24 Mar 2009 - Rod's Diary - Brasilia

On the Monday after Interlagos I had a well-deserved lie in - I think everyone did - and then we met up with the international media we had with us and did some interviews and such like, only for an hour and a half, wasn't too bad. The afternoon after that I just crashed out - went to my room, put the tv on and vegetated. It had been quite a long weekend and I was pretty knackered. Bruce on the other hand, full of beans as always, was charging off straight after the interviews into a helicopter from the roof of the hotel, waiting to whisk him over back to the Interlagos circuit where he'd arranged  (he needed the helicopter to get there in time cos there was only a small a window of opportunity) to go round the track in a souped-up Porsche. They'd even put Iron Maiden Racing Team on the front, so Bruce got his helmet on and was taken round at about 150mph I think he said. Formula One cars do about 200mph down the straight. He was saying afterwards that he's got massive respect for racing drivers, having actually been round the track cos some of the bends are soo tight and some of the areas so narrow, and also when you watch a grand prix on tv it's a bit like watching golf in that it all looks flat - you don't realise there are undulations in the track, which makes it all the more fascinating... anywhere here we are going off on a tangent again....

Back to the point. Monday, after the media, was a wipeout, it was just recharging batteries. On Tuesday we set off for Belo Horizonte at the usual time, aiming to leave at about 12. What I didn't mention about the arrival at Sao Paulo is that we actually landed and left the plane at a military airport. The base was surrounded by housing, so lots of military about who all seemed to be keen fans. When we got back to the airport to depart it was weird, there was a whole line of troops, single toops about ten yards apart, spread right along the runway. It appeared that they were there to keep the other military, on the other side by the hangars and everything, away from the band - I can't imagine anything else it was for cos they were facing that way.  A lot of the guys came over to stand behind this line of troops, so some of the band went over and signed some autographs and had a chat with them. I guess the plane was definitely secure while we were there!

It was off to Belo Horizonte - uneventful flight. Arrived there and did the usual - got the laptop out and worked pretty much all of the evening, catching up from the day before and the diaries for you guys of course. Tuesday was show day and again it was mostly work, I didn't really get out anywhere. The show was in a big concrete dome, I think it's used as a gymnasium, some of the gymnasiums here seem to be of that design. It reminded me of a show we did in Poland back in.. oh 84 or whenever it was, except that there wasn't a covered swastika as the keystone, this was just a great big concrete dome!! I thought the sound would be pretty crappy but it really wasn't bad at all. It was a quieter show, we hadn't been to Belo Horizonte before and there was about 10 or 12 thousand, something like that there. Very loud and knew every song, so it was a really good gig. It was quite nice in many ways for the guys and for myself to have a smaller show after the blitz of the weekend. After the show, it was a couple of beers in the bar - not the best of bars but it was a very friendly hotel. Then off to Brasilia.

Brasilia's another one of the places I particularly wanted to visit. I remember really vaguely as a kid the story about a whole area of rainforest being cleared to build a brand new city in the middle of the rainforest. At the time prior to that (this was about fifty years ago) Rio was the capital of Brazil but the government decided... I think it was military, through the early 60s? May be wrong on that, check your Google! They decided to build a whole new modern city in the centre of Brazil as opposed to on the east coast, I think it was symbolic in a way that it was built in the heart of the country. Lúcio Costa designed pretty well the whole city and it's quite magnificent. Everything's spread out, wide roads, lots of green around, very modern designed buildings. Quite often some of the modern architecture, particularly the UK architecture in the 60s, is diabolical, but this has really got a style to it that hasn't aged that much - so it's really worth getting your Google out guys for Brasilia, but more about that later.

That evening, I had a couple of friends in who'd been out for a few shows - Mike and Simon from Brighton - so we had a couple of beers in the bar. Went out to find an Irish bar but it was pretty naff so we went for dinner to somewhere like Mad Cow or Holy Cow or something - it's the name of a chain of restaurants. They're the traditional Brazillian ones and I think they have something similar in Argentina, I seem to remember having something similar down there. There's a sort of buffet of salads and things to start, then the waiters come round with the meat on skewers and just cut a bit off for you. You have a tag in front of you - if it's turned over to red it means you've stopped eating for a while or you're finished, and if it's green it means you want more of the meat. So they bring all sorts of cuts of beef and chicken hearts and pork and various other things on these skewers and just carve off a thin strip for you. It's quite fun, so that and a couple of bottles of red, and it was back to the hotel bar for a little while before crashing out ready for the show the following day.

