06 Jan 2009 - HAPPY NEW YEAR and a belated '08 diary!

So, a new year and hopefully an exciting one despite all the economic problems the World is facing, especially in the UK thanks to years of over optimism, stealth taxes, lack of regulation and ineffective overspending by our wonderful PM and ex-chancellor!! We all hope that you fans out there are affected as little as possible. A time for concern though, especially for those with kids and mortgages. But best to keep as positive an outlook as possible,  and , let's face it, the show must go on.

With this in mind later this week we have a trial load again with Ed Force One, and we are looking forward to getting back out on the last leg of the tour, a few dates for which are yet to be announced so keep an eye on this site. As in the press releases for the tour we have changed the set around quite a bit so it's different to 08, and some of my personal favourite songs have been included to make it, to my mind, an even stronger set than last time. I have been sworn to secrecy but l think those of you who will be attending will be more than happy!!.

Regarding the diary for Assen and Moscow, I actually typed about 80% of this months ago and Admin has been sitting on the pics for ages. However, disastrously, my laptop chose to lose it and as you probably know, its tough to rewrite something you have already spent an hour or so doing in the first place. I have replaced the laptop so hopefully we won't get a repeat either now or on the tour!

The documentary movie from the first leg of the tour is also in the final stages of compilation and we are all very happy with what Sam, Scot and the Banger team have done. We will be making an intial announcement on this site soon so more then. In addition, of course, later in the year we will start work on a brand new studio album.

So back to 08 and what a year it was for Eddie and the boys. Sixty odd shows, largely stadiums and festivals, playing to over 1.4 million fans in more countries than I can remember... I think by the end of tour it will be 38 countries, probably the most we have ever played to on one tour. And thanks to you all for being part of the fantastic welcomes and reactions we got everywhere

At the end of the summer tour we headed up from Basle to Groningen to play at the Assen TT race track, the first concert ever staged there with about 25,000 in attendance, our biggest show in Holland since the late eighties. Groningen is a beautiful small town, small and quaint with narrow streets and , of course, the typical Dutch canals. It is always a thrill playing a new venue for the first time and hopefully there will now be more at this internationally renowned superbike race track.

For the final show of 08 at the Olympic stadium in Moscow we decided to make it an event and a party weekend by getting Ed Force One to bring our families out.  They all boarded at Gatwick and picked all of us and crew up on Holland. The equipment had to be freighted as it was logistically and financially impossible to convert the plane for a one off so for many it was the first time they had flown on EF1 in its normal airline configuration. Sadly though the Maiden colours had been removed following the problems encountered on its summer route to central Africa where passengers refused to board as they thought it bad ju-ju!! On landing we were surrounded on the runway by hundreds of Ilyushin airliners in various stages of cannibalisation. They are kept to access spare parts for planes of that type still flying!!

We arrived late and had splashed out to stay at the fabulous Ritz Carlton which has a roof top bar overlooking Red Square which at night was quite a sight. So all the gang were out in force and a very good time with vodka was had by all, especially as we had a day off the next day!

Familiar fans in Red Square.

The following day Kathy, Tom, Ben, Laura, Jake and I set off sightseeing round Red Square and St Basils Church, that odd looking one with the onion towers. You will find attached a load of pics of this and the Kremlin -- but I promise this will be the last time that I overburden you with history and architecture of the places we visit, though I do hope that many of you do find it interesting. I do, however, find great cities like Moscow. Prague, Warsaw, Budapest etc incredibly interesting.

View over Red Square from St Basils.

The day of the show we all took a long tour of the Kremlin, which is not at all as I imagined it. Rather than a large building it is actually a spacious area with churches, homes, offices, a theatre surrounded by that high wall. The Russian Orthodox churches were spectacular with magnificent and invaluable collections of icons. We saw where Lenin lived and the office where Stalin plotted -- apparently he did not live within the Kremlin walls. There is also the biggest bell and biggest cannon ever built, monstrous and ornate, but the cannon never fired and the bell never rang as their sheer size broke them in the casting.
The concert in the evening was a worthy final show and after we partied for a while before heading back to the airport to fly back, landing at Luton in the early hours. On arrival everyone went their different ways for some extrended R n R until the last leg coming up soon.


I haven't seen much of most to the guys since then -- Steve has been out of the country as usual, Janick oop north, Dave back home in Hawaii, Adrian in the countryside. Nicko I of course spent a few days with at the Ryder Cup as reported on this site, and also a few bevies when he visited London. I will see him again though in LA this weekend when he picks up a drummer lifetime award from the Guitar Centre at a big bash for people who hit things for a living! Bruce I see a lot of as he often calls in the office (between flying regularly to Africa and the Middle East for Astraeus)  - in fact we are going out for a few beers tomorrow to catch up.

Of course as a long suffering manager I don't get much of this R and R between tours, as, along with Ian and Dickie and my office team, Val, Mary and Dave, we have been dealing with the set up for the forthcoming dates and studio arrangements for later in the year. And of course I had to check out the movie a few times to make sure there were no bad shots of me (difficult though, tough to get otherwise!!) I did manage a family holiday to Whistler in Canda with my family.

So going into another exciting new year all that is left is to wish you all the very best for the new year, may you all get healthier, wealthier and wiser!! More when we hit the road!!! Personally I can't wait to get to see all these new places.


(Find more photos in The Gallery)

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