25 Jul 2008 - Rod's Diary - Norway

ROD'S DIARY - NORWAY PART 1

We flew into Trondheim from Helsinki, landing about 12.30am -- of course still fairly light this far north. About a 45 min drive into the town with magnificent views across the fiords. I suppose it was the equivalent of dusk at that time and the sun setting over the water at that time of night was quite surreal for us "southerners"!

Trondheim is pretty quiet and the hotel didn't even have any room service on Sunday, the first of 2 days "off" we had there. I was still feeling the effect of the fine wines to some extent so elected for a quiet day! Got up in time for breakfast -- and un-rock n roll 10 am finish to it so that was quite an achievement itself considering -- and had a walk around the town and then back to my room to plug in Sky Slingbox to have a lazy day watching sport -- and what a day it was to do this as there were FOUR major events going on that day.

Firstly I had recorded the Australian v South Africa Tri Nations Test from earlier that morning and what a game it was. Very close with Australia coming out marginally ahead, worthwhile but to me unexpected winners.
Then of course there was the second Test cricket England v South Africa. But we were getting a right old hammering with Prince and De Villiers scoring big centuries for SA then taking a couple of our wickets for just 50 or so. This was on all day from noon to about 7.30 local time. Then in the afternoon and the German Grand Prix from Hockenheim, the track where we have played a couple of times at Rock am Ring, the big German Festival. Hamilton drove magnificently to effectively win the race twice after being held up mid race by a safety car following a crash. A fantastic victory taking him to no 1 in the driver's league for the first time this year.
And last but not least was the British Open golf won in fine style by Irishman Padraig Harrington by 4 strokes, a tremendous performance over four days of wind and rain. In fact the conditions were so bad that about 6 former champions, including Sandy Lyle, actually gave up!! Now Nicko would never do that -- under any circumstances!!

The next day was back to work catching up on diaries and other stuff all day and evening. More work next day, and the last day of England's losing performance in the second test on Slingbox, then to the show in the evening at about 5pm. This was at the Lerkendal Stadium which is a very fine smaller football stadium with a capaCITY for a concert of about 24,000 which sold out on the day. Trondheim is not a big place and fans came in from all over Northern Norway, plus of course 200 or so from Britain and further afield via Bruce Air. They all appeared to be having a good time and it was also good to see Captain John who was to fly the plane back to Gatwick after the show so Bruce could relax, have a few beers and sit in the back and talk to the fans on board.

Not being a big football fan I am not fully up to speed on the Lerkendal football team but I was told they are apparently quite wealthy and tend to always win the Norway League, which puts them into the Chamions League, being a part of which of course makes the club a lot of cash, although they apparently don't usually progress to far against the likes of Man U, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Inter and AC Milan, Barcelona and the rest!. With this cash they can buy more and better players so win the Norway League again and get lots of cash again in the Champions League. I don't really know if this is a true representation but football is like that -- the rich get richer and dominate even more -- just look at the UK with the almost unassailable big four of Manchester Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. Just like life I suppose. But its not very sporting when a smaller  club no longer has much of a shot at the title and the riches that this brings with it with European Football. Anyway, right or wrong, they have a very nice stadium here.


Have we got it all?

Dave & Jeff

Nicko with soundman extraordinaire, Dougie.
 
                                                               Jan and Natasha


Ed Force One copilot Cap'n John drops in to see us.


Jan with promotor Tor.


Steve and family.

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Anyway the show once again went great and the Norway fans continued the fine tradition of terrific Nordic audiences -- thanks guys. It was of course light all the way through so Rob got half wages again!!
After the show it was back to the airport for the hour flight to Oslo, the capital of Norway. It was a bit weird at the airport where they had everyone and their baggage heavily scrutinised . A bit surprising really to go to such an extent in a small place like here for an internal flight with a group of people travelling together in a private jet!! But everyone put up with it in reasonably good humour although it did take some time.


See, no weapons!


Nor me!

