Those who may have heard of the veteran British metal band Iron Maiden, but yet are not entirely familiar with their music or history, will get a good introduction through this documentary film. Flight 666, directed by Sam Dunn and Scot McFaydn, takes the viewers to the band’s relentless jaunt through five continents their 2008 tour. What makes this tour interesting is that the band traveled in its own jumbo plane, dubbed “Ed Force One,” piloted by their singer Bruce Dickinson!
While Iron Maiden may not be the most popular of bands outside of heavy metal circles, they have a tremendous international fan base. The film captures that by documenting the rabid fans who were excited to see their heroes on stage (There is even a South American priest who has over 160 Iron Maiden-related tattoos all over his body).
Interspersed with the footage of the traveling and backstage stuff are excerpts of concert performances in which the band performs tracks such as “Can I Play With Madness,” “The Number of the Beast” and “Run to the Hills.” The music sounds like progressive rock with a heavy metal edge—yet accessible too. The musicianship, especially the triple guitar attack and Dickinson’s over-the-top vocals and stage antics, is pretty impressive, even as the band is over 30 years old. (In addition to the movie, the DVD set also contains a second disc of the entire performances from the tour.)
Interestingly, Flight 666 also provides a glimpse into a day in the life of a heavy metal band. While one would expect that a band with a name like Iron Maiden would be all about partying and debauchery, the members of the band lead relatively normal lives: on their off time, they play tennis, golf and soccer, as well as do some sightseeing. In short, the guys seem down to earth, even charming and genuine—especially Dickinson–without the rock star attitude.
So if you were initially resistant to the world of Iron Maiden, watching this film will pleasantly surprise you. No wonder the band has a strong following from all over the world.