The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world




Maiden flight to a new way of touring


Everyone knows the story of Maiden’s Somewhere Back In Time 2008 tour by now:  The world’s biggest metal band customise a 757 to fly themselves, their crew and all their gear around the world, performing 23 concerts on 5 continents in 45 days.  As if that wasn’t unique enough, Bruce Dickinson, lead singer for the band and airline pilot for Astraeus airlines, captains the plane, and they enlist Scott McFadyen and Sam Dunn – the team behind the documentary movies Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey, and Global Metal – to document the tour for this movie.


Viewing this film for the first time in the cinema, I was confused as to what it wanted to be – behind the scenes footage and interviews alternate with live footage from around the world, but the songs are only presented as half or three quarters then faded out.  I wondered if, in trying to be all things to all people – a documentary, a reality program styled peek into the real life of this most private of bands, an historical document of a unique and ground breaking tour, and a live concert movie – they had missed the mark slightly.


The good news is that on DVD it all makes perfect sense.  The movie looks and sounds huge, even on a small TV screen; an extra disc provides the full concert movie with one track filmed in each of 16 cities; and the documentary makes much more sense to me than the first time I saw it.


The beauty of Flight 666 is that the jumping from live performance to shuttle buses, from packing in hotels and drinking in bars, from exuberant fans and adulation to minor hassles and practical jokes to make the boring time go faster does encapsulate the feeling of what it must be like travelling the world with a hugely popular rock band.


The Iron Maiden organisation casts a long shadow over the project and whilst you get the feeling we are not privy to anything remotely salacious or controversial, there is plenty here to excite casual and obsessive fans alike.


One scene in South America shows a young man close to tears of joy, telling the camera how he will probably cry, being so emotional because he grew up with this band, and perhaps this is the key to the adulation Iron Maiden inspire in their fans:  whether we are 50 or 15, we have grown up with this band and joined them on their musical journey, and on Flight 666 finally we are allowed to join them for a glimpse – even for just a month and a half - of them at work and play on a world tour.


Legendary band, great DVD.