands in the world and a lifelike concert experience of the band that is Iron Maiden.

Disc One, Flight 666: The Film is a complete insider’s look at the band as they travel five continents, 23 cities, and 50,000 miles in 45 days. Giving full access to a film crew for the first time in their history, Iron Maiden opens the doors for their fans to get an inside look at a typical Iron Maiden tour.

Starting with their take off on Day One, the journey across the globe is documented. Bruce Dickinson was the pilot of their own private jet for this tour, and he explains how this idea came to be and how Iron Maiden was able to do what no other band can, fly their own airliner on their own terms.

Providing a glimpse at how the band enjoys their downtime between shows, what they do to overcome jetlag, and how they get ready before a live performance, this documentary is a Maiden fan’s dream come true. It’s interesting to learn the little things each band member does to keep their sanity and their energy level during a massive world tour.

Nicko McBrain is the humorist of the group, keeping everything light and fun for the band and the film crew. His screen shots are enjoyable ones and his humor keeps everyone laughing.

It was intriguing to note what the band understands of their fans as well. Guitarist Adrian Smith made an interesting point about how the band suffers from jet lag due to the grueling schedule and climate changes. He noted, however, that the fans don’t want to hear about that. They paid their money, they want a great show, and it’s up to the band members to overcome their fatigue and give the fans what they paid for. This is just one of the many reasons why Iron Maiden is one of the greatest bands in the world.

Capturing fan footage from around the globe, it was amazing to see all of the fans that Iron Maiden has worldwide. For some countries, this was a once in a lifetime chance to see their heroes onstage. Iron Maiden had not played Australia in 25 years, they never performed in India or Columbia before, and the fans appreciated the band finally coming to their country.

Seeing fans, whose first language is not English, sing every word to every song back to the band is a phenomenal, spine tingling experience. They know the lyrics in English, and they can scream it back to the band with the best of them.

This documentary disc alone would be worth the purchase price of the package. Maiden didn’t stop there though. They added a second disc for viewing pleasure.

Disc Two, Flight 666: The Concert provides a complete concert experience, each song of the brilliant live performance captured from a different city on the tour. Starting with Ace’s High from Mumbai, India and closing with Hallowed Be Thy Name, from Toronto, Canada, every song performed on this tour is captured in all of its live glory.

Camera shots of all the different audiences help to reinforce the global fan base that Iron Maiden has captured through their music. With almost no radio coverage and very little media attention, Iron Maiden has become a force in South America, Japan, USA, India, and countries all over the world.

One thing that stood out watching this concert film is the amazing shape that Bruce Dickinson is in. I would love to know what his workout regimen is, because for a man pushing 50, he looks incredible. If you didn’t know his age, you would swear he was in his 30s. This explains why he can bring the energy he does as a front man. His ability to work the crowd, run the stage, and sing like an air raid siren is unmatched by any rock front man out there today. Those looking to understand how to give an unprecedented performance need look no further than Bruce Dickinson.

The triple guitar attack of Dave Murray, Janick Gers, and Adrian Smith was masterful on this tour, adding a whole new layer of depth to these songs that are 20-25 years old. The ability to switch off solos, have a twin guitar attack with a third axe to play the rhythm is masterful. The guitars have never sounded better and all three guitarists seem to be having the time of their lives.

One thing I learned from this concert film is that Nicko plays the drums barefoot. I either never noticed this on previous Maiden concert films, this is the first time it was captured on film, or he decided to go barefoot just for this tour. It was interesting to see him pounding the bass pedal and high hat with his bare feet. I just wouldn’t want to imagine what his feet look like at the end of the show.

Pulling it all together with masterful bass work is Steve Harris. His ability on the bass guitar is like no other. He may be the most underrated bassist in the history of rock. He truly is Iron Maiden and he is having fun every night on stage. Steve really gets into ever performance and it shows in this concert footage from around the world.

With 16 tracks filmed from 16 different cities, including Rime of the Ancient Mariner from New Jersey (the concert I attended), this in depth look at the band performing around the world is one of the best concert films ever produced on Iron Maiden. The decision to show 16 cities instead of just one was a brilliant idea and makes the concert movie that much more enjoyable. If you’ve got 3 hours you can set aside for some great documentary and musical enjoyment, I highly recommend Flight 666.

Ryo’s Rating: A+ - very worthy of your monetary investment.

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