07 Mar 2008 - Rod in San Paulo - part 1


Aaaahhhh Brazil... what can I say of a love affair that has been going on 23 years since our first visit to Brazil for Rock in Rio, yes, the same Rock in Rio which appears on LaD DVD. So much happened in San Paolo I could write a novel, not just some diary notes. This may not be the most beautiful city in the world architecturally or aesthetically, but the people are wonderful and .....sorry Costa Rica, Mexico and Colombia, you're great but.... the fans here are still the reigning champions of the world even if by a reduced margin now!! What did I say before about our Latin fans. The audience was almost organic, alive, intense, like a many tentacled beast with every arm raised and waving, clapping or punching in the air. Yes, every one. And the noise.....but I am jumping ahead just a bit.

The flight from Bogota is about 2700 miles, a bit under 6 hours. We had some media with us on this trip, Fantastico returning to San Paolo, CNN and Q. The 2 news TVs did a bit of filming and interviewing en route and Ben got his interviews done with everyone for Q, despite probably still being severely hungover -- this works quite well as band prefer to spend "dead" time on the plane doing this than "time off" on the ground and it works well for me as they cant disappear -- the band I mean!

Fantastico rarely cover music I hear and when they do it's for about 3 min in the hour long Saturday night show, they are much more general news based. When it came out last Saturday, the night we played, 35 million watched it and Maiden was an extended 5 min at the end and they trailered it throughout the program. This sort of thing really allows me to get out to people some of what Maiden and their fans are about. The band enjoyed the interviews as the presenter, Alvaro Pereira Junior, had some really good questions and was well informed, although of course a lot was edited out due to time. I don't think the cameraman had done much live music stuff -- he wanted to walk on stage while we were playing in Bogota (I saved him, the band would have killed him and eaten the camera! -- but maybe this was just the language barrier and we got there pretty well  in the end! It came out really well as you may have seen from the link in the news section of our site.

Media interest in Brazil is colossal and at the very top level. We did a three or four major newspapers in advance as normally we would do a press conference for them but being as our stay was over the weekend it didn't make sense due to availability and deadlines. The flight was fine and we were fortunate to get top level VIP treatment on arrival and were whisked off with our omnipresent Police outriders to carve a way through the congested San Paolo traffic, and in a city this size (30 million or so??) and with this amount of traffic it makes a big difference, believe me.

The hotel and rooms were excellent and Bruce and I went up to the top floor for Bruce's Globo News interview. By now it was about 9.50pm -- I know cos I checked -- and the program -- Jornal da Globo I think, the main weekly news show -- was due to be broadcast at 11 just 70 min later. The interviewer was gorgeous and again very well informed and she seemed to be a  big fan (she came to the show too) , Fortunately their studios were 5 min from the hotel so all was completed and we were able to watch it later!! Again an unusually long piece and trailered at the end of the show. I was told there would be 10 million viewers. So in a few brief interviews we reached about 45 million people over these 2 shows -- incredible. Makes my job easy doesn't it and the band don't mind when interviews are short and at a convenient time and with knowledgable interviewers. Well, they don't moan too much, but who could with such great exposure for our music. It seems in South America that everyone is a fan, police outriders, airport staff, hotel staff and of course in prime place all the fans who continually surround our hotels keeping us awake at times with their chants. We forgive you ..... most of the time anyway! Quite an experience.

We went down to a really good bar on the first floor and everyone was there -- our crew, the air crew, CNN, the promoters, doc crew, William and Ben, friends we had met before in Brazil and the atmosphere and anticipation of the show hung heavy in the air (isn't that poetic, or just clichéd maybe !)

Decent nights sleep and awoke to ....... A DAY OFF ..... the last one was LA and since then we have played to about 210,000 fans! And it's a Saturday which means limited incoming, not missiles, emails. So did a bit of catching up in the morning being up surprisingly early -- ok, 9am -- then we met in the lobby about 2 to go to THE FOOTBALL MATCH.  We always try to get a game in Brazil though only Steve regularly plays -- but his home team from the East End of London came over to represent us, kitted out in replicas of the original Somewhere In Time footie shirts. Through different leagues as they got older, Steve has played with these guys since he was 15 and they really are his best mates. Steve says that makes 25 years they have played together.....? The game was against some music people, some bands including a couple from local heroes Sepultura who are lovely guys, and three ex pros for Corinthians, two being a father and son who were both goalkeepers for this big San Paolo team. And boy did they need them. We won 7-0 and believe me the goalkeepers were outstanding as you would expect. Without them it would have been a cricket score! There were loads of media requests to cover this game but EMI only allowed sports media, magazines and TV, including Globo Sports, plus our CNN team and doc crew of course. There is such huge interest in the band here that Globo are showing highlights -- to include 2 magnificent Steve Harris goals -- on their weekly summary program this Saturday -- it only has 10 million viewers. Isn't this where we came in??!!!

Andre, Nando and Luiz from EMI arranged all this and did a terrific job. they worked so hard and effectively that I am going to sent them this so they can see it and know we mean it. A very able and committed label makes life so much easier when you are far from home and these guys went out of their way to not only arrange a convenient and outstanding media schedule for us, but also a fine away football match . Nando came to Colombia to take care of Fantastico and Luiz has been with us since SP looking after Rolling Stone who are travelling with us.

I think Andre must have avoided the travel as he musnt be able to drink enough anymore!
Great barbeque after the game with amazing Brazilian beef and beers then back to hotel for another good night in that excellent bar.......and most everyone was there again. I am writing this in Buenos Aires having fought our way in here through hordes of fans (but more of that later) and its now close to 1am so gonna close the book for now so will make San Paolo a two parter -- something it richly deserves!!

Goodnight for now -- a whole lot more in store tomorrow and the story of two incredible audiences!


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