Metal Etiquette

Iron Maiden Weren’t Quite Censored For Their First Chinese Concert



In January, we announced that part of Iron Maiden’s massive 2016 world tour would be the band’s first concert in China, which, given the Chinese government’s censorship laws–which forbid, among other things, art that “promotes superstitions or cults”, and kept Metallica from playing “Master of Puppets”–is kind of a big deal.

Well, the band played that show at the Bejing LeSports Center this Sunday night, and while they didn’t exactly get censored, they certainly made some changes to their set to accommodate their hosts. Here’s what was changed:

  • No pyro (weird, as the Chinese fucking love fireworks).
  • Though the Union Jack flag was still featured on the backdrop during “The Trooper,” Bruce Dickinson didn’t actually wave a Union Jack flag the way he normally does.
  • The band didn’t swear.
  • They weren’t allowed to throw stuff like picks, wristbands, and drum heads, into the audience.
  • Dickinson changed the lyrics in the chorus of “Powerslave” from “Tell me why I have to be a Powerslave” to “Tell me why I have to be a Wicker Man,” seemingly not to make Chinese audiences question whether they themselves were powerslaves.

Now, that said, the band played a ton of their classic material that one might not have thought would be allowed, including “The Book of Souls,” “Hallowed Be Thy Name,” and even “Number of the Beast”! I guess the latter was seen by the Communist Party as being anti-cult, since it’s about a guy trying to escape a group of Satanists? Who knows! The point is, Maiden rocked Bejing, and apparently did so in fine form. Good on those dudes for still making history this far into their careers.

Watch videos from the performance below. Maiden’s second Chinese show, this one at the Shanghai Mercedes-Benz Arena, is tonight.


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