Spring speculation: Legacy of the Beast European Tour 2018

legacyHere we go again. Iron Maiden will be back on the road in two months, and Maiden Revelations takes a peek in the crystal ball to see what might be coming our way this time.

By Torgrim Øyre
and Christer Andresen

It has been 19 successful years since Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith returned to Iron Maiden, a period in which the band has alternated between new albums and retro tours, the most significant of the latter type being the History tours Eddie Rips Up The World (2005), Somewhere Back In Time (2008-09) and Maiden England (2012-14).


Adrian Smith, Bruce Dickinson and Steve Harris on stage with the resurrected Powerslave Eddie on the Somewhere Back In Time world tour in 2008-09.

And here we are again, two months before a new Iron Maiden retro tour is about to kick off: the Legacy Of The Beast European tour 2018, which is heading on into 2019 and probably other parts of the globe. This is the time in the Maiden cycle when a fan can hardly think of anything but: What will the setlist be? What will the production look like? Will they finally play Alexander The Great?

To answer the last question first, there has never been a bigger chance of them digging this fan favorite out of the closet than right now. All bets are off, since Maiden officially ended their History run with Maiden England, and this Legacy tour is a completely new way of doing a retrospective show. Bruce went out of his way to tell Kerrang! in a recent interview that they will do a couple of songs that will create social media frenzy after the first show at the end of May.

(Note to all: Don’t socialize on media until you’ve seen them yourself.)


Could they? Will they? Alexander astride his horse in one of an endless number of artworks inspired by his life and times, of which Iron Maiden’s 1986 song is our favorite piece.

The question in many setlist cases is whether Steve Harris wants to do it or not. Alexander The Great is his song, but he has never expressed a desire to play it live, instead opting to keep Rime Of The Ancient Mariner as the centerpiece of the set on Maiden’s 1986-87 tour for Somewhere In Time. Alexander never saw the light of day then, but could he now? We know it’s a retrospective show with a loose theme, so basically anything can happen this time.

But before we get our hopes up way too high, we should anchor our feet to the ground and at least try to be realistic about what Maiden might or might not do in 2018. The setlist is made up by Bruce, Steve and manager Rod Smallwood, and they decide pretty much what it’s going to be a year or more in advance. This means that the production team gets plenty of time to create the stage and props and effects, and it also means that we can take Bruce’s word for it when he talks about it this winter.


A controversial figure, manager Rod Smallwood is never allowed into the recording studio. But he does have a say when it comes to putting together Maiden’s live shows.

Alas, Iron Maiden to this day has never played a song in concert that was not part of the setlist when they toured the album where it was recorded. If, for some reason, that rule gets broken this time around, we believe there is another tune with a better shot at being included in the set. More on that later.

As most of you have probably figured out already, there is a bunch of clues in the artwork for the upcoming tour. Some of the songs that will be featured are plain to spot if your inner Maiden nerd takes a look at it. The clues are most prominent in the center window:


Clues upon clues to what Iron Maiden will play this year.

Before we delve into the riddles, it is worth pointing out that the entire aesthetic of the artwork is based on the rose windows that can usually be found in old churches. Adding to the religious connotations, Maiden announced the tour on 13 November 2017. The number 13:11-17 is a pretty interesting and lively chapter in the Book of Revelations, called “The Beast Out Of The Earth”. What do you see in the center window with the number 666 conveniently branded on its forehead?

The text goes: “11 Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. 12 It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. 13 And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. 14 Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. 16 It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, 17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.”

Pretty vivid stuff that sets the scene for a theatrical show. With the amazing and dramatic production of The Book Of Souls tour fresh in our minds, we do like the idea of another elaborate stage production. And it definitely seems to be what Maiden intend. The original announcement stated that “the stage set design will feature a number of different but interlocking ‘worlds'”, and that the team were “working on a number of different stage sets.”


The inspiration for the new tour’s theme came from the game Legacy Of The Beast.

Bruce is on record saying that they have spent a lot of time focusing on the production values and the show aspect in order to better the previous one. We say, HURRAH! Bruce will get no argument from us when he tells Kerrang! that “I’m focused on what’s gonna constitute an amazing setlist, and what’s gonna constitute an amazing stage show. […] I want people to go, ‘Wow! Fucking hell, you’ve gotta see this show!’ I want people to be surprised as well. I want them to go home going, ‘Fucking hell, I can’t believe they played that song!’ That’s the reaction I want.”

Hyperbole? Well, it’s hard not to get excited when Bruce himself says this. We have to keep in mind that this is a man who was at death’s door just 3 years ago, a man who has come back from the edge to deliver some of his most amazing performances yet. And he is now in charge of the new Maiden tour, and even Steve is bowing to his wishes.

