First things first: Iron Maiden have announced that they will return for another listening party. I am talking about a phenomenom that has developed during the Covid 19 induced lockdown periods and has become known as TimsTwitterListeningParty hoisted by the singer of The Charlatans, Tim Burgess. This is about the first party, but they have already promised a second.
The concept is easy. You log in at the given time and date and follow either #TimsTwitterListeningParty (I think it also works with @Listening_Party). Then all who participate listen to the same album at the same time, worldwide, while the artist(s) in question tweet along and comment upon the album in question. The events are free of charge.
Maiden were scheduled for 12. February 2021. Their album choice still surprises me, Powerslave (1984). I would have expected something that has produced more live hits or best of hits, but then, this album makes for some great stories. It seemed that almost everyone on Maiden-related social media started to get strangely excited about ancient Egypt the days prior to the event. I wonder how much more toilet paper went down the drain to produce more “mummies.”
I have to say that Iron Maiden had not been present in person. So do not expect any answers to your tweets. Yet, after half a day or so of feeling gutted because they only admitted this very shortly before the event, definitely raising wrong expectations on my part, I must say in restrospective that this was the strength of their performance.
Their appearance was extremely neat and organised, telling a real narrative. Each member had written at least one contribution and one of the technicans even provided a photo of the surroundings where the album was written. Yet, the number of contributions varied a lot. My impression was that whereas McBrain, Gers, and Murray had written like one or two tweets, Smith had contributed moderatly, but most tweets stemmed from Harris, and, to my big surprise, Twitter opponent Dickinson. It is like all six members tell one big story together. The beauty of it is how it moves along, but I will not give away any spoilers here. It would have been impossible to achieve such coherence without pre-writing and organising the tweets. Maiden have decided to do what they do best. Tell a story. You can throw at Maiden what you want; they will tell you a story. The format of the listening party has been adapted into the usual Maiden approach. So, in this case, it is not a novel or a historical event that is turned into a story in a Maiden song, now it is a Maiden album that is turned into a story in a listening party.
Aside, after Dickinson pointed out at the unveiling of William Blake’s gravestone on 12. August 2018 how much social media enslaved us, I was surprised to see that Maiden had agreed to participate. Even accepting slavery to Twitter…