When we got to Oslo it was about a 45 min drive to the hotel and we all checked in and headed for the bar. We have a terrific hotel here and my room is quite different -- its called the Opera Suite and I thought I was hallucinating when I walked in and saw ballgowns in cases on the lounge walls and ballet slippers on the bedroom wall. Yes really, I jest not -- see the pics. I am not sure who Ingrid Bjoner is as I am not too well acquainted with Norwegian Opera but she must have been a big star here and must have looked wonderful in the gowns! I cant google it either to find out as the wireless is not working in my room which is a major pain and pretty poor in a fine hotel like this -- I will have to connect to send you this at the show later.


Ingrid Bjoner's dress.

 

After checking my eyes in the mirror to make sure I wasn't hallucinating I joined our promoter Tor, who flew down with us, plus Steve, Jan, H, Ian and Gaddsy in the bar which being considerate souls at this hotel they had kept open for us. And a great bar it was on the top floor with 2 roof terraces and a fantastic view over the neon lit city. And they were still quite busy up there. Everyone was still quite "up" after another good show so we spent a couple of hours there til eventually calling it a night at about 4am


Back in the bar. 

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After a good lie in the next day -- an "off" day -- I set up to work having to go to a different room annoyingly to get connected. Then around late pm I set of for a walk round Oslo, remembering my camera this time so here are a few pics of another splendid Nordic city, again a fine skyline not interrupted by high rise buildings and a wonderful harbour front walk with restaurants and bars along the front. It was a beautiful day and everywhere was packed, pretty well every seat outside taken at every restaurant and bar. There are already quite a number of Maiden shirts on view as the fans start to congregate for the show the next day -- or rather today as it is now. I managed to buy a couple of today's English papers and sat out in the sun for a while reading them alongside the water. Later I met up with a Hove mate Mike Weatherley and a colleague Gudman as he was out here on business and tying in with the show here. Mike has been mentioned before -- he is the one who went to a Maiden show in Debrecen Hungary for his honeymoon, amongst many other trips to shows around Europe. A big metal and Maiden fan and also the Tory candidate for Hove (Tory and metal is certainly no longer mutually exclusive -- Simon Kirby the candidate for Brighton is also a serious metal fan who is coming on a Metal trip with Mike to Prague for our show there. There were even a couple of MPs apparently at our Earls Court shows a couple of years ago. Metal truly is for everyone nowadays!! Maybe one day we will get World Peace!!!)

In the evening I went out with Tor for dinner along with an interesting friend of his Therese who works with bands here and is also involved with various government initiatives in support of local music. I persuaded them to go for a curry as I was having withdrawal symptons from the World's best cuisine -- the hotel suggested Mother India and gave us directions, saying it was quite close. It wasn't. it was a good 40 min walk and in a fairly naff part of the city. It didn't look very promising but we gave it a shot and were rewarded with some very good curry. After we took a walk back into the city centre and took a table outside at one of the garden bars. It was still quite warm and a very pleasant evening and a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc went down very well.

I am typing this just before I go off to the Oslo show, its Thursday, but more about that later. I did some work this morning then went down to the harbour again armed with today's papers to get some lunch. Healthy stuff, salad and pasta! There were by now loads of fans filling the bars along the street outside the hotel and the harbour front. That is one of the great things about stadium shows. They take over the town for a day, unless of course the place is huge like London! As I type now I can hear Run to the Hills drifting in from one of the bars. Most of them are by now -- 5pm -- playing Maiden and will no doubt into the early hours. Although you do of course get many local fans at stadium shows, you also get a lot from much further afield and as they arrive into the city usually in the colours there is a really good feeling of celebration and anticipation. Like a major sporting event the fans make a whole day -- or two or three days!! -- of it. You see groups walking down the street with rucksacs to carry what they need. But unlike the rugby fans I am most aware of, nearly all maybe enjoy a beer or two but I very rarely see any pissed and have never seen any making trouble. They are there to enjoy the concert.....and then have more beers after!!! But then you guys know all this!! It's a big part of the reason why these cities really welcome us. They see a great trade in their bars, hotels and shops but rarely any trouble. And a great atmoshphere is generated before and after the show. But more of this from Gothenburg, where the atmosphere is incredible as its quite a small place, population 200,000 approx, so, when 55,000 Maiden fans descend on it, it is quite a sight. I will try to take plenty of pics there the next couple of days to give you some idea.

Anyway time to shower -- its been another hot day -- then off to the show. More later.

 



(Click on for more photos)
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