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Bruce Dickinson at The Observatory – Live Review

Bruce Dickinson at The Observatory – Live Review

Bruce Dickinson, The Observatory, Santa Ana, CA., April 15, 2024

What an amazing moment in time for a metalhead to be living in Southern California, especially if you are an Iron Maiden / Bruce Dickinson fan. With the iconic vocalist’s only Golden State performance at The Observatory long since sold out, Dickinson would add two additional dates at the world-famous Whisky A Go-Go on the Sunset Strip – he even surprised those who stood in line all night by being at the box office selling the much-coveted tickets! Those two dates would also sell out and take place prior to his performance at The Observatory in Santa Ana. So, for the time being, Los Angeles and Orange County were host to the only Dickinson dates Stateside in support of his latest solo magnum opus The Mandrake Project.

Highwire Daze caught up with Bruce Dickinson and his band at The Observatory, and what an absolutely epic performance! There were no Iron Maiden songs presented, but with a solo catalog so rich and compelling, this would certainly be a night to remember for the metal ages ahead.

Kicking off the set with an astounding rendition of Accident of Birth from the 1997 album of the same name, Dickinson instantly won over the audience with that classic towering voice and bravado stage presence. Abduction from 2005’s Tyranny of Souls manifesto was up next, followed by the rapturous reprieves of Laughing in the Hiding Bush from 1994’s Balls To Picasso. Then it was time to delve into the mysteries of The Mandrake Project, as Dickinson and his band raged into the amazing Afterglow of Ragnarök! Chemical Wedding from the 1998 album of the same name was unleashed, and just within the first five songs, the audience was taken on a wondrous journey through a grand and captivating solo career. And there was still much more ahead!

Bruce Dickinson remains one of the greatest heavy metal vocalists on this planet, and what a commanding performance he delivered throughout the entire night! That vibrantly legendary voice filled the entire room, and the audience was singing along to each and every song!  The band was absolutely first rate, including the glorious participation of Philip Naslund and Chris Declercq on dueling guitars, Tanya O’Callaghan of Whitesnake and Adler’s Appetite on thunderous bass, Dave Moreno on super intensive drums, and the almighty Mistheria on keyboards. Together, the legendary Bruce Dickinson and these world class musicians unleashed the metal concert of a lifetime!

After ending the show with Darkside of Aquarius from Accident of Birth, it was clear that the audience was not prepared to let Bruce Dickinson and wander off into the wilds of Orange County and beyond just yet. The applause was euphoric, and Dickinson and the band would return for an absolutely explosive encore!  Navigate the Seas of the Sun from Tyranny of Souls made its live debut at this show – the first song of an absolutely devastating encore. Then arrived Book Of Thel and The Tower – a one-two punch from The Chemical Wedding that concluded the show in a grand and stratospheric way!

Bruce Dickinson has promised to return for a full-on North American solo tour later in the year! Be sure to check out The Mandrake Project and do not miss the opportunity to see Bruce Dickinson live the next time he brings his concert extravaganza to your part of the world!

(Review by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)

See more Jack Lue photos from the show here!

Bruce Dickinson on Instagram

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