05 Mar 2009 - Rod's Diary - NZ to LA to Mexico to Costa Rica!

As dictated on March 4th 

So I'm sat in the wonderful hotel in Caracas, Venezuela having arrived a couple of hours ago still waiting for the IT man to come as I can't connect -- the Blackberry email doesn't work, the phone works now and the SMS but not the email. In Costa Rica nothing worked, it's the thing on the road -- the technology is there to wear you out and it's getting a bit wearing right now! I've been waiting for the IT guy because I've got the cable in and got a browser like you normally do which should lead you to the hotel webpage where you sign in with your room number... but nothing happens. So frustration abounds but while I'm waiting for these guys I thought it was about time I caught up with the diary.

As you know I flew in from New Zealand the day after the Auckland show, the band had gone down to Christchurch to do the show there which went very well. It was very weird, it's a long flight to LA and it's quite strange because from a UK perspective you are going from New Zealand being 13 hours ahead of the UK to crossing the dateline on the way to LA which is 8 hours behind the UK... so you actually arrive 10 or so hours before you set off.  I'm staying at the Sunset Marquis as usual, which is a fantastic hotel -- I've been staying there as long as I dare to  remember, it's a place we've stayed with Maiden right from the beginning. They've been doing a lot of refurbishment the last couple of year and Klaus the manager has done a very very fine job.

During the week there were various meetings, that was the reason I was there - seeing the label about Flight 666, talking to the agency and so on. On Thursday we had a showing of the movie to the label and various business people who are involved in the project and the people who are lining up the cinemas for us. It was at the CAA private cinema which is fantastic, very hi-tech. About 150 people were there, all of whom seemed to enjoy it greatly and we got a great reaction from it - as I've said before this movie is something I'm really 100% pleased with. Sam and Scot did a fine job of covering the band and the madness that follows us on tour.

Following the week in LA I flew down to Mexico City on the Friday, arriving early evening. It was Adrian's birthday that day, or the day before (I forget which) and Ian's birthday the day before that, so we had a band dinner with Ian and Gaddsy and some of the usual mob. Wasn't too late that night cos I was feeling pretty knackered, but it was a good evening. Up early to catch up with email, in Mexico we're still 6 hours behind England so there's a lot built up over the previous couple of days and that took most of the morning. Then I went round to the EMI office -- in Mexico they've got a beautiful office, very spacious with balconies everywhere, very Mexican and very open-plan. They also provided one of the best sound systems I've heard, it was fantastic 5.1 sound and you can really hear the audience roar from right behind you. Although it was on a front projection screen it was very high quality so the label and the sales guys again gave it a very good reception... I have to say that by now I'm getting quite familiar with the movie!

 That evening we played the Foro Sol again to just under 50,000 people which is remarkable as we were only there just over a year ago, playing to a bit more last time but to come back and do that kind of numbers is pretty fantastic. We had a couple of support bands this time along with Lauren -- Carcass were special guests and Atreyu.

Whilst I was away in LA the band played in Guadalajara and Monterrey again, so over the last 13 months the shows in those cities have done over 150,000 people which is fantastic! After the show we all congregated in the bar we all go to (close to the hotel) and had a few bevvies.  One of the people I met there was called Bill, I forget his surname, but he's the guy behind 'Rome' the TV series, which was originally on HBO. There were 2 series of it and if you haven't seen it it really is fantastic, it's one of the best TV series I've seen in a long time. The great thing about it is how it's very authentic and historically accurate, which as we know is pretty rare these days on TV, but great effort had been made to make it as close to reality as it possibly could be, so hats off to you Bill.

The next day we flew down to Costa Rica, on arrival Bruce did some national TV stuff which I sort of sat in on and helped sort out. That evening again was catching up with work, it's a really busy time with the cinemas coming on-sale and everything else that's happening on Planet Maiden (other than the tour of course!) so a lot of time's being spent tapping away on the laptop. It's all good stuff though so I don't mind because it's really worth all the effort, I think you fans will be very pleased when you finally get to see this project. Its always good to attempt something different and spread the Maiden/Metal boundaries and so far so good. We just hope people turn up as this is really a step into the unknown for us. I am very much looking forward to the Premiere in Rio next week. Tickets sold out immediately so it will be great fun watching it with an audience made up chiefly of fans for a change.

The following day was the show -- and I worked all day again. It's a wonderful audience in Costa Rica, it was just incredibly loud -- every word was known, every word was sung along to. It's a pleasure to come to these countries which rarely get visited by acts at the level of Maiden certainly and very few others. I don't think there's been anyone in this market since we played here last year so we decided to call in again cos it's on the way from Mexico to South America and it's a beautiful country with very friendly people and a wonderful audience.

After the show I was pretty well knackered, eyes gone from staring at screens! So I crashed out fairly early and got up early again today and we took the flight at midday as usual -- we always fly at midday irrespective of distance cos it means everyone can have a lie-in and recover from the night before. On this tour the airport transitions have been fantastic. First time round, like anything else done for the first time, we had a number of delays at immigration and just hanging around more than we wanted to. But now it's very smooth, for example in Costa Rica we drove from the hotel to the airport, the vans went right up to the gate of the airport where they had some trestle tables specially set up for our convenience, which was very kind of them. We put our bags on there where they were searched thoroughly and then into a car and straight to the plane. The crew were already there so onto the plane and we took off. It's a very short flight down to Venezuela, but weirdly for such a short hop there's an hour and a half time difference, so we've gone from 6 hours behind England to 4 and a half which makes it easier to keep in touch with the family of course!

On arrival Bruce did a few TV interviews -- I have to say the interviewers were rather stunningly beautiful young ladies from Venezuela! The interviews went pretty well, though one of them was quite odd cos they were reading questions from a Blackberry, but I think that was probably the language problem of keeping them in English so Bruce could answer. While he's pretty linguistic his Spanish isn't good enough to do a full interview.

Following that... I'm here. Been sat here for about an hour and a half waiting for an IT man to come to plug me in, so isn't life wonderful! But I've finally got the minibar open, when I got into the room even the minibar was locked and I had to wait about 45 minutes for a key... but I'm happy now I've got a beer in front of me and I've caught up on my diaries, so hopefully someone'll come and turn on the tap so I can catch up on my emails. For now -- I'll talk to you in a couple of days time, we've got the Venuzuela show tomorrow and then we're off to Bogota so I'll catch up with you soon. Until then, take care.

PS later -- they finally came and found it was the actual cable in the wall which was broken so they moved me to a different room. And what a room! A massive suite with full size Jacuzzi, a lounge so big there are phones at each end, a massive terrace, kitchen, spare bedroom, massive master bedroom ......and a small office which is about all I will see!! Hope to get a dip in the Jacuzzi but the terrace will have to wait for another day to soak up the sun!! Must be like touring with the Stones!! Great place for a party though, maybe after the show...

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