IRON MAIDEN bassist Steve Harris spoke to Planet Rock's Paul Anthony this past Thursday night (May 4) about the 2017 leg of the band's "The Book Of Souls" European tour, which kicked off on April 22 at Sportpalais in Antwerp, Belgium. He said (see video below): "When we ask [MAIDEN manager] Rod [Smallwood] for a warm-up gig, he gives us a gig in Antwerp with, like, 12,000 people, or whatever it was, so it's not really a warm-up gig, is it? So you've still got that pressure there, but I think we work well under pressure anyway."
He continued: "It doesn't really matter where we do a gig, any first gig is gonna be a little tentative perhaps, but because we did the last tour, most of the songs [in the setlist have stayed the same] — there's only two different songs, so we [spent] a lot less time [rehearsing] this time, and, obviously, we're more comfortable with the songs, the new stuff, because we've played it before. So it wasn't really a warm-up — it was just getting the rust off a little bit."
Explaining why MAIDEN added "Wrathchild" and "The Great Unknown" to the 15-song setlist in place of "Tears Of A Clown" and "Hallowed Be Thy Name", Steve said: "We just wanted to mix it up a little bit, [throw] a couple of fresh things in there, move it around a little just to shake things up a bit… It's just nice to do a few different things."
Harris went on to say that IRON MAIDEN refuses to rest on its laurels, even when it comes to performing songs that they have played thousands of times before. "We still rehearse," he explained. "We don't take anything for granted. We're not complacent at all. We're professional and make sure everything is comfortable for ourselves and we're confident when we go out there. The last thing you wanna do is go on a tour and not be confident. It's a bit like football where they use the match-fit thing. It's the same sort of thing — you can prepare, you can go running, you can do whatever, you can rehearse and everything else, but you've still gotta get out there and actually physically do the business, and to do that, you have to get out and do it with a crowd. So we could rehearse until the cows come home, but it's not the same as playing in front of an audience."
Harris also once again reiterated his stance that IRON MAIDEN has absolutely no plans of retiring. "I think we're all in pretty good shape, so we'll do it as long as we can, really," he said. "He [points at security guard nearby] is looking at me over there, 'cause he wants a job for the next few years as well. So… don't we all?!"
"The Book Of Souls" is MAIDEN's first ever double studio album and their most successful chart-wise to date, debuting at the No. 1 spot in over 40 countries around the world and No. 4 in the U.S.A.
IRON MAIDEN's "The Book Of Souls" world tour will return to North America for an extensive series of arena and amphitheater shows in June and July. Support on the trek will come from GHOST.