Bruce Dickinson Reveals Onstage Mistake That Became a Regular Part of Iron Maiden’s Show
Iron Maiden have one of the more dynamic and theatric live shows in rock, providing audiences with a visual spectacular to go along with their hard rocking classics. But not everything always goes off without a hitch, and in fact one onstage gaffe led to an idea that's become a permanent part of their show.
In a pair of behind-the-scenes videos, Bruce Dickinson takes viewers backstage for a closer look at his many costume changes, shares some insights on how he prepares for each portion of their epic show and reveals some of the hazards that come with using the stage props that they've used throughout their most recent run.
In the second of the two videos, Dickinson reveals that one stage gaffe by a member of their crew, while initially scary, inspired how a portion of their show now plays out. That segment in question revolves around their performance of "Run to the Hills," which now features Dickinson bounding around the stage barely escaping pyro explosions before "blowing the stage up" with a TNT prop.
"That all started by accident," Dickinson shares. "Early on in one of the shows, Keith let off a pyro as I was standing over the top of it, and it made me jump, 'Whoa!,' like that. It gave me a [fright]. I asked him afterwards, Keith .... and he was like, 'Oh I'm so sorry,' and I was like, 'Oh no, was it funny?'"
The singer, assuring the crew member that he wasn't upset, added, "'I said, 'No seriously, was it funny? Come on, own up.' He was like, 'Yeah, it looked funny.' I'm like, 'Right! Good! So let's have a series of them like Wile E. Coyote blowing me up around the stage and then we'll have a big Wile E. Coyote TNT plunger blow up the stage at the end. So that's how it started."
Elsewhere in the two videos, Dickinson shares a bit of his backstage routine, which includes having a cup of coffee that he usually just smells, having warm water to drink to help with his vocals and "towels and tissues because I get very snotty when I sing properly and I have stuff to blow my nose a lot."
Dickinson also details some of the hazards of the show, including occasionally tripping up on his capes and dealing with his flamethrower backpack. “Sometimes I get a few burns on the hands because the thing won’t go out,” he explained. The flamethrower is often initially hidden by a cape that he eventually discards, but Dickinson revealed that he's often tasked with climbing stairs to the stage with hood of the cape obstructing his view. “I’ve got the hood down so people can’t see – and neither can I."
Elsewhere, Dickinson recalls having issues with a noose that failed to fall to the ground, eventually getting whacked with the rope when trying to pull it. Plus there are a pair of swords used within the show, but it's important that he not confuse the two as one is "bendy" and looks bad if he uses the wrong one for the wrong stage fight.
Check out both videos below and get a look at how the band's stage show goes off from Dickinson's perspective.
And keep an eye out for Iron Maiden back on the road in the new year. Get your tickets here.