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Bruce Dickinson Brings ‘The Mandrake Project’ to Life at Manchester Academy [Photos]

The legendary metal frontman Bruce Dickinson brings ‘The Mandrake Project’ to life at Manchester Academy. Photos and show review here…

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Bruce Dickinson, photo by Graham Finney Photography

1988 was the year I found Iron Maiden. Seventh Son of a Seventh Son is opening my world to one of the finest heavy metal bands on the planet. From here, I dived into their past and stuck with them into the future until Bruce took his temporary leave. Iron Maiden without Bruce Dickinson held no interest to me; they’re the perfect match, and Bruce Dickinson without Maiden wasn’t something I’d ever turned my ear to either.

So, here I find myself some 36 years later, about to listen to Bruce Dickinson’s solo for the first time at Manchester Academy, with no knowledge of what to expect, preconceptions, or expectations. I was expecting it to be a marmite moment, and just like marmite, I loved it.

Bruce Dickinson, with no major staging (in comparison to what Iron Maiden puts out), comes at the stage with an unrelenting energy. From the get go this was a musical journey, the tone of his music felt like it was pulling through the roots of metal from a bygone time and dragging it out of an ye olde world into the modern day. To describe the sound visually, it would be like looking at Bill Bailey, that’s how I felt. Yet that’s just the start, from here we travel through into psychedelic and experimental times, with Bruce Dickinson flexing why he’s just a master of his craft.

With a backdrop of videos complementing each song and an awesome band consisting of Tanya O’Callaghan, Philip Naslund, Chris Declercq, Dave Moreno, and Mistheria rocking upfront, you feel a constant adrenaline both visually and musically. The night goes too quickly; it’ll leave you craving more, yet at the same time so satisfied to have such a metal fix.

I left fixated with my own desire to do it again, and you must. If you’ve missed it, then look no further than here. You may have missed the UK leg, but you’ll do no wrong getting out into Europe to soak up the unique experience Bruce Dickinson delivers (don’t forget to read our recent Cover Story for a full deep-dive into The Mandrake Project).

Set List:

1. Accident of Birth
2. Abduction
3. Laughing in the Hiding Bush
4. Afterglow of Ragnarok
5. Chemical Wedding
6. Many Doors to Hell
7. Jerusalem
8. Resurrection Men
9. Rain on the Graves
10. Frankenstein (The Edgar Winter Group cover)
11. The Alchemist
12. Tears of the Dragon
13. Darkside of Aquarius
14. Navigate the Seas of the Sun
15. Book of Thel

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