26 Oct 2006 - Rod: Tokyo

ON THE BULLET TRAIN TO HIROSHIMA THURS OCT 26 1pm

Sat here next to our press guy from EMI UK William Luff and behind us Steve is doing an interview for Classic Rock with Geoff Barton. Yes the very same GB who in 1979 for Sounds coined the immortal phase the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Classic Rock are doing a major feature from Japan for an issue near to the UK Tour and Geoff is talking to all the band separately whilst the outrageously famed photographer Ross Halfin (check out his new book of Maiden pics – really great and brought back a lot of memories to all of us) is hassling everyone to smile and pose in front of something Japanese looking – as if we haven’t done all that many times in the past!! But Classic Rock want a Japan issue so here we go again – where are those swords. It can be a drag but we know Geoff and Ross and the Classic Rock guys so well it really isn’t a problem and most of it is fun. We left the Tokyo Hotel at 11.15 to catch the bullet train to Hiroshima, a four and a half hour journey even on these trains that hit 180 mph. We have a show there tonight


But lets go back to where l left off in Tokyo a couple of days ago. After struggling through emails at snails pace most of the day William took us out to dinner in the evening. Miscommunication and transport problems and language difficulties left me, Jan, Steve and Dave stuck at a cab rank in Rippongi for 40 min – yes folks, the stuff that rock dreams are made of. None of our mobiles work here so we were well and truly isolated. I had left the list of mob nos for William, Ian etc by the phone in the room – yes really efficient management – so in the end l got a cab back to hotel and called William who sent out a rescue party for the band and someone from our label here EMI Toshiba to pick me up. Eventually we all got there – it was on the top of the Milo building, Rippongi Towers, just about the biggest building in Tokyo with about 5 massive towers and at least 5 main entrances. No wonder we got stuck. Words were had afterwards!!! The band had chosen Korean BBQ for the meal and it really is very good – you should try it out. Besides most of the band (H bailed as he hadn’t slept and Nicko “rested” following a fight with a number of red wind bottles sometime in the late afternoon!! Which it looked like he lost!) were Steve’s daughter Lauren and her band who are supporting us here and Bruce’s family Paddy, Griff, Kia and Austin – who’s band is causing a bit of a stir on myspace . (Maybe the Maiden kids will pick up the mantel one day!!)

After we went to the Hobgoblin Irish pub in Rippongi for a couple of beers but not that late – everyone a bit knackered – we had after all been through 11 time zones in less than a week since Detroit. And of course big show tomorrow.

Show day Budokhan oct 25 – up too early again but at least managed to get online and take care of my emails. One advantage here is that with uk 8 hours behind and usa 13-16 behind most of the day here you don’t get emails but rather they come in overnight so you can sort them in the morning. Having got rid of them had a few hours to kill before going down to show so went to spa and had a good steam, reflexology and massage – very pampered but sometimes on the road it can be really very positive and relax you and get some travel knots out.

Got down the gig fairly early. Checked with our team and everything very good. We take all our own production – the full show of course - but lights and PA are of course different as you don’t carry those round the World with you – way too expensive. So we try to reproduce the same lights and moving rig in Europe, in North America and Japan. In Hartford our first show the crew had 4 days to get it all together. Here they had one!! Lights reproduced very well here and all looked good for the gig. I went out and checked merch – again it is all produced here as you can’t ship in, as taxes are prohibitive. I always check the quality and all was fine. Wandered round back stage after that talking to various old friends and acquaintances like Masa Itoh and Geoff, Ross, William and Seiichi and Chieko from Toshiba. I do find those couple of hours before a show take an age to pass and l just wander round in my own world waiting to get on with it!! I do try to eat but usually don’t feel like it!

Lauren played a 25 min opener and did really well. Hopefully you will all get a chance sometime soon to see here band. They even sold a number of T-shirts, which is great!!

The Budokhan is an octagon built for sumo and martial arts and all shows here are fully seated – although of course no one sits. Capacity was about 8000 and we were a hundred or so short of sell out. We are not as strong here as we are in say Europe but still does well with album top 5. Also I am told that business generally is not that great especially outside Tokyo. Anyway by the time Doctor Doctor finished the place was full and the audience definitely ready for it. Show went great – all production aspects worked fine (well-done crew with all that new gear) sound was excellent, band getting better and better with only a couple of cock ups tonight (!!!) – Bruce had some vocal problems and felt he wasn’t at his best but he hit it real well most of the time from what I could hear as he always does. It’s just a bit frustrating for him when he can’t hear himself fully and he was pissed off because the crew for some reason didn’t bring his onstage vocal wedges which are important to him. He is used to the sound of them and of course if you hire they will always be a bit different. Have to check with Dick why this was when l get to gig later. Can’t complain too much- Dickie and the guys do a great job.

All in all though the gig was a great success and everyone seemed to love – certainly reaction was over the top at the end and plenty of smiling faces. I went out for a while after with friends but still feeling lagged so not up for a heavy one – maybe tonight!!

Hiroshima show is tonight. We get train back tomorrow and I fly out back to uk so this may be last diary entry til start of Europe. Online is driving me mad and l have a lot to do before Aalborg so I am going to get back and get on with it with decent connections next week. There is also some other stuff in the air but I will tell you about that later!!!
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