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Pathetic isn't it -- over a month to finish this off. I have just finished a very good book by Toby Young called "The Sound of No Hands Clapping", a follow up to the also very good "how to lose friends and not influence people". In it he talks about how writers will always try to find something they really, really have to do before starting to write -- anything -- do the hoovering, feed the dog, go to the shop to buy that all important item you really cant live without -- anything to delay the fateful moment of picking up the pen, or more likely turning on the laptop.
As you are all very aware by now I am in no way a scribe and yet after religiously getting down to these diaries on tour once it finishes you can always find some excuse not to finish it off. In my defence there was a lot to catch up with when l got home and then family holidays (" yes l will finish off before l go to the beach" was the idea every day) and then more to catch up then over here in the USA on Maiden business......as I said you will go any ends to delay the fateful moment when you have to remember, think and write. It's not so bad when you get going; it's just the getting going that's the problem. I am sure you have all experienced this and of course it is a pretty lame excuse for laziness!
Anyway here I am in LA with some time to spare and the bar doesn't open til 7 so let's try to wind the brain back to India and day of show.
Got up late, moped around a bit then met up with the guys about 4 in the lobby to head off to the venue. We were earlier than usual as we wanted to get some fun shots with an elephant we had arranged backstage. What a laugh and thankfully the elephant was well behaved with 2 minders to look after it -- I should hire them to keep an eye on the band
All the production logistics were spot on and the place was rammed -- apparently the biggest rock audience ever in India and many more than even the Stones did in the same venue. People had come from Delhi by air, on the 24 hour train journey from Mumbai and even on a 100 hour round trip from Kathmandu. Many of the fans were wearing Maiden shirts and it was obvious that this was a day none of them dreamed would ever happen. Maiden seem to hold a special place in the hearts and minds of Indian youth but l wont go into this more as you will hopefully have read the Observer Monthly Music Mag 6 page piece that Ed did and which is on this site so l don't want or need to cover the same ground and it comes better from an objective source than yours truly!
The show started on time with FTM but l was especially taken by the proficiency of the second, Parikrama. They were really good and went down tremendously well with the crammed audience. They are apparently very popular and play a lot in India. They started off with a very AC/DC feel and then went into some sixties style stuff which was really good too -- and very well played -- good musicians. I went back to thank them after and, as its always good to lend a helping hand to those without the opportunities we have, told them if they could make it to Download l would arrange for them to open the main stage for us on the Sunday. They got back to us a week later saying they would find a way to be there so as you may have seen they are opening on the main stage on the Sunday for us. I hope you will give them some support. It s the first time ever that an Indian band has had the opportunity to tour out of India on something like this and Dave P is helping them out with press and some other shows. I do hope it goes well for them otherwise l will feel very bad about this!!!! It's a very major commitment for them so l hope it is worthwhile and that they enjoy it. I could not spend that much time with them at the show but they seemed to be very nice people, as indeed by far the majority of people we met there were. So please give them some generous support.
Lauren was next and did pretty well under the circumstances following a popular Indian band and with the anticipation of Maiden soaring in the minds of the fans. And so to Maiden and total mayhem. I didn't get out front as it was too packed to get into any decent viewing position let alone the sound desk, so split my time between watching the fans from the stage -- you cant see much of the band from on stage due to the walls that surrounds them -- and watching the back of the screens. It really was very special and l am so glad we made the effort. As we do we took the whole show with us including the tank. Cost a fortune to freight it but we always figure that our fans everywhere deserve to get the full on Maiden experience! It always feels great getting to new places and playing to people who have never seen us and we really could feel how much it meant to so many people us just going there to play. Hopefully more bands will now follow in our footsteps and go play there.
We went straight off stage into the waiting vans to have any chance of getting back to the hotel bar in decent time and it still took an age as there were literally thousands of people outside who either couldn't get or couldn't afford a ticket and just wanted to hear the show. The band played really well so they would hopefully have enjoyed it even if they couldn't see Eddie!
Back to our room with a bar. We were leaving for the airport at 4.30 am so l tried to stay awake and socialise but at 3.30 l was defeated and grabbed an hours kip. Bruce of course made it through!!! Had no trouble sleeping on the plane though.
Although short the memories of those 10 days will stay with us for a long time. Dubai, Athens, Belgrade and Bangalore in 8 days, some 20,000 miles flown and people from all over the world turning up to see us, most of whom never had before. Also experiencing new countries like UAE and India and a city we hadn't been to in over 20 years -- Belgrade. There really was a sense of achievement in the camp. Hopefully we will return to all of them again in the next couple of years.
And so it ends ......until the next time .....Not long at that......Ljubljana and the rest can't wait!!!!! Until then take care of yourselves