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Young and old alike turning up for Iron Maiden China shows
From:chinadaily.com.cn  |  2016-04-26 09:55

The UK heavy metal band Iron Maiden plays in Beijing and Shanghai as part of its The Book of Souls tour.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Iron Maiden debuted on the Chinese mainland on Sunday, four decades after it was founded.

Having performed the show in Beijing, the British heavy-metal band now prepares to hit Shanghai on Tuesday.

As part of their ongoing The Book of Souls global tour that started in February, the band's musicians flew into the Chinese capital on Ed Force One, a customized Boeing jumbo jet piloted by lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson.

The Sunday concert was held at LeTV Sport, a large indoor space in Beijing, where fans in the thousands turned up, including young children and the elderly. Many wore the band's T-shirts and screamed in excitement as they heard some of their favorite songs being played live for nearly two hours.

"We are very excited about this tour because we play in 35 countries across six continents, especially places like China, where we have never performed before," band guitarist Adrian Smith, 59, told China Daily in an interview ahead of the Beijing gig.

Founded in Leyton, east of London, in December 1975, the band has so far sold more than 90 million albums worldwide, with hits such as Two Minutes to Midnight and The Trooper, landing their first Grammy in 2011 for the song El Dorado.

The ongoing tour is in support of the band's 16th album, The Book of Souls, which was released in September. It is the band's first double CD album and comes five years after its previous album, The Final Frontier. The latest album also climbed to the top of the charts both in Britain and the United States.

"We didn't have much material before going to the studio. You never know where you are going once you start working," says Smith, who co-wrote Speed of Light and Death of Glory, among other songs in the latest album. "We love to work on spontaneity."

The UK heavy metal band Iron Maiden plays in Beijing and Shanghai as part of its The Book of Souls tour.[Photo provided to China Daily]

The Book of Souls was recorded in Paris in 2014 after Dickinson's recovery from cancer. For the album, the frontman also wrote the band's longest ever song, Empire of the Clouds, which runs for 18 minutes and was inspired by a plane crash in France in 1930.

Calling Iron Maiden "old-school", Smith, who grew up listening to Deep Purple and the '70s music, says the way they make music is not affected by new technology or the internet, which brings them young fans.

"Nowadays music is made by computer. The vocals are computerized, not very organic anymore. With the drum machine, computers and programed music, they are not actually playing. Then what's the magic in that? When kids come to see us, they think we are different," he says.

"When we make the sound, we try to make a statement, something substantial. Fans buy the album, read the lyrics and they don't just download and skip it soon," he adds.

Guitarist Janick Gers agrees.

"I didn't really have a goal to win a Grammy. That's just a present people give you. It's nice to get them (the awards) but I am not in the business to get a Grammy, or to become somebody in the Rock and Roll Hall (of Fame). It doesn't interest me at all. But I do want to play good music and I do believe (in) it. I am pretty sure the rest of the guys want the same thing," says Gers, 59, who joined the band in 1989.

Though the band is not nostalgic, the musicians sometimes look back in wonder about their own success.

"We started with little cars and little vans, and now here we are traveling around in this big plane with 15 crew (members) and all the equipment. It's important to remember where you come from," says Smith.