It’s been four years since the legendary Iron Maiden performed in San Bernardino, California and after a throat cancer scare from their vocalist in 2015, the band continues to prove how strong and powerful they are with no signs of stopping any time soon. The group performed on Saturday, July 1st at The Glen Helen Amphitheater which holds 65,000 fans and it has been named the largest outdoor music venue in the United States. The band is in their second year of the Book of Souls World Tour, which has had them performing in six countries all over the world. Iron Maiden tour is in support of their latest album ‘The Book of Souls‘ which was released back in 2015. The group has always been known to feature elaborate concepts and themes in their work such as ancient Egyptian times with their 1984 album ‘Powerslave‘ and the futuristic ‘Blade Runner’ inspired concept with 1986’s ‘Somewhere in Time‘.
Their newest album, ‘The Book of Souls‘, adds an Aztec/Mayan theme to the album, complete with a new design of their mascot, Eddie, who is outfitted in full Mayan paint and garments. The packaging on the album, particularly the double vinyl release, is very well thought out and accurate to better represent the Mayan themes of the album. To make sure that the artwork was accurate, the band hired Mayanist scholar, Simon Martin, who also translated each of the song titles into hieroglyphs. With a massive fan base in Mexico and Latin America, this has been one of their more popular incarnations as it shows them taking the time and effort to accurately represent and use the culture of their fan base. ‘The Book of Souls‘ is the bands longest album with a total length of 92 minutes from start to finish. It’s always amazing to see the amount of fans they have in areas of the world that have either gone unnoticed or have felt unrepresented by other musicians.
Iron Maiden’s stage show has always been the stuff of legends. Pyrotechnics, explosions, fire, inflatable devils, an enormous Eddy running back and forth throughout the stage, this show has it all! One of the biggest factors of the bands popularity is the attention to detail their production team puts into their show. Continuing their ancient Mayan themes from the album, the stage presentation puts you right in the middle of the jungles of Mexico. The stage featured beautiful backdrops and set design that resembled the Mesoamerican Pyramids found in Mexico. Of course we cannot forget their mascot, Eddie, who came out in full Mayan paint costume looking for a willing participant for the human sacrifice.
This has been Bruce Dickinson‘s first tour after the removal of a cancerous tumor in early 2015. “No, I never smoked,” Dickinson said. “It’s a virus. HPV — Human papilloma virus. They all are. I’m almost willing to bet anytime you hear of someone getting tonsil cancer, throat cancer, lymph cancer whatever it is, if they’re not heavy smokers and not massive heavy drinkers, it’s a 500% increase in this type of cancer in men over 40.” The diagnosis even inspired Iron Maiden drummer, Nicko McBrain to quit drinking alcohol.
“When he got the all clear, I looked at Bruce and thought, ‘Here’s my mate, he’s been through hell, beaten cancer, and none of it was his fault,’” McBrain recalls in an interview with The Drummer’s Journal. “And there I was, putting myself through hell too, except I was doing it to myself with drink. So I knew I had to stop. I took a lot of inspiration from Bruce, it made me realize how stupid I was being.”
“I knew my drinking was getting bad when I saw footage of an interview I’d done when I was pissed.” McBrain says. “I’d probably been drinking for about four days straight. My eyes were red and bloodshot, I was slurring words and not making any sense. I don’t remember doing the interview at all. I realized that is not good situation to be in. So I haven’t had a drink in a while now. I’m not saying I’ll never have another but something had to change.”
2016 was a scary year for music fans as many important musicians were passing away every month. Thankfully, Bruce has been given a clean bill of health and his voice is still as powerful as ever, proven by the thrilling performance this past weekend. The band continues their ‘Book of Souls’ tour tonight in Las Vegas until they finish later this month in Brooklyn, New York.
For more information on the band and tour dates, follow Iron Maiden on
San Bernardino Setlist:
01. If Eternity Should Fail
02. Speed Of Light
04. Children Of The Damned
05. Death Or Glory
06. The Red And The Black
07. The Trooper
09. 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