18 Oct 2010 - Rod's Diary - Sonisphere UK & Wacken

So its been quite a while for which I do apologise but it has been a hectic time. After the 2010 tour finished in Valencia on August 21st the band got to bugger off on hols -- or flying! -- for a few months but my fantastic team and I were already working on the whole complex touring for 2011. And before that we had the small thing of an album to get out to you guys! Lousy excuses I know, but it was really hard to get the head round sitting down and spending an hour or so on this when there was so much else to do and my brain was saying take a break!! I know, its a hard life isn't it!!, but who would change anything!!

August was totally insane in the run up to the album release and then counting the number 1s and thanking everyone after it -- the no 1 best selling album in 28 countries. Top 3 in about 8 more, 4 in USA and 5 in Singapore plus no 1 on a new Global chart and no 1 in Billboard's Tastemaker, Rock and European charts. The band were totally amazed and blown away by the wide spread of all this, never expecting anything like it, even though I did keep telling them we were going to do well!! In the end though even I was a bit surprised to get there is so many far flung places  To be bestselling album in places like Arabia, Lebanon, India and almost all of Latin America was unusual and special in itself, and that is certainly not to be blasé about Europe, Canada, Japan and Australasia!!  Admin will add the final list below this for those who are interested:

The Final Frontier Chart Positions

Number 1 in 28 countries - Arabia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland & UK.

Number 2 in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Holland & Russia

Number 3 in Ireland, Poland, Turkey

Number 4 in the USA

Number 5 in Singapore

Number 6 in Iceland

It was thoughtful of Steve to send you all a personal message of thanks for your support for The Final Frontier via the FC magazine and I just want to add mine -- Iron Maiden FC fans have to be the most passionate and active of them all, and the brightest, and everyone here, not least the band, fully appreciate and are most thankful for this.  And this also applies to all Maiden fans everywhere round the globe. We hear a lot from travelling members of the FC about the places they follow the band to and the experiences they have, and a major point in all the tales is how they got to know other fans from different countries/cultures and now see them and others around the tours. Personally I consider this "being a fan is a bit like joining a Global club" side of the band's success one of the most satisfying results to what we do and well worth all the hard work these many years. Whereas a lot of aspects of life today in many parts of the world are intended to disenfranchise or separate people, it's a nice feeling to be providing a sort of common ground for a host of terrific, smart fans all around the world. If you wear the Maiden "colours" almost anywhere on this planet there is always someone who will say hello and buy you a beer, or a cup of tea. We hear this all the time. That community feeling amongst the fans is also a key part of what makes the atmosphere at our shows such a unique and memorable experience. And if you keep an eye on the website over the next few weeks you will see there will be many disparate places to go with us next year!!

I took a short break after Chicago for a holiday with my family, missing the last USA show in Washington, and arrived back the day before Sonisphere at Knebworth so missed the show in Dublin. I spoke to Steve the following day and he said the audience there were fantastic and the band were on fire -- which of course pleased me no end as, coming off a great gig and having played really well, confidence would be right up there for Knebworth. And so it proved.

I had never been to Knebworth before -- I missed the legendary Zeppelin and Floyd shows , though I did see both elsewhere, and was definitely looking forward to us playing at such a legendary British venue. I got there early so I could have a good look round and see some of our Raw Power managed acts too. The weather was perfect, warm and a bit overcast, so pleasant but not too hot. Stuart Galbraith, the co-promoter from Kilimanjaro, gave me a guided tour in a golf buggy and it was very impressive, especially for just a second event there. A good innovation is that the 2 main stages face each other albeit some necessary distance apart, which, as the bands alternate between stages giving fans a full day of live music, everyone can get to see everything without necessarily moving too far!! Also the camping site in particular was well positioned in an attractive and close-by area, which isn't always possible at festivals. The band all arrived at different times of the day, Nicko quite early, insisting everyone try his Rock 'n' Roll Ribs and Chili, having imported some of the key ingredients from his restaurant in Fort Lauderdale.

 Being the only UK show this year and also situated fairly close to London, we had a load of guests along so it was great for me after being away a couple of months to catch up with quite a few mates and their families . One rugby mate sent me a funny email a couple of days later thanking me for the tickets and saying all his 3 kids had a fantastic day at their first festival and first Maiden show and were now all committed fans and that his 15 year old son had never seen so many bare breasts in one place and was delighted, his 17 year old daughter already knew most to the "words" but now knew how to use them properly and his 19 year old, despite having been made aware of the various organised religions, had finally found his own!!

At a festival, it always feels to me that on the day we play it's a Maiden show, and this was no exception. 50,000+ on a wonderful evening and the band played great and all enjoyed it thoroughly, having had superb sound on stage, which always helps. Back to London off the stage with Nicko and a couple of mates for a few -- or more -- beers to celebrate a very fine "coming home"! So thanks to all of you who were there shouting for us.

Home for a couple of days then off to Wacken, arriving a couple of hours or so before we were due to go on. This is truly a majestic metal event -- and if you go back to my Wacken diary from 2008 you can read all about the incredible history of how 2 local metal fans started small 20 years ago and have make this one of the premier metal festivals in Europe, with sold out 75,000 every year. Saw a good number of good friends there like Thomas, Sheree and Holger, the aforementioned metal fan/co-owners of Wacken, our long term media guy Wolfgang and our terrific team from EMI who presented us with a whole load of gold awards for Brave New World, A Matter Of Life And Death and Flight 666. A festival fuelled by enough beer to make Oktoberfest look tame and the heaviest bands available , the fans get an awesome weekend there and we love playing there, this being our second time in 3 years!!

Next, the Nordics.......always very special, but this time the elements were much against us all.

- Rod

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