Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson shares his ‘strange journey’ at Rockwell Hall


Thomas Tedesco

Bruce Dickinson speaking to the audience at the Performing Arts Center in Rockwell Hall on February 1, 2022.

Thomas Tedesco, Vice President

Being the lead vocalist of one the world’s most highly praised and successful metal bands would seem to be enough for most people, but not for Bruce Dickinson.

The Iron Maiden front man has worn many hats throughout his storied career, including those of an aviator, author and fencer, just to name a few. Dickinson ditched all these hats and all of his iconic stage outfits on Tuesday evening as he took the stage to a thundering applause wearing a more casual hoodie and jeans.

“Well, there’s a reason I’ve never been invited to Paris Fashion Week. There’s four of them right there,” Dickinson said when referring to photos of himself in his stage attire displayed on the screen behind him.

Dickinson’s appearance at the Performing Arts Center in Rockwell Hall was not a full blown concert performing Iron Maiden songs or solo material, but rather him speaking and giving the audience insights into what he described as his “strange journey.”

The infamous fourth wall was taken down and Dickinson quickly established a connection with audience that intertwined with his own life story.

“I’m going to find some way of getting something in common with my audience and it’s always difficult now because everybody wants to be something else, so birth has got to be the way to start,” he said.

From there, he talked about his early life with the audience, which included growing up in Worksop, England and attending a boarding school where he formed his first band in which he wanted to be a drummer.

While that band did not become the next Genesis like Dickinson hoped, he said singing the chorus of “Let it Be” by The Beatles made him decide to become a vocalist.

“The germ of an idea starts to pop into my brain that maybe I shouldn’t be a drummer after all. If you can make millions writing s— like this, you should be a singer,” Dickinson said.

Dickinson also told stories about Samson, the band he was a part of right before joining Iron Maiden in 1982.

“We made every mistake that was possible to make in the music industry in a concentrated period of two years,” he said.

He would go on to discuss the various tours and big performances he undertook with Iron Maiden throughout the 1980s, specifically sharing experiences touring in a Soviet-controlled Poland and performing for roughly half a million people at the first ever Rock in Rio Festival in 1985.

“It’s basically the biggest gig in the world. We had no soundcheck, nobody in the crew spoke English and it was a bit of a s— show frankly,” Dickinson recalls. “I mean, we went down great, but we have no idea why.”

Throughout most of his story telling, Dickinson’s eccentric personality and imitations of people from Queen Elizabeth to Johnny Cash provided a sense of levity and humor that was not lost on the audience.

Even when he tackled more personal subjects, like his cancer diagnosis, Dickinson added his touch of humor and personality, which continued to keep the audience engaged.

“I’m going to create a personality for my cancer,” Dickinson recalls. “It’s the person that comes to a party at your apartment, tries to steal all of your best booze and f— girlfriend. That person is leaving out the door and not coming back.”

Dickinson continued the engagement in the second part of the show in which he answered select questions from the audience.

This culminated with a fan asking him to sing the chorus of his well known solo song, “Tears of the Dragon,” acapella.

His impeccable vocals once again brought the audience to a standing ovation to end the evening just as it began.