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Run to the hills! Iron Maiden finally returning to Minnesota June 16

Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson in concert last year in Chile. / Courtesy IronMaiden.com

Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson in concert last year in Chile. / Courtesy IronMaiden.com

At least one British rock band that’s long-overdue in Minnesota will finally play here in 2017. Enduring metal kingpins Iron Maiden have confirmed a June 16 date at Xcel Energy Center as part of a 25-city North American tour, their first Twin Cities date in 16 years.

Tickets go on sale Jan. 27 at 10 a.m. for $37-$97 via Ticketmaster and the arena box office. Holy-creepy Swedish band Ghost -- last year’s Grammy Award winner for best metal performance -- will open the show.

Iron Maiden returned to the road last year – or rather, to Ed Force One, the jet that singer Bruce Dickinson flies from town to town – in support of their well-received double album, “The Book of Souls.” Their tour’s second go-round will predictably include an arsenal of fiery, Mayan-themed stage theatrics, including appearances by the band’s mummified mascot Eddie.

Unlike his fellow Brits in Radiohead -- whose tour announcement Tuesday ignored Minnesota for going on 19 years -- bassist/bandleader Steve Harris seemed to recognize the pent-up anticipation for the show locally. He said in a press release:

“We are really looking forward to returning to North America for a full tour. We had always planned to go back there and to the UK as last year, due to the global nature of the tour and the period it took, we just didn’t have time to cover them properly and we do still like to get to fans in as many places as possible! So this year we’re able to reach many more cities in America, including a return to places Maiden haven’t played for many, many years like Lincoln Nebraska, Minneapolis, Oklahoma City and Oakland California.”

The last time Maiden performed in town was way back in the year 2000 at Roy Wilkins Auditorium, soon after Dickinson and guitarist Adrian Smith rejoined the band. They have enjoyed quite a resurgence in the 15 years since, but the nearest they have come to us was a headlining slot at Rock Fest in Cadott in 2012.

Here's a video highlighting last year's tour.

Minnesota theaters will shine a light for inclusiveness on eve of Trump inaugural

Thursday, the eve of the inauguration of president-elect Donald Trump, is shaping up to be a day of action and observance for many across the nation, including artists.

At 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, people from three dozen Minnesota theaters will gather for the Ghostlight Project, named for the illumination that’s kept on in theaters that are “dark,” or not in use.

The project, spearheaded by high profile theater artists such as composer Jeanine Tesori, playwrights David Henry Hwang (pictured), Lisa Kron and Moises Kaufman, and directors Liesl Tommy, Lear deBessonet and Rachel Chavkin, is part of a national effort involving companies in all 50 states.

The Twin Cities companies include the Children’s Theatre, Intermedia Arts, the Jungle, Mixed Blood, Penumbra and the Playwrights’ Center. All are making or renewing “a pledge to stand for and protect the values of inclusion, participation, and compassion for everyone,” according to a mission statement.

Randy Reyes, artistic director of Mu Performing Arts, is one of the national organizers.

“At a time like this, it is important to affirm that theater will be a place that is inclusive and welcoming to all,” he said.

The roster of Minnesota theaters that are making a pledge for inclusion and compassion includes St. Paul’s Ordway Center and Park Square Theatre, Stages in Hopkins, the Commonweal in Lanesboro and Pangea World Theater and the Southern Theater, both in Minneapolis.

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