Iron Maiden finally kicked off the latest leg of their Legacy Of The Beast tour in Zagreb on Sunday, May 22. Delayed for two years, it was worth the wait, with the band dropping three tracks from last year’s Senjutsu album, unveiling a new, Japanese-themed stage set and, best of all, unleashing the sword-wielding new ‘Samurai Eddie’.
More than 22,000 people packed into the Arena Zagreb to watch the band play their first show since November 2019, but there was one guest who was probably paying more attention than most – Paul Di’Anno, the man who sang on Maiden’s first two albums.
A brief, 15-second clip has emerged of a wheelchair-bound Di’Anno speaking to Maiden bassist Steve Harris in what looks like a backstage corridor. The short conversation is pretty hard to make out, and Harris has his back to the camera, it looks friendly enough, concluding with Di’Anno telling his former bandmate: “I can’t wait to see you lot.”
Di’Anno’s presence in Zagreb wasn’t a coincidence. The singer has spent the last few months in the Croatian capital receiving lymphatic drainage treatment ahead of upcoming knee surgery, hence the wheelchair. The video and a photo were posted by author and Maiden fan Stejpan Juras (opens in new tab), who is helping Di’Anno while he receives the treatment.
Di’Anno was fired by the band following 1981’s Killers album. In 2020, he told Metal Hammer that the band were right to replace him with Bruce Dickinson.
“I don’t blame them for getting rid of me. Obviously, the band was Steve’s [Harris, bassist] baby, but I wish I’d been able to contribute more. After a while that got me down. In the end I couldn’t give 100 per cent to Maiden anymore and it wasn’t fair to the band, the fans or to myself.”
Di’Anno played his first show in seven years the night before the Maiden gig, taking to the stage at Zagreb’s Bikers Beer Factory where he played several Maiden songs, including Sanctuary, Wrathchild and Phantom Of The Opera, as well as a cover of the Sex Pistols’ Holidays In The Sun.