20 Jul 2010 - Rod's Diary - Quebec & Montreal

Montreal and Quebec, two really beautiful cities with some of the best Metal and Maiden fans on the planet. I have talked about this a lot in previous diaries, our whole history of them being places we headlined small arenas when we were still a support band in America, places where Bruce has always done all his inter-song talking in French, somewhere that, even after 20 years of marriage you can recall just how beautiful the girls there are !! So, always, it was pleasure to return!

In the afternoon before the show I attended a playback of the new album arranged by EMI for about 30 media at a studio in Montreal. I daren't have a copy of the album on the road in case it get stolen/lost with baggage and ends out on the web (that would look good wouldn't it , manager responsible for premature release!!) so I was really looking forward to hearing the album again -- there really is so much to this album that the more you play it the more you get out of it!!

Which reminds me. I am catching up on this in NY and the video has just been put up on our website. Hope you all like it. The guys we did it with, Darkside, are a very creative company with many of the tech guys being big fans of the band. In fact the main guy, Andy, is an old pal of Steve's and we have been looking to do a project with them for some time so the new alien Eddie and space gave us the perfect opportunity and one right up their street. It was largely the passion and talent within the company that made the whole thing viable due to the amount of work involved and the time and budgets available. It says a lot for them that the whole process was relatively painless (and the band and I have strong points of view so that is unusual!) and came in on time and on budget. We all liked the idea of letting Eddie star and not to have the band in it at all for the first time ever (not even short live clips as in "Can I Play With Madness" or "Different World", or "cartoon" like "Wildest Dreams") -- the band sure as hell don't want to start miming for videos again, they always felt it was a bit ludicrous even in the days when there was no real alternative, and we never wanted to do ones where the band are "acting", it was never what we are about! So I do hope you all enjoy it as much as we all do. It's always good to do something a bit different.

Back to the point -- the playback went well, I also did a couple of interviews as the band weren't there then it was off to the show at the magnificent Bell Centre, one of the larger arenas in North America with around 14,500 packed in with our stage configuration, and sold out all but production holds weeks in advance. Bruce did pretty well as usual with his French and everything went just great.

Quebec was another festival -- the Quebec Summer Festival, which, like Ottawa , is run by the city. It is a huge event (google it) again, lasting over many days, with many different events and bands from us and Rush to Black Eye Peas and Arcade Fire to Rammstein. Ticketing is different here though, the city apparently sells about 150,000 tickets which give access to any of the concerts. It is held on the Plains of Abraham (General Wolfe and all that!!) and has an excellent staging and backstage layout -- very professionally done and great tech qualities and staging -- with a huge gradually rising area in front of stage leading to a hill at the back. Again we were the opening event and again just Maiden and Dream Theater, not a multi act festival day -- the term festival here applies to the two week event not the individual days which are all normal concerts. There is never an accurate number as people aren't counted on the way in -- if they have a festival ticket they simply get in to the park area of the festival -- but it was estimated that we had 75-80,000 in attendance, and looking out from the stage it was hard to see they could get many more in. On buying the ticket you get a badge for entry which has red flashing lights and from on stage it looked amazing -- and no doubt Andy will cover in his IMTV program of this - especially all those on the hill at the back because in the dark all you could see was thousands of small flashing red lights, quite a sight.

It was even more incredible to get such a huge turnout as the weather was dreadful. It rained all day and there were heavy thunderstorms late afternoon and, although the storms subsided, it continued to rain quite heavily throughout the concert. Maiden fans, however, don't get deterred by a bit of rain and this did not appear to affect the enthusiasm of the huge crowd one bit! A very memorable evening as it often is when we play here.

After the show we flew down to New York , which of course has many late bars for Janick to strut around...along with a few others!! And so ....next....to the Big Apple , the tour picking up more and more momentum as we go  along. More soon.

PS -- I think it was somewhere around here in the mists of time that England got knocked out of the World Cup by Germany, or maybe a bit before. Typically FIFA, besides supplying a beach ball instead of a proper football, decline to use any technology even though it is obviously required for the goal line. Too much tech interference is a pain, but surely on the goal line!! But although England didn't get awarded a perfectly good goal they never deserved at any stage to win even a tin of baked beans by their performances. Against Germany they seemed to give up and looked totally lacking energy and heart in the second half when they were trounced by what looked a really good young German team. Its tough to support your national team when some of the players are so unpleasant, you sort of want them to lose. And lose they did, with little heart and less style. (Bring on the rugby!!)

In the Killer Krew draw for the Cup I drew Brazil who sadly went out (we woz robbed!) , Steve had Germany (!!!!!!) , and ... Gaddsy drew Spain and Jan drew Holland!! The crew weren't happy that the band end had pulled pieces of paper out of their bag (at a cost of $20 each winner take all) with most of the best teams on them, after the crew had taken theirs too!! Dave had Ghana who truly were robbed by crass cheating (but, I guess, few would do the any different in that situation)  and, again, FIFA really should look at this.  Football's administration in many areas in appalling  - just look at it in England where they even built a magnificent sports stadium at Wembley with one of the worst playing surfaces on the planet! But l guess we have a team who deserve it!

But enough of this outrage! Bye for now

- Rod

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