03 Dec 2006 - Rod: Milan

MILAN SUNDAY DEC 3 2.30pm

So we flew down to Barcelona from Paris last Wed – it was a day off. Seems ages ago now. I guess we must have arrived late afternoon and went to hotel. Some of the band went out for dinner at some recommended seafood restaurant but I elected to have a quiet night in, catch up with some work and watch a pay movie. Not a great choice of movie – ended out watching V for Vendetta which was actually quite good once you got into it. Seemed rather childish at first but what it ended out being about was pretty apt for what is going on in certainly the UK right now with parallels many other places especially America. It was a bit leaden getting it over at times but the heart was in the right place and it was quite fun.

The following day l was hoping to get chance to see the Cathedral and Gaudi Gardens and maybe the Picasso Gallery – Barcelona is a very beautiful city with lots to see and do and l definitely recommend you all get here one day – but l had a lot to do and didn’t get chance. I am working on a few ideas for next year which will hopefully please you guys – a lot!!! No – no hints!

The show that night was everything we hoped and sort of expected. The hall is huge and although it looked like it may be poor for sound it ended out pretty good, Doug is having a great tour. The capacity of Palau St Jordi is 18,000 and it sold out a week or so ago and our promoter Pino told me it was the first time anyone had ever sold it out in advance. Spanish audiences are a good as anywhere in the world and this was no exception. Everyone up waving their arms, shouting, clapping. Amazing atmosphere. This tour just gets better and better and reactions across the board have been stunning and very emotional for me on sitting on the sound desk. Maiden fans are truly brilliant – l don’t think there are any better – and they really do communicate their great feelings for he band. A very special relationship which as l have said before often gives me goose bumps. We are very lucky (that’s enough of that again - ed)

Pino was very disappointed as he had arranged a party for us after the show as he didn’t realise we were flying back home after – shame to miss one of Pino’s legendary parties. We stayed for a while – the band showering, a few drinks, say hello to people then off to the airport. L got home about 4 am and was too knackered even to watch the cricket, though l did check the score. And - wonderful news – Freddie won the toss and we were batting and doing really well. We ended the day at 266 for 3 – what a change from the Gabbattoir. We may have a close series yet!!!

Worked in the office at home the next day and had a quiet evening with the family – cricket starts now at 1am gmt so l headed for bed but kept the blackberry close so if l woke up l could check the score. I did. And what a great score – Collingwood 206, Pieterson 158—551 for 6 dec and Oz 26-1. come on England!!!

Set off from home about 11am on Saturday – yesterday – and l got to the hotel in Milan about 4. headed off early for the gig. We have 2 nights here at the Datch Arena – cap 12,500 – both sold out about 3 months ago and Andreas the promoter reckons he could have sold out 4 which is pretty stunning. I went down to the show early to catch up on a few things with Dickie and Ian. There was supposed to be a gold album presentation to the band before the show the EMI Italy MD Beppe got lost in the hall and didn’t make it in time so it didn’t happen. But l can forgive Beppe anything. He has been with EMI Italy forever and worked with us on the first album and ever since gradually going up in the company. I first met him on the Kiss tour. He was educated in Nottingham and is the only Italian l know who speaks English with a Northern accent – and fluently of course. He has always been a big Maiden supporter and has always backed us to the hilt and he is very much part of our success here. He brought his son along (17?) and l took them both on the desk.

The hall was already packed and getting loud when Lauren went on and both she and Trivium had terrific gigs. From these early reactions l could feel it was going to be another special night and boy was l right. Half way through AMOLAD where Bruce talks to the audience Dougie pointed out the db meter. The audience were all yelling the amended football chant Oway. Oway oway oway – Mai- den , Mai-den and the db meter was registering 108db – the band tend to be 103-108 generally. Stunning. I watched the meter occasionally after that. The band highest was 111 but when Bruce has the audience sing the line Fear of the Dark at the beginning of the song - I am sure you guys know where l mean – the roar was incredible and the meter registered 112. Now that is incredible. Louder than the band – genuinely!! i don’t know what a jumbo is but cant be far off. What an atmosphere. Now l have been made aware of this maybe l should take note of max audience level each night and see who is loudest!! Wouldn’t work though as of course the registered level would be affected by the configuration of the hall. A thought though.

Audiences do vary a lot around the world and some are by nature more excited than others which come down a lot to national characteristics. We find the most excited and hence loudest tend to be in the French and Latin areas – Eastern Canada, Paris , South America, spain and italy being amongst the most obvious. We more reserved Northern Europeans – UK, Scandinavia, Germany, Holland etc – don’t quite match the sheer exuberance of our Latin brothers!!! I don’t think it means less appreciation – its just different. I guess its pretty much the same with football fans.

Four of our mates from EMI Sweden were down with Bruce Air (bringing 200 fans from Sweden for the weekend – more tomorrow on this) and they could just not believe it. They thought Stockholm was as good as it can get – and it was fantastic – but the Italian fans were just awesome and totally blew them away. And the album being so immensely popular here they really know the words and the vocal response during the new album were probably the loudest yet too.

We were intending to take Lauren’s band and Trivium out for a few beers tonight but as the hotel was about an hour from the gig we postponed it a few days. Instead we stayed at the venue for well over an hour as the traffic out was completely grid locked. Andreas brought the band some champagne to celebrate and we had a few beers with various friends who were over. Back at the hotel about 1.20 but the bar was closed – pretty pathetic. Some friends had got a beer in for us before it closed so Bruce and I joined them for a while then hit the sack. A long day but the next day we get another Datch.

Got up this morning around 10 and met up with Will who works on Maiden’s legal side for a coffee and catch up. We walked over to the train station – a magnificent and massive building built by Mussolini and the most impressive station l have seen anywhere – except maybe Grand Cental NY but that is a bit diffent to this. However we didn’t go to admire the view – l have been there a number of times before – we went to get the English Sunday papers!!! Must have them – need to catch up on all the sport and a bit of news of course.

Finishing off now – get myself together to go to the gig soon. More later. I think the worst thing about this tour is that it is going so very quickly. Less than 3 weeks to go.
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