Bruce Dickinson performing The Mandrake Project Tour at Rock City Nottingham on Thursday 23rd May 2024.

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Bruce Dickinson was at Rock City on Thursday night as part of The Mandrake Project tour, much to the delight of the packed crowd but up first was New Zealand hard rock and metal band, Black Smoke Trigger.

Whilst there was much promoting of their impending debut album Horizons, front man Baldrick oozed with charisma as they captured the imagination of a distinctly partisan crowd who were primarily there to see Dickinson.

They worked through a few older tracks such as The Way I’m Wired and their biggest song to date, Caught In The Undertow, as well as new songs The Way Down and K.M.T.L. which were all appreciated by the crowd during their half hour set.

Bruce Dickinson rose to international stardom as vocalist of the legendary Iron Maiden who will celebrate their 50th anniversary next year no doubt with an arena tour so Thursday night was a breath of fresh air for Dickinson before he gets back to his ‘day job’ as he referred to it.

Dickinson and his very talented band opened with the incredible Accident Of Birth which was followed by the gripping Abduction, both of which set the mood nicely. Laughing In The Hiding Bush kept the energy levels high in the crowd who were taken back to the title track of the 1998 album, The Chemical Wedding before they were brought right up to date with three songs from his latest album, Many Doors To Hell, Resurrection Men and Rain On The Graves, with the added bonus of Jerusalem sandwiched in between to mix it up a bit.

Frankenstein, an instrumental by The Edgar Winter Group saw Dickinson performing on the bongo drums before they seamlessly transitioned to The Alchemist which was simply inspirational. Bringing the main set to a close with Tears Of The Dragon and Darkness Of Aquarius saw the crowd fist pumping the air in delight.

The three song encore began with Navigate The Seas Of The Sun, a heavily acoustic song that was a stark departure from the vast majority of the evening, which was quickly followed by the masterpiece Book Of Thel with its rousing vocal performance before the epic set was closed with The Tower.

Dickinson, a music titan in a much smaller venue than he is used to, delivered a thorough and almost definitive set list of his solo career and gave the crowd an extraordinary experience, and whilst his voice is showing some signs of wear and tear, his vocal delivery remains warm and full of life.