It was a quick skip to Peru from Colombia (3hr). Now we are moving into the final part of leg 1 of "The Final Frontier World Tour 2011" and the intensity of the fans is full on. Things get crazy as we roll deeper into South America and the unexpected events happening during the tour keep coming but more on that later. It's not the fans here are "bigger" fans here than other places. It's just different in the way they express themselves from place to place. One of the most interesting things I've noticed is the way fans react from culture to culture. Part of my adventure and experiences.
First night out a handful of us, Justin (Janick's guitar Tech), Griff, John McM, Zeb, Tash, Kerry (Prod. Assist), Rob (Lighting), Nick (IMTV), Antti (Lighting), Fernando (flight crew) and I decided to go to the beach area and get a taste of the real Peruvian neighborhood and food. We started at a bar noche for a few drinks where we ran into Charlie (Nicko's tech) and lo and behold, one hour turned into to over 4 hours of drinking and hanging out. After tapped into the best songs in the jukebox (not a lot of good choices), we moved down the road to another bar down this alleyway. After x amount of beers and a peach schnapps shooter I TRIED to swallow, the last of my tries ended up on the front of my shirt and floor, I decided at 2:30 am it was time to get some sleep (I seem to remember sleep) until Janick and the flight krew walked in. I was out on the patio finishing my drink when I heard a roar from inside. I peaked in and there was the flight krew AND Janick out on the dance floor. Out came my camera (see below).
The next day, after I had to go to the American Embassy to deal with some paperwork for my Brazilian visa (my visa was late for Brazil and Argentina and there was no way I was going to miss those stops!) we decided to do a little sight seeing and visit a nearby pyramid Templo de Huallamarca.
The Huaca Huallamarca or Pan de Azúcar (Sugar Bread), an adobe scaled pyramid with an impressive access ramp.
The tombs found in the Huaca Huallamarca embrace a very long period that goes from the 3rd century A.D. to the coming of the Incas during the 15th century. Apparently, Huallamarca was a ceremonial centre whose access was possibly restricted to a religious elite, in view of the fact that the uncovered floors show little wear from use. A long sequence of employment and abandonment ofthis Huaca reveals the different ways in which the funerary practices changed through time. And now, here I was walking on it!
When we got in, we stumbled upon Gaddsy, Ian and Janick. And I thought we were gonna give the band members a break from us for at least one day. We walked around taking photos and leave it to Ian to remark "There you go. A hole! You wanna take a thousand pictures of a hole!" Gotta love him. I laughed and turned to Gaddsy who looked like he was about to pass out from the heat. As we were leaving, some of the employees recognized Janick so he graciously stopped and took a few photos with them. I always thought of how great it must be to be working when all of a sudden one of your favorite bands walk in. I heard we had just missed Adrian stopping in as well.
After, we decided to head to the Inca Market and have a look around and maybe pick up some interesting souvenirs then back to the hotel. Janick picked up a few new bracelets and finally got a photo in front of Machu Picchu:
"From Janick with love. We finally made it Rod!"
That night I decided I would splurge on a good dinner instead of the usual garbage I eat so I went to the steak house Doug told me about when who walks in? Doug. We hung out and talked about everything including how he ended up working with Iron Maiden for over 30 years. One of the great stories he told me was about a show they did in 1980 at the Birmingham Odeon. During the load in for the show, Doug and pyro Pete (old Maiden pyro guy) went to the roof to blow up one of the krew's radio (this was the old days). They put some powder in it (in those days they made their own pyro), lit the fuse but all they heard was a swoosh. As they peaked over up to see what had happened, a flash of light and KABOOM! It echoed throughout the whole city. Freaking out, they ran and scrambled downstairs, blind from the flash and knowing they might get in trouble. They then got busy really quick like nothing happened when the police department came bursting in through all entrances. They asked for the person in charge and Dickie Bell, fast on his feet as usual, told them they just got in new pyro and it looked a lot bigger than usual so they tested it out on the roof letting them know "We won't be using that tonight." The police paused and said looked at Dickie and said "Yes, please don't use that" and walked off.
As we were finishing up, in walked Adrian. We were done eating but ordered some drinks and hung out with him while he ate. We got into a long conversation about the good old analog days of music to the current digital age. Doug and Adrian also discussed how the tops of the stages affect the sound on stage and how some venues shaped like circus tents sound great on stage. I didn't really have an opinion but it was fascinating to learn a little about how stage shape can affect the actual sound on stage. Sorry no photos of this night but I thought it was going to be a quiet evening with my own thoughts so I didn't bring a camera. Luckily for me it turned out to be a nice evening with Doug and Adrian. Even if I did have my camera, how do you break up a great, mellow evening conversation with flash? For the IMFC I'll try next time, I promise.
The next day, under police escort we were taken to Estadio San Marcos which was originally opened on 1951 and owned by the National University of San Marcos. It's funny after really only a short time that I have been traveling with the band, how easy it is to comfortably fall into a pattern of getting used to police escorts and motorcades and accepting it as the norm. I was gazing out the window, watching our escorts weave in and out of traffic, keeping us from getting caught in a traffic jam, when I had to give myself a reality check. Come August I go back to my normal way of life. It's incredible really. This is really living a fantasy. Even for the band, it's not like they travel like this off tour. It really is a necessity to make sure we get to the show safe and on time so there are no delays for onstage time. Plus it's not really my life, it's their life. I'm just lucky enough to be on this journey.
Gotta love fans in Peru. They are amazing! As it has been throughout South America so far, before the band went on you could hear the chants " Maiden! Maiden! Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole" or something like that. It even started to briefly rain a little during the show but of course that didn't affect the fans or the band. They carried on at full throttle, getting swept up by energy of the crowd.
After, we had a few drinks, band and crew and I got to hang out with my new friend Luiz from EMI Brazil. On top of all the amazing experiences I have had, and will have, so far, I also have met some of the most incredible fans and made lifelong friends.
BRAZIL!!!! Finally! Next stop Sao Paulo!
You know the drill... page 2!