DVD: Iron Maiden - Flight 666
Released: June 9, 2009
Before I get into this review, I really have to get something off my chest. I am sick to death of the 666 crap. Iron Maiden writes one song and titles one album related to this and it seems like it remains everyone's favorite focus. It just strikes me as rather sad that metal's least clichéd band still suffers one of metal's most overused clichés (even at their own hand in a sense).
Now that that's out of the way, this DVD features a great band making a great documentary about a great tour. Of course, it documents many of the amazing feats of the Somewhere Back in Time Tour which found Maiden playing 23 shows in 45 days on five continents (sadly, they didn't get to Antarctica). We get a good picture of Ed Force One, the 757 that carries the band, their crew and their equipment over 50,000 miles with Bruce Dickinson in the pilot's seat. Better still, it paints down to earth portraits of the band and the major players in the words of their touring mates that help to make clear what keeps a band ticking (still at the top of their game, no less) 30 years down the road. The energy of the live footage in the documentary (as well as the concert disc) would shame most bands still in the vibrancy of their youth.
All that being said though, what really makes this a standout rock documentary is that it gets to the core of what music really means and why this tour, perhaps more than any in Maiden's storied career, was so important. When other bands have stuck to the standard tour circuit of the US and Western Europe, perhaps occasionally hitting Australia and Japan, Maiden did what seemed like the impossible and brought a great rock show to countries that seldom if ever get to experience anything on the scale of Iron Maiden. Even the film's brief celebrity breakdown in LA, sadly featuring the always annoying and self-important Lars Ulrich, couldn't do much to detract from the real human story. It can really be summed up in the most poignant moment, after the show in Columbia, showing a fan, tears streaming down his face, offering up a prayer of thanks to God...for a concert. Here in the US, we often forget how lucky we are and, as a result, may never be able to fully appreciate a concert in the way that Maiden allowed so many on this tour to appreciate one.
If you're curious about my rating categories, read the description.