Invited for a VIP visit to the world famous NASA Space Center, Astronaut Michael J. Massimino gave four members of Iron Maiden a comprehensive tour commenting, "Having a visit from Iron Maiden was great fun. It was a pleasure to meet them and they are big fans of the space program. It was an honor for NASA to host them and a big morale boost for the entire NASA team to have Iron Maiden at the Space Center."
Says vocalist Bruce Dickinson, "We appear to have a lot of fans at NASA, and it was a real pleasure to meet some of them, especially, of course, a bona fide astronaut who has made a number of space walks. Hearing first hand of Michael's experiences was fascinating. He took us round the Space Station and Shuttle and up close to the incredible Saturn-5 rocket. Fans working in the Mission Control room had even put up pictures of the band on the huge screens where you would normally see the rockets taking off! The highlight was unquestionably the Apollo Room, from where the moon landings were coordinated, this was to step back into history. Looking at the relative simplicity of the equipment compared to today, it is amazing how they managed to pull it off. Each of us even got to take off, fly and land the Space Shuttle on the simulator, a real thrill. We felt very privileged and hope that Michael and our NASA fans enjoyed our Houston show as much as we enjoyed our visit with them."
Iron Maiden opened their hugely anticipated "Final Frontier Tour" of North America with shows in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, playing to over 36,000 Texan fans. They gave the band a rapturous reception at their first show in Dallas in seven years at the Superpages Amphitheater.
The Dallas Examiner wrote, "Dallas fans were the first to hear a song off the new album live: 'El Dorado' was met with huge excitement. If this song is anything to go by, Maiden's new album will kick some serious ass!"...
"They are simply amazing and the crowd loved them-from the young (I saw kids no more than ten years old and younger) to the old. Maiden fans are diverse but they all come together for one thing-real heavy metal!"
"The Final Frontier North American Tour " is certainly one of the major successes for live shows in America this summer, expected to attract over 350,000 for the 25 shows, including over 25,000 fans in San Bernardino, Ca, this coming Saturday, and Madison Square Garden, NYC, July show having sold out weeks ago.
Says manager Rod Smallwood, "We were taken aback with the commitment of our North American fans and the numbers attending our shows two years ago, but this tour is going up even another step. Temperatures in Texas were passing ninety degrees, but even that didn't deter the many thousands of fans. We are looking forward to a fantastic few weeks of concerts over here. Our thanks go to those fabulous fans in Texas who have given us an incredible start to the tour!"
The title of the tour is taken from the band's new studio album, "THE FINAL FRONTIER," which will be released on Aug 17. Just prior to the tour, the band revealed the new album artwork and track listing and uniquely gave their fans a free download of a new track from the album entitled "EL DORADO." Posted to their ironmaiden.com website, the sheer volume of traffic from fans continually crashed the site.
Besides a massive new stage production and interstellar lighting rig, Texas also got to see the debut of the new incarnation of their notorious mascot Eddie, now in terrifying alien form, strolling on stage, flipping the finger, playing mayhem with the guitarists, head-throbbing, jaw-dropping, tongue-rolling and leading a tumultuous end to the concert, which comprised of almost two hours of classic songs, old and new, and a preview of the forthcoming album with the inclusion of the new song "El Dorado."
Following the North American Tour, the band will then shift over to Europe for a series of major festival and stadium shows before taking some time off and returning to many more countries in 2011.
Additional photos available.