Iron Maiden: Flight 666

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We asked our faithful HELLBOUND contributors who have already had a chance to view Flight 666 to write us a review of their viewing experience. Here is a compendium of all the submitted reviews, listed alphabetically by the last name of the writer. We hope you enjoy these individual viewpoints on this fantastic, award winning documentary/live film….

Review 1: by Adrien Begrand

You’ve got the greatest metal band ever performing a set of classic material, playing in 23 cities on five continents, flying from country to country in the most bad-ass airplane ever, which just so happens to be piloted by Bruce Dickinson. With a scenario like that, it would have to take the most inept of film crews to screw up a film chronicling Iron Maiden’s now-legendary 45 day first leg of their massive Somewhere Back in Time world tour in 2008, but still, Sam Dunn and Scott McFayden deserve credit for putting together an outstanding documentary in Flight 666. Normally known for stubbornly doing things in-house, this time the band decided to let a pair of outsiders follow them around, and it turned out to be a masterstroke, as the duo who brought us 2006’s Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey and 2008’s Global Metal offer a very refreshing perspective of the Ubiquitous Tour Documentary that many metal bands so lazily churn out.

Of course, we’re treated to generous portions of rousing live performances (all of which are presented in their entirety on the second disc), interviews with the band, and glimpses at the inner workings of such a complicated venture, but it’s Dunn’s and McFayden’s ability to depict and relate to metal enthusiasts worldwide that pays off the biggest, as Iron Maiden’s loyal fans are ultimately the stars of this film, from the Brazilian priest with some 200 Maiden tattoos, to the joyous crowds in Mumbai, to Lars Ulrich and Tom Morello being reduced to slavish fanboys like the rest of us, to the lucky sumbitch in Costa Rica who catches Nicko McBrain’s drum stick and gives the film its most memorable image. Tastefully shot, never dull, and even capable of holding the interest of those poor folks who just don’t get this band, it’s yet another top-notch DVD release by Iron Maiden, not to mention a glorious memento for the hundreds of thousands of us who still feel blessed to have had the chance to witness this triumphant tour.

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Review 2: by Albert Mansour

For any Iron maiden fan, just hearing the titles of songs such as “Aces High,” “Run To The Hills,” “Wasted Years,” and “2 Minutes To Midnight should make their mouth drool and knees wobble. This is an awesomely filmed document of one of the greatest bands in the history of metal, bar none. Being such a fan myself and having at a glance seen these very tracks and more on the DVD of Flight 666 is a killer experience. The fact that the film is also offering a behind-the-scenes look at life on the road with this iconic metal band along, with plenty of highlights from their explosive live show, makes this a no-brainer must have. Taken from the band’s record setting Somewhere Back In Time 2008 tour, it brought this fine band to thirteen countries on their 757 Boeing Ed Force One aircraft in 45 days, this amazing footage. On the documentary DVD is a genuine and a must for your dvd collection. Iron maiden and true music fans alike, as the genius of the performers is clear for all to see and is a breathtaking head banging to watch and to listen to. I highly recommend this and in my opinion is a great Iron Maiden release by EMI.
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Review 3: by Ola Mazzuca

There is something truly remarkable about a band’s staying power. Working hard to sell over 70 million albums and touring extensively worldwide, Iron Maiden is the epitome of longevity.

Fellow Canadians Scot McFayden and Sam Dunn (Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey, Global Metal) are back to bring us an in-depth look at Maiden’s 2008 Somewhere Back In Time world tour. I can only imagine how many metalheads around the world yearn for this type of experience.

Upon arriving in Mumbai, India, fans have been waiting patiently outside the venue since 6 am. Regardless of where the band travels to, the loyalty is there. It’s alive. It’s real. The look on their fan’s faces clearly depicts that Iron Maiden is their “religion”. Whether it’s quitting your day job or camping out to get to the front of the stadium, Iron Maiden has such a strong fanbase that never cease to withdraw themselves.

The documentary generates a sense of respect and a greater appreciation for the band and their powerful contribution to metal around the globe. The energy, motivation, strength and fire it takes to be in Iron Maiden are phenomenal. As he is a proclaimed powerhouse, Bruce Dickinson can put on a show to thousands of people every night and fly the band and crew to one city after another in the band’s custom Boeing 757.

It’s amazing how each band member’s personality is analyzed throughout. They’re all really humble guys that genuinely love their career! And damn, Nicko McBrain is such a character.

So maybe they make travelling around the world for 45 days straight and being mobbed by fans look easy, but Iron Maiden are more than that; Intense performances, personalities and passion.

The flight of Ed Force One is symbolic to the launch of Iron Maiden’s debut in 1980 to their infinite reach for higher altitude.

