18 Mar 2009 - Rod's Diary - Film Premieres and Rio on heat!

We flew from Manaus into Rio on the Friday, its about a three and a half hour trip, to be met by the vans  and a police escort to get us to the hotel as quickly as we could cos the traffic was pretty bad. Took an awful long time to get there even with the escort, about an hour and a half stuck in a van with Nicko which isn't what you need after a long-ish flight. Got there and went straight to the bar to meet up with various people arriving for the weekend - it's a pretty big weekend for us with the premiere of Flight 666 on the Saturday and then a show in Rio that evening. We then put all the journos and photographers onto Ed Force One to go to San Paulo on the Sunday for the big show at Interlagos. So in the bar I said hello to the journalists and to Giancarlo and Simon from EMI International who were over with them, Willam Luff had continued on from Manaus with us to be there too as we had Kerrang! and The Times in from the UK. I had a chat with them and got together with Giancarlo and Simon to catch up with everything from the EMI standpoint and from an organisational standpoint around the weekend. Then had a beer with all the photographers so I could brief them on how we could get the best access for everybody, what they required that I might not have been aware of and the vantage points to shoot the live show, which songs they could shoot and so on. We do like when we have photographers in to give them good access but there were eight different ones from Europe and there would be at least fifteen Brazillian photographers at each show, so we arranged it so they could go into the pit for the usual first 3 numbers (no flash!!), shoot some of the other songs further into the set and they could also shoot from the sounddesk during the rest of the show. We do like to make sure they get great shots for the fans especially if they've come all this way! After that it was dinner with Phil Rodriguez, our promoter, where we had a run through the rest of the shows in Brazil and the rest of South America. Then I had a few beers in the bar with everybody and headed off upstairs to finally get to my room, unpack a bag and get some kip for what was going to be a big day.

I was up early - we met in the lobby at about 8.30 to go to the Cine Odeon which is the cinema we were using for the premiere. It had been used for premieres quite often before, the last one being Valkyrie with Tom Cruise. It's a very good cinema with a capacity of 584, of which 400 would be fans. I had our security guys along plus people from the cinema, the EMI guys who were arranging all the press, Johnny Burke our cameraman, John McMurtrie our photographer, Gaddsy, Dave Pattenden... all the team basically piled into a van and headed down to the cinema so we could have a good look at what we were going to do there. The barriers were already errected and ready so we worked out where the press would be and where the fans would be, so the band could get access and do what they needed to do. There would be a number of Brazillian national news cameras, about eight we reckoned, plus our photographers and plus all the Brazillian photographers so we arranged an area for them. We had the TV people within the barriers because they needed to actually speak with the band, as happens at premieres. Then we headed inside to work out where we were going to put all the media - there were about 80 altogether, including our guys and all the Brazilian media and some from Peru and other Latin countries, so we put them all downstairs with the fans. The sound was slightly better downstairs than up on the balcony, but the picture (because of the alignment of the screen) was slightly better on the balcony than downstairs. But we opted for the sound and of course there's nothing like watching with all the fans around. A quick note here to thank Fabio and his team from Movie Mobz who are presenting the film in Latin America and our friends Andre, Luiz and Nando at EMI Brazil as none of this would have come together so well without them

The band and the guests and us lot were upstairs, so we were out of the way a little bit and not interfering with peoples viewing pleasure. So we arranged all that and headed back to the hotel for an hour. I caught up with some emails, went through a bit more of the stuff we were going to do that day with the EMI guys and then I went down in advance, about half an hour before the band, just to make sure everything was okay. I got there about 1pm and the band were due to arrive about 1.30 and the screening was at 2. But when I got down there confusion reigned to some extent in that the whole area where the band were supposed to be was full of photographers and fans and cameramen and everything else, which was great, quite exciting! Managed to re-arrange all that fairly quickly though, to get everything in line and spend a bit of time talking to the fans who had been lining up. There were actually so many outside that the cinema elected to put the fans with tickets in their seats inside, as they figured the security problems... y'know if it got to the point we had a number of hundreds outside with both the fans who came along to see the band arrive and all the fans inside the cinema, it might get too much. So unfortunately the guys inside didn't get to see any of the fun outside.

