Iron Maiden Lands in Shanghai For Book of Souls, Brings The Beast But Not Their Flag

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016 

under Nightlife by Alex Panayotopoulos

As you know, "Ed Force One" touched down in Shanghai yesterday, bringing Iron Maiden to Mercedez-Benz Arena and only their second performance ever in China (first one was Beijing on Sunday). Or maybe you didn't know that, in which case, hi! We're talking about arguably the most popular heavy metal band in the world. They were here on Tuesday. The space hardly seemed big enough to contain them. To the great shock of anyone who is a Maiden fan but maybe not much of a surprise to any seasoned China-watcher, the gig was not a sell-out event. The promoters cut out the lowest tier of tickets (380 RMB) in the run-up to the event for reasons that elude me, but I'm sure make a lot of sense.

Much like the changes that were made to the show to even let Ed Force One land in China at all. Bruce Dickinson took a moment after the opening salvos of the show to explain how a few things were going to be different about this show.


1) No swearing, and especially no f*** words.

2) No pyrotechnics.

3) Some altered lyrics.

4) An additional change that he kept secret until-- yeah, okay, I put it in the title. During The Trooper, Bruce was not allowed to wave his huge British flag. He still had the red uniform on and he made do with waving an imaginary flag before "handing" it back to the huge picture of band mascot Eddie standing behind him with a f***ing huge Union Jack.


But you know what? None of that really mattered, because The Beast took the stage and blew our collective f***ing eardrums out for two hours, an impressive feat for a band pushing an average age of "your dad/grandad" (depending on how old you were when you started listening to Maiden). They punctuated all their Book of Souls material like Tears of a Clown and Death of Glory with the absolute classics like Hallowed Be Thy Name, Fear of the Dark, f***ing Powerslave and, think I mentioned it, The Trooper. I'm a sucker for The Trooper.

So here you go, just a few of the stand-out moments in an excellent show collected for your viewing pleasure. And don't worry, Bruce gave express permission to take pictures. "They did say no pictures, right? But do we give a [noticeable silence] about that?" "No," screamed the audience. Just in case Bruce didn't know he's in China.

The Warmup: The Raven Age 

Melodic metal band The Raven Age from London opened for Maiden. Their lead man is the son of Maiden's bassist Steve Harris. Not that bad, actually.




The Moment of Truth 

At probably about 8.10 PM (who keeps track), the stage was unveiled and a cowled man stepped up to the platform. He threw back his hood and...





Bruce Dickinson, in the flesh, tearing your face off with his banshee wail



Left to Right: Steve Harris, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith. Behind the bleeding bassdrum, Nicko McBrain.


Left to Right: Adrian Smith, Janick Gers


THE (Non-Flag Waving) TROOPER 

Something's missing.



Could have sworn he said "Happy Birthday, your majesty."



Not pictured: The Union Jack. Not in Bruce's hands, anyway, there's a f***huge one right there behind him, though.


The Weird Luchador Mask 


Also Janick's shoes.


The Stage Invasion 



That's Janick Gers bitch-slapping Mayan Eddie in the face.


Bruce v. Eddie 


Bruce dodging the stone-axe, setting up perfectly for the knee to the face...



... but no, he's going for the vicious Nipple Twist instead! Wait, no, that's...



My God, it is! Bruce has torn Eddie's heart right out of his chest with his bare hands!



What savage brutality! How did this get past the censors, but not the British flag?



He's offering it up to the audience, a tattered, bloody reminder that at age 57 he can still eat your f***ing soul with a dinner fork. 



Wait, where's he going now



"Kali ma. KALI MAAAA"






"The sands of time, for me, are running low."


And there's Bruce whipping drummer Nicko McBrain with his noose. Or was he aiming for the drums?

The touching moments of camaraderie



Ages, left to right: 60, 59, 59, 59






Bruce, look out behind you



Janick not using a guitar correctly at all


The 'trying to get a stain out"


The 'I am Thor'



The 'American History X'


Bruce never standing still


Cannons to the left of me...


Cannons to the right


Volleyed and thundered


Lighters (phones) come out for FEAR OF THE DARK







TWO giant inflatable demonic nightmare monsters in one show.

Also, an accidental halo. Or Bruce's apotheosis caught on camera.

Scream For Me, Shanghai

"Scream for me, Shanghai"




Here is the set list;


If Eternity Should Fall

Speed of Light

Children of the Damned

Tears of a Clown

The Red and the Black

The Trooper


Death of Glory

The Book of Souls

Hallowed Be Thy Name

Fear of the Dark

Iron Maiden


The Extra Songs/Love Bruce Had For All of Us:


The Number of the Beast

Blood Brothers

Wasted Years


So that was it. Iron Maiden, been and gone. An unbelievably epic show. They promised to come again, and next time they said they'd be coming to blow shit up proper-like. Oops, sorry, s*** up proper-like.