Those who have seen Iron maiden's Rock in Rio 1985 live concert video won't have any doubt if they are asked the question, 'Which is the religion having most number of followers in the world?". The concert which happened 25 years ago was attended by 3 lakh die hard fans. And when they came back there in 2001, they still had 2.5 lakh fans waiting there. The band which started 34 odd years back, when our parents were still in college has now grown into a worldwide religion. There's not a country on the face of the earth without a sizeable population of Iron Maiden fans. All this was achieved with not even a single article in mainstream newspapers or a single song of theirs being played in any mainstream radio station. So, when they started their latest world tour titled 'Somewhere back in time' with songs from their heydays in 80s, they decided to visit previously unvisited places like Costa Rica, Colombia and Puerto Rico. And, following the band on the first leg of this world quest is Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen, the guys behind those path breaking documentaries 'Metal:A headbanger's journey' and 'Global metal'.
The allrounder-Pilot and Vocalist Bruce DickinsonThe real spirit of what Maiden means to the fans is revealed in the South American leg of the concert. There were crowds matching Rio De Janeiro in Mexico city, San Jose and Bogota. The scene in Columbia where the fans came and lived in tents near the concert venue even 1 week before the concert made for great viewing. It was a country where Maiden was banned sometime back for their supposedly Satanic lyrics. Only the fans know that its anything but supporting Satan. A guy called 'Father of Iron Maiden' with 100s of tattoos all over his body amused everyone. It was also a great sight to see legendary artists like Kerry King, Lars Ulrich and Tom Morello queuing up like fans to meet them. Life on the road touring is not as easy as we think whatwith these people having to brave injuries, ill health etc and come on stage with all their energy as usual. Talking about energy, I don't think there's a more energetic band that too at the tender ages nearing 60.
Watching Maiden in a movie theatre was a different experience though it was nowhere close to being in a concert. Only a handful of people were in the theatre and most of them were swaying their heads when the songs were being played. This docu made me understand the enormity of the historical concert we all watched live some months back in Bangalore. It was a fitting finale for a well made documentary with 'Hallowed be thy name', a song which has served as an introduction to many of us to the phenomenon that is Iron Maiden. I sometimes wonder about the people who have never listened to a Maiden song or seen a Maiden concert. How many have died without ever hearing their name. Aren't we all fortunate enough to be able to enjoy the magic of Maiden? So, if any of you who is reading this, have never experienced what Maiden is, its time. You been losing out on something. Get in the bandwagon before its too late. Even if you don't, its ok. Because, as Sam Dunn says, 'We all are doing just fine without you'.
PS- The journey to the theatre was an eventful. Me and Nikhil rushed from office to home, jumped on the bike and sped to Fun cinemas, the location of which was still a mystery to us. We made it a point to get stuck at almost all the red lights in between our home and the multiplex about 15kms away. At a point, we almost gave up hope. Then I told him, 'Bruce God(Maiden vocalist Bruce) will help us'. It was a miracle that we reached the theatre right in time just as the screen flashed the name Iron Maiden. Before that, I had to hastily answer a security lady who asked me, 'where did you get that Iron Maiden T shirt?'. An Iron Maiden poster was given free with the tickets and it is now waiting to adorn the walls of my room.
your crusader Praveen