We'd arrange to go on a sightseeing trip at noon the next day - most of the band were either resting up or had other activites planned, but Janick came along. It was very interesting, Salo our guide took us round. First we went to the library which is an almost sci-fi building, a white hemisphere. Next to it is the catherdral which is one of the images of Brasilia, it's what I recall seeing - if you wanted to use a picture to represent a city then that's what you'd use. Beautiful on the outside but inside it's really quite magnificent, it's soo light. You'll have to Google it, I can't explain the shape! After that we were taken to the government building, and as I've said before because of the popularity of the band here, all sorts of opportunities open up for us. In this case, they allowed us into the congress, which is the equivalent of the UK's house of commons, although it was supposed to be closed that day. We arrived and started looking around, accompanied by Sylvia who was the head of PR for the government and two or three other people. Within half an hour we had national news photographers, national news tv, we had a whole gaggle of government people wanting autographs from Jan and wanting photographs with him - it got quite crazy and as time went on more and more people seemed to join the entourage. In the end we had to get out but by then we'd been around the whole building, and again it's a really modern, really magnificent building. There's 300-odd seats of which 200-odd vote - again, Google it, it's well worth it, quite a place. Mike texted me the following day from the airport on their way home -- "At airport. News item on screens and just before  Obamas 1  trillion rescue package is Janick at congress yesterday! How cool is that! And on front page of main papers (inc the one for sao Paulo!!). We had great time. See you in brighton".....!!!!! Jan is bigger than Obama here!!!

After that we were taken to the president's home - we weren't invited in but we had a good gawp from the outside and then off to see the bridge. The lake here is completely man-made, as one of my mates said yesterday it's "artificial water".... yeah, okay Mike! Then we drove around a bit just to get the whole vibe. Staying in a really nice hotel, in fact I'm looking out of the window now. It's just a beautifully laid-out place, there's a feeling of space everywhere both with the building designs and the amount of green spaces. Even the traffic, for a city which has over 2 million people in it, wasn't too bad at all - it was originally thought there would be half a million people by the year 2000 and they're up to two and a half million by now with another 4 million in the outlying areas, so the overall metropolitan area's over six million.... ENOUGH of that, fascinating as it is, let's get to the show!

The show was great, it was a good venue. I think it's used for football but it's being torn down cos they're building a brand new stadium here for, I think the world cup football in 2014 or something like that? Being Brazil you'd expect it to have a pretty magnificent stadium so it's about time they did that, Brasilia's got everything else. The stadium worked pretty well, for a change it was close to the hotel so it was a short trip which is always helpful. Our first time here as well, this time there were a lot more people - over 20 thousand. Another great show, another great audience - it'll be the last one in Brazil for a short time until we get to Recife, but then the audiences in Chile, Peru and Argentina we expect to be every bit as good.

After the show we went back to the hotel bar, and it's a real shame that it was pretty crappy. It appeared to be someone's birthday - it's called the Churchill bar so it's fair enough having some of the guys in there with the great big cigars, but it does make the place stink. There was a live band on, the night before there was a guy doing acoustic songs - he was quite good, but this was a full band which would be fantastic normally but not in a place that size where you can't even hear yourself talk. There were a couple of fans in there with the birthday party and they were quite rude, thrusting cameras in the faces of the band and demanding autographs as if it's their god-given fucking right to do that. You know, I hate it when fans are so rude, they seem to think sometimes that cos they're staying in the same hotel as the band they've got a god-given right to sit down and chat to them for as long as they want, and get autographs and everything else which is complete bollocks and very unusual for here. It took the edge off it so I basically left, I found it pretty unpleasant - a crowded bar full of cigar smoke and loud music... not that I dislike loud music but you know what I mean. So being a miserable git I went off upstairs and read for a bit and got ready to leave today.

I'm sat looking out of the window in Brasilia, we're going to take the flight in about an hour and a half down to Chile... I always love going to Chile, can't wait to get back to Chile. There are already over 50,000 ticket sales for the show on Sunday, there's quite possibly going to be 55,000 or more. It's an incredible audience as you'll see in the movie, we also love the hotel down there and the people and everything - it's like another Brazil for us basically! Also, just in closing, I got an email last night saying that Flight 666 had won the 24 Beats Per Second award at SXSW for best music documentary, so I was pretty pleased with that but it meant I spent a lot of the time watching the band on the mixing desk on my Blackberry getting a web release ready for you guys! Scot and Sam well deserve the honour!

That's all for now. More after the Chile show. Cant wait for that!!

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