A chronological account of the heavy metal band Iron Maiden's 2008 world tour through India, Australia, Japan, USA, Canada, Mexico and South America in a jet piloted by the band's front man, Bruce Dickinson. Features interviews with the musicians, their road crew and fans.
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Come fly with Iron Maiden and enjoy the hospitality of Flight 666 as the boys' take on the biggest tour of their career, flying around the world in their own private Boeing 757. This insight into the background noise that is the logistical workings' of the '2008 Somewhere Back in Time' World Tour is captivating, both behind the scenes as well as on stage. Performing in front of sell out crowds, this "Rocumentary" is an insight into the minds, bodies and souls of the family that is Iron Maiden.Written by
Scott Ian has to appear in every single metal documentary. The Ron Jeremy of the metal scene.
A fun, entertaining, well-edited on-the-road travelogue following a 3-decades old band that had created all of its best material a quarter of a century earlier. The indisputable fact is that IM had their creative prime in the mid-80s, with the releases of three very good albums, "Piece of Mind", "Powerslave", and "Somewhere In Time". As far as I'm concerned, practically all the music that they had recorded before that – particularly after it – is totally inferior run-of-the-mill forgettable cliché HM nonsense for un-choosy metal-head zombies who lack criteria i.e. for metal fans with genetically built-in low expectations who are far too easily pleased.
Only one small part of IMF666 touches on this sensitive subject, which I am sure annoys the hell out of most IM band members: the scene in which Dickinson gets interviewed by a guy who suggests that they are living off their old catalogue. Bruce gets visibly annoyed, but not rightfully. (The truth hurts.) Unconvincingly (and rather desperately), he tries to make the case that IM are doing this tour as a way of "thanking the ever-growing young fan-base that never saw us perform the old material". But who's buying that? If so many of their fans really were that young, then in all likelihood they would have never seen Maiden live anyway, or only once, in which case IM might as well play their new stuff to them because they hadn't seen them play those songs either. Bruce's argument is also flawed because during this tour IM had visited many places that they'd never or very rarely visited, hence they could have just as easily played only new material – if only they'd dared. IM's post-1988 material is abysmal by comparison, average at best. There isn't one song they'd written in the past 20+ years that I would consider as good as their mid-80s stuff.
However, the point I am trying to make is not that IM is a derelict band wasting everyone's time touring as old useless fogies. The point is that it's totally OK to live off your old material, the glory days. It is perfectly fine to be proud of the old material and simply accept the fact that the past two decades had been a rather dry spell studio-wise. After all, it's THEIR old material, no-one had handed it to them on a plate. Additionally, it's not as if they're some one-hit wonder pop-band that are desperately milking a 4-minute song for an entire tour; THAT would be truly embarrassing and worthy of mockery. They've got three high-quality albums to pick songs from, and there aren't many bands that have such a rich back-catalog to pick from, metal or otherwise. But for this acceptance of reality to occur, Bruce & co would have to leave their considerable egos behind. No-one wants to face the fact that they'd run out of inspiration such a long time ago. That is understandable, so I don't condemn them for desperately trying to make excuses, justifying playing old material - as if they even need to justify themselves.
Bruce Dickinson is such a high-energy personality, one could almost believe the idealism that he portrays in the film (and generally), when he, for example, somewhat modestly talks about "perhaps having achieved something in life". On the other hand, I am not so sure I can trust Steve Harris entirely when he says that "it's all about the music" and someone's comment that "Steve is totally incorruptible". Quite to the contrary, throughout the decades I have had an increasing impression that Harris is more concerned about milking the band dry for profit, more than any other band member. He may be the "creative driving force" (which would mean that he is the main one to blame for IM's stagnation on the last several albums), but he is also the Pharaoh who always had his whip ready to drive his band-slaves to eke out the last dollar out of the lucrative franchise.
If it really were "only about the music" would they have relied so much on that silly childish prop/mascot/mutant-monster called "Ed"? Harris had realized early on that their album covers alone brought them many fans, sniveling little zit-faced kids, much like the kids today who get attracted to black metal imagery (with the obvious difference that BM bands have almost nothing to offer musically). Would it have hurt this band to release just one album without Ed doing something goofy on the cover? Harris is a businessman, first and foremost. He's got six kids to feed and send to college (or to make more cash with in various band projects he supports).
IMF666 comes off as an interesting, unpretentious look into a more-or-less unusual metal tour. I was never a great IM fan, but I enjoyed this very much, so you might not even have to like metal in order to enjoy this. The fact that some of their best songs are featured – instead of the more recent crap – is a nice bonus. I have to admit that I wouldn't have been able to watch a documentary of Bon Jovi doing such a tour (unless it included footage of a fan stabbing one of the band members in the leg, or Bongiovi slipping on a pile of cow-dung on the way to a gig).
Sam Dunn is a typical denim-and-leather-clad wide-eyed undiscriminating metal-head. Of course IM are his "favourite metal band", who else could one expect it to be? Strapping Young Lad or Voivod? But I'm hoping that perhaps because he's Canadian he might one day film something similar with Devin Townsend. Dunn seems to have all the connections nowadays, and with three successful metal documentaries under his belt he has more freedom than ever to pick his projects. But I am not optimistic; he is more likely to cover Manowar or Judas Priest, or the latest "sensational" trend that's coming from some p*ss-ant little hamlet in Norway.
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