Iron Maiden's 2016 World Tour to Start in U.S., Visit China for First Time

John McMurtrie
Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden has announced the first run of dates for its 2016 Book Of Souls world tour. 

The metal veterans on Monday shared the itinerary for its trek of Australia and New Zealand, and mapped-out details of a global tour which will kick off in the U.S. in late February and will make first-ever stops in China and El Salvador and work its way through Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Japan and South Africa before embarking on an "extensive" run of European countries.

So far, Maiden has announced just the seven arena shows for Down Under in April and May, with tickets going on sale Sept. 24 (earlier for fan club members).

Iron Maiden Earns Fifth No. 1 Album in U.K. With 'The Book of Souls' 

The British band will take their legendary brand of heaviness to their international fans via a Boeing 747-400 jumbo jet Ed Force One, which will be piloted by the Bruce Dickinson, the group’s vocalist. 

According to a statement posted by the band, the tour will open in the U.S. with Ed Force One flying in for three shows before, in early March, heading into Central America visiting Mexico, followed by a first concert in El Salvador and a return to Costa Rica. "Ed Force One then proceeds into South America for concerts in Argentina, Chile and a number of shows in Brazil before flying back to the USA at the end of March for ten more cities covering the USA and, of course, Canada in the first two weeks of April.”

Also, the group has pledged to make a “long awaited return” to Japan in April, and play their debut shows in China before heading to Australasia. Shows in South Africa, Maiden’s first visit there since Dickinson took mic duties in 1981, will be the “last port of call before Ed Force One heads to Europe for a very extensive tour starting in late May and finishing in early August” (the first time the jumbo has been used on any European tour dates).

Dickinson has reportedly made a full recovery after undergoing surgery and treatment for throat cancer following the recording sessions for the new album.

“We cannot wait to get back out on tour," he says in a statement. "When we start in the USA in late February it will be 19 months since our last show at Sonisphere in the U.K. so we are raring to go. Maiden thrive on touring and getting out to our fans, it’s what we do best, so it will be a great feeling to board our new Jumbo Ed Force One with the crew and the gear and head round the globe and get back on stage for you guys,” Dickinson adds. “We haven’t played in Australia and New Zealand for a number of years so it will be a pleasure to play for our Antipodean cousins again, irrespective of who wins the dates with destiny at Twickenham in a few weeks’ time!!"

Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson Blames Oral Sex For His Throat Cancer 

The band’s tour comes in support of the new double album The Book of Souls, which has opened at No. 1 in the U.K. and started at No. 2 in Australia. It’s the act’s 16th studio album and first in five years.

“Of course we haven't decided on the set list as yet and won’t until we start rehearsing but we really look forward to playing a number of new songs live, especially as the recording was so much live,” Dickinson reveals. “However, as it’s been a while since we saw you all,  I am sure we will include plenty of older fan favorites too. I think the fans will be delighted by what we have in mind. We are also in the middle of creating the new show and rest assured we are working hard to bring you all something spectacular, something with a lot of heart!!! You certainly deserve it for your patience.”

Iron Maiden’s 2016 tour dates for Australia and New Zealand
April 29 -- Horncastle Arena, Christchurch
May 1 -- Vector Arena, Auckland
May 4 -- Brisbane Entertainment Centre
May 6 -- Sydney Allphones Arena
May 9 -- Melbourne Rod Laver Arena
May 12 -- Adelaide Entertainment Centre
May 14 -- Perth Arena