12 Apr 2011 - Todd's Diary - Recife & Curitiba

When I first got to Recife, it really felt like I was back in the United States. It reminded me of Florida. Just like in Rio, they had these great beach bars every block or so, right along the beach. It was hot out when we got there so I stopped at the nearest one and got a coconut. Why not? I was in Brazil and it seemed like the thing to do. Nothing says Brazil than sitting by the beach and drinking out of a coconut. At least in my version of it. Very refreshing. I sat there for a while and stared at the ocean. It was very calming looked amazing. I would have gone for a swim had it not been for the "Beware of sharks" signs all along the way.  As I got up, a few IMFC members recognized me and came over to take a few photos with me. I'm just starting to get used to all this although it's still a little new to me. I was told it was because having me on the tour was like one of them being there as well. I guess I do kind of understand that.

Later that night Nick, John and I wanted to see a little of the "real" Recife so we decided to cab it and check out Olinda.

The city of Olinda has nearly five hundred years of history. In the first hundred years of Brazil, Olinda was one of the richest cities in the country. The Dutch occupied Olinda for 24 years, adding to the already rich culture. When the Dutch left, the neighbor city of Recife took the role of commercial and political center.

It was Saturday night in Olinda and in the main square there were bunch of tables set up, packed with locals eating, drinking and celebrating as a live band played music while they danced. It was a really great vibe and you really got the feel of the city. At one point I got up to find a bathroom and "Brave New World" was pumping out of the speakers in one of the shops! Random!  We got in touch with Griff and some of the flight Krew and they somehow found us in the middle of this packed square. Shortly after Patrick showed up and brought Martin and Frank from Banger films who came out to to get a feel of the show before filming the Buenos Aires and Santiago shows.

After a while I decided to take a quick walk around the block on my own to have a look at the surroundings. Most of the building were painted with murals and street graffiti art. It turns out a lot of the culture of Olinda is expressed in every house, street and church by the people of Olinda. Walking around the neighborhood is like taking a lesson about Brazilian history and culture. I started to wander further down streets when I haunted by what happened in Belem. Not that it was a particularly bad area but I was alone in unfamiliar territory so I decided to head back to the table with the others.

The next morning I went down to get breakfast but couldn't find a place to sit so a couple of the IMFC members kindly offered a seat with them. They were very nice guys and followed us throughout Brazil. As we were finishing up, we heard a huge commotion on the other end where it turns out that Janick decided to sign a few things for the fans that were patiently hanging around the lobby.
I ended up in my room for most of the day working on scheduling some interviews for Steve from the hotel before I had to leave for Pernambuco Convention Center for the show. Just another glimpse into an average day for Todd.

 Originally scheduled for the Parque De Espociscoes, the show had to be relocated to the External Area of the Pernambuco Convention Center due to heavy rainfall the previous month. The safety and comfort of the fans always come first in the Maiden camp.

One of the great things about these shows is that it gives me a chance to see a lot of new artists and local acts I would probably never have a chance to see or hear. Tonight's support band Terra Prima got the crowd well primed and ready for Maiden. The crowd that night was were really pumped up and I felt that band really fed off the passion of enthusiasm of the audience. Both band and crowd really gave it their all. After I finished my usual press photographer and camera crew duties I walked to the back of the venue. It was wall-to-wall people, all celebrating and having the time of their lives. I took a quick walk out the gate and there were hundreds of fans sitting along the stone stairs just outside of the gate, listening and cheering. It was like one big party. As I was walking around enjoying the crowd's reaction to the band I realized I was way outside the gate and had to sprint back to catch my ride or be left behind again. I made it.

 After the show we all went back to the hotel. On the way in, Martin from Banger Films mentioned the how cool the pool bar upstairs was but that it unfortunately closes at ten and we were way past that. Just then Gaddsy came up to us saying "Pool bar, upstairs. Calling the band right now to see if they want to come." The hotel was kind enough to keep the roof top pool bar open so we could relax and unwind.

