Boy, this tour has been a wild ride so far with plenty of twists and turns. I'm sure you've read on the IM website and Internet that the show was postponed until Monday due to the collapse of the barricade, but let's start at the beginning.
After the Sao Paulo show, the Krew had an overnight AM bus ride to Rio, straight in to the HSBC Arena since this was another back to back. Their resilience never ceases to amaze me. The band had to fly on Ed Force One a little later so they could get as much rest as possible (or rather they are not going to get up so early!) so they could give their all for the Rio fans.
When I got to the venue, I went outside to look at the line and there was already a crowd going back for what seemed like miles. The venue holds about 12,000 and was sold out. You could feel and hear the energy and excitement of the fans as they waited in the muggy sun, all dressed in jeans and Iron Maiden t-shirts, ready to spring into action. I went out to grab some quick shots (see below) and once again stirred up the pot as the crowd started pushing forward and burst into their football chant "Ole, Ole Ole Ole - Mai-den! Mai-den!!" When show time rolled around, it was a completely packed house with screaming, ecstatic fans pushing their way forward. Great hall with really high sides so great sound. UFO over the PA told the crowd the band was ready while giving me time to get photographers into place. As the intro started, I was talking to John McM in the barricade area when we both saw the crowd lunge and the barricade actually jump forward and looking like it was starting to buckle. Our jaws dropped as we looked at each other in disbelief. John whispered to me "This barricade is going to give mate." While Jeff and Peter came over to deal with the compromised part of the barricade, I quickly ran to production office to tell the others that the barricade looked like it was going to give any second. By the time I got back, the barricade had already collapsed with Bruce quickly springing into action, telling everyone to move back as security were desperately trying to hold the crowd and make sure no one was getting hurt. With the combination of both the band and security's quick thinking, no one was hurt. Nick (IMTV) and John McM just missed getting pinned as they actually leaped on stage and crawled in front of Steve to get out of the way. The band left the stage until security could assess the damage and try and fix the barricade. After working on the broken barricade, it was rightfully decided the band could not and would not play under unsafe circumstances, putting their fans at risk. The barrier is supplied by the venue and is there mainly for crowd safety, to remove people at the front if they feel they are too squashed and uncomfortable, and without one it is very dangerous. Bruce walked out to make "the announcement" to the crowd that show couldn't continue but the band would play the next night, honoring all tickets, when the barricade was fixed and it was completely safe. For the most part, while disappointed, the IM fans understood this was the right decision and left calmly and without incident. However, there are always one or two bad apples in the bunch and it seems these so called fans threw beers and which hit the soundboard, frying it. If our sound guy Doug hadn't gotten another from Sao Paulo, the replacement show would not have happened at all! Why these idiots thought they should do this and cause problems to the band only they know. It was obvious the band were there to play, they had even started, and obvious to ANY fan that the band will always play for the fans unless it is unsafe to do so. They have proved this many times before, including in Finland last year. But fan safety is the prime concern and this is the first time ever the Krew can remember something like this happening.
After about an hour I made it back to the hotel and quickly went out to one of those bars by the beach. There the whole band, some of the Killer Krew and Flight Krew were sitting around having a beer and discussing the night's events. There we all were, sitting around and having mellow conversations on the beach. With such a busy touring schedule, the only time it seems that we are all together in one place is on the plane en-route to the next show or at the show itself working. Here we all were, just one family, discussing the night's events, grateful that nobody was hurt and talking about preparing for the show the next night. It was a very surreal moment, one that will always be ingrained in mind and, with the magic of digital photography, now yours.
The next day Zeb arranged a quick trip for us (Janick, the Flight Krew, Jeremy, Justin, Nick, and Andy) to go see Christ Redeemer before going to the venue. I mean we were in Brazil and some of us for the first time so we HAD to at least see it. Plus Steve had told me the night before that I should try and see it and how it's just a quick tram ride to the top. He also told me about how he and Dave once went on a tram up to Sugar Loaf, also in Rio, in 1985 and took some photos with some of the fans at the bottom before they made their way up and by the time they had a look around and came down, a shop already had souvenir plates with those photos on them ready to sell. And this was before digital in 1985!!!
After a long walk up what felt like miles of stairs, we got to the top. Christ Redeemer, symbol of the City of Rio de Janeiro, is one of the 7 New Wonders of the Modern World, through the voting carried out on the Internet, cell phone messages all organized by the "New 7 Wonders Foundation" of Switzerland, amongst 21 participating monuments around the globe. The carioca [originally from the city of Rio de Janeiro] postal card standing 38 meters high had its corner stone established in 1922 and it's opening on October 12, 1931, is the only Brazilian wonder. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience to see it in its full glory, standing way above the clouds.
We finally arrived at the venue after about an hour of being stuck in traffic. Tonight there was no opener, just Iron Maiden. I walked around and watched as Doug and Mike checking out the new soundboard and making sure everything worked properly, then went to the pit to check out the new barricade that they brought in specially from Sao Paulo, the one we were supplies at Morumbi so tried and tested. Looks like we were a go for tonight! Despite heavy traffic jams and show postponement, the house was packed! From where I stood, it felt like a full return although I did hear that a few had sadly flown in specifically for the Sunday show and couldn't stay. I did run into some fans that were at the Sao Paulo show and no doubt will be in Brasilia! I tried talking to some of the fans in the front but unfortunately I don't speak Portuguese. Thankfully, with the help of our wonderful Brazilian EMI reps Nando and Luiz, I was able to communicate with some of them. Basically they were all thanking the band for staying in Rio and playing.
It was go time. Lights went down and in the pit we went. The barricade definitely looked a lot stronger and more stable although one eye was always looking to make sure. Security was also on it, constantly checking to make sure everything was holding. All good!
The crowd was fantastic! They ate up every single second of a show that thankfully happened. Bruce thanked the crowd for their loyalty and devotion and for coming back. The band was in top form, making sure they gave the fans a show to remember. And from the reaction of the crowd throughout, they will never forget this night. ESPECIALLY when big Eddie made his second appearance of the tour looking even bigger in the arena.
Unfortunately when I got back to the hotel I came straight to my room to write the journal entry you are reading now (it's 4am and I'm tired!) so I'm missing any Krew shenanigans that may be happening at the bar. We have a morning lobby call so it's doubtful I'll get much sleep before hand but I can sleep anytime. I'm on tour with Iron Maiden!!!
See you in Brasilia!!!
Bonus pics... page 2