It's been an exceptional 12 months for heavy metal legends, Iron Maiden. Not only has there been the superlative 'Somewhere Back In Time' tour(which I was honoured enough to see them play at Twickenham Stadium last summer)there has also been the well deserved Brit Award and now this fine tour diary, stroke concert film 'Flight 666'.
Watching this production-which I caught as a one day cinema screening, I demand any music fan, even non Maiden fans,to fail to be impressed with the sheer effort involved in putting on a world tour, such as this- In particular Bruce Dickinson's dual role as frontman and pilot of their tour plane, 'Ed Force One'.
There is much to enjoy in this movie, not only the superb musicianship displayed by the band members, but the hard graft and good humour put in by the backstage crew(the lighting riggers, music technicians and manager Rod Smallwood ect) including the many scenes of the band relaxing inbetween gigs involving several rounds of golf and the often pleasing insights into the band members individual personalities, when interviewed by the documentary team.
But it's not all high jinks and laughter. There's also a serious current running through the documentary style footage, particularly from the fans from some of the more underprivileged countries visited on the tour, paticularly in South America.
Here it's fascinating to view the fanatical and almost religious fervour in which local fans support Iron Maiden. Some saving up months of wages, or according to one account, even leaving their job just to see their favourite band play.
In one particular, highly moving scene, an emotional fan clutches a prized possession, that of one of Nicko Mcbrain's keenly won drum sticks, tears running down the man's face, overcome by the whole experience.
To some of these individuals, living in still oppressive regimes, you sense that attending a rock concert is just as much a symbol of freedom of expression as it is the enjoyment and celebration of music.
Bruce Dickinson sums it up nicely when he puts it that for all these years he thought Maiden was just about the music and know he's beginning to think that they are doing something genuinely important. Watching 'Iron Maiden: Flight 666' your left in no doubt that he's right!
"Up the Irons" indeed!