“World Tours” are, anymore, a given for most rock concert tours, at least with any performer big enough to get Platinum records. However, I really don’t think that most people “get” what goes into a concert tour that goes around the world – both in terms of the toll on the performers and the toll on the crew. This leads us to Flight 666, a concert film that follows Iron Maiden’s “Somewhere Back in Time” Concert Tour. What makes this tour different from other tours, aside from the Documentary aspect, is that for the purposes of this tour, the band purchased a Boeing 757 to transport the band, the crew, and all necessary equipment from venue to venue, rather than chartering the plane. Why buy instead of charter? Because the lead singer of the band, Bruce Dickinson, is rated to pilot Boeing 757s.
This leads to a world tour that takes Iron Maiden to places they’d never been before, and places where they hadn’t been often. While I wouldn’t call the tour uneventful, nothing goes horribly wrong, so if you’re expecting concert tour drama, expect to be disappointed. What the documentary does have that makes it interesting, is a brief look at metal fandom through the various countries that Maiden visits – particularly India, Australia, and Central & South America.
In particular, Central & South America, as well as India have so few western Metal bands come through that this tour becomes a major event among Metalheads in those countries and continents. Following a Maiden concert in a park in Bogota, Colombia, we see a fan holding one of Nicko McBrain’s drumsticks, weeping openly. As the band arrived at their hotel in Chile, fans press up against their tour bus and the windows of the hotel to get a look at the band. It’s a reaction that one would associate more with the Beatles more than any Metal band anywhere.
The members of Maiden are personally very laid back about the whole affair. No clubbing, no wild parties – when they’re not working they’re playing golf, tennis or soccer. Flights are spent signing autographs, reading, or sleeping.
All in all, if you’re expecting a documentary about while debauchery backstage at a metal concert tour, you will be insanely disappointed. Instead, what you will get is a pretty interesting travelogue that provides snapshots of Metal fandom in places like India and Latin America that may surprise you.