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ROD'S DIARY -- ALBUQUERQUE MAY 23-25
Worked pretty much all day Friday then went out for a very good seafood meal in evening with Nicko, Gaddsy and Jen and our hosts Erik and Kelly Paiste who run Paiste Cymbals, which Nicko has been using for many years now and they give him a very good service and of course an occasional free meal. A fine evening ended out in the hotel bar til the early hours.
Nick with Erik and Kelly Paiste.
Saturday was quiet, more work and some sport on TV and read English Times I was able to get hold of courtesy of the concierge. In the evening we intended to go and see the Dodgers (baseball for the initiated) but we never got it together mainly as it really wasn't very good weather and its less fun sat in the magnificent Dodger stadium if it's a bit cold. Watched on TV though but they were soon four down to St Louis and then switched to watch an interesting move called Vantage Point, worth catching. I used to go the Dodgers a lot when I was based in LA in the mid eighties and do very much enjoy the game and for a Brit am quite knowledgeable. It was always a good night out -- we used to meet, about 20 of us, at an English pub the Cat and Fiddle on Sunset and hire a tour bus to take us. We always sat near a bar! But over the years you lose touch with who the players are which makes it a bit less interesting.
Our escort - thanks guys Jan on the run!
So to Sunday and show day in Albuquerque New Mexico. Set off from hotel at 1.30 expecting to be at the show by about 5.30 with a photo session planned to make up for the one we missed in San Antonio. But the travel demon caught up with us again. We got on the plane on schedule no problem but it wouldn't start. Some soft ware problem. We hung around in the lounge while they tried rebooting but no success. Its Memorial Day weekend here so everyone is off but we managed to find a back up plane which was parked at Van Nuys, some 40 minutes away. We had to drag a very helpful driver out from his hols to get us there. He happened to be a big fan so was delighted to be driving us and for helping us out we gave him signed pics and a couple of tickets for the LA show. We were running late but it never looked like a major problem. The views on the way from the plane were magnificent and in Albuquerque the airport we used was very close to the show and we had a police escort to make sure we got through the traffic going to the venue. Great fun as always, there is nothing like the wailing sirens of a police escort to make you feel important -- like South America all over again!!
Our rescue driver and our replacement jet
So we got to the show about an hour before we were due to go on. On the way in there were still long lines of traffic going in and the show was sold out to 15,000, the promoter suggesting that this may be the only sold out show in this venue all summer. The shed is in the middle of nowhere with stunning views around. There is so much space and wonderful scenery in this part of the world and at near dusk there is a very special almost surreal quality to the light. The shed layout was good with excellent big screens again, and the audience was fantastic as it always has been here. Very loud and enthusiastic from beginning to end. The show itself continues to take shape well and we are almost there with it now. There is only one route into the place so we did our runner off stage to cars and the plane -- stopping to check out an amazing chopper at the airport, pics included. Would love to had ridden it off.
I should also mention the local rock radio station here, KZRR. Not only are they big supporters and our no 1 most supportive station in the whole of the USA, they also play us FOUR times as much as our second best station, KCAL. Its unusual to be able to say thanks to a radio station but here goes -- thankyou KZRR for your support of all things Maiden. Sadly I was unable to thank them in person as we were so late so I hope one of you readers can pass this on to them.
On arrival in Phoenix, our next port of call, we were met on landing by Jim Silvia who lives there. Jim used to work with us as security and was co-piloting with Bruce bringing our Cessna 210 back to England after the 2003 US tour. Some hundred or so miles out of Greenland a light went on to signify a fire in one of the twin engines and at one point they were running out of fuel and thought they may have to ditch in one of the fjords. Thankfully it was an electrical malfunction but it didn't make the ordeal any less terrifying in retrospect. They even had the dinghy out at the ready! Anyway it was great to see Jim and we all had a couple of beers in the bar as Jim cant make the show as he was flying out the next day to meet up with and tour manage the Judas Priest tour which starts in Finland next week.
Tomorrow Phoenix and with tickets already past 10,000 looks like another big show.
Bruce checks out the view.
Doug at work.
Ian ready to run!
Ready to go... or not.
View over New Mexico