Will Eddie be the next major musical mascot to grace a Beijing stage?

Iron Maiden's announcement of their upcoming 2016 The Book of Souls world tour Tuesday contains a cryptic reference: "long awaited return to JAPAN follows later in April, and then the band are delighted to be playing their first ever shows in CHINA before heading to NEW ZEALAND and AUSTRALIA for a comprehensive tour during the first half of May" (emphasis theirs).

Does that say "shows," plural? Hmm.

When 2015 started off, it looked like a live music disaster. Shows were being canceled left and right, leaving Beijing (although not necessarily the surrounding area) musicless for the May 1 weekend. But since then, we've had big names including Linkin Park and Imagine Dragons, and in September, Muse and Bon Jovi. So is the stage set for an April 2016 appearance by Iron Maiden?

Beijing is definitely more of a metal town than Shanghai, but Metallica only stopped there, and not here. Linkin Park, not entirely metal but close, did Beijing, Shanghai, and a few other Chinese cities. Bon Jovi, who might as well be Elton John at this point, is doing Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.

One obstacle is that Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson, who recently recovered from cancer of the tongue, will be piloting the group's Boeing 747, Ed Force One (no, really. Dickinson is a qualified 747 pilot), and one wonders how local aviation officials will greet an application for permission to land from a privately-piloted 747 that has a large, grimacing mummy painted on the side. We know that Iron Maiden like to perform in far-flung parts of the globe, having played in India in 2007, making them the first major metal band to play anywhere in the Indian Subcontinent.

The grizzled British metalers have yet to confirm cities for any of those 2016 dates yet, so we're not the only ones in suspense. Doesn't really matter, we're going, we'd just rather go to Gongti or MasterCard than, ew, Shanghai. The Book of Souls will be released September 4.

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Photo: Iron Maiden

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