The Palais Theatre has been running hot of late, tonight’s installment – What Does This Button Do? by one of heavy metals most renowned front men, Bruce Dickinson. Who is Bruce Dickinson you ask? Well not only is he the singer of the legendary Iron Maiden but he is also a pilot (Captain no less), a beer brewer (the famous Trooper beer), motivational speaker, international fencer, and the list goes on. But I’m sure you get the idea, Bruce has his hand in more pies than most and still treats every day as a gift, as I did forget to mention he is also a cancer survivor. So knowing first hand that tomorrow is never a given, he is living life to the fullest and enjoying the fame and fortune that goes along with it. With formalities out of the way, its on with the show.
On entry to the iconic Palais Theatre every paying ticket received a signed copy of Bruce’s autobiography, What Does This Button Do? all 3000 hand signed in a frenzy which allowed 2.5 seconds per signature, according to the man himself. Where you would normally find merch you were greeted with Q & A cards, your chance to ask the man himself a question, the line was long with punters taking advantage of the opportunity to pen a question to their music hero. The theatre was awash with Iron Maiden t-shirts, worn with pride, fans desperate to show their allegiance to the heavy metal icon. Bruce’s songs from his solo career playing as we filed in to take our seats. As we patiently waited, the buzz in the theatre grew louder, anticipation growing by the minute, the stage set with just a stool and the big screen showing the man himself and his book. The screen flashed to life with Iron Maiden ripping in the back ground showing a short montage of Bruce as he launched onto the stage complete with a box of autographed tennis balls which he lobbed out for the punters.
So begins part one of the show, Bruce a natural born public speaker was off and running, discussing many topics, including his schooling and his subsequent expulsion from said school, not wanting to spoil the fun I wont say why, but wow Bruce, just wow!! A fantastic storyteller we then learnt how he came to be in Samson, his time as a roadie for Hawkwind and Motorhead as he made his way through the ranks and followed onto of course Iron Maiden. His ten years as a pilot, his death-defying trip to Sarajevo, and this was just scratching the surface. His hard fight with tongue cancer reared its ugly head but more on that later. As he chatted he flicked through pictures on the big screen, which included many of Bruce’s outrageous pants from over the years, none more in your face than his red spandex number that left NOTHING to the imagination and set a precedent for years to come. When in Texas he made guided missiles in his spare time, just a fun fact kids, don’t try that at home! An hour and a half flew buy, the audience respectfully quiet listening and laughing happy to be in the presence of heavy metal royalty. Bruce advises us to go and ‘have a piss or get pissed’ during the short interval and we did just that.
Part two was where our Q & A cards came into play, Bruce returned with them in hand and started firing off answer thick and fast. While I did believe the audience was made up of Iron Maiden fans it seems the that a large percentage were aviation fans and hence a lot of aeronautical questions. There were many interesting stories and anecdotes over a life well lived and when you hear lesbian seamstress and gold lamé jockstrap in the same sentence it does pique your curiosity and makes for a riveting story in the history of Bruce Dickinson.
Concluding the night Bruce reads and except from his autobiography, the last chapter in fact titled Fuck Cancer, and that is exactly what he did he fucked cancer, won the fight and amen to that. The world is a better place for having Bruce Dickinson in at and it was a privilege to hear his stories first hand from the man himself. So now Bruce, how about another Iron Maiden tour????
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale