Some bands and musicians I will never tire of no matter how old I get; Iron Maiden is one of those bands. Each and every time I revisit their catalog, I’m instantly transported back to being that fifteen year old kid, still trying in earnest to figure out any and every Steve Harris bassline I could in my old bedroom. And when I finally saw the band live in 2011 after years of admiration, I must have had the most visibly dopey smile around that night as I sat in the audience in complete awe.
So it didn’t take much to get me through the door at The Plaza Live for frontman Bruce Dickinson’s Orlando stop on his new spoken word tour, which just kicked off this week here in Florida. While worlds away from a Maiden or even solo performance, the charismatic singer spent the evening going through both his professional and personal life experiences with enough energy and one-liners to rival just about any stand up comedian.
Beginning with his early life and leading up to his joining bands like Shots and Samson during his college years, he eventually lead up to his induction into Iron Maiden and many of the adventures that naturally came with it, using slides along the way like a professor teaching his course. Of course he also discussed his career as an airline pilot and battle with cancer as well. But don’t expect to hear much singing at these shows; aside from brief a cappella lines from “Run to the Hills” and The Beatles’ “Let It Be” weaved within his storytelling, there was not a whole lot of it to be found.
After a brief intermission, where the video for the latest Maiden single, “The Writing on the Wall,” was displayed, Dickinson returned to answer questions from fans who turned in handwritten cards handed out before the show. This lead to some of the night’s most comical moments, with one particular, KISS vs. Slade inquiry posed from a Liverpool fan being one of the highlights.
I could see this perhaps not going over too well for a mere casual observer. But for a die hard fan, it was just the right amount of history (although I must confess, I was already familiar with many of his stories, having already read his autobiography). Dickinson has no doubt lead a fascinating life, and if you’re able to go in with an open mind, you might just be glad you did.