Iron Maiden – Flight 666 DVD (2009, Universal Music)
Iron Maiden – Flight 666 (Film Documentary) – (113 mins)
Tour Setlist (with a song filmed in each of 16 different cities) – (102 mins)
- Churchill’s Speech (Mumbai, India)
- Aces High (Mumbai, India)
- 2 Minutes To Midnight (Melbourne, Australia)
- Revelations (Sydney, Australia)
- The Trooper (Tokyo, Japan)
- Wasted Years (Monterrey, Mexico)
- The Number Of The Beast (Los Angeles, USA)
- Can I Play With Madness (Mexico City, Mexico)
- Rime Of The Ancient Mariner (New Jersey, USA)
- Powerslave (San Jose, Costa Rica)
- Heaven Can Wait (Sao Paulo, Brazil)
- Run To The Hills (Bogota, Colombia)
- Fear Of The Dark (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
- Iron Maiden (Santiago, Chile)
- Moonchild (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
- The Clarivoyant (Curitiba, Brazil)
- Hallowed Be Thy Name (Toronto, Canada)
Bruce Dickinson – Lead Vocals
Steve Harris – Bass
Dave Murray – Guitars
Adrian Smith – Guitars
Janick Gers – Guitars
Nicko McBrain – Drums
Michael Kenney – offstage Keyboards
Produced & Directed by: Sam Dunn & Scot McFayden
Executive Producer: Rod Smallwood
(Region 1, NTSC, Total Running Time = 3 hrs + 35 mins)
I was lucky enough to catch Iron Maiden’s Somewhere Back In Time world tour in Mansfield, MA last summer so I was really looking forward to this DVD documentary on the band’s first leg of the tour. FLIGHT 666 is named for the airline call numbers of Iron Maiden’s custom made Boeing 757 airplane (nicknamed Ed Force One) that the band, crew, families and gear flew in to travel over 50,000 miles across the globe to play 23 concerts in 45 days. Making the flights even more special was the fact that lead singer Bruce Dickinson, a pilot for Astraeus Airlines, was behind the controls…..talk about double duty!
Disc 1 is the documentary that takes you behind the scenes from planning the tour to how the band travels and how they spend their time off. There are plenty of interview pieces with band members and crew but the most important part of the film is the focus on the fans and the hysteria that forms when Ed Force One touches down in different countries. Travelling with the band from England to Mumbai, India for the first gig you get hit with the reality that Maiden are a worldwide phenomenon and that Maiden fans are some of the most passionate in the world. Just watching the crowd from Mumbai swirl and sway to ‘Aces High’, and watching the pre-show fan hysterics, I am a bit jealous because I wish the crowds I am usually in here in the U.S. were just as passionate. You can definitely tell the difference between the faithful in India compared to the fans in the U.S. but the real story doesn’t come until the band travel to Mexico and South America.
Iron Maiden has played all over the world and, as Bruce Dickinson put it, ‘The further south they go, the hotter it gets.” How true! Starting with the Mexican dates and moving into Costa Rica, Colombia, a string of dates in Brazil, Argentina and ending in Chile, you really see the height of Maiden fanaticism in the Latin American countries. From the crowds waiting at the airport and hotels to the crowds outside the arenas, you get a sense of just how important Heavy Metal is to these people and I could identify with them. Different fans that were interviewed made it clear that Maiden’s arrival for a show was an important event. You had fans talking about how the gig was “the thing” to see and that friends had quit jobs to be there, others in Colombia spoke about police oppression and how important the Maiden concert was to them. You could see the impact the concerts had with the crying fan in Costa Rica who caught a Nicko drumstick to the fans in Colombia who camped out a week in advance of the show with no food just so they could be close to the stage. It’s this fan interaction that makes the film and it’s exactly what filmmakers Sam Dunn & Scot McFayden have done with their previous films METAL: A HEADBANGER’S JOURNEY and GLOBAL METAL. Seeing the band offstage, mixed with the fan reaction, mixed with parts of the stage performance in each country is a cool way to tell the story.
I like seeing other things bands do on tour besides give the same old interviews with the same old tour stories. Seeing Bruce Dickinson behind the controls of Ed Force One was cool and seeing the band travel with their families was something you don’t immeadiately think of when you think of a Metal tour. There were some Metal dignitaries backstage at the U.S. performances in L.A. and New Jersey, some of them gave interviews or spoke to the cameras (Tom Morello, Kerry King, Lars Ulrich and Vinny Appice) while others were just quick sightings (Ronnie James Dio, Scott Ian, and Doro)…..I always like seeing who’s backstage because I never get there! There are also scenes with band members doing different things on their days off like Adrian Smith playing tennis with the pros in Australia while Nicko McBrain & Dave Murray played golf. There’s the quick soccer match footage in Brazil where I think I might have seen the guys from Sepultura with Steve Harris in a quick shot and there’s also the band exploring the temples in Mexico. I would have liked a little more in depth interviews with some of the band members, specifically the quiet Dave Murray and elusive Janick Gers, but the star of the offstage footage was Mr. Nicko McBrain…..he made the DVD! Just something about the madman behind the drumkit in golfing attire with his hair slicked back just seems so funny!
Disc 2 is the complete setlist live in concert with a song filmed in each of 16 different cities around the world. The setlist is exact to the one I saw in Mansfield on the second leg of the tour so there are some really good Maiden memories attached to the performance but, like Disc 1, the quality of the performances are linked to the crowd reaction of the different countries. You can definitely see the differences between the crowds and how some are more rabid and Metal hungry than others. Watch ‘Aces High’ from Mumbai, India or ‘Powerslave’ from San Jose, Costa Rica and compare it to ‘The Number Of The Beast’ in Los Angeles…..it’s like two completely different worlds. The L.A. crowd seems tame compared to the chaos of any South American, Indian, or Japanese audience!
The running order of the live set doesn’t correspond to the travelling but to the setlist itself. Just like the band criss-crossing the globe, the DVD is a criss-cross of different performances in different countries in order to keep the original running order intact. The L.A. show is sandwiched between Mexican dates and the New Jersey performance seven songs ahead of where it was in the tour itinerary. For me, I would have rather had the original itinerary but the band went with the best performances of their songs and mixed the country order. Not a big deal I guess. The live set is just as solid as all the other live Maiden DVDs but it doesn’t have the same impact as the actual film.
Iron Maiden is a legendary Heavy Metal band with an impact that truly is global. Everytime the band releases an album, a DVD or goes on tour, they give 110% and they never disappoint…..this is why they have been one of my favorite bands since I started listening to Metal when I was a kid. When you see an Iron Maiden show, you know you are getting a top notch performance…..and when they translate that live show into a DVD package, you know you are getting possibly the DVD of the year! Last year Maiden released the LIVE AFTER DEATH DVD and it took top honors as the best DVD of 2008, now they give us FLIGHT 666 and it will be hard to beat in 2009! For me, the band could have just released the film and it would still be the best DVD so far this year but they also made sure to give everyone the full Iron Maiden live experience with a 2nd DVD of the concert setlist. Overall, another successful world tour and another visual triumph.
All the songs Iron Maiden played live on this tour were classics but the songs they filmed in India, Mexico and South America are the best because of the crowd reaction. If I had to pick one song that would be my favorite it would be a tie between ‘Powerslave’ (in Costa Rica) and ‘Fear Of The Dark’ (in Colombia).