Cape Town, South Africa: The Book Of Souls has arrived, delivered in style by UK heavy metal legends Iron Maiden in their massive ‘Ed Force One’ Boeing 747 which touched down at Cape Town International Airport on Sunday evening.
The two-stop South African tour kicks off in Cape Town tonight with the first performance by Iron Maiden in this city in twenty-one years; the previous visit having taken place during October 1995, and being more-or-less midway through the band’s forty-year career. The previous tour was promoting their 1995 X-Factor album featuring former front-man Blaze Baley and sans guitarist Adrian Smith from whom Janick Gers took over in 1990.
The current The Book Of Souls tour features the more classic Iron Maiden line-up including an iconic Bruce Dickinson (and ‘Ed Force One’ pilot) back on vocals after his 1994-1998 hiatus, along with Adrian Smith back on guitar after his longer 1989-1998 absence; which for some local fans would suggest the current visit as being “the true Iron Maiden debut” in South Africa. Incidentally, Janick Gers remained with the band after the return of Adrian Smith, thus upgrading Iron Maiden to a tri-guitar shredding onslaught for the last seventeen years! Fans in South Africa are truly in for something like never experienced before.
“We’ve been really looking forward to it, because we haven’t been here since 1995 I believe; so it’s going to be a treat to be back this time with all of our equipment to do a fantastic show” ~ Janick Gers (guitar, Iron Maiden)
In terms of the set to be performed – and which has been largely publicized across the globe ahead of the band – we asked Janick about what characterizes an Iron Maiden set, taking for example what they have prepared for us now as compared with their legendary Somewhere Back in Time World Tour in 2008-2009 (and was famed for it’s ‘Flight 666’ aircraft, the smaller predecessor to Iron Maiden‘s current ‘Ed Force One’).
“Well, the Somewhere Back In Time Tour we did as a back-catalogue tour. Every now and again we’ll do a back-catalogue tour where we tour songs from the past. With The Book Of Souls Tour we’ll be touring songs from now, so the set comprises of about five to six songs from The Book Of Souls album and the rest of the songs come from various stages of the band’s career.” ~ Janick Gers
Janick explains how the current production is based around The Book Of Souls theme, which is of Mayan and Aztec inspiration and is highlighted by a tremendous lighting show; where a back-catalogue tour would typically have a broader collection of themes, but on a smaller scale.
For many fans, a sighting of the much publicized ‘Ed Force One’ is as much a big deal as seeing the actual Iron Maiden performance and has done wonders to build anticipation for the show. Social media was buzzing with speculation about the landing time of ‘Ed Force One’, but a gathering of die-hard fans and media could be seen scuttling about Cape Town International Airport on Sunday evening to capture the moment. Many other pictures are circulating on social media as fans continue to visit the airport daily for a sighting of the awe-inspiring aircraft parked on the tarmac.
After tonight’s show, Iron Maiden pack up and fly to Johannesburg for a show on Saturday 21 May before heading to Europe where they will perform extensively for the remainder of the tour before arriving home to retire ‘Ed Force One’ in August.
Co-authored by Linda Evermore and Patrick Davidson.
Interview by Linda Evermore
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