Gaddy, John, Ian, Frank, Martin and I all went straight up. After the craziness of the show, it was nice to sit by a pool under the quiet, Recife sky talking about the show. Soon after Janick came up and joined us followed by Dave and Bruce. It was another one of those surreal moments I was lucky enough to be part of. Bruce mentioned he had just caught "The Return of the Pink Panther" on TV at the hotel and forgot how funny it was. Bruce doing lines, verbatim, WHILE acting them out for us was hilarious. Just then Dave enthusiastically said he had just rented a movie titled "Evil Aliens." I guess I should explain and give you a little backstory on this one. Traveling back in time to the day we left Belem. Bruce was telling us in the lift that just before he left the room he was watching this amazing Welsh B-horror/alien slasher movie called "Evil Aliens." We had a few minutes before we had to leave so Gaddsy, Bruce, John and I, soon to be joined by Nicko, sat in the business center watching the rest of this movie. Fast-forward to the pool bar in Recife with Dave insisting everyone see this movie followed by a huge, enthusiastic discussion on it, hooking in the Banger crew.
As the night wound down, we started talking about music and Martin was telling us about how he just interviewed Arthur Brown (of "Fire" fame) and it turns out Bruce saw him in the 70's and described the show to us. He had told us what a huge influence hArthur Brown, Ian Gillan and progressive rock band Van der Graaf Generator were on his vocal style.  Shortly after, the bar closed and off to our rooms all of us we went. The next day we had a mid-day flight to Curitiba.

 As we were landing in Curitiba, I was staring out the window and feeling a little sad that this was the last stop for us in Brazil on this leg of the tour. I really enjoyed my time in Brazil and the fans here are wonderful. I got to experience very different and unique cultures all within this wonderful country. But I guess all good things must come to an end...until next time that is. But for now, here I was in Curitiba!

 When we got to the hotel I made my usual rounds handing out the next days press events to the band. When I got to Bruce's floor I saw Jeff outside an open door and laughter coming from inside the room. I walked in and John, Jeff and Bruce were looking at old video clips of Van der Graaf Generator on a laptop.  I never heard them before and definitely need to check them out.

 Later that night Bruce, producer Kevin Shirley, John, some of the Banger film guys and I all went to a restaurant called Badida for a steak dinner. The dinner was amazing but I think I've eaten way too much red meat on this trip and was seriously craving fruit and salad but managed to stay on track.  Unfortunately I couldn't hang out the rest of the night because I had a full day of interviews for Nicko, Bruce, Steve AND Adrian and I had to make sure everything went without a hitch. Plus I really think the tour and lack of sleep was starting to catch up to me. Again, I'm new to this level of constant travel and late nights and it really starts to roll over on you after a while. I needed a good night's sleep so I grabbed a ride back to the hotel with Bruce and Kevin and called it a night.

The next day I got to Expotrade a little early to find a good spot for the on-camera interviews with Steve and Bruce before they got there. We ended up interviewing Bruce in the back of the stage, hidden from the crowd so they wouldn't start chanting and drowning out the audio. After the interview Bruce stood up on the stairs behind the curtain, the crowd instantly roared. The Iron Maiden crowd is very observant! Bruce laughed, went up the stairs and held his hat just over the curtain so it was all you can see from the audience side and the fans went crazy. It was quite comical. Soon after we had Steve finally sat down to do his interview. He is always great about these things and always patient. After about thirty minutes we were done and Steve went to prep for the show and I went to do my other onsite duties.

Motorocker opened the show and were really good. They reminded me a lot of old AC/DC and even did a cover of "Let There Be Rock." The crowd seemed to really dig it as well. I stood out front and got to watch most of their set. Rockin' live band.

I don't know what it is but I always love it when UFO plays over the PA. I guess it's because no matter what country we are in, the fans know that Maiden are about to hit the stage and the excitement REALLY ramps up. You can also really see the connection between band and fans when they break into the first number. And when Maiden plays, they aren't just playing to you, they are playing with you as well. You always feel like you are just as much as part of the show as  the band plays off the fans. It always makes the hairs at the back of my neck stand up every time. And that's not just because I've been on the road and haven't had a proper grooming in almost three months!

Before this, the closest I got to Curitiba, let alone Brazil, was watching "Flight 666" and now here I was here in person! Halfway during the set I went to the back to watch the show with the other fans and just to soak it all in. I watched in awe as Bruce ran from one end of the stage to the other and back again. I'm always amazed on how much energy he has both on and off stage. During the set a side monitor blew on stage but the band's performance was unaffected and you never would have notice had Bruce not mentioned it. Spoiler Alert! Dave's solo on "When The Wild Wind Blows" was spot on as he just cranked that whammy bar. His solo is always one of my favorite points of the show. The next day we were off on a new adventure to Argentina (and after Santiago) where we will be filming the live DVD. The pressure is on Buenos Aires!

- Todd

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