Bruce Dickinson has revealed that he has been in discussions about bringing Iron Maiden’s epic ‘Empire of the Clouds’ to the live stage along with other Maiden classics, in complete with orchestral setting. Dickinson, a huge Deep Purple fan whose Jon Lord recorded the ‘Concerto for Group and Orchestra’ in 1969, made the revelation during a q&a, at his spoken word event in Dublin on Friday night (13th December 2019).
Taking place at the city’s National Stadium, Bruce wowed the crowd with tales from his life; from childhood adversity, to aviation mogul, to heavy metal front man and beyond. With the mood shifting from humorous to poignant throughout the night, Dickinson’s story from his public school antics to his 2015 cancer battle was interspersed with spot-on impressions of Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain and Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, with the host proving an engaging and entertaining raconteur.
It was during the evening’s question and answer section that the singer revealed that plans to tackle ‘Empire of the Clouds’, – the eighteen-minute Dickinson-penned opus that closed 2015’s ‘The Book of Souls’ – were finally afloat, before divulging that the song could form the basis of entire orchestral show.
The idea, Bruce revealed, sprang from a conversation he’d had while taking part in the 50th anniversary concert celebration of late Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord's ‘Concerto For Group And Orchestra’, at the Palais Montcalm in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, on 21st November.
The show, which saw Bruce perform Purple classic ‘When a Blind Man Cries’ also featured long time Jon Lord collaborator Paul Mann, who worked with the composer on his 2020 studio recording of the work.
Said Bruce; “I did talk to the conductor Paul Nann, and we just very tentatively said; wouldn’t it be great if we could do something that might involve some Maiden songs, but only Maiden songs that are really appropriate for doing [with] an orchestra?”
He continued; “Empire of the Clouds’ is one of them. So yeah, you never know.”
Although bands such as Deep Purple, Kiss, and more recently Metallica have performed with orchestras, Iron Maiden have never received the baroque treatment. When asked whether Iron Maiden would ever perform the song however, the polymath answered emphatically “no”, confirming that the idea would come to fruition outside of his activities with the group.
Iron Maiden’s Legacy of the Beast tour continues in 2020, with a return to Download festival on Saturday 13th June, and a show at Belfast’s Belsonic in Ormeau Park on Monday 15th. For a full list of dates, visit Iron Maiden.com.
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