Bruce Dickinson – Santa Ana, CA – 4/15/2024

On the evening of April 15, 2024, the legendary Bruce Dickinson graced the stage at The Observatory in Santa Ana, California. The anticipation in the air was palpable as fans gathered to witness the Iron Maiden frontman’s solo performance—a rare treat, considering it was his first official solo date in over two decades. He played two shows at the Whisky aGo-Go where they were billed as “The House Band from Hell.”

Fans were treated to a sixteen-song set that spanned his solo career, including tracks from his latest album, The Mandrake Project. The show opened with the powerful “Accident of Birth,” setting the tone for an evening of high-energy rock.

Dickinson and his band included Tanya O’Callaghan on bass, Dave Moreno on drums, Mistheria on keyboards, Swedish-born guitarist, songwriter and multi-platinum-credited producer Philip Näslund and Swiss session and touring guitarist Chris Declercq. Long time collaborator and guitarist Roy Z was unavailable to perform due to other commitments.

The setlist was a perfect blend of new and old, with four songs culled from “The Mandrake Project.” Included were “Afterglow of Ragnarok,” “Many Doors to Hell,” “Resurrection Men,” and “Rain onThe Graves” from the new album.

Fans also reveled in classic Dickinson solo cuts like “Tears of The Dragon” and “Gods of War,” as well as a cover of The Edgar Allen Winter Group’s “Frankenstein” on which Bruce gave us a fantastic solo using a theremin. One of the highlights of the night was “The Alchemist” from the 1998 album “The Chemical Wedding.” The performance was nothing short of magical, with Dickinson’s vocal prowess and stage presence captivating the audience.The encore included the live debut of“Navigate the Seas of the Sun” and the hard-hitting “Book of Thel,” leaving the fans longing for more.

The concert was not only a showcase of Dickinson’s enduring talent but also a testament to his ability to connect with the audience on a personal level.  Dickinson and the band were using this as well as the two Whisky a Go-Go shows as a warmup for the upcoming solo tour with shows in Mexico and South America before undertaking a European trek. Bruce Dickinson’s show this evening was a triumphant return to the solo stage, filled with raw energy, musical mastery, and a setlist that perfectly captured the essence of his solo work. It was a night that will be remembered by all who were fortunate enough to attend.

Photos by contributor Joe Schaeffer for The Pure Rock Shop.  Click the link to view the entire gallery of photos from the show.  Posted on 4/16/2024.

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