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Nicko McBrain wants Iron Maiden to play 'Alexander The Great' live one day

Nicko McBrain © PA Images

Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain says he hopes the band will incorporate 'Alexander The Great' into their setlist "one of these days."

The heavy metal legends are currently traversing Europe on The Legacy of the Beast Tour and the setlist includes a string of rarities including two Blaze Bayley era tracks (‘The Clansman’ and ‘Sign of the Cross’) and the first outing of ‘Flight of Icarus’ in more than three decades.

Speaking to Finland’s KaaosTV ahead of Iron Maiden’s shows at the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki last week, Nicko McBrain conceded that Maiden can never keep all their fans happy as they have so much material to cherry-pick from.

However, he did single out historical epic ‘Alexander The Great’ as one rarity he’d like the band to perform live.

The eight-and-a-half minute ‘Somewhere In Time’ closer has never been performed live by the band in its 32-year history and, such is its fabled status, last year an Iron Maiden fan launched an online petition for them to start playing it.

Nicko said: “There is one thing I’d like to say, I would like to do live one day ‘Alexander The Great’. I think that’s such… y’know it’s a very very hard song (to perform) in the arrangement from everybody - from the guitar parts [mimics guitar playing], there’s all kinds of little bits in it.

“There’s all these very different timings. I like the intro [mimics drumming] and then there's the f***ing timpanis in there.”

He added: “One of these days I’d like Maiden to play that song cos’ we rehearsed it way back but I think we played it at one show and it didn’t work.”

Elsewhere in his extensive chat, Nicko insisted Iron Maiden have no plans to call it a day, explaining: "We got a lot of life left in us. We've not ever, that I can recall, unless anyone else in the band has without a band gathering, decided whether or not we want to carry on or not. We just carry on.

“I've always made it clear to Steve (Harris, bassist) and the guys that if I can't drive the band physically, then I'd step down. Don't get me wrong, boys and girls — I'm not saying that I am. It's so important that the band carries on and plays as much as we want because we have the passion.

“Again, it's not financial, it's not anything to do with that, it's because we love it. If it came as a chore and I'll quote Jan (Gers, guitarist), if we ever became a parody of ourselves, that would be the time to hang it up. The thing is, we're not."

Nicko continued: "I'm the granddaddy in the band. I'm the oldest fellow in the band which is quite unusual because every band I was in before Maiden, I was always the youngest or the second youngest. Now, I'm the wise old man of the band! They won't agree with the 'wise,' just the 'old.'

“We'll carry on as long as our fans, which are the most loyal and I'm telling you right now, without a doubt, I compare it to 'Arnie's Army', the golfer Arnold Palmer. He started a fanbase back in the '60s. He had this massive following and they called it 'Arnie's Army'. They were the most loyal fans to a golfer.

“Every band says their fans are the best and I love that their bands do respect it, but I truly mean it and I know we have the best fans in the world. We do not make you guys happy, then what's the point? Although we do it for ourselves, but at the end of the day, we could go up there and think we're Jack The Lad and you could go, 'What was that all about?' Nick's playing in a different time. He's in a different song. Bruce (Dickinson) is singing out of time!'

“When it's not that fantastic vibe that we get when we play together — we'll carry on as you want us to and the fans and as long as we have the heart to and believe me, there's actually more passion the more we get older than I think we had when we were in the mid-'80s in the first heyday of Maiden."

Iron Maiden’s tour hits the UK in late July and early August taking in shows in Newcastle, Belfast, Aberdeen, Manchester, Birmingham and London. For ticket availability head to Planet Rock Tickets.

The Legacy of the Beast Tour setlist is as follows:

1. Aces High
2. Where Eagles Dare
3. 2 Minutes to Midnight
4. The Clansman
5. The Trooper
6. Revelations
7. For the Greater Good of God
8. The Wicker Man
9. Sign of the Cross
10. Flight of Icarus
11. Fear of the Dark
12. Iron Maiden
13. The Number of the Beast

14. The Evil That Men Do
15. Hallowed Be Thy Name
16. Run to the Hills

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