Bruce wants to rock your world, that much is clear.

We haven’t been this excited about a Maiden tour for a long time.

So, with some idea of what the concept is based on, what do the illustrations tell us, and what has been said so far that could point to which songs will make the set? Let’s start with the circular rose window in the middle:


There are five “eyes” surrounding the beast-head Eddie, all of which have clearly visible elements that point to Maiden songs. If we assume this, let’s go clockwise from top:

  1. A wolf in (sheep’s) clothing, a bloodshed, and a cross. Killing in the name of religion? This fits the narrative of For The Greater Good Of God, a terrific track on Maiden’s 2006 opus A Matter Of Life And Death, which has also been featured in some of the video teasers for the tour. No-brainer, right?
  2. A fish and an unborn baby. In some religions and mythologies the fish is a symbol of fertility, baptism and water. Could it mean Moonchild or Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son? The Seventh Son Eddie is featured in one of the side windows, and the 2012-14 stage version was featured in the latest Fan Club magazine, with the punchline being that they hope it won’t be another 25 years until we see him on stage again. Well, if not now, when? Centerpiece of the show again?
  3. Dead man’s hand clutching the hand of god, and a snake eye. “Snake eyes in heaven, the thief in your head,” sings Bruce on Be Quick Or Be Dead from the Fear Of The Dark album. It is certainly a popular track from the 90s that lots of people would like to see back in the set. Time to hear this one with Adrian playing?
  4. A bottle of rum, a rudder, and a navigational tool. We’re off to the sea. Could they intend to resurrect Ghost Of The Navigator? Or are they going to play Rime Of The Ancient Mariner again? Our money is on the former. The wording of the press release made it clear that older classics will be coupled with some newer entries, and Ghost could be one of them.
  5. A light switch, a night sky. Fear Of The Dark, what else?

The beast picture itself can hardly connote anything but The Number Of The Beast, certainly a track they can not avoid on a tour titled Legacy Of The Beast.

Now on to the rest of the artwork. There could be some real gems hinted at here:


Not all of it needs to be song clues. It can’t be, because there wouldn’t be room for all of them in one setlist. Some of this might simply be the whim of the artist wanting to point out different aspects of the legacy. But if we learned anything from the announcement of Somewhere Back In Time it’s that Maiden like to clue us in.

Let us first talk a little about the pieces that are obviously song clues, the four windows in the bottom half of the illustration.

On the far left: A scroll with a trident pointing down, and the locked gates of heaven in the background. Our guess would be Heaven Can Wait. A song that some were surprised to not have in the most recent set, as Bruce had just survived his cancer ordeal. Is it time now?

To the right of that one is the image of a blacksmith hammering swords. There are nine of them in the picture, including the one being wrought. We could pray for this to mean Flash Of The Blade. Bruce talks about Sun And Steel in his book, and he has indeed promised something extraordinary. None of these, like Alexander The Great, have ever been perfomed live by Maiden. But we think there might be more of a chance for Sun And Steel than for poor old Alexander, the former being a fast and loose song as opposed to the intricate musicality of the latter.

Then, to the right of the main image, there are three canons. It could be something as simple and obvious as The Trooper. But some speculate that it means Paschendale. This track was dropped early in the 2010 tour preceding the release of The Final Frontier, and it has not been heard since. We do not find it likely to reappear at this point, since it’s another modern centerpiece track like For The Greater Good Of God.

Far right: A pleasantly obvious hint, Icarus falling from the sky. Iron Maiden posted a link to the Spotify stream of Flight Of Icarus with the cryptic comment “Hm…”, so this one is just about set in stone. Now that’s a rare gem for you. In Maiden lore, this track by Bruce and Adrian is controversial. Steve claims to like it just fine, but Bruce claims that Steve never did and is borne out by the fact that the band haven’t played it for nearly 32 (!) years despite it being their biggest American single.

flight of icarus cover art

Could it be? Are they finally going to play it again?

Throughout the cycles of retro tours, Flight Of Icarus is one of those tracks we hurt from not having seen them play, along with Infinite Dreams. Icarus was dropped early in the Somewhere In Time tour, admittedly at a point where Bruce couldn’t really do it justice. This is obviously one of the songs heavily hinted at as something they never play but finally will.

Now to the rest of the artwork.

The Legacy Of The Beast game is based on four different worlds within. Lo and behold, there are four windows on the sides of the main image, in the upper half (scroll back if you haven’t seen it enough times).

The Underworld – the Grim Reaper and a bunch of skulls crowning the Piece Of Mind Eddie, top left.

Battlezone – a mushroom cloud like the one in the image for 2 Minutes To Midnight hovers above the Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son Eddie.

Kingdom Of The Sands – a Powerslave sphinx is pictured over the image of the Trooper Eddie of both track and beer.

