19 Nov 2006 - Rod: Stockholm III

STOCKHOLM NOV 19 8pm and NOV 20 2pm

Back from rugby – not a great game but very poor conditions. Ireland beat a very ordinary looking Aussie team who really looked like they were ready to get on the plane home – away from the lashing rain and strong Irish winds prevalent during the game.

So to Sweden and what a great but hectic time it was. When we arrived from Helsinki headed for bar but only time for a quick beer before it closed so off to bed. Nice skybar though.

Day off on 16th – Val from my office was in for these shows so caught up on a lot of work and then emails. In the evening went out for dinner with EMI (thanks Asa, Charlie, Matthias and Anders) and EMA our promoters, Thomas and Tor. Thomas Johannesson and EMA have been our promoters here since the first Kiss shows in 1980 and Thomas is a real genteman and as good if not better a promoter as any in the world. Scandanavia is lucky to have him – we almost always follow his advice. The dinner was good and there was even paparazzi lurking outside. Tor alerted me to one worrying thing though. The 2 main daily papers here Aftonbladet and Expressen had bought their own tickets to our first show in Aalborg and given us pretty poor reviews in their papers a couple of days earlier. We don’t usually have reviewers at warm up shows – especially not national papers – as they are just that, warm up shows to get everything tuned up. They said the sound was poor, Bruce sounded like he was choking (!!!) and that the fans didn’t like the set as we weren’t playing the old hits and it didn’t work playing the whole album. Now all this is hardly surprising as we hadn’t been there before so as l said here previously we can understand why people who have never seen us may be disappointed about song selection. Also fair comment on the sound as it wasn’t a great sounding hall and the band had sound problems on stage – but also it was all new gear for PA and lights, a ground support rig so no moving lights and other production values, part new crew, we hadn’t played for a week or so and were recently back from going through about 19 time zones in a couple of weeks!! Which is of course why we do warm up shows and cant expect them to be of the quality of the later arena shows. All the same its worrying when l hear something like this and such is my nature l start pondering on it and second guessing. It’s the price of success for papers of this importance to “sneak in” early to check you out before a major tour and then report very unfavourably.

Shouldn’t have worried though. The gig that night at the Globen was fantastic and crowd reaction incredible. As in Helsinki when Bruce had his chat with the audience after Longest Day the place went nuts for a full two minutes or so chanting Maiden Maiden and the roar was intense. The atmosphere was just brilliant – this is what love about Maiden concerts, that goose bump feeling of total connection between band and audience that fires the band on to get better and better. It really was an excellent concert. And to top it off EMI presented us with gold discs for sales of the new album in Sweden – again in record time

After the show all went different places – Jan bar hunting, some of us to hotel bar. Had a couple with NIcko and headed off for bed leaving him to it – definitely a mistake l would find the next day!!

The next morning l got the Aftonbladet and Expressen and even l – with no working knowledge of Swedish – could see that the reviews were terrific. On the front page of the Afton at the top it said (l would later find) IRON MAIDEN MAKE THE GLOBE ROLL!!

I had it translated - Everything was good – the set worked, new album excellent, great fans, incredible reaction, great sounding hall (unlike Denmark they said where fans were laid back and hall poor sound!! I told you Nordics were competitive!!) Here is a bit that Tor translated for me from his email –

Sent: Sat Nov 18 11:28:26 2006
Subject: SV: SV: So how were the reviews???

Expressen:
'The crowd is so incredible, that the Maiden-guys are almost moved to tears'.

........"The longest day" is performed in a too high tempo and therfore it feels like a raging bull rushing against you. That kind of magic only occur when musicians want's to espress so much, that they almost burst open. After this song, the audience takes over completely. Bruce tries to speak, but get drowned in a deafening thunder. Then he just stands there, silent and speechless, for well over a minute, while Maiden receives a declaration of love that is totally impossible to put words to'.


