Iron Maiden playing in Rio
Iron Maiden playing in RioREUTERS

One of heavy metal’s biggest bands will be returning to Israel next year, for its first show in the Jewish state in 25 years.

On Thursday, the band Iron Maiden confirmed that it will be appearing in Tel Aviv next year for its first show in Israel in a quarter of a century.

"The production in Tel Aviv is just like the rest of our productions to date and is based on our mobile game 'The Legacy of the Beast World Tour' which actually takes some of Eddie's reincarnation into a number of Maiden's worlds. The inspiration to create a stage show that takes our fans through different worlds and experiences tailored to the songs," said Iron Maiden signer Bruce Dickinson in a statement.

Bassist Steve Harris said the band was "very excited" to return to Israel.

"We put a lot of thought into assembling the set-list for this tour, because the songs had to follow the narrative of the changing worlds on stage. We feel it created a strong, balanced mix of alternating songs that some didn't play for many years alongside songs that we would like fans to hear."

The show, which will be part of the band’s 2020 ‘Legacy of the Beast’ world tour, is being promoted in Israel by Shuki Weiss and Live Nation Israel, Israel Hayom reported.

Iron Maiden is slated to perform at Tel Aviv’s Bloomfield Stadium on May 30th, with Israeli heavy metal band Orphaned Land opening the show.

Israeli metal fans celebrated the news, which not only marks the band’s return to Israel after two-and-a-half decades, but also the first Iron Maiden show in Israel with singer Bruce Dickinson.

Iron Maiden’s three previous appearances in Israel – all in September 1995 during the X-Factor Tour – were with then-front-man Bayley Alexander Cooke, better known by his stage name of ‘Blaze Bayley’.

Dickinson, who joined the group in 1981, appeared on Iron Maiden’s most commercially successful albums, including ‘Number of the Beast’, ‘Powerslave’, and ‘Somewhere in Time’. He split with the band in 1993, but returned in 1999.

While many Israeli fans rejoiced, some Orthodox Jewish fans in Israel urged the band to reconsider the timing of the concert, which begins Saturday evening before the end of the Sabbath and a day after the Shavuot holiday.

A petition launched by Orthodox fans has called on the show’s promoters to push off the date of the concert.

“For the greater good of G-d and the Jewish people, please choose a day to play here that doesn't fall out on one of the forbidden times.”

Other fans took to the ‘Bring Iron Maiden to Israel’ group to organize a group Shabbat at a hotel in Tel Aviv near the venue, allowing religious fans to make it to the show after the end of the Sabbath (8:23 p.m.).

Aviva Fort, who previously covered the Israeli metal scene with ‘Metal Israel’, told Arutz Sheva concert promoters fail to realize that a growing number of rock and metal fans in Israel are religiously observant, assuming that the fan base is exclusively secular.

“The foreign-born religious population is only growing. Concert promoters and the rest of Israeli society need to deal with reality: Shabbat-observant people that move to Israel or study here don’t necessarily fall into the strict boxes delineated by Israeli society. Shutting out an entire sales market by not taking our needs into account is just not a smart financial move.”

Iron Maiden, one of the so-called ‘New Wave of British Heavy Metal’ bands founded in the mid-1970s, rose to prominence in the 1980s with albums including ‘The Number of the Beast’, ‘Piece of Mind’, and 1984’s ‘Powerslave’.

By 2017, band had reportedly sold over 100 million albums worldwide, and between 1980 and 2018 played 2,174 concerts.

Last December, Dickinson appeared in Tel Aviv for a stop on his ‘Spoken Word’ tour, presenting his life story at the Tel Aviv Opera House. Dickinson has never, however, appeared in Israel with Iron Maiden.