BRUCE DICKINSON – Brisbane Eaton’s Hill – 24/10/2018

There are small number of vocalists who, through both their musical output and their own distinctive voices have become true icons of metal. We are talking artists like Ozzy, Dio, Lemmy, Bon Scott, Rob Halford, Joe Elliot, and of course the human air raid siren himself Bruce Dickinson. So when to opportunity presented it’s self to me to catch Bruce Dickinson's spoken word tour, I jumped at the chance. Whilst he is known for his work with Iron Maiden (arguably one of the most influential, longest lasting and massive of the classic metal bands) he is also a world class swordsman, an author, business man AND an airline pilot. Having seen Iron Maiden on quite a number of occasions in front of massive crowds, I was very keen to see what Bruce is like with a much more intimate setting. Tonight’s venue (Eaton’s Hill) a mid sized venue far on the north side of Brisbane is a far cry from arenas and stadium stages that Bruce normally stalks. Once I had finally made it to the venue (like I said, far north side of Brisbane) I was greeted by a line that snaked its way out the door of the venue all the way into the vacant lot beside the venue (I suppose we were lucky that the storms held off till later). It was interesting to see the sheer variety of people at the show tonight, everyone from young metal heads (I’m still young right? …. ? RIGHT?) to the old guard who look as though they had been there from the very first Samson album through to people who look as though they don’t have any idea who Bruce is (chances are seeing as they are there they do, books and covers and all that). Tonight’s show is a 2 parter with the first half of the show being Bruce walking us through his life and how he ended up standing in front of us now and the second part a Q & A session. After a bit of a delay the lights go down and the man himself in true Bruce style bounces out on stage. Bruce get straight to chastising the audience for being late (hey come on we’ve been here waiting on you dude!) all with good humour that we have all come to expect. The next few hours Bruce takes us through stories of growing up in Northern England, His early days in Worksop and Sheffield, being kicked out of school for pissing in the headmaster’s dinner, being beaten up for not taking shit from other students and all the general mischief associated with growing up as a smartarse. From there he takes us through his early musical adventures / miss adventures first as a drummer and later fronting Samson. Surprisingly the focus doesn’t stay on Iron Maiden as much as you would think, it almost seems that (whilst there is never a bad word about anyone in the band said) that it’s a side note to all the other great stuff that he gets up to. The first portion of the evening stretches well beyond the originally stated end time (after he assaults the alarm clock trying to corral his time on stage, no one is complaining), Bruce leaves the stage for a quick 20 min intermission. Once Bruce returns he runs through quite a good number of questions including “when is the new solo album going to be ready?” the answer is ….. “I have the demos!” BRILLIANT. As a the show draws to a close Bruce reads us a chapter from the book focusing on his cancer treatment and the subsequent recovery, including a long and harrowing tale of constipation brought on by morphine …. Yep that doesn’t sound like a hell of a lot of fun! Bruce moves about the stage in much the same way he does when on stage with Iron Maiden, never still, big hand gestures, engaging with everyone in the audience, although you can tell that he is not 100% in his element, during the first part of the evening he often trips over his words and seems to be trying to recall a more scripted presentation, he points out later in the evening that these shows are FAR more nerve racking than playing to stadiums full of people, with a band behind him it’s not all about him, with spoken word it IS all about him. In saying this however when the Q & A rolls around he is far more relaxed and the stories flow much better, (as do the laughs). It's always a treat to see one of your musical heroes, but to see them in an intimate venue sharing personal details about their lives with people that love them is really something special. What a great night

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