15 Dec 2006 - Rod: Manchester II

STILL AT MANCHESTER BLOODY AIRPORT FRI DEC 15 3.15 pm

So the flight has now been delayed a further hour – be quicker to walk soon. Three and a half hours at least late for such a short journey. Maybe its weather conditions. Anyway at least got time to continue and maybe even catch up!!

So to Cardiff – got train down there. I do enjoy travelling by train especially compared to schedule flights and the perpetual inconvenience of flying and security and queues etc etc etc. Anyway easy ride and got to Cardiff about 4.

One of the nice things about touring is meeting up with various old friends along the way and in Cardiff is one of my best mates from Uni, Tudor, who is a Prof and head of research at Cardiff Uni Hospital. One of the brightest people l have met – he was lecturing the Russians on cardiology when he was 27!! We met in the bar at 5 to catch up for a couple of hours before the show. Always interesting to see him – years ago he told me about chaos theory way before it became “fashionable”. It was such an exciting concept l called Bruce who like me enjoys these type of quirky theories and l think it was woven into some of his songs at that time.

It’s small gig in Cardiff, only about 7500 and sold out very quickly months ago. It’s called the CIA – Cardiff International Arena – but how they can call it an arena is beyond me. No disrespect intended but the “arena seating” is strips around the side. The audience is crammed on the floor and the sound sort of rotates around the curved hall. And it was unbelievably hot. The audience as always in Cardiff was good but even they were wilting by the end. But we do like to do a show in Wales – l think we have on every tour and we have always had great support there going right back to the early days and Newport – and this is the most appropriate venue. And anyway the Welsh are a nation of rugby fans so it’s always a pleasure to get to talk rugby with the locals – it was pretty tough in Italy and Germany!!

We have been meaning to get together with the Trivium boys for a few beers for ages but due to differing travelling arrangements and various local problems of closing times and distances we hadn’t managed it. But back in the good old UK you can pretty well guarantee if you have a decent hotel you can keep the bar open if drinks are still being bought. So we all convened in the hotel bar after the show with sundry friends and colleagues and managed to keep the bar open for quite some time.

Deserved lie in the next day then drove up to Birmingham with Bruce. He has a pretty fast car for the tour and we got there in minutes!!!! You can imagine – not that Bruce has an appetite for speed of course!!!

Great show that night which led to a major and excellent review in the Times!!! Now that makes a change!! The NEC is a very good hall and again we have played it many many times. Sold out ages ago about 11,500. The place was packed and also packed with band friends inc apparently about half of the Aston Villa FC who Steve brought along as he had a game earlier. Major mayhem everywhere but we are used to it.

After the show l drove back to London with Andy our promoter. Stayed near Marble Arch which his sat nav finally found after varied detours. I really don’t trust those things, they usually manage to find all the traffic lights

Went in to the new Phantom offices the next day. Starting to take shape. Had various meetings then went to see Dragonforce in the evening at the Astoria along with their mgr and my old mate and ex Sanctuary colleague the notorious Liverpool FC fan Steve McTaggert. I was instrumental in signing the band to Sanctuary records with Steve about 3 years ago and they have really come on. Terrific metal band and 2 sold out nights at the Astoria with incredible audience reaction and communal spirit almost reminiscent of early Maiden. Good guys too and from all over the world. If you haven’t already check em out.

After went along to the live nation (our promoters) xmas party. Great – it was at a bowling alley and also had table football. Bowling at 1.30 am – why not!! Really good night all round.

Got the train up to Manchester the following day – yesterday dec 14 – for the show at the MEN Arena. Another great venue, cap about 15,000 sold out a few weeks ago, first time we have sold it out for some time. Went straight to gig from station to catch up on a load of stuff with Dickie and Ian and a few things later with the band relating to 07. This was a fantastic show. Sound was amazing and so was the audience. It’s always a great feeling after a completely full on show and this was another of them.

We had a fun moment though when Adrian’s guitar lead got caught up in the rotating wheels of the tank during Iron Maiden – which Bruce announced after as a true Spinal Tap moment of guitarist eaten by tank!!!

Another unusual thing happened straight after the band finished. I was on the desk as usual and turned round to find the desk area barricades being forced over by a whole melee of young fans trying to get something given out by the security lady. The barrier was falling over. I checked what it was and it was ticket stubs. I asked a couple of fans if they had tickets and they said yes so l didn’t see what it was all about and as the barriers protecting the gear were being pushed back l just grabbed all the tix in handfuls and threw them out. Found out later that when those standing in the arena come in their tickets are taken and they are given wristbands. Then at the end of the show these tix are given back to fans on the way out and at the desk if they want them. I don’t think the hall realised how determined Maiden fans are hence the barrier potential problem. But if any of you guys missed out on a ticket as l grabbed ‘em my apologies – we will be aware next time and work it a better way. I can fully understand why the kids want a ticket as a souvenir – surely there is a better way though.

Short visit to bar after show, slept well, got to airport for 12 and still here at 4.30. Time to see if we have a plane yet. I won’t be at next few shows until EC but more after that. If you are going to be at Glasgow, Newcastle or Sheffield look after the guys for me!!!

Ps when l woke up this morning of course Sky 1 was on for the cricket …..Yet another disastrous day following a really good day for England. So from now on …..PLS DON’T MENTION THE CRICKET
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