Nicko McBrain Wants Iron Maiden to Perform With an Orchestra
For anyone who has seen Iron Maiden, you know the band delivers quite the theatrical performance. Eddie makes several appearances, sometimes as hulking fixed structures, other times as a towering animatronic and there's explosions of all sorts as well as Bruce Dickinson's dominating stage presence, but Nicko McBrain thinks the band can incorporate even more into their live act. How? With a full-fledged orchestra!
The topic came up when McBrain was asked if Maiden would be playing the Dickinson-penned 18 minute epic, "Empire of the Clouds," live on their upcoming world tour. In an interview with 98.7 The Gater, the drummer responded, "I'm pretty sure we won't do it. Primarily… Not because of the length of the song… There's a lot of orchestration, and Bruce's piano playing… [inhales deeply] Let's say it's not really ready to be played live."
"Empire of the Clouds" is replete with orchestration as it sweeps from movement to movement. McBrain doesn't rule out that it will be played live, however. He goes on to state his ambitions for the song and other Maiden tunes, adding, "The thing is, what I'd like to see Maiden do before we step back from the touring schedule that we usually do, I'd like to see us do like what Jon Lord [Deep Purple] did years and years back with the London [Symphony Orchestra], when he played the [Royal] Albert Hall, is do Iron Maiden songs with an orchestra. I'd love [to do it], because there's a lot of stuff there. "Alexander The Great" is a track that everybody's been moaning [that] it's been never played live. I'd like to do things like that. Everything that we haven't covered I'd like to see us do an orchestral version of. Perhaps that will happen one day."
Returning to the idea of performing the closing track off Maiden's new release, The Book of Souls, the drummer goes on to say, "I think ["Empire Of The Clouds"] will probably be performed somewhere along the line, whether it's in an Iron Maiden formula, or whether it'll be Bruce doing something with that song with someone else, perhaps. But I don't think we can really see play that one live, 'cause there's so much going on."
Giving further explanation, he talks about the limitations of Michael Kenney's [the band's touring and studio keyboard player] setup and the complexities of the song. McBrain says, "Michael Kenney does a lot of the fill-ins on songs where we've had… There's something probably on "The Red And The Black," if we do that live, Michael would do that, or if we did something which has got some orchestration on it, which you can do with a keyboard, Michael Kenney would do it. But this you can't do; you can't do that. Plus there's a lot of percussion instruments on there as well and whatnot, so it really wouldn't be something… And it's eighteen minutes long. I mean, you could do two songs in there [instead of "Empire Of The Clouds"], couldn't you?"
Iron Maiden are gearing up for The Book of Souls 2016 World Tour, unrolling a series of dates that will ultimately see the band play to audiences in 35 countries before its conclusion. The Book of Souls debuted at No. 1 in over 20 countries and landed at No. 4 on the Billboard 200.
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