Final lines:
'If it were somewhere that Maiden would triumph, with such a demanding repertoire, it would be the favourite land of Sweden. And that the maiden of iron do, and exeeds all expectations'

Headline in 'Aftonbladet': Got the Globe in rotation. Iron Maiden has started their victory train.

And here's a nice line: The proudness of the latest album becomes like a sober cloak swept over the evening and then when "Fear of the Dark" get released just before 10PM, it's just like the big golfball started to move a bit.

Final line: 'The challenge do work - and with that, a 4-shows long victoory train has begun'.

Phew!!! Thank you!!! Had me worried for a minute. But they were right, it was an emotional and fantastic gig .



2nd show day was always going to be very hectic –

- Steve had a football match at 1.30 and had his team fly in from England for the big game – sadly they lost 4-1 but Steve scored!!

- Bruce had flown to Oslo early that morning to pick up Bruce Air 666 which had left Gatwick in the early hours to pick up 150 or so Norwegian fans to bring them to the second Globen show. He was flying them back to Gatwick straight after the show – totally mad!! He also brought in a few friends from London including Dave P and Hannah from our office.

- Adrian had all his family over for the weekend.

- Radio One Rock show, Ian Camfield for VH1 and MTV Germany were at the gig to do specials

- All steves football mates, a cast of many, all the media guys, office , friends, label etc would be backstage drinking our beers.

So what did l do in the midst of all this action - why took the day off of course – well Val, Dave and Hannah were there to do the worrying and organising with of course our Maiden team Ian and Gaddsy.

Got a cab to the waterfront at about 10 to be picked up by my good mate and Bravado Merch boss Barry in his boat. Barry has a lovely (are there any others) Swedish wife and has a house about 40min outside Stockholm by the water in a very beautiful part of the country so we went out for a visit. Argued about concession rates and then took the car back into town for lunch (fish and chips – bloody marvellous) at the Dubliner – to be followed by, of course, England v Argentina on the big screen there (great picture – highly recommended for sports viewing in Sweden). England were again very poor most of the game but managed to dredge up some real spirit in the last 20 min to snatch a win 23-21 to avoid the ignominy of losing 8 straight and being labelled as the worst England team ever. Feel good for Martin Corey who l don’t think has deserved the barbs in the press. Only had a couple of John Smiths then went to gig about 5.30, meeting and having a photo with the nice chap who runs the (unofficial) Swedish Fan Club on the way in.

Everything seemed fine – all the media stuff was getting done, everybody happy and all seemed thrilled to be there to see the show before most of the Brits.

Here is a guide how not to prepare for a major show:

Singer – fly early for an hour and then fly a 200 seater airliner back an hour / take pic with 150 fans on the stage / do major interviews with various important media.

Bass player – play a full football match (even if you score!) and do same interviews.

Guitarist – have whole family along and do interviews.

Guitarist – Dave – get ill and need a big shot to get you together.

And yes …the drummer…yes you Nicko…...get pissed the night before, feel like s**t and act as backstage guide and MC to VH1 with a hangover!!!

Well maybe they should do it more often – the gig and the audience were even better than the night before. Absolute blinder in every way. Love you Dougie, sound was perfect. Crowd brilliant.. I always thought this show and set list was as good as anything we have ever done and l shouldn’t have let a couple of poor reviews get to me. This all works just great!!!!!

After the gig Steve, Jan and the footballers went off to wreck the Dubliner, Bruce flew off with his 150 or so mates, Nicko (thank god!!) and Dave (get well) had an early night and Adrian, his family, Barry, Val, Dave , EMI and most of the media guys went to sky bar til it closed. Definitely something to celebrate – a couple of cracking shows with one more to come at the Globe next Saturday.

Finishing off now – spent the day catching up on work and doing this (and reading English Sunday papers l got from station next door – luxury!). Leave at 4 to fly in to Gothenburg for the show there then on to Oslo afterwards.

After the first 4 major shows l feel we are most certainly ready for anything. It is gonna be a memorable tour. I feel effin great!!! Roll on tonight
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