The band were delayed, despite having a police escort the traffic was pretty bad at that time of day so they arrived at about quarter to two, which was okay. We quickly got them lined up to do some photos for the press and then they spent five or ten minutes signing autographs for fans as much as was feasible and talking to the news cameras, and then we shepherd them in, into their seats, got everyone to sit down and calm down - it was a great atmosphere. Because the seats were GA, everyone had gone downstairs so they could see the guys talking at the beginning. Bruce went up onto the stage and had a short chat about why we chose Brazil to do this, a bit about the movie and where the idea came from. He then introduced Sam and Scot who talked a bit about their angle and what the movie's all about and some details on how they shot it. We then tried to get everyone back to their seats, but they were all downstairs so we had to wait a while for the kids who hadn't got a seat downstairs to come up and fill the seats around us on the balcony.

The film was tremendous, the fans are just so great there - they were singing along, having a really good laugh at various parts, particularly Nicko of course. At the end of the movie Sam and Scot went up to do a Q&A for the fans - not for the media, we thought we'd answer questions for the fans as they're very deserving there - and Nicko joined them. We did that for about twenty minutes questions and then headed back to the hotel. A few hours later we'd be heading down to the show in Rio.

The evening before the show there had been a huge storm with rain pounding down as it only can in these climes, to the extent that , at the venue, our empty flight cases were literally floating away in water not inches but feet deep in parts. The crew showed us the footage the next day, quite remarkable. Fortunately we were able to get it all dried out by the next day but it was an omen of what was to come

I went down there a bit early as I usually do, just to check things out but everything was in pretty good shape and see if it had dried out!!. We were having something like sixteen or seventeen thousand people there that night, which for Rio is teriffic. Before in Rio - other than the obvious two appearances at Rock In Rio which were humungous - it's not really a metal town, certainly not compared to somewhere like Sao Paulo, so you just don't do the same numbers. Before we've always played indoors, I forget the name of the place but it wasn't an ideal room, it was sort of square with a wooden floor and held about 8000 people, not particularly good staging, low ceiling and such like. So this time we could put on the whole show, and we brought the whole show for Sao Paulo as well. The main places we played last time - Bogota, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Santiago and Buenos Aires - as we'd played there the previous year to a lot of people, we thought it was only fair if we were going to repeat the performance to change it around a bit which you know we did with some of the songs and some of the drapes. But also we're making it the absolutely full show, same as you would have seen in London or in America. As we were doing thosemajor places, we were also able to get it to some of the other cities, for example in Mexico because of the proximity we could truck the gear so we had the big show in Guadalajara and Monterrey. And Rio being not too far for an overnight into San Paulo, we were able to do it in Rio as well. We couldn't really get it to Venezuela or Quito or Manaus and other places because of the connections and the distances we'd have to move the freight, but it was the first time we played in those places anyway so they were getting the same show as the big cities got the year before so I think that's pretty fair - we did the best we could!

The show went great, the audience were... Brazillian so I need say no more. Singing along every word and always flowing and ebbing in the audience with arms held high, a  sight that always moves me and would anyone with a love of live concerts. It was very hot, very humid, I think each of the band must have lost a few kilos in weight and were pretty shagged out by the end of it. Nicko had real problems, I think he said this in his diary, with the sweat because he was just, you know, he couldn't play the bass drum all that well because of all the sweat going through his anklebands. But everyone really enjoyed it, as we tend to with all these places, and we got a great reception. Afterwards it was back to the hotel for a few beers and to get ready for an even bigger day the next day, when we headed to Sao Paulo.

I'll close here because the next diary will cover Sao Paulo, and I have to say it was quite a day. Let me leave you with a question: What happens when you're due to go on stage, with 20,000 fans still outside the venue? What do you do - do you wait and get them all in? Will the crowd inside be happy to wait all that time? 20,000 people at 350/minute through the turnstile... it's a long time. Anyway, you will see tomorrow - bye for now.

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