Iron Maiden have announced their most ambitious and extraordinary touring plans ever, which will include Australia for the first time in 15 years. The Somewhere Back in Time World Tour 2008 will take place in three sections, starting in February and March 2008 with the first leg encompassing major concerts in 20 selected cities on five continents in seven weeks including India, Japan, North America, Central and South America and, of course, Australia, opening in Perth on February 4 and continuing through Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
The tour then continues with more concerts in North America in late May and June before finishing with a third leg in July and August, encompassing major stadiums and festivals all over Europe. During the tour the band is expected to play to well over one and a half million fans and travel close to 100,000 miles.
In an historic first, Iron Maiden, their 60-strong crew and support staff and over 12 tons of equipment will be traveling around the world en masse for the first leg of the tour in a specially commissioned and converted Astraeus Boeing 757 decorated with Maiden and Eddie designs. Vocalist Bruce Dickinson, who is a qualified airline captain flying for Astraeus Airlines, will pilot the plane on its epic mission, flying more than 50,000 miles.
Comments Dickinson, "We had the idea last year of converting a jumbo jet into effectively what would be a flying 113-ton 'splitter bus' for touring, and we have been working seriously on it ever since. It's pretty complex, but in the end we were able, with a lot of help from Astraeus Airlines, to overcome all the technicalities of customizing the plane for our purposes.”
In addition to its standard storage holds, the jet will have a customized hold created by removing the last 10 rows of seats. Dickinson says, “By taking band, personnel and equipment in one form of transport, it makes all the touring so much easier and overcomes the logistical difficulty of people and equipment going in different planes. We will be packing as much of the show into the plane as we possibly can for this first leg and intend to give the fans something very special to remember. And it allows me to combine two of my greatest passions: music and flying!”
To tie in with forthcoming 2008 releases on DVD of the classic Live After Death and Maiden England concert videos, this tour will revisit the band's history by focusing almost entirely on the Eighties in both choice of songs played and the stage set, which will be based around the legendary Egyptian Production of the 1984-85 Powerslave Tour. This will arguably be the most elaborate and spectacular show the band have ever presented and will include some key elements of their Somewhere in Time tour of 1986/7, such as the Cyborg Eddie.
Steve Harris says, "On the last tour we opened the show by playing our new album, A Matter of Life and Death, in its 80-minute entirety. We thought we needed the challenge, and it proved the right thing to do. However, it can be hard on the fans playing so much new material and we really appreciated the superb support they gave us. So now l guess it's payback time.”
Harris adds that the band is excited to present what is “effectively an Eighties show. It will be enormous fun, and by changing the approach to the songs we play tour by tour, it keeps it fresh and interesting for both the band and the fans alike. l think Powerslave was an incredible show with the Egyptian theme and look forward to seeing it all again myself."
For more information, visit www.ironmaiden.com.