24 Feb 2009 - Rod's Diary - New Zealand

Dictated on Saturday 21st February... 

We set off very early from Bali with a wake up call at 6am and left the hotel at 7am for the long flight down to Auckland. I got some good natural sleeping pills from my doctor for occasional use on this trip (I do try not to use these things too much but sometimes with the sort of travelling we do it helps to get some assistance to get a bit of rest). So I took one as soon as we took off from Bali and it worked wonderfully, I woke up just as they were saying 'fasten your seatbelts, we're about to start our descent into Sydney'. We had a couple of hours there while we refuelled and then the final leg, three hours over to Auckland (the first part had been about a 6 hour flight from Bali to Sydney). We got into New Zealand at about eleven o'clock and went to the hotel, basically I just worked through the night as I wasn't feeling particularly tired. There was a lot to do, a lot of final things around the Brits in terms of press releases to come out afterwards, finalising photographs and the like. So I worked on what I needed to do then switched on my handy Slingbox at 9 in the morning Auckland time. I watched the Brits through to our bit, the reception wasn't too bad, you could get a flavour of what was going on. A lot of it wasn't that interesting but it was good to know what the preamble was - I made my comments on the presenters before so we won't get back into that.

Following that I went down and met with Bruce and Steve, we were doing a bit of media down there - a couple of national new programmes and such like. It was pretty much a work day, I didn't go out in the evening as by then I was feeling pretty tired and there was a lot to do the following day. So about 8 o'clock I crashed out and took advantage of another little pill and had a good night's kip to wake up at about 4am. The trouble is, with the 13 hour time difference ahead, I need to be up at 4 cos that's 3pm English time so I've got a few hours to deal with everything that's coming in. It's a really busy time at the moment, as you can imagine, particularly with Flight 666 coming up as well as the tour of course. So I was up at 4 and hammered into that for quite a long time, popped down for breakfast and then looking out of the window saw it was a pretty sad day. We had an open-air show that night in Auckland and it was absolutely pissing down. The previous evening the news things we'd done had been broadcast and the national weather channel actually said on the news forecast that 'the weather doesn't bode well for the Iron Maiden concert tomorrow'. The stuff the guys did on the news came across pretty well, but it was a bit of a concern because getting up in the morning it was pissing down, black skies, bad forecasts - the only thing to hope for was the forecast saying that later in the day it should improve. So a lot of the morning was spent on backup plans, talking to the promoters to make sure that if it was called off for safety reasons - with that much rain the electrics can get affected along with everything else - we wanted to make sure we had a Plan B. The weather forecast for the following day so we were hoping that we'd be able to, if absolutely necessary, postpone until the following day. We also checked the Monday in case there was a problem on the Saturday and we could play somewhere else, but Monday really isn't very good. As it happened, the weather kept improving and raising our spirits, then getting worse, then improving, then getting worse... By early evening it had settled down a bit more and the show could go ahead fine. Thankfully or there would have been a lot of disappointed Kiwis who had treavelled from all parts of the island, plus a number of Aussies who had come over too for the show

In the afternoon I went round to the record company to play Flight 666 which got its usual very very positive reaction. Following that I went straight down to the show. We haven't been there for many years, I think '92 was the last time we played in Auckland. I remember it quite well cos I came out from Sydney just for the day, arrived at the airport and went out to play golf with Barry Drinkwater (our merchandising guy). Met a couple of Maori guys on the golf course who took us to the hotel that the All Blacks use after their games when they play in Auckland, and it was full of TV screens showing great All Black tries. The show in the evening was great... it's funny I remembered that far back, I think it's more to do with the All Black visions than anything else! So as I was saying the show went very well, about 18,000 kids and the band played great. Fortunately to say the weather held off so everyone was very happy. Afterwards we went back to the bar and had a few drinks with all and sundry. Quite a few Aussies had come over and were staying at the hotel so I had a chat with them. I was walking past one group of fans when I heard someone mention Frank Zappa - as some of you may know Zappa's one of my idols, I think he's one of the most inspired and brilliant musicians ever. So on hearing the words 'Frank Zappa' I said to the guy 'Did you really say Frank Zappa?' and asked what the reference was. He told me he was doing his thesis on Frank Zappa! Well, anyone doing a Phd on Frank Zappa is well worth talking to so I had a long chat with him about Frank and some stories I could tell as I'd met him when I lived in LA in the early 80s. So had an interesting chat with him, a chat with Paul Dainty (our promoter) and then headed off to bed because the following day I was setting off for LA - I'm now here in LA for a week. I'm going to go back for the show in Mexico City, departing here on the Friday. We're doing a playback of the movie this week for various sections of the business that are involved in it, then catching up on work and meetings regarding Flight 666. So you won't hear from me for a few days... bye for now!

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