Ailing Kingdom – This is where Eddie is drained of power and energy. And what does the mosquito do? It sucks your blood.

But what of the dual symbols that accompany each of the crowns? There are two flags, the British and Scottish ones. The latter can easily be interpreted as a sign that The Clansman is coming back. The former is safely tied to The Trooper and canons. To the left of the main image there is a clear enough mushroom cloud expansion, but far left? What do those colors mean?

So, there we are. We have the official statement that the production will create different and interlocking worlds on stage. We have Bruce saying time and again that they will play a couple of big surprises. He recently said from the stage in Trondheim, hosting an evening with Bruce Dickinson, that they will at least play one very special song.

We have many clues, we have a few quotes and some rumors (Nicko is rumored to have said they will play Where Eagles Dare), so what do we think?

We’ll take two guesses.

Here is Torgrim’s setlist guess:


And here is Christer’s guess:


So what do you think, folks?

Are we onto something, or have we missed something important?


19 thoughts on “Spring speculation: Legacy of the Beast European Tour 2018

  1. Hi, I’m from Ottawa and heading over to Newcastle and Belfast to see maiden. I think your onto the right track for alot of song picks. One thing I would keep in mind is whenever maiden does a video on YouTube advertising the tour they always play the songs from that video in the tour. Here’s my guess setlist
    1.Aces high
    2.2. Minutes to Midnight
    3.Flight of Icarus
    4.The Trooper
    5.For The Greater Good Of God
    6.The Number of the Beast
    7.Sign Of The Cross
    8.Be Quick or be Dead
    9.Blood Brothers
    10.Heaven Can Wait
    11.The Clansman
    12.Fear Of The Dark
    13.Iron Maiden
    15.Lord Of The Flies
    16.Run To The Hills

    Ghost of navigator or talisman could also be in there. Email me if you are interested in how I came up with these. davidshute613@gmail.com

  2. Well, I’m super excited about this tour ! I cannot wait. Since they can play whatever they want this time I’m ready for surprises.

    If the setlist contains the following songs, it would be a BIG surprise and a fresh approach to the setlsits by Maiden standards:
    – Be Quick Or Be Dead
    – Flight Of Icarus
    – 22 Acacia Avenue (along with SIASL were mentioned by Nicko as his favorite songs to play live on the 2018 tour)
    – Stranger In A Strange Land (the snowflakes on the left corner of the beast Eddie window)
    – For The Greater Good Of God
    – Alexander The Great

    + some songs that have chances like:
    – Ghost Of The Navigator
    – The Clansman
    – Where Eagles Dare
    – Sun and Steel
    – Flash Of The Blade
    – Brighter Than A Thousand Suns (the bomb explosion of the second window)
    – Paschendale
    – Sign Of The Cross (mentioned by Bruce along with The Clansman as his favorites Blaze era songs to perfrom live)
    – No Prayer For The Dying

    I believe in Bruce to bring rare gems live for this tour ! It’s about time ! I hope for 5 gems for this tour 😀

    I expect a surprise brand new amazing stage design, better than TBOS tour stage (that’s not going to be easy), also, a 20 or at lest 17 songs set and a live album and DVD from this tour ! (the DVD is unlikely because of what happen to The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter live album/video, but the hope dies last 🙂

    • Well said, Kalata. Great to hear that Nicko mentioned Stranger, do you have a link to that? But alas, I think those are stars and not snowflakes to the left of the beast…

      • Thanks, great article about the upcoming tour !

        At the moment I can’t remember where I read about Nicko mentioned 22AA and SIASL, but if I found it I’ll share the link.

        Yeah, on the left of the window those are might be stars but also can be snowflakes, depends on the person point of view and imagination, I suppose. 🙂

  3. I can’t wait for the next tour and have seen the band live since 1982 when my dad brought Run to hills on 7 inch.

    Internet has taken the fun out of going to gigs, I prefer the 80’s – 90’s when you went to a gig not knowing what songs were being played until you actually heard them.

    Now its all over the Maiden web page and you tube and takes out some of the excitement. either way this is going to be a great tour.

  4. Man, any combination of these songs has me seriously excited for when they come back to the States (here’s hoping they come back to New England again). I think the prospect of Alexander the Great is kinda too good to be true, but boy, if they do play it, that’ll be amazing. I’d also really love to hear Sun and Steel and Flight of Icarus. The speculation alone will make this a whole lot of fun!

