REVIEW: An Evening With Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson Theatre Royal Brighton

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Or, as we’re in Brighton the womxn, just to be on the safe side. Heavy Metal is famously about as sexually inclusive as the MCC. This is actually an over-harsh stereotype, but like many stereotypes there’s a smidgin of truth in there. So, by way of explanation for the ladies:

Bruce Dickinson is an old school rock god. Frontman of A-list Heavy Metal outfit Iron Maiden who are about to release their 17th album Senjutsu in September. If form is anything to go by this album should achieve triple platinum status by elevenses on the day it comes out.

Since forming in 1975 Iron Maiden have released and sold 200 million records, CDs and DVDs – enough for every man woman and child in Britain to theoretically own about four copies of their breakthrough album the Number of the Beast (confession time – I own two.)

Even Wikipedia describes Maiden as “one of the most important heavy metal artists in history” and a band which “elevated heavy metal to an art form”.

Now then, screamed lyrics about armies of the undead layered over even screamier guitars underpinned by drums thunderous enough to shift tectonic plates, all played at the kind of ear-bleeding decibel levels designed to give health and safety officers immediate coronaries may not be your cup of tea.

But if it isn’t you might want to ask yourself why not?

Anyway, tonight isn’t a Maiden night – it’s a Bruce Dickinson night. And tonight there’s no screaming guitars, no pyrotechnics, and no lasers, just a bloke shambling on stage with a pint and a bottle of water.

“Beer or water?” he asks the aging denim-clad audience… as if there are two answers to that question.

And we’re off on a rollercoaster ride of anecdotes, observations, jokes and memories of a life in rock and roll.

He kicks off with tales of life in B-List New Wave of British Heavy Metal band Samson (confession time – I have a Samson picture disc too…).

Samson, hand on heart, were pretty terrible… and after hearing Bruce’s tales of drug-addled cock-up after drug-addled cock-up you understand why. But you’d still have given you’re eye-teeth to have been on the road with them.

But Samson was a mere apprenticeship for Iron Maiden, a genuinely class act. World class act actually. Tale after tale, anecdote after anecdote.

And the whole evening is as hilarious as is disarming. As fascinating as it is incredible.

Bruce – who remember is a proper full-on world famous rock god – comes over as your new best mate who’s just bought you a pint.

Despite his tales of proper derring-do both as a major name in a time when rock’n’roll mattered (and was at its most wonderfully telly-out-the-window, substance-fuelled, Rolls Royce in the swimming pool debauched) and later as a fully qualified commercial airline pilot flying in and out of some decidedly sketchy places his most amazing characteristic is how bloody normal he is.

As per the aforementioned stereotype my partner – who was probably screaming “aciiieeed” at roughly the time I was headbanging to Maiden – knew little of Bruce or his band.

But by the end she was smiling along with the rest of us.

As we made to leave, she added: “There’s a lot of love in the room isn’t there?”

And she was right, there really was.

* ‘An Evening With Bruce Dickinson’ will be at The Lowry, Salford (August 4), St George’s Hall, Bradford (August 5), Theatre Royal, Nottingham (August 8), The Alexandra, Birmingham (August 9) and Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London (August 10).

For tickets got to

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