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We flew out of Moscow some time in the afternoon on Saturday the 12th. Now we were supposed to leave at 3 but due to traffic, our car didn't make it in time so the flight was slightly delayed and the rest got on us a bit when we finally made it. This and the de-icing of the plane, which I'm told is very important. We finally landed in Singapore on Sunday at 9:00am after an exhausting 11 hour flight with a fuel stop somewhere I can't pronounce but near Dubai. Days were already becoming a blur and we were only on the second date of the tour!
The island of Singapore is located between Malaysia and Indonesia and surrounded by the Indian Ocean. About 23 percent of Singapore's land area consists of forest, nature reserves and rainforest, primarily Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. To the north of the Singapore River is the colonial district, with its many reminders of British rule.
We hit the tarmac after 9:00 am and again were met with a crowd of photographers and video crews and a lot of them were airport employees!!! Shouldn't they be guiding in planes or something?!?! When the hatch doors opened, I felt like I was in one of those British Invasion clips with all those screaming fans as the band waved and walked down the steps. It took us a little bit to get into customs as the band were pulled into photo ops with excited airline employees (again, what about the incoming planes?!? I guess meeting Iron Maiden is MUCH more of a priority than landing planes!). At some point Ian must have given "the look" and everyone dropped everything and marched in quickly. The WORST thing you want to hear is Ian look at you and say " Can I have a word?" You know you're in trouble when he calls you over.
What a difference in weather. We went from the sub zero temperatures of Moscow to the hot and humid climate of Singapore. I'm a California beach boy. I'm used to dry heat. Also, being a tour rookie, I was just a tad over-dressed for this this new climate with a sweater, jacket and jeans. I not only got it from the crew, I was soaked to the bone by the time we hit the tarmac. Rookie!
We were taken to the hotel in usual caravan fashion and after working a bit I decided, hey, I've been to Moscow so I am a well-seasoned traveller and can manage a trip out for food. I ended up taking a taxi around 11 at night to Mustafa Centre in Little India for a little bit of Indian food. I was a little reluctant to let the cab go but again, I was a seasoned traveller now. Fast forward to after 1am. I'm sitting in a taxi line for 20 minutes and finally decided to cut the line and grab one before they got to the taxi stop. Yeah...doesn't work. After over an hour of trying, getting hit by one in the process, I figured out that no one will pick you up by flagging so back to the line I went only this time much further back. I finally got back around 2:30 and crashed from exhaustion.
The next day was a non-show day as well. BTW-you NEVER says "day off" around here. Whisper it and expect some kind of response such "Oh you have a day off do you?". After some breakfast and a much needed shower, band photographer John McMurtrie, William from EMI and I grabbed a cab (after the night before I felt a little safer in numbers) to China Town for a look around before we had to be back to meet Bruce, Steve and Rod for dinner.
We got back, changed our shirts for the second time (very muggy) and met with Rod in the lobby for a beer. Bruce trickled down shortly after followed by Steve and off we went to Raffles Hotel, named after Singapore's founder Sir Stamford Raffles, for some food and the infamous Singapore Slings (fruit juice mixed with gin and brandy).
I don't recall all to much other than at some point someone said it would be a good idea to return to our hotel in one of thecycle-driven rickshaws outside the front of Raffles. Squished into one rickshaw on a tiny seat was William, a six foot journalist and Bruce, speeding along the streets of Singapore racing Rod, John and myself on a second rickshaw. All I remember was there was some haggling going on and apparently the next morning Rod phoned William and asked if he remembered what happened. William had no clue. "You idiot" Rod chuckled. "You paid the guy 50 quid for 10 minute ride! Over here you ask how much *BEFORE* you get in" Rod laughed. "What did you pay?" William asked. "Nothing! He asked me and I told him I haven't gotten any money and I pointed at the wad of bills you gave him and said to take it from there, its more than enough for a 10 min ride and I walked off!" We do not take kindly to our team getting ripped off!
My stomach never seems to quit and I was still hungry so I walked across the street to see what they had to eat at the food carts courtyard. Against my better judgment I decided to try some kind of Indian type burrito. It looked safe and there were loads of tourists and locals there eating so I figured, what the hell, I have a little Imodium at the hotel and I dug in. Very tasty. I did take out my camera to grab a few shots but it was so humid, the camera lens steamed up and this is all I got.
SINGAPORE -- Show Night
Finally, off to Singapore Indoor Stadium with Bruce, Rod, William and Matt. Droves of fans were waiting for the band as we pulled into the carport. Of course we jumped out with the usual crowd chants of the crowds gathered at the end of the carport and Bruce jumped out and waved to everyone as we walked into the venue.
I LOVED the Singapore crowd. There are so passionate about Maiden. I've never seen more Iron Maiden patches, flags and t-shirts gathered in one place. I also noticed how young the crowd and how many girls were in the audience. I would guess the average age group was between 15-35. They appeared to come from many parts of SE Asia inc the North Borneo Troopers (see pic), with a number also from India, Australia and, of, course, our regular friends from Finland!!
As I was standing there waiting for the band to come on, one of the things I found interesting was each section of security up front had a huge tub of water near them that they handed to the thirsty crowd. Never seen that in the states and DEFINITELY not in LA. Anyway, when the lights went out and the band hit the stage, the crowd went ballistic! The band sounded phenomenal and they really played off the intensity of the Maiden fuelled crowd. Production, lights, sound, everything was in top form but then again, that's to be expected. It is a Maiden show. Nicko even remarked he could hear the crowd OVER his drumming!
At breakfast in the hotel that day a well-meaning older chap pointed out to Bruce that the ex-pat (ie British) contingent in Singapore were quite laid back so it could be a quiet concert. We don't know how many ex-pats were there, certainly some, but they sure as hell weren't quiet!!! Little do they know of Maiden and their fans!
After the show we headed back to the hotel to knock a few down so the band could unwind. I got into a cool conversation with Adrian about the old metal/hard rock scene and bands like Saxon, Tygers of Pan Tang, Angel Witch, Thin Lizzy and of course Gary Moore (RIP). During the course of the night, fans would summon up the nerve to ask for a photo and autographs. Funny thing, the professional side of me wants to tell fans to please let them have a breather after they just delivered an amazing show to them but the fan side me completely understands this mentality. I've been there many times before. What amazes me is that after all these years Maiden is really good to their fans and always try to accommodate when possible. They get it. It's rare these days with so many big egos out there. Another thing that impressed me was that they just got off stage and here they are, Bruce, Nicko, Janick and Adrian, discussing the set list, the song order and how well it all worked. Always in show mode and wanting to give the best performance possible.
The next morning, off we went. Luckily the flight to Jakarta was only a hour+ flight. Up The Irons Singapore!
Hit page 2 for bonus shots!