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    Bruce Dickinson & Black Smoke Trigger, The Halls Wolverhampton, 16.5.24

    Photography and review by Andy Shaw

    On a dreary wet night in Wolverhampton the sun shone inside The Halls as legendary Iron Maiden front man, Bruce Dickinson made a rare solo outing to the delight the assembled crowd.

    Support for the tour are Black Smoke Trigger who are a  hard rock/alternative rock band New Zealand and have been impressing audiences down under. They delivered a high-energy set that blended influences from Aerosmith and Guns N’ Roses, captivating the crowd with their raw hard rock sound​.  Vocalist Baldrick‘s powerful presence and pitch-perfect delivery, along with guitarist Charlie‘s impressive solos, bassist Dan’s groovy lines, and drummer Mr. Te Maro’s driving rhythms, showcased the band’s talent and stage presence. Their set included Proof Of Life, Perfect Torture and The Way Down which were met with enthusiastic responses from the audience​ The band’s chemistry and performance quality suggest a bright future, making them a must-see act for rock fans.

    BLACK SMOKE TRIGGER

    Bruce Dickinson

    Bruce Dickinson kicked off the British leg of his 2024 solo tour with a memorable performance at The Halls, Wolverhampton. This concert, part of his “The Mandrake Project” tour, marked his return to solo performances after nearly two decades, and the anticipation was palpable among the sold-out crowd, including something I never thought I would hear from Bruce, “Scream for me Wolverhampton”

    The show began with Accident Of Birth, immediately setting a high-energy tone. Bruce was backed by a talented band featuring guitarists Philip Näslund and Chris Declercq, bassist Tanya O’Callaghan, drummer Dave Moreno, and keyboardist Mistheria. This lineup delivered a powerful performance that showcased both Dickinson’s solo material and his band’s musicianship​

    The setlist included a mix of songs from his extensive solo catalogue, with highlights such as Abduction from Tyranny of Souls, “Laughing in the Hiding Bush” from Balls to Picasso, and Chemical Wedding, a standout track that resonated deeply with the audience. Dickinson also performed several new songs from The Mandrake Project, including Afterglow of Ragnarok, Many Doors of Hell, Resurrection Men, and Rain on the Graves, which were well-received by fans​

    In addition to the powerful musical performance, the concert was notable for its intimate atmosphere. Unlike the large arenas and stadiums typically associated with Iron Maiden, The Hall’s smaller venue allowed for a more personal and engaging experience. Dickinson emphasized this connection, opting for a show focused on the music and storytelling without the elaborate stage effects often seen in larger productions​.

    The encore featured Navigate the Seas of the Sun from Tyranny of Souls, a cover of All The Young Dudes concluding with two tracks from Chemical Wedding, Book of Thel and The Tower, leaving the audience with a lasting impression of Dickinson’s vocal prowess and the band’s cohesion​. The night was a testament to Bruce Dickinson’s enduring talent and his ability to captivate an audience, whether in a massive stadium or a more intimate setting. His performance at The Halls was a significant highlight for fans, many of whom had been waiting years for the opportunity to see him perform live as a solo artist again.​

    BRUCE DICKINSON

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