15 Oct 2006 - Rod: New York

NEW YORK – OCT 15 – 10 am

Its been a couple of days since last entry but thought l’d cover the NY area shows together and just needed a day off yesterday. Still having online problems – l was OK here for first day or so here but now l can open VPN okay and get online but cant get Outlook to connect with VPN so stuck. l will have to load this onto portable drive l carry and get Gaddsy to email in so this may be even later by the time it gets up.

It was a day off on Wed 11th. I caught up on email and the only other thing we were to do was a radio interview with ABC national news at 3pm. This was also going to be used on Good Morning America, but GMA advised that morning that it was no longer possible due to extended coverage of the situation in Korea with the nuclear testing. We were about to leave for ABC when we got a call that it was off due to a plane crashing into a building in the lower east side. At the time we had no idea what the implications were and whether it was terrorist related but of course it tragically was an accident involving the New York Yankees pitching star Cory Lidle. We didn’t reschedule the interview as the next two days were show days and generally Bruce does nothing at all on show days but concentrate on the show. Shame as it would probably have been an interesting interview from a different viewpoint.

That evening l had dinner with Cory Brennan who is with Sanctuary management in NY and manages Slipknot and Stone Sour. Cory really knows his US metal scene and has been helping me with the Maiden album as his knowledge of the US market is much greater than mine now and his help in some areas like retail and marketing has been invaluable. He also does a terrific job managing his acts and Stone Sour are doing really well on the new album. After dinner we met up with Tom and Felix from our merchandisers Bravado and also Justin and Brian who manage Trivium and Monte from Roadrunner. Caught up on latest gossip etc etc and then off to see Trivium play a small fan gig nearby. Just playing covers like Metallica but fun. Look forward to seeing them properly in Tempere on their first Euro show with us. I have known the band and Justin and Brian for some time now and its always good to see them all. Their new album “The Crusade” seems to be starting off well too. Got back to hotel reasonably early, read a bit (The Afghan – Frederick Forsythe – great writer, interesting book. Next is “The Bomb” which Bruce just read and passed on to me) and crashed out.

Funny how quickly on the road you lose track of time and what day it is (cos it doesn’t really matter on the road – every day is either show day or day off and that’s it) … and what you did a couple of days before. Anyway Thursday was Nassau Colisseum on Long Island and during the day l think l just caught up on emails as l managed to get online fine. Left for the gig with Bruce and we took John McMurtrie with us who is doing pictures for the European tour programme – he was also in Quebec and Montreal though l forget if l mentioned it. He showed me the Canada pics on his laptop while we were waiting for Bruce and they were superb so the tour programme should look fantastic. Traffic going down there was murder, nearly 2 bloody hours in the car – just what you don’t need before a show. Partly knock on effect of the plane crash the day before and partly NY is coming to a permanent grid lock like many other cities in the world, the traffic and conditions of the roads being appalling.

We put this tour in now as the band finished the album 2 months earlier than planned which gave us chance to tour North America and Japan before Europe. It was booked relatively short notice and we couldn’t get a suitable date at Madison Square Gardens so l decided on Meadowlands arena, a 15,000 or so capacity arena just through LincolnTunnel in New Jersey – like a lot of halls over here it is now corporatised with the name Continental Airlines Arena. Our agent came back saying promoter said we should do Nassau too, we would sell it out. Are you sure? Yes. Are you sure we will sell both out?? Yes! are you certain ? Yes. Well they were wrong. Nassau is an old hockey arena and home of the Islanders and hasn’t been, as far as l am informed, a popular rock gig for a while although we used to play it a lot in the eighties. We ended up with only a few over 8000 and it wasn’t a great gig. The roof has massive iron girders which had a detrimental effect on the sound and the place was bloody cold. The audience were ok but not great but more on that later. We are used to hot, packed arenas and amazing atmospheres with our fans and this just wasn’t so a bit of a disappointment and personally l think our most disappointing NY show ever. Not the performance, just the general vibe of the show. Nothing too bad, but just not there if you see what l mean. It didn’t help either that the Mets were playing at home that night in the National League play offs – and we hit the traffic from that on the way back. Another almost 2 hours in the van to go about 8 miles, bloody depressing!! Not a great night all round. Disappointing for Val and Dave from my office who have come in for NY and Toronto shows to see label people etc, but also as a bit of a treat from the band for doing such a great job for us. By the time we got back Bruce, Val, Dave and Drew and Nick from the label just headed for a few quiet beers in the hotel bar

