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ROD'S DIARY - EDMONTON V CALGARY - JUN 5 -- 8
Yes I do mean Edmonton v Calgary, not Edmonton / Calgary. If you were from Alberta you would know why. I am not sure who booed loudest, Calgary fans when Bruce mentioned Edmonton from on stage, or vice versa. Not quite as loud as anywhere in Scandanavia against anywhere else in Scandanavia, or Brazil and Argentina, but a bit more than London and anywhere in England or LA and NY or Melbourne and Sydney. Bruce as you know likes a wind up. Geographically "neighbouring" cities on the great plains of Alberta, both are huge Metal towns. Both sold out within hours of going on sale, but Calgary 15 min quicker, although Edmonton (12,820) is a slightly larger hall than Calgary (11,719). And both audiences were LOUD and fantastic and I dare not differentiate here despite my strong relationship with Edmonton.
And this is all before you get into the brutal hostilities over Hockey, The Oilers v The Flames.... floods of blood on the ice!! Our venues and the homes of these two great hockey franchises, are the Rexall Centre, formerly Northlands Coliseum, and The Saddledome, named after the saddle curve of the roof, an appropriate name for a stadium here, the home of the infamous Calgary Stampede. Both are fantastic and atmospheric places to play and steeped in major hockey history.
We flew into Calgary from Vancouver, played a great show to an even greater audience then flew on to Edmonton.
Rexall aka Northlands - home of The Oilers and Eddie for a night - Coliseum
My sister, Pam, and husband, Keith, emigrated to Edmonton from Huddersfield in the late 70's and my parents followed soon after once my dad had retired from West Yorkshire Police. They particularly wanted to be close to their, at that time, one very young granddaughter Nicki, thus abandoning me to the parallel evils of London and The Music Business!!! Nicki was soon to be joined by a brother Scot. My parents coped with many freezing winters before giving up some 15 years ago and heading for the warmer climes of Vancouver Island. As I was living in LA in the 80's I would get up there quite often, and we would also tour there almost annually as it was so great for metal up there.
One of the famous aspects of this city is the West Edmonton Mall, reputably the first real Mall anywhere in the World and bloody huge. It even has submarines! We have to blame someone for starting Malls, so we may as well blame Edmonton. So I know the Mall well, have visited Fort Edmonton and almost once went on the annual raft race with Keith!! (The bigger the raft the better so you can get more beers on -- speed is not the sole aim) I won't get into the Oilers again (see Vancouver diary) but they are still my favourite hockey team!! It is worth mentioning though that after a fairly tough 90s Edmonton is thriving again and expanding rapidly over the prairie. Why? One word. Oil! Well perhaps others too but that's the big word apparently. Someone told me recently USA gets 70% of its oil from Canada. Surely that is not true?? Any of you know??
Gaddsy signs for some young fans!
Before the show some of the band caught up with interview links with Sam and Scot for the documentary, while Nicko, Eddie, the crew and I concentrated on filming Eddie's acceptance of UK metal mag Metal Hammer's Icon Award. I won't go into this as you should have seen it on our web news page but we are very proud of it. If a job is worth doing its worth doing well I was always told. We always try as Team Maiden to come up with something a bit different for the fans when we do things, anything!! And preferably fun. Nicko of course got it in one which is just as well as Eddie would have fallen over. One of the funny things about this "shoot" was that I asked for flames to devour Nicko but got a flash bomb. So when we first saw the final filmed piece there was the flash then a split second later my plaintive voice going "It was supposed to be a flame". Everyone cracked up -- very Spinal Tap!! As you will also have seen Johnny B also shot Bruce on stage just before the encores -- Bruce really had to shout to hear himself above the crowd who were incredibly loud and really made it all work.
The next day I went round to Pam's home for beer and barbie with all the family including Scot's girlfriend (getting married soon??) Angela and Curtis, Nicky's husband, and in pride of place my great niece Jaime who is nearly 2 and of course stole the show. It was great to relax for a day with blood family for a change as opposed to the other lot I have got entangled with. And they all really enjoyed the show the night before which was good.
The following day we flew on to Regina but no doubt I will be back in Edmonton in the not too distant future.
So, Edmonton and Calgary, or Calgary and Edmonton, I won't ask you to shake hands but thanks to both of you for being terrific audiences. You actually do have a lot in common, like it or not!!!
<- So Nick really is a dummy!