01 Apr 2008 - Rod in Toronto and back home!


Off to a good start when our car got lost on the way to Newark Airport. You would think a pro driver could find a major airport! However like all of us sat nav took him the wrong way and we saw a lot of the NJ skyline as we went about 30 min out of our way. Eventually got there and for many of our team this was the last Ed Force One flight -- Steve, Dave and Nicko were heading elsewhere after Toronto as were many of our crew.

Uneventfully ended up at our usual hotel in downtown Toronto, checked in and went in search of English newspapers which you can always get easily there. Got the Times for both Friday and Saturday as it was late in the day -- bloody luxury -- hadn't seen an English paper since we started off, and anyway have had little time to read them on the road, surviving on the BBC webpage, and, of course, Sky Sports. I like to keep abreast of the news especially sports and there is an awful lot of (bad) things going on in the world from the economy, to Tibet/ China to Gordon Brown and our incapable government. This state of Britain right now the recent ludicrous delays and baggage losses at the new Heathrow Terminal stand as a shining example of our current ineptitude, although you cant blame Gordon for that, though he has an awful lot of other things to answer for!!

One upside was that, while we were in the air earlier, England beat Ireland in the rugby Six Nations to come an (undeserved) second in the table, this being the last match. Sadly though behind Wales who won all five games to get a second Grand Slam in 3 years -- I will definitely be avoiding Taff my welsh mate when I get home. I got a lot of jeering and triumphalist texts from him all of which remained unanswered. Bloody Welsh!! Sadly though credit where it is due, by the end of the tournament they were playing some wonderful rugby. (I found this out when l got home as my boys had recorded all the games for me so some long nights).

Last one tomorrow and feeling the pace a bit so decided it was a movie and room service as the cowardly thing to do. Watched Charlie ....is it Hudson, I forget, with the guy from ER. Definite senility setting in again....good film though. Seems years ago now!!

Worked, roamed around Toronto a bit, got UK Sunday paper then did my extended interview with Sam for the documentary which is now a movie I am told so no more reference to documentary. He asked a lot of interesting questions but I guess he should by now having been cooped up with us for seven weeks. Sam and Scot are now home, being Toronto residents, and both were met by their girlfriends at the airport, lucky buggers. At least it saved us some hotel rooms!!!

Went to Air Canada Centre early -- capacity 14,000, sold out end of December -- and fans already in long queues presumably to get to front on floor -- unless they were part of the FC first to the barrier of course (a quick plug!). After a while you can get to "read" an audience and I could tell that this would be a cracker. Loads of young fans looking ready to give it everything, and they did.

Bruce was already there -- he had a real "day off" in NY yesterday, flying up to Toronto in the early afternoon show day. He was met by CTV News, Canada's main station, who filmed him on the plane and also filmed the show for broadcast on national news a couple of days later. I met them later to go through camera positions
Everyone really up for this the last show. Spent a lot of time with our label guys before the show -- a tremendous team up there who have done a terrific job for us -- the boss Dean has been working with us there since the beginning and became a good mate years ago. He and his team really get it.

The show was terrific right from the off. The Centre is an excellent arena and the sound was exceptional. Due to narrow roofing beams the screens were a bit close to the stage and a bit on the large side leading Bruce to comment on being to TV. They were distracting being so big and close as they take the closer audiences eyes off the band and it can be tough for a band to play to people looking to the sides at the TV!!! Make a note to get front elevations of screens in arenas from now on so not repeated. Great picture though!.

Before the encores Bruce announced our June run of dates in western Canada, and most of these cities we have not been to in 20 years since Seventh Son tour. And he must have done a good job as, if you read our online news, you will have seen they pretty well sold out in a couple of hours. Incredible after so long. My parents are on Vancouver Island -- they probably wont come to the show but I will be able to call over to see them for a couple of days. My sister and family however live in Edmonton and have for over 20 years so they will all come with a few friends as my guests and I can spent the day off at a bbq with them the next day. So it will be great to spend time with them especially as my niece is expecting her second child to accompany the lovely Jaime who will be 2 at about the time of birth.

After the show EMI arranged the upstairs of a pub which had a large bar and some pool tables, and decent beers, the ideal spot for a Maiden aftershow. Various label, promoter and band friends turned out til closing time and as usual I think a good time was had by all .....until...the Killer Krew arrived. Never is equipment packed away so quickly as when there are free drinks to be had, especially when it's an end of tour party. But boy did they deserve it -- they all did a tremendous job on a demanding tour.

We next day we had a noon departure -- HOME. And would you believe for the very first time on the tour Ed Force One broke down. It was minus something degrees and one of the engines froze so one of our flying spanners got off and kicked it and, after a short delay, we were on our way.

After the night before it was fairly tranquil on board, Bruce did his last bit of flying, I kept the laptop in its bag refraining from dropping it into the North Atlantic and we got to Stansted about midnight where cars were waiting to get us home. I was a bit awake when I got back to Hove at about 2 so watched the recorded England v Ireland game on TV. It's the small pleasures you miss. Then made sure I was up at 7.30 (for school)  to say hello to Kathy and the kids..............who promptly asked who I was........!!!

A few days at home with a day in the office in London then that Saturday off on hols.
Takes a few days .....weeks ....to get back to normal. You see flashes of cop bikes, massive responsive crowds, the Andes, the  plane, the funny (and difficult) situations all rolled together. It was truly quite an astonishing  trip ....but we made it ....and hope we made a few people happy along the way!! Maybe we will do it again one day!!!!!

Next stop San Antonio. So your next diary (unless I get bored but don't hold your breath) will be from the Yorkshire of America -- TEXAS!!!!

Reminds me , here is a joke for you all.........see ya soon. !!!!

 A Texan decided to write a book about famous churches around the world, so he bought a plane ticket and took a trip to Rome. On his first day he was inside a church taking photographs when he noticed a golden telephone  mounted on the wall with a sign that read $10,000 per call

 The American, being intrigued, asked a priest who was strolling by, what the telephone was used for. The priest replied that it was a direct line to Heaven and that for $10,000 you could talk to God. The American thanked the priest and went along his way.

 His next stop was in Moscow. There, at a very large cathedral, he saw the same golden telephone with the same sign under it. He wondered if this was the same kind of telephone he saw in Rome and he asked a nun what its purpose was. She told him that it was a direct line to Heaven and that for $10,000 he could talk to God. "OK. Thank you," said the American.

 He then travelled to France, Israel, Germany and Brazil. In every church he saw the same golden telephone with a "$10,000 per call" sign under it.

 The American finally decided to travel to the UK to see if the British had the same telephone. He arrived in York and again, in the Minster, there was the same golden telephone, but this time the sign under it read "20p per call". The American was surprised so he asked the priest about the sign. "Reverend, I've travelled all over the world and I've seen this same golden telephone in many churches. I'm told that it is a direct line to heaven, but everywhere I went the price was $10,000 per call. Why is it so cheap here?"

 The priest smiled and answered, "You're in Yorkshire now son. It's a local call."



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