30 Sep 1999 - Johnny B - Barcelona
We arrived in time for the press conference in Barcelona. Well ...... not really on time it was put back but near enough seeing the horrendous hassle we had getting out of Milan it is amazing we got there the same day as the conference.
The Press conference was enlightening. It was house in a beautiful room, the walls of which were adorned with majestic paintings. The band all sat at one long table with their names proudly standing on name plates in front of them ..... to help the journalist know who was who !!!
The questions were varied and somewhat tame until one cocky guy asked Bruce if 'he was going to over react and be hostile to the fans again'. Bruce was not pleased and decided to set him straight. The journo was referring to a previous visit by Bruce when he decided to leap into the crowd and sort out an unpleasant fan. What the journalist had failed to mention was that the guy had PURPOSELY spat in Bruce's face on no less than three separate occasions. In fact every time Bruce came to that part of the crowd. The conference then took a different turn as the questions became more open. The band were great, they answered EVERYTHING chucked at them in a very honest and professional manner. Next year will be a massive Maiden year and the journos went away with no doubt about that. After a good thirty minutes of autograph and memorabilia signing the band were allowed to escape.
The hotel was great apart from the fact parts of it were being redesigned and the builders started drilling at 7am in the room next to Nicko the next morning. Many of the band went for a wander that night as Barcelona had some festival running and the streets were absolutely alive with people from all over the world.
The next day was fraught with anxiety. It started with breakfast. Wally, Jim and myself went down for breakfast as we always do. Wally is writing a book and we joked he could have finished that and the sequel in the time it took us to get served. Hotels like the Ritz are geared for the older client and for the business man. We must have been the only people at breakfast not in a SUIT ! Breakfast took over an hour but little did we know this was to set the tone for the whole day.
When on tour you have what are called 'runners'. These are normally young vibrant guys and girls who are happy to be involved in the days mayhem. Their job is to save the Maiden crew and band party time. If the crew want anything from fruit for the band to A4 photocopy paper ..... they go for it. It is their job to track down the items on the list outside the production office as soon as physically possible. Spain is different. Everything is .... 5 minutes. Just another 5 minutes. There was a massive list for Barcelona as so much that is normally there when the crew arrive was just not provided. I normally camp down in the band's rest room with all my gear as we have 2 phone lines and power sockets requested for there. We arrived at the venue about 12.30. At 3.30pm I am still keeping my cool and asking where the phone line and table are ..... just 5 minutes. Meanwhile Steve Cox is about to have a public hanging of a runner. He had asked her to go and collect some vital items only to be told that the shops would not be open again locally until 5pm. He asked why she had not gone back to the city .... too far ..... too busy !
To cut the story short at 8.50pm (remember the band go on about 9.15pm) there was a queue of people outside the production office wondering where the runner was with there particular items. To me the new DV Cam tapes I needed to film the concert that night seemed important but ..... compared to some of the items the crew had been waiting all day for .... they paled into insignificance.
As with all Maiden projects ..... it is always alright on the night. The show kicked off to an amazing reception. Barcelona was incredible. The crowd was absolutely fantastic. They sang so loudly and were so responsive. Bruce and Janick said to me afterwards that every time they come to Spain they just don't believe it can get any b