Metal gods Iron Maiden kicked off the UK leg of their Book of Souls World Tour with a spectacular sold-out show at Nottingham Motorpoint Arena last night (4th May).
Proceedings started shortly after 3pm for Planet Rock when we boarded Iron Maiden’s very own tour bus, The Bus of Souls, to travel to the show in fine style alongside the band’s legendary manager Rod Smallwood.
Bedecked with luxurious leather seats, anthems from Iron Maiden’s distinguished four-decade back catalogue pumped out of the bus’s soundsystem, while an unlimited supply of Trooper Beer and the devilishly strong Red N’ Black porter were served up to those on board.
An event in itself, travelling up the M1 the bus was met with a cavalcade of car horns and Signs of the Horns from countless metalheads heading to the show.
Then, like a football team arriving for a cup final, The Bus of Souls was rapturously greeted with cheers from a sea of fervent Maiden fans as it pulled up at the Motorpoint Arena.
After Paul Anthony caught up with both Steve Harris and Nicko McBrain backstage for two exclusive chats, the now traditional sounds of UFO’s ‘Doctor Doctor’ and a stunning intro video signalled the arrival of Iron Maiden to the palpably euphoric arena’s stage.
From the moment they tore into set opener ‘If Eternity Should Fail’, Iron Maiden were a finely honed live beast with Steve, Dave, Adrian, Nicko and Janick providing the unbelievably tight and polished musical backdrop and Bruce running around like a self-professed “man half my age.”
The setlist itself was exactly the same as their opening European shows in Belgium and Germany, with 2016 Book of Souls World Tour staples ‘Tears of a Clown’ and ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ booted off the setlist in favour of ‘Wrathchild’ and ‘The Great Unknown.’
As a whole, the setlist was dominated by The Book of Souls with six tracks making the cut, while The Number of the Beast had two songs featured. Brave New World, Fear of the Dark, Iron Maiden, Killers, Piece of Mind, Powerslave and Somewhere in Time were represented by a song apiece.
An all-consuming live spectacle throughout, highlights included the arrival of the giant inflatable Mayan Eddie during ‘Iron Maiden’, the horned goat/devil during ‘The Number of the Beast’, Bruce donning an ape mask and “climbing like a monkey” during ‘Death Or Glory’ and the fearsome Eddie battle that culminated with Bruce ripping out the beloved mascot’s glowing heart and throwing it into the crowd.
At one point, Bruce launched into a rant after a fan threw a plastic bottle of American beer onto the stage. “Why the f*** do they sell that s** here?!”, the incredulous frontman asked. “Why sell that in this country when we make perfectly good beers of our own?”
The ale connoisseur then told the 10,000-capacity crowd he was going to educate American fans to the ways of British beers when they’re over there this summer.
Elsewhere, Bruce revealed that this will be the last time fans get to witness the Mayan ruins stage setup – when the Book of Souls World Tour wraps up, they will be back with a brand-new stage.
In an apt moment of togetherness, before penultimate song ‘Blood Brothers’, Bruce picked out all of the international flags in the crowd from Germany, Argentina, Italy and beyond.
He explained that in these times of deep division when the powers that be are trying to pit people of all races against each other, Maiden fans are always the most inclusive peaceful crowds.
“We don’t give a f*** where you come from or what colour your skin is – if you’re Maiden, you’re welcome,” Bruce told the crowd.
Watch Paul Anthony's day aboard The Bus of Souls:
The setlist at Nottingham Motorpoint Arena was as follows:
1. If Eternity Should Fail
2. Speed Of Light
4. Children Of The Damned
5. Death Or Glory
6. The Red And The Black
7. The Trooper
9. The Great Unknown
10. The Book Of Souls
11. Fear Of The Dark
12. Iron Maiden
13. The Number Of The Beast
14. Blood Brothers
15. Wasted Years
Iron Maiden continue their European tour at Dublin 3Arena on Saturday night before playing Manchester Arena on Monday.
Tickets to most shows are completely sold out but there are tickets to certain dates from Planet Rock Tickets now. The UK tour touches down at the following venues:
Manchester Arena – Mon 8th
Sheffield Arena – Wed 10th
Leeds First Direct Arena – Thu 11th
Newcastle Metro Radio Arena – Sun 14th
Glasgow SSE Hydro – Tue 16th - SOLD OUT
Aberdeen GE Arena – Wed 17th
Liverpool Echo Arena – Sat 20th - SOLD OUT
Birmingham Barclaycard Arena – Sun 21st - SOLD OUT
Cardiff Motorpoint Arena – Wed 24th - SOLD OUT
London O2 Arena – Sat 27th - SOLD OUT
London O2 Arena – Sun 28th - SOLD OUT