FIRST MY BACKGROUND:
1983 -- Long Beach Arena - World Piece Tour (Iron Maiden, Saxon, Fastway) My first Maiden show!
1985 -- "World Slavery Tour" 4 nights Long Beach Arena (Iron Maiden, Twisted Sister)
1985 to 2007 -- lots of other LA shows
2007 -- "Pushed" my way into a meeting with Rod Smallwood whilst working in Press at Universal Records, Santa Monica. I get to work on the DVD release of one of the greatest concert videos of all time, "Live After Death" AND the "Somewhere Back In Time" 2008 tour.
2010 -- Whilst at Live Nation, Rod requests that I work the US leg of "The Final Frontier Tour"
2010 -- Just after the first leg - Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, one morning (8:30 AM) I get a call from Rod.
ROD: "Did I Wake You?"
TODD: "Nope, what's up?" (He actually did wake me but I figured it was important)
ROD: "How would you like to join us? See the world?"
TODD: (Stutter) Umm, yeah!" (At least that's what I think I said. Who knows? All I knew was that I would finally become an official member of the "Killer Krew"!)
ROD: "YOU should be paying US!"
He was right! Now in 2011 I'm about to see the world, inside the belly of the beast known as Ed Force One (Flight 666), with IRON WHAT? IRON FUCKIN' MAIDEN THAT'S WHAT!!!
TODD'S DIARY (1st Entry)
We were to take off from Stansted England on the morning of February 9th. There was a delay with some first day tech problems as they prepped the plane.
Killing time at the airport as they prepped Ed Force One.
Dickie as we see him. "Hands out of pockets!"
I can't explain in words, the feeling of boarding Ed Force One. When I got to the tarmac I was completely in disbelief and awe of her. There she was, my home for the next few weeks . Fantastic! Next stop, Moscow.
We finally arrived in Moscow late at night and it was just as I imagined it. "Bloody cold and icy" as my comrades might say. Out of all of us, Nicko was dressed in appropriate attire that only pictures could describe and I just "happened" to have my camera!
We were greeted by a bunch of camera crews and photographers and after Janick and Bruce said a few words we were off to the hotel. I travelled to the hotel with Rod, Janick and Dave where we were greeted by loads of dedicated fans who waited in the -12 temperature for the band to arrive. The band graciously signed autographs and took pictures with them, as they often try to do if time permits (and even when it doesn't! Poor Gaddsy).
The next day I did your typical sightseeing (being in Moscow it would be a sin not to) at Red Square which, by the way, has nothing to do with communism but originally derives from the word "krasnnyi" meaning beautiful.
First stop in Red Square was Lenin's Mausoleum. I had to have a visit. Before entering we had to remove all hats and gloves. The mood inside was very serious and there was a guard in each room and two in the room with Lenin's body. If you stop at any point, as Kath in our office did, they move toward you to keep you moving even with no one else in the room. No cameras, cell phones or bags allowed so unfortunately no photos and with the guards constantly watching, I wouldn't try it even if I had one so you can google it for official photos.
Outside of Lenin's mausoleum
On to the magnificent St. Basil's Cathedral (looks just like in the text books). By the time we got there my hands were so numb they started locking in a claw position so I decided to put the camera away until I could move my fingers again. Ordered by Ivan The Terrible to mark the 1552 capture of Kazan from the Mongol forces, St. Basil's Cathedral was completed in 1556 and is now a museum. It was surprising to learn that the Soviet Union once considered tearing it down all because it hindered Stalin's plans for massed parades on Red Square. It was only saved due to a telegram from an architect named Pytor Baranovsky who was served five years in prison for it!
Inside The Dome (not sure I was supposed to take this photo but I did)
I didn't get to the Kremlin (insert Rod scolding me here) because I had to remind myself I was actually here to work. One thing about the mighty Maiden machine is that when it comes time to work, you better more than pull your weight to make sure the show and tour is in top form for "us" fans. Band and crew are the most dedicated bunch of lads I had ever worked with and you better not throw a monkey wrench in this well-oiled machine or there WILL be hell to pay! I do regret not being able to go in and at least see the world's largest bell (The Tsar Bell) or the world's largest cannon (Tsar's Cannon) both housed within the wall but I did take this in passing.
February 11th, show day!
This was the kick off show and I was anxious to see Maiden in a different country. I got the venue early to deal with press lists and as I finished what I was doing I sat back for a moment and was exhausted from just watching the buzz and intensity of production room as the Killer Krew were doing everything they do to make sure you lot get more than your money's worth. I managed to walk around a little before doors, a new privilege I now have, and watched the stage crew do their thing all the way up to doors.
Production Room hard at work.
Rise To Remain hit the stage and went over well as they kicked off the night with their fusion of punk and metal, getting the crowd well primed for Maiden. Again, since I am here to work, my professional side got all my press photographers and camera crews in place as "Doctor, Doctor" blared over the PA to a lit house, further stirring up the crowd (and myself) into a frenzy before the lights went out and the band took the stage. The kids were going nuts!
First To The Barrier
I won't reveal the set list, although I'm sure it's all over the web by now as everything is these days. I will say you will NOT be disappointed! I will say the new songs sound terrific. Live. Very powerful. Good stuff. The Moscow crowd ate it up and proved their complete dedication and love for all things Maiden, singing the words (in English) to all the songs. That's the thing that blew my mind. Whether in America, Transylvania or Russia, through any language barrier, Maiden fans can chant and sing EVERY Maiden lyric.
After the show we went to "a bar" and did what any other self-respecting member of the Killer Krew would do. Drink, drink and drink. By the end of the night my head was spinning. And I still had to do a little work!!! I have a feeling my tolerance for beer will skyrocket by the time we finish this first leg! Putting my fan hat back on, it still blows me away when Adrian buys me a drink and Nicko screams my name from across the room.
Hung over and 10 minutes late in getting my bags to the lobby (will never let that happen again. Ian and Gaddsy chasing me down and giving my first and only warning), we prep to leave and say goodbye to Moscow.
I know this must sound like I'm bragging a bit but, hey, I won the lottery. I came to Moscow on EF1 with the band and crew and I'm about to go to Singapore, Australia, Korea, well you know the tour dates. Life is good.
Singapore here I come!