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Brazil! Let the madness begin. We landed around 9 at night and were kept on the plane again for immigration but at least it went a little quicker this time around. We got to the hotel around 10PM and I went to the hotel bar to meet with Bruce, Rod (who had flown in the night before) and our local EMI reps Nando and Luiz. The bar finally closed at around 2AM. We still hadn't eaten at this point so we (Janick, the Flight Krew and I) went to a gas station to grab some food. When we got there, groups of people were all hanging out at the tables in front drinking. Apparently this is where everyone goes when the bars close down. We ended up sitting around for a mellow time out, a couple of beers and talking. We said goodbye to some new friends we had met and called it a night at 4AM.
The next morning Bruce went out to do a little flying and flew back later that day for an interview with Globo TV regarding the big show and Brazilian tour. We originally thought it would be fun to do this while go karting but unfortunately the track was closed down for a corporate (Volkswagen) bash so it just turned into a sit down which actually worked out quite nicely. Of course the IMFC figured out where and when it was (how do you do that?!) and of course it was a little chaotic. After the interview Bruce signed a few things for the fans and took a few photos before we had to get him out of there. Unfortunately this is where my story ends until show day because I had food poisoning and started getting really ill. For the rest of the night and all of the next day I was in bed being sick. Even on show day I was not quite right. There was a point where I was standing in catering talking to Rob, John and Justin and I started tunneling out. I hadn't eaten in 2 days and with the still heat that day I came seconds from passing out. Luckily I made it to a couch and had a rest so when the show started and the adrenaline kicked in, I was able to make it through the night. That's the other thing to keep in mind. Nothing compares to all of this but when you are sick, there is no such thing as sick days. You have to press on no matter how you feel. Too much is riding on the part you play in this big, touring machine.
Morumbi Stadium is one of the finest in South America and very prestigious. Only the biggest acts play there, with a capacity of 55,000+ which is about the number that showed up for this Maiden show. Remarkable if you consider this was the third time in 4 years the band have played a huge show in Sao Paulo. 2008 saw 40,000 sold out at Palmeiras Stadium and in 2009 about 60,000 at the famous Formula One Racing circuit Interlagos (see past diaries from Rod). On the day they played Palmeiras apparently Steve and Rod went to watch a football match -- Palmeiras v Corinthians -- at Morumbi. Rod says he was there to check out the stadium for future reference, not for the football!! They had originally wished to play there in 2008 but it was booked for the game, funnily enough against Palmeiras so the band used their stadium instead. So this time round Rod got his wish and Morumbi was available. The stadium is municipal and used by Sao Paulo FC, though Corinthians sometimes hire it out.
The special guests were Cavalera Conspiracy, that is Max from Sepultura, who are of course Brazilian heroes and quite rightly so. I was working so didn't get chance to see them but Rod says they were really interesting and good and of course they got a very good reaction, especially playing Roots at the end of the set, which of course they had to do!!
For the Brazilian dates the band had arranged a special event shirt -- a mixture of two Brazilian passions, Maiden and football (a bit like Steve!!) -- and a lot of fans were wearing them!
When Maiden hit the stage, Morumbi Stadium went nuts. During the show I positioned myself to get a glance at the unveiling of the "big" Eddie. This was the first ever time he has been seen and it is incredible, just huge. It was prepared for the massive festival and stadium European tour but was ready early so the band decided to sea freight it to Sao Paulo so they could also use him there for this very special show and for when they film the shows in Buenos Aires and Santiago. He will also appear in Rio as that is close by but of course as he can't fit on the plane and can't be trucked in time round the other shows he sadly couldn't be at the other Brazil shows, and after Santiago he has to get back on a ship back to Europe arriving in time for the German shows at the end of May. As soon as that massive head peeked out, almost the entire crowd pushed toward the middle to see him. Their expressions were that of someone seeing a live concert for the first time. Not having seen it myself, I too was also standing there in awe. Amazing!
It was an incredible show with a huge and incredible audience -- these Sao Paulo fans certainly lived up to their advance billing.