Sometimes the stars (or tour schedules) align, and that was the case over the weekend as both Iron Maiden and their former singer Paul Di’Anno were both in Croatia, setting up a chance for the vocalist to reconnect with his former band.
It was a big weekend for Di’Anno who had returned to the stage for the first time in seven years, playing a show at the Bikers Beer Factory in Zagreb on Saturday (May 21). Fan-shot footage from the show can be viewed below.
Di’Anno had already been in Croatia receiving physiotherapy and lymphatic drainage treatments in Croatia in preparation for his upcoming knee surgery, and for this show he belted out a mix of his own material and Iron Maiden classics from his wheelchair.
The Saturday show perfectly lined up for Di’Anno to visit with his former band, as they were set to play Zagreb on Sunday night (May 22). Video footage seen below shows Di’Anno having a chat with founding Maiden bassist Steve Harris backstage just prior to the show, and the former vocalist then stuck around to catch a good portion of the set.
The singer was part of Iron Maiden for their first two albums – 1980’s self-titled release as well as 1981’s Killers – before he was fired and later replaced by Bruce Dickinson. Di’Anno continued to pursue music in his post-Maiden career, both playing with other bands and releasing solo material.
While the firing may have led to “what could’ve been” scenarios by fans, Di’Anno suggested in a 2021 interview that Maiden was right to have let him go. “The only person who might have had any doubts was me. Though I was a cocky frontman, I was all mouth and no trousers,” stated the singer to Classic Rock.
He then admitted, “By the time of Killers, the band was getting a bit more technical and losing some of that edge for me. I didn’t think that the songs had the same sort of attack, and then I started losing interest,” before adding, “I felt that I might be letting people down by voicing my doubts so I said nothing but then it all built up to the point where I was rubbing Steve [Harris] up the wrong way. I don’t blame them for getting rid of me. The band was Steve’s 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 a hundred percent to Maiden anymore, and it wasn’t fair to the band, the fans or myself.”
That said, Di’Anno has voiced his pleasure with his legacy within the band. “The two albums I made with the band were pivotal [to the genre]. Later on in my life when I met Metallica, Pantera and Sepultura and they told me that those albums were what got them into music, it made me incredibly proud.”