The film comes to a close as Maiden complete the first leg of their tour in our beloved city of Toronto while performing “Hallowed Be Thy Name” at the Air Canada Centre. I was there that night. A moving evening, I might add. So if you have not seen Iron Maiden live yet, please do when the opportunity is yours. And if this film does not compel you to, I don’t know what will.

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Review 4: by Sean Palmerston

When Iron Maiden decided to undertake their most ambitious tour ever in early 2008, they had the brilliant foresight to allow someone to accompany the tour with access to everything. That someone ended up being the Canadian film team known as Banger Productions, namely Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen, who have also brought us the great documentaries Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey and Global Metal and who have done an absolutely spot on job here creating what has become Flight 666.

Released as a two-DVD set, the first contains the film itself, which was originally shown as a theatrical release at select film festivals and in some major cities. The film follows the tour from beginning to end, highlighting nearly every stop on the tour with a performance and showing just how down-to-earth and likable the members of Iron Maiden and their touring entourage are. From the introspective Adrian Smith to the pensive Dave Murray; from the incredibly shy Steve Harris to the boisterous, explosive Nicko McBrain; this is a band that has six distinct personalities very different from each other that come together to become one of the best – if not the best – heavy metal band ever.

The real stars of the film though are the fans. Iron Maiden fans are amongst the most loyal, dedicated fans in the world of music and that is something which is exemplified perfectly in this movie. Despite not receiving commercial airplay or mainstream media coverage, their fans are always there to celebrate and worship what is one of their favourite bands. It’s something that is not lost on the band either. They know that they are one lucky lot and make the best of what they have by going out and playing their hearts out each and every night. This is something that is captured well on the second disc, which captures the full performances of the songs that are used in excerpt during the movie proper.

Not only is this an excellent film, it is also a great visual souvenir for those of us that were lucky enough to make it out to any of these shows. I don’t believe there will be a better music DVD than Flight 666 released this year and highly recommend it to any discerning music fan.

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Review 5: by Jonathan Smith

The latest documentary from Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen, Flight 666 follows heavy metal veterans Iron Maiden on their recent Somewhere Back In Time World Tour. There are two discs included in the DVD, the first being the film itself and the second a concert patched together from all the stops on the tour. The actual film’s narrative is centered around the unveiling of Ed Force One, piloted by vocalist Bruce Dickinson, and the intercontinental tour dates that become possible when a hugely successful band makes use of its own plane.

Flight 666 is immediately appealing in that it does not attempt to be a comprehensive look at the band’s history. There is no “Story of. . .” sequence that ends with an emphasis on how, despite any past troubles, the band has sorted itself out and now looks forward to a glorious future. Instead there is a collection of refreshingly low-key sit-down interviews with all of the band members and various members of the crew, out-and-about-in-the-world footage, and snippets of various songs as they are played out on the massive stage that is one of Iron Maiden’s trademarks. As such, fans of the band get to see the various people involved as they work, play, relax, and blow off steam behind the scenes.

Flight 666 also includes a fair bit of commentary from both Iron Maiden and their fans from around the world regarding their place in metal music and their global appeal as a concert force. It also constructs for them a particularly high place in the genre (which will have die-hard Maiden fans saying “Of course!”). The tour stop in Los Angeles in particular features a slew of people from other successful metal bands and the metal community who have long admired Maiden and have come to see them do what they do so very well. The footage of and interviews with fans in Central and South America is particularly interesting, and a reminder of the fact that Iron Maiden appeals to so many people around the globe on a deep and emotional level. On that note, a little more self-reflection or speculation from the band as to why they think that is would make things a little more provocative. The film is not likely to convert non-believers, though it definitely should serve as a conversation-starter regarding the all-powerful force that Iron Maiden has once again become over the years. Overall, there’s plenty of fun to be had here. In the end, Flight 666 is a fantastic treat for long-time fans of the band and the people who make it up at a time when they are arguably at the top of their game

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Review 6: by Adam Wills

Although I have yet to pick up a DVD copy myself, I was in attendance at the Toronto Premiere, which will go down as one of the greatest theatre experiences of my life. The crowd, with ages from 6 to 60, had the energy that only Maiden fans possess (one of the pre-show pop-album commercials actually got booed) and really embodied what the film was about – the connection of Iron Maiden with their fans. Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen dig way beyond your basic concert DVD, and really provide an in-depth view of just how massive the reach of Maiden is. From Australia to Toronto and just about everywhere in between, footage focuses on not only the concerts, but also the fans, locations, and, most amusingly, the band’s interaction with each other away from the stage.

With concert footage being edited by someone other than Steve Harris, we get a different perspective on the live performance than we’re used to seeing. The quality of the concert footage itself is absolutely breath-taking, and audio is crystal clear – the band itself is still at the top of their game. This truly is a gem that every metal head NEEDS to add to their library.

10/10

Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.

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