  5. It’s also worth noting that the following songs were present in the tour ad on YouTube. Historically, any tunes that show up there will also show up in the setlist:

    Aces High, 2 Minutes, Trooper, NOTB, RTTH, FOTD

    The above tunes were also announced as included on the new LOTB pinball machine, with the addition of:

    Wasted Years, CIPWM, Powerslave, Hallowed, Icarus, Rime

    …which is a grand total of 12 songs, plus Iron Maiden, so I fear we may be getting another “Somewhere Back In Time Again” tour. Throw in a couple of the hinted tracks from various recent interviews and you get something like this:

    1. Aces High
    2. 2 Minutes
    3. The Trooper
    4. Wasted Years
    5. Can I Play With Madness
    6. For The Greater Good of God
    7. Powerslave
    8. Where Eagles Dare
    9. Flight of Icarus
    10. Rime of the Ancient Mariner
    11. Heaven Can Wait
    12. Fear of the Dark
    13. Iron Maiden
    14. Number of the Beast
    15. Run To The Hills
    16. Hallowed Be Thy Name

    …ok, still a pretty killer setlist if I’m honest! But not very imaginative and featuring a staggering 13 tunes in common with SBIT.

    • Yes, that’s the thing. Bruce’s hype right now clearly points to something less similar, so it will be a disappointment if setlist and production doesn’t match what he says.

  6. As everyone else i´m super excited about this tour, the expectations are really sky high this time.
    I´ll doubt if they play any songs performed on the last tour – since they are played the most recent, but who knows.

    I´m hoping for, and belive in something like this.

    1. Caught somethere in time
    2. Flight of icarus
    3. 2 Minutes to midnight
    4. Be quick or be dead
    5. No prayer for the dying
    6. Only the good die young
    7. Stranger in a srange land
    8. Killers
    9.The longest day
    10. The wicker man
    11. Man on the edge
    12. Flash of the blade
    13. Alexander the great
    14. Rainmaker
    15. El dorado
    16. Iron Maiden
    17. Fear of the dark
    18. Hallowed be thy name

    There you have it: Rare played and/or never before played songs along with well known hits.
    All really good songs. its a total mystery why they havent been played often (or never in some cases).
    I´m also belive in possibly in To tame a land, Infinite dreams

    A few years ago, i belive it was before the Maiden England Tour, that they had rehearsed (or at least tried) Caught somewhere in time and infinite dreams. (Maybe Caught was before the Somewhere back in time tour). But the songs never made the set lists as we all know. Does anyone know if this is true?

  7. I think the blacksmith is a reference to The Evil that Men Do. He makes his living on the razor’s edge…

  8. While many have posted a wish list in the above comments, I will remain skeptical. I would be more than happy with Caught Somewhere in Time, Infinite Dreams, Alexander the Great, To Tame a Land, etc. I just don’t see it happening. I think you will get Be Quick or Be Dead, Flight of Icarus, For the Greater Good of God as fresh tour songs. The rest will be the customary 2 Minutes to Midnight, The Trooper, NOTB, Iron Maiden, FOTD, one of Sanctuary or Running Free.

    I see possibilities of The Talisman, Still Life (one can dream) and Killers. But I really only expect 3 surprises and the rest being classic or other songs played during the History tours. I hope I’m wrong, but the omission of Killers, Still Life, Die With Your Boots On, Infinite Dreams from Maiden England tour was a bit of a let down.

      • I think…

        Aces high
        2 Minutes to midnight
        Ghost of the navigator
        Flash of the blade
        Flight of icarus
        Be quick or be dead
        Lord of the Flies
        The clansman
        For the greater good of god
        The trooper
        Alexander the great
        Run to the hills
        Heaven can wait
        Fear of the dark
        Iron maiden

        Number of the beast
        The evil that men do
        Hallowed be thy name

  9. I’ve so looking forward to the new tour, this is once again really thrilling to wait and also (probably) for the first time they truly have the possibility of surprise. Now there really could be possibilities here and as Bruce said, he But one thing still got me a bit holding back my feelings, as if they would now play the few songs that weren’t even played on the history-tours, would they still bother to rehearse them for this tour? I would have preferred to hear Infinite Dreams, Caught Somewhere In Time on the “Somewhere Back In Time World Tour” and on “Maiden England World Tour”. I would be in for anything really, but if this is once again the case where they won’t be playing those 2 songs which I waited for most on the history-tours, Im not sure what to say. They might be playing Alexander..
    I think I will look to this more during the week and then before the first show I will post my prediction of the setlist.

  10. Here goes my setlist prediction

    Where Eagles Dare
    Be Quick Or Be Dead
    2 Minutes to Midnight
    The Trooper
    Phantom Of The Opera
    Rime Of The Ancient Mariner
    The Clansman
    For The Greater Good Of God
    Alexander The Great / Hallowed Be Thy Name
    Fear Of The Dark
    Iron Maiden

    The Number Of The Beast
    The Evil That Men Do
    Flight Of Icarus

    Up the irons!

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