20 Years Ago: Bruce Dickinson Leaves Iron Maiden
On August 28, 1993, Bruce Dickinson gave his last performance with Iron Maiden until he rejoined the band in 1999. The 1993 show was filmed by the BBC at Pinewood Studios in London and broadcast on MTV and pay-per-view in the U.K. Later, it was released as ‘Raising Hell’ on home video.
In addition to being Dickinson’s final show, the concert stands out because of the inclusion of magician Simon Drake, who fittingly “kills” the frontman with an old-school iron maiden, “amputates” guitarist Dave Murray, “murders” a young woman with a table saw and finishes off various members of the audience and road crew.
The band had wrapped up its Fear of the Dark tour less than a year before staging this special concert, which was filled with classic material. Tension had been growing between Dickinson and the band for some time, stemming from the usual conflict of musical-direction issues.
The final shows were no picnic, according to the singer. “It wasn’t a good vibe,” Dickinson told writer Mick Wall in the band bio ‘Iron Maiden: Run to the Hills — The Authorized Biography.’ “We walked out onstage, and it was like a morgue. The Maiden fans knew I’d quit, they knew these were the last gigs and I suddenly realized that, as the frontman, you’re in an almost impossible situation.”
Which made his onstage death even more significant. The symbolism was lost on no one. Eventually time healed the wounds, and Dickinson returned to Iron Maiden six years later, along with guitarist Adrian Smith, who had also left. Since then, the band has been rolling steady.