I mentioned the arena being cold. We always insist on all AC being turned off and all doors closed to stop draughts. Standing around and singing in a cold draught does Bruce’s vocals no good whatsoever and is very distracting. I know this from standing on the desk in the same cold draught sending messages back stage to close the bloody doors or turn off AC. Time and time again. You can tell there is a serious issue as band are tearing around under all those lights and aren’t even sweating!! This is becoming a perpetual problem with health and safety wankers appearing everywhere to save you poor softies!! Christ – this is metal audience. We don’t need these wankers to save us. We want to SWEAT and have it loud and hot. In places - and certainly not just here - it is now becoming so bloody anaesthetised its pathetic. I don’t know whether some of the promoters don’t really get it, don’t have the control, just don’t really care or some halls are just old and draughty anyway. Health and Safety is raising its over-protective nannying head everywhere so lets watch out.

Anyway on to Friday. Went round to bravado with Val and Dave to go through some US merch stuff then lunch with Bob head of Sanctuary Records here. Then meeting with all main label staff to go thru ongoing album campaign. Went direct from Sanctuary office to EC arena NJ with Kevin our label press officer and Val and Dave. Over the Lincoln bridge and into another traffic jam- this time due to a broken water main. I am really going off staying in NY as l spend all the time sat in jams!!!! Took us some two and a half hours to go about 5 miles!!

The traffic around the whole area was dreadful. Ten minutes before we were due to go on stage there were only 7500 people in the building out of just under 13000 with tickets gone. We decided to hold show 15 minutes to allow for more fans to get there – cost us $3000 in overtime so l hope you late arrivals appreciate it (send something to Clive’s charity as a thanks!!) We couldn’t hold it longer as that wouldn’t be fair on all the people there so hope not too many missed much. Some of my friends who came along arrived after Different World so didn’t miss much and looking at the hall l think most were in after the first couple of songs.

Anyway the gig was SO much better. Promoter John Scher is an old friend. He didn’t want us to play Nassau either. He was right. We did just over 12,000 people here and it looked great but without Nassau it would have been sold out days ago and a really great NY play. l am really pissed off with myself about this – should have followed my instincts. But it was still really good. Good audience. New album went really well and of course the rest brought the house down. Sound l thought was very good – it’s a good hall to play except it was also draughty on stage and on the desk. Took away some of the pleasure for Bruce but rest of band really enjoyed it. Thanks NJ.

Had an interesting chat with Eddie Trunk at the show. Eddie is an old mate of the band and runs shows on Radio Q-104 and has a show on VH1. he said after the Nassau gig he got a load of email and they were split 50-50 between those who were outraged that we played the whole new album and not just the classics and those who thought it was brilliant to play the whole album and that they saw the band in a totally new light as a result of this. Well sorry guys, if you want cabaret and a collection of old songs the same songs every time there are plenty of bands doing this – Maiden just isn’t one of them. We will occasionally do tours featuring classic material like we did last year as it can be fun sometimes. But this is not what this band is about and l wont go on as l know any of you in this online club reading this know this perfectly well and why it is!! I really don’t think this view of just wanting the old stuff exists anywhere else in the world but here and l think that is not down to the fans being any better or worse its just a simple matter of communication. Most communication here is radio and TV and we don’t get any – never have. There are few national magazines and the lead times need to be so long for the distribution that they are hardly current. But the web is gradually changing all this with the speed of info so hopefully things will change and more fans here will be more prepared to hear new materiel and not just Run to the Hills and Trooper!!!

After the gig the label threw us a party at Blackstones on 55 between 2 and 3. Great bar – recommend a visit. Very friendly owners and staff. Place was packed with all of us, label, a few media and retail, friends and fans, some other musos, great mixture. There til 3 or 4 – not sure!! I think everyone really enjoyed it. Good job it was a day off next day – Saturday. Spent day doing nothing – had a walk round central park. Late breakfast, picked up English newspapers at a shop l know, watched Tigers get into World Series beating As, saw some of Mets losing to Cards. I really like baseball and am still a Dodgers fan from the time l lived in LA – it’s a great game once you get to understand some of the nuances. In the evening went to see a band called VOX who are friends of Nickos. Good gig but didn’t hang around as l was knackered – and l just drank water. Showing my age!!! But we have a big night out tonight in Toronto with Dean an old mate who runs EMI Canada and some of his team and all the band. I need to be prepared!!!

Anyway about done – its taken well over an hour to do this so l hope someone out there is reading it!!! Anyway time to get some food then pack and head for airport. I do like NY but hope the traffic improves. Of course like major cities all over the planet…..it wont!!

- Rod

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