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We flew into Vancouver straight from the Seattle show, or rather Auburn as it's a bit outside Seattle, and the following day I took a seaplane to Victoria on Vancouver Island where my parents both live. They have been in Canada thirty odd years now which I guess makes me honorary Canadian. Of course great to see them. Stayed with them overnight then took the seaplane back to Vancouver in time for the show. Have to say I always enjoy the seaplane ride, and the views are stunning. Vancouver Island is a beautiful place and the weather was wonderful.
In Canada we will play all arenas except the outdoor Moulson Amphitheater in Toronto and festivals in Ottawa and Quebec. The reason for this is nothing sinister, simply that there are not really appropriate outdoor facilities available in these cities, the stadiums being a bit on the large size even for us here! And it's a nice change, we do enjoy playing arenas but often they are not quite big enough, which was certainly the case in Vancouver where 13,000 was sold out in advance. We haven't played at the GM palace, home of the Canucks Ice Hockey team, before as it's a fairly new , and superb, facility. Lots of rooms to hide away in. As I have said before though in Canada, Health and Safety (the Cleaners?!!) is even more overboard than the UK in my humble view, so there are about half the numbers on the standing floor as in Europe. As everyone likes to be near the stage it means few people behind the sound desk -- and we like our floor to be FULL. Maybe next time we will put seats on the floor behind the desk to avoid this empty space and maybe get more fans into the show.
But that is a minor point. The audience -- on average younger than America even -- were outstanding, the band were very happy and all went very well.
After the show we went on to Edmonton and a day off. We often fly after the show when there is a day off on tour so as to wake up in a place and have a full day there -- although to me its usually a full work day to keep up with everything, despite the fact that I have family in town. My sister Pam and husband Keith moved there from Huddersfield many moons ago and it was great to see them along with niece Nicki and nephew Scott and families. They of course all came to the show with a few friends so we had a few drinks before the show. We played Rexall Place again and again sold out about 13,000. Rexall is of course home of my hockey team, the Oilers, so its always a privilege to play there. The Canadian prairies must breed Rock fans as Alberta's two main cities, Edmonton and Calgary, always have terrific audiences. Very loud! But then Alberta is such a huge province that they are probably used to shouting! Again all went extremely well for everyone I think.
Reviews for both these shows (yes I do read them, of course!) were pretty good -- quite often newspapers don't quite "get" Maiden as I am sure you will have seen (a Dallas paper actually commented as lead to a review "slightly more interesting than seeing Spinal Tap for the 200th time " -- I guess that was a bit extreme!) But one comment caught my eye, I think from Vancouver, it said, talking about music fans in general, "no one quite likes Maiden" which I had never really thought about -- but I guess its true. We have our committed fans then there is the rest -- no one comes to our shows because its fashionable or to be seen or as part of a trend, they come for the music. Another comment recently, actually from Rick Roskin, our US agent, also struck me. He was saying that at a lot of metal shows there are a good proportion of the loud, drunk, aggressive types who feel that is how they should behave at metal shows but we just don't get that. At Maiden shows, he said, fans came for the music and actually listened. I thought this was a real compliment to all you fans out there. I don't get to a lot of other shows so wasn't particularly aware of this but I do know we never get any hassle or trouble at our shows, there is more of a feeling of community and a common appreciation of Metal the music not the clichés. I think this is part of the reason many "first generation" fans feel completely at ease bringing their young children with them (which is happening more and more) -- our fans respect and feel very at ease with each other. Anyway enough with the philosophising, and if I am correct, then thanks. We are always proud of our fans and don't need the "quite like" people or the loonies!
Getting back to the story! The day after I spent at a family BBQ catching up with family news and playing with my niece's terrific kids Jaime, 4, and Jordan, 18 months -- I had forgotten how therapeutic colouring books could be!! So I missed the Calgary show and then I flew into Toronto the next day to catch up on work. With this tour, the album coming up and organising 2011 its petty crazy right now, although the band always think I am sunbathing! So I missed Calgary, Saskatoon and Winnipeg but am told all went well. Typing this Thursday afternoon -- its Canada day here -- its about 5pm and hopefully I am going out tonight with the Banger team who did Flight 666 and all live here (inc my ex "visual man" and general good guy Dave Pattenden who used to do our screens and IMTV but moved to Toronto for love -- not just to get away from me!) So no doubt tomorrow will be a bad head day as I do have to teach these Canucks how to drink!! More in a few days after I have recovered!