We flew into Denver the day of the show, its always pleasant to see mountains out of the hotel window. The gig was at Fiddlers Green Amphitheatre where we last played in 2003 I think to about 5000 people. This time there were 11,000! The stage area is a bit smaller than most Amphitheatres but we are always able to adapt to a good extent by designing some flexibility in the production to allow for such variances so I don't think the fans missed anything at all. The stage was flanked by 2 huge screens -- we have spent some time on the screen video screens bringing in a live music TV producer/editor Andy Matthews (who is also doing IMTV) and added our own cameras on Nicko (2 for the best looking guy in the band!!), an Eddie-cam as we call it and one shooting out front from behind the drums, all to supplement the house system which is normally one camera on each side front of stage and 2 on the mixing desk. I reckoned there would be a lot of fans on the lawns and the arenas would be full for this tour so we wanted to make sure all those further from the stage got as good a view as possible on the screens.
Denver is at higher altitude (Mile High?) so thinner air and much cooler in the evening than Texas!!! At the end of the show I was even quite cold from standing on the desk. Tougher on the band too! The show went fine with a good audience. The next day we stayed in Denver but not much to say as I was working all day.
Albuquerque was next and some serious heat -- same venue as last time, Journal Pavillion, another Amphitheater, this one appearing to be on the edge of the desert and once again there it was quite windy -- and very hot. The radio station 94 Rock or KZRR is by far the biggest current and historical supporter of Maiden in the USA so it was good to meet Phil and some of the staff before the show to thank them for giving us some airplay!! Show went well to around 12,000 -- its always a great audience here. After the show we flew on to Phoenix and arrived at the next hotel just before the bar closed!!
Watching the game
Phoenix show day was a big day -- Game 7 of the NBA finals!!! I had been catching as much as possible of the previous games and was determined to see all this game so asked Ian to ensure there was a good TV in a room backstage. Shouldn't have bothered, they had TVs all over the place!! We had a few sporting guests, Mark Calcavecchia came along again, as did Pat Preez , a PGA tour golfer, with his brother Mike, plus from baseball pitching legend Randy Johnson and Elaine La Russa, wife of Cardinals Manager Tony, who is also apparently a big fan but had a Cards game that night. I invited them to watch the game and have a few beers in my room prior to us going on stage which all were very happy to participate in -- an NBA Final Game 7 (for the uninitiated the finals are best of 7 and it was 3-3 in an already exciting series which favoured one side then the other). For a sports nut like me its always so interesting being able to meet people who played at the top of their sport and listen to some stories. There seem to be quite a number here who are genuine big fans of Maiden -- the highlight on the last tour was when Lance Armstrong came to MSG and joined me on the mixing desk singing along to the songs!
Randy Johnson and Mike Portnoy
With about 3 min left in the final fourth quarter the Lakers were edging it but the band were due to go on stage. I popped out to the toilet during the time out and when I got back the room was empty. EVERYONE had gone out to see the start of the show, missing the final couple of minutes of an incredibly exciting game! Now that is what I call real fans. Of course I watched the end of the game -- Lakers won!!
It was incredibly hot even on the mixing desk so must have been very difficult on stage with all the many lights too but the show went very well with a great audience once again of about 11,000. Everything is going well -- band , crew and even myself are ready for San Bernardino which will be the biggest show on this North American tour -- but more about that later.