at Trillians, Newcastle, U.K., November 21, 2023

PAUL DI'ANNO (Live at Trillians, Newcastle, U.K., November 21, 2023)
Photo: Mick Burgess

It’s incredible to think that the last time that Paul Di’Anno graced a stage in Newcastle was way back in 1981 as frontman with Iron Maiden. Much water has passed under the bridge since then for both Maiden, who continue to thrive with Bruce Dickinson, who stepped in to Di’Anno’s shoes in 1982, and for Di’Anno himself, who has had an extensive recording career with Di’Anno, Battlezone, Killers and as a solo artist.

The current tour was billed as a celebration of Di’Anno’s Maiden past, so when the sold out signs went up in record time, it came as no surprise to anyone.

Di’Anno has suffered a number of health issues over the years and a recent knee operation has left him wheelchair bound but the East Londoner is made of stern stuff and he wasn’t going to let this stop him hammering out a bunch of vintage Maiden classics.

Those classics came thick and fast from “Wrathchild” and “Murders in the Rue Morgue” to “Sanctuary”, “Killers” and “Running Free”, their first hit single from 1980 and the one that earned them their first appearance on Top of the Pops back in those heady days of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. The packed and excitable crowd sang every word created a stirring atmosphere and Di’Anno seemed visibly taken aback by the reception and beamed with delight.

Backed by his “Norwegian band” who romped through the instrumental “Transylvania”, Di’Anno’s rough, gravel hewn voice sounded powerful and imposing yet on “Remember Tomorrow” he showed an altogether different, smoother tone and touchingly dedicated it to his sadly departed Maiden compatriot, Clive Burr

To many, the Di’Anno era of Iron Maiden represents their pinnacle when they were young and hungry and had a street Punk attitude amongst the Metallic onslaught and the whole set was built around those first two classic albums except for a cover of “Holidays in the Sun” by the Sex Pistols showing Di’Anno’s Punk edged roots in their full glory.

It’s difficult to pick a highlight amongst many highlights but “Phantom of the Opera”, rarely if ever played by the current Maiden lineup, was immense with Di’Anno and his band pulling out the performance of the night befitting such a monumental slice of Metal history.

It may have been a over four decades coming but Di’Anno’s long awaited return was well worth the wait.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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