McMurtrie, John – Iron Maiden-On Board Flight 666 (Book Review)

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Reviewed: May 2012
Released: 2011, Orion books
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: JP


A top-notch photo documentary of the last two iron Maiden tours.

May is Maiden Mania Month for us at This month we are going to review lots of Iron Maiden related material. Two books, two CD’s and a Maiden DVD, all of it mostly related to the last two world tours: the Somewhere Back In Time World Tour (2008-2009) and the Final Frontier World Tour (2010-2011). Lastly, we have the formal results from The Iron Maiden Tournament run by Erik on our Metal Forum. Thanks to Erik for running this fun poll and series of threads. Feel free to enjoy all of these reviews in this mini-series.

There have been a number of Iron Maiden related books released (I think we have reviewed many of them here over the years) and this is one of the only ‘official’ ones to come out. ON BOARD FLIGHT 666 is an absolutely stunning and beautiful documentation of the last two Iron Maiden world tours.
In case you are not familiar back in 2007 or so Iron Maiden management began to seriously consider having an Iron Maiden plane. Not a little jet for vanity reasons for the band to flit around, a real big bomber that would take everyone and everyTHING on the tour. They ran the numbers and it started to make sense. On top of that the lead singer would be the pilot. Saves having to pay someone! And so a four year-long adventure begun. Acquiring and retro-fitting a jumbo jet apparently isn’t as easy as it sounds. After a full year of prep, in 2008, one of the most ambitious world tours in music history (not just Metal) MUSIC history began. The ‘Somewhere Back In Time’ tour was so successful, they decided to do it all again a year later for the ‘Final Frontier’ World tour. Official band photographer, John McMurtrie was there every step of the way. And now we get a glimpse into the Maiden machine.

ON BOARD FLIGHT 666 is a stunning 250+ page hardbound, coffee table book. Naturally, it’s full colour, printed on thick, glossy stock, which really brings out the vibrant shots (and my fingerprints!) Often in my book reviews I’ll skim a book and count how many photos are included for those who like the technical detail, but not this time. Way too many shots to even attempt that!

The book starts with an introductory, aviation-themed essay by pilot Bruce Dickinson, followed by comments from Mc Murtrie. The inside cover has blueprints for the plane which look neat. The photo essay follows the band from the initial airfield and plane prep through both world tours. There are lots and lots of shots of the tours. It’s not ‘just’ the band playing on stage, it’s backstage, venues, site-seeing, and lots and lots of photos of the cabin and crew. This is truly a magnificent peek at the band on the road. There are pictures of Bruce at the shooting range, Steve playing soccer in Brazil, Nicko on a submarine, the band touring the pyramids in Mexico, Dave touring NASA Control center in Florida, Janick at the aquarium in Australia, Adrian at The Alamo in Texas, the tarantula in Chile, the fire-dancers in Bali, and of course…Eddie. I could go on all day. There are lots of little write-ups to help you keep you bearing on the whirlwind tour with the plane, dubbed Ed Force One, being featured prominently in the book.

Even if you are a casual Iron Maiden fan who doesn’t pick up every live album, single and box-set and so on, this book is highly recommended. It completes the four-part documentation of those amazing years; the two double Live Albums (FLIGHT 666-THE SOUNDTRACK and EN VIVO) the award-winning movie, (FLIGHT 666-THE FILM) and now the book.

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Format Reviewed:
Publisher: Orion Books
Pages: 256