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Review: Iron Maiden - Flight 666
Iron Maiden
Flight 666

Label: EMI
Year released: 2009
Duration: 215 min.

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: July 1, 2009
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
Flight 666

Rated 4.65/5 (93.02%) (43 Votes)

This one was talked about for a while, and finally here it is. Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen (Metal: A Headbanger's Journey and Global Metal) embarked with Maiden on their "Somewhere Back In Time Tour '08" and filmed the band backstage all over the world - 23 concerts on 5 continents in 45 days. That's most likely impossible by booking regular plane tickets, so hey, what the hell. Maiden's got the pilot, so let's charter a Boeing 757 to do the tour. "Ed Force One" is the Maiden-branded chartered 757 that made head turns, and it's a thing of beauty and one of the centerpieces of this film (for the "cool" and "over the top" aspect of it anyway.)

Flight 666 is a two DVD set: The first DVD contains the actual film, while the second is the live show portion. It contains the whole live set of 16 songs, with the distinction that each song was filmed in a different city. As such, there's a bit of a lack of continuity - each song is preceded by the city name and venue, and of course the crowds and type of venues differ with each song. So it doesn't really feel like you're watching the full show like most live DVDs. But then again, Maiden have a few of these out, so it can't hurt to change the formula a bit now, can it? What's consistent through and through is how the band is in such good shape and has never sounded better. These guys are pushing 50 and running all over the place on stage, and let's worry about jet-lag before and after the performance. Equally impressive is the size of the various crowds, but that's even more apparent on the film DVD.

The film itself is pretty cool, although it can get a little repetitive at times. Some chatter with various band members, crew and a few others such as local media, but nothing too extensive - just a few minutes here and there. We see Maiden playing tourists, and of course playing sports such as tennis, golf and (you guessed it) soccer (or football, depending on where you are. :)) That's all nice, but what I really got a kick out of (other than the aforementioned 757 - I'm a plane aficionado by the way) are the fan and crowd shots. Anyone still claiming that "metal is dead" ought to take a look at this. Remember all those movies about rock stars landing to crowds of crazed fans and playing in front of huge stadium or arena crowds? That's what was awaiting Maiden all over the place (unsurprisingly, Latin America was the craziest.) I don't want to give out too much here, as some of the moments here are quite poignant (see just at the end of the Colombia show, for example.) Considering how Maiden isn't one of those bands/stars pushed by mainstream media, it's pretty impressive to see the seas of people flocking to their concerts. That alone makes it worth watching the DVD. But as I said, it does get a little repetitive, as it's pretty much the same formula for nearly two hours: Backstage/travel/fans/show/travel and repeat with minor variations here and there. Some may not appreciate this as much, but it's at least worth watching once to see what kind of metal monster Iron Maiden have become over the years.

Most (all?) of the live shots in the movie are also on the concert DVD, which I found to be a bit of a letdown, albeit a small one. The film features almost complete songs a couple of times, so we're basically watching the same footage. Maybe less live stuff in the film and more backstage/interview footage would have been a better bet. Those who are heavily into bonus material, deleted scenes and such will be disappointed, as both DVDs are essentially "Feature / Chapters" and that's it. A fun watch overall. And man, that 757...! Bring a whole new meaning to "Up the irons", bitches!

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