Yesterday was the 72nd birthday of Iron Maiden sticksman Nicko McBrain, but the party started the previous evening in Tampere, Finland, where 15,000 fans were lead through a chorus of Happy Birthday by frontman Bruce Dickinson.
On the second of two nights at the Nokia Arena, Dickinson paused after The Prisoner, the seventh song of the band's 16-stong setlist, and spoke to the crowd.
"I was gonna talk about Death Of The Celts, but no," said Dickinson, referring to the next song in the set. "Let's talk about something much more important... the life of Nicko McBain for one more f***ing year!"
Dickinson then lead the Arena through a rousing version Happy Birthday, finishing with a ragged vibrato as McBrain blew kisses in the general direction of the choir.
In 2015, Classic Rock asked McBrain how much longer he'd be behind the kit.
"Ideally… ten years? Nah, don’t see that," he responded. "Imagine me trying to play Run To The Hills at fucking seventy-three years old! So I don’t know, mate. But I’m planning on bowing out gracefully."
Run To The Hills is not in the current Iron Maiden setlist. The Future Past tour continues on June 7 in Bergen, Norway. Full dates below.
Elsewhere, McBrain was also wished a happy birthday by popular TV puppet Sooty. The pair faced-off in a tense drum battle in 1988 but have remained firm friends ever since, and a model Sooty straddles McBrain's bass drum to this very day.
Sooty is wishing a banging happy birthday to his number one fan Nicko McBrain from @IronMaiden, who has his very own Sooty sitting on his drum kit! Could Nicko sit on Sooty’s drum kit for the 75th Birthday Spectacular?! Get your tickets here >> https://t.co/grFLO0Q24Y pic.twitter.com/JbiFl5aMjmJune 5, 2023
Iron Maiden: The Future Past Tour 2023
Jun 07: Bergen Koengen, Norway
Jun 09: Solvesborg Sweden Rock Festival, Sweden
Jun 11: Leipzig Quarterback Immobilien Arena, Germany
Jun 13: Krakow Tauron Arena, Poland
Jun 14: Krakow Tauron Arena, Poland
Jun 17: Clisson Hellfest, France
Jun 19: Zurich Hallenstadion, Switzerland
Jun 21: Hannover Zag Arena, Germany
Jun 24: Dublin 3 Arena, Ireland
Jun 26: Glasgow OVO Hydro, UK
Jun 28: Leeds, First Direct Arena, UK
Jun 30: Manchester AO Arena, UK
Jul 03: Nottingham Motorpoint Arena, UK
Jul 04: Birmingham Utilita Arena, UK
Jul 07: London O2 Arena, UK
Jul 08: London O2 Arena, UK
Jul 11: Amsterdam Ziggo Dome, Holland
Jul 13: Antwerp Sportpaleis, Belgium
Jul 15: Milan, The Return of The Gods Festival, Italy
Jul 18: Palau Sant Jordi, Barcelona, Spain
Jul 20: Estadio Enrique Roca, Murcia, Spain
Jul 22: Bizkaia Arena Bec! Bilbao, Spain
Jul 25 Dortmund Westfalenhalle, Germany
Jul 26 Dortmund Westfalenhalle, Germany
Jul 29: Frankfurt,Festhalle, Germany
Jul 31: Munich Olympiahalle, Germany
Aug 01: Munich Olympiahalle, Germany
Aug 02: Wacken Open Air, Germany