the Boeing 757: two-beam pride of the American way of life, a symbol of unlimited mobility, which, like the Jumbo Jet, embodies a fossil belief in progress and is therefore about as contemporary as Palatinate slaughterhouses, caning or, let’s say: Iron Maiden. For years, the forefathers of hard rock have been jetting around the globe in the band’s own Boeing 757, as if climate change were a fleeting electric guitar solo; Anyone who is allowed to watch them there for a full 45 days in the grandiose documentary “Flight 666” can only come to one conclusion: Even after 50,000 miles in their kerosene catapult called “Ed Force One”, Iron Maiden are as future-proof as mediations and veggie burgers.
Iron Maiden, founded not far from Westminster Palace long before Maggie Thatcher was elected Prime Minister and touring with almost the same cast for 40 years, were already fossils from a rock star perspective in 2008. At that time, anthropologist and director Sam Dunn convinced his favorite band to accompany them on their world tour. And as in most of his genre analyzes supported by Canadian filmmaker Scot McFadyen, the result should be a mix of filmed fanzine and felt social study.
Visible at best in arthouse cinemas or festival tents in this country, the two showrunners have polished a two-hour jewel of journalistic lack of distance in 2009 with “Flight 666”, which, despite their noticeable idolatry of the reported objects, never loses its grip on the clouds above the clouds. More than a decade later, the film is finally shown at Arte (and is in the Arte media library).
[„Iron Maiden – Flight 666“, Arte, Freitag, 22 Uhr; Arte-Mediathek bis 23. Juli]
The tour accompaniment, which is astonishingly poorly mixed for a concert film, is essentially about the wall of sound of towering electric guitars stacked in a double-bass thunderstorm. Underneath, however, tender love melodies vibrate to the beat of an organic connection between sender and receiver, which probably no other music genre is able to create. After all, the world trip to 21 cities on four continents does not show visitors to concerts, but to trade fairs (you can skip the inside; nine out of ten visitors are men).
From Mumbai via Perth (Day 7, 10 924 miles) and Tokyo (Day 16, 16,277 miles), Los Angeles (Day 19, 22,073 miles) or Sao Paolo (Day 31, 28,863 miles) to Toronto (Day 46, 36,192 miles), hundreds of thousands of paying guests not only have tickets, but Acquired Ladders to Heaven. Their collective happiness is also evident in the two-dimensional television version. Even more remarkable is the humility with which six aging Church of Heavy Metal preachers transform the unconditional tenderness of their fans into classless energy.
Team spirit on the plane
Iron Maiden’s Boeing 757, steered by lead singer Marc Dickinson himself, knows no first class for iron maidens, just a team spirit that the cameras hardly leave unaffected; After all, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle doesn’t stop at the sacred jagged guitar. But how crew and band interact as equals, how the audience’s devotion takes their breath away, how dignified they shake their thinning hair, like to play golf before gigs but, minus their own stardom, are not fundamentally different from four generations of unleashed fans – that makes this community of convenience a family.
So the world in front of the stadium gate can take a slice of it. Especially since the “Ed Force One” has now been retired. But Iron Maiden just keep flying. “Flight 666” impressively shows why.