Todd's Diary - Santiago

Before we left Argentina I decided that it would have been a shame not to experience something of historic significance so just before we were set to leave, I made a quick trip to La Recoleta Cemetery. It was both fascinating and just a little bit morbid. It was like a city of graves but then again what did I expect from a mausoleum. There I ran into Andy Taylor, his wife Liz and Rod's son Tom. Andy then took me to Eva Peron's grave. Evita! As Andy put it, how could you go to Recoleta without seeing it. After, I quickly returned to the hotel to grab my bags and off we were to Chile.

Because of minor delays at immigration, we were finally off to Santiago. We arrived around 4:00 pm and were already strapped for time to get to the hotel for a big press conference at 5:00 pm with the entire band. As we passed through the terminal I heard a loud, thunderous roar. I looked up and on the second level there were hundreds of fans screaming, chanting and pounding on the windows. I thought the glass was going to shatter on us! I had never seen or experienced anything like it before. They were just going crazy. We quickly went through metal detectors because the longer we stayed, the louder they got and the harder they pounded the window. As we continued to pass through, there were hundreds of fans doing the same at the side doors. We finally got into the bus that was to take us to our waiting cars when the main bus door wouldn't close. To pass time as they fixed the door, Bruce pulled out his trusty kazoo and gave us a little performance (he will do this from time to time). I was a little stressed because of the time (now almost five). We were finally put in our cars and under police escort, rushed to the hotel. When we arrived there were fans all around the hotel screaming and shouting at the top of their lungs. The hotel actually had extra security and gates up to help keep the crowd contained. The funny thing was, our bus couldn't fit in the underground entrance so we had to pull around the front again. It turns out that all the fans followed our bus to the other side so when we got back around to the main lobby entrance, we decided to pull in the front, get off with Bruce and walk right in with not a soul around. Bruce went up to his room and after I frantically ran around the hotel, getting the layout of the land and finding the best route to the conference room, we all met on one of the floors and took the band down. The press room was packed with cameras flashing and press firing off questions about the tour and the big show. It concluded about 30 minutes later and we escorted the band up.

That night some of the Krew gathered at the pool when Justin, Kerry and Griff came walking up. I was a bit surprised that they were in so early. They had a brutal 7:30 AM call time at the venue and wisely decided to call it an early night. At that point a handful decided to go to a karaoke bar somewhere in town. I opted out because the stress from the press conference the flight and the show the night before,  left me a little knackered so I went up to work on the diary and get a semi-descent night's sleep. I heard I missed a great night out. Something about Patton nailing "Creep" and the entire room on tables, cheering him on. O'well. The way I look at it is there would be plenty more opportunities to go out. 

The next morning was the last of the 2-day filming. I got to the Estadio National stadium earlier than usual because we had a lot of guests coming in and it was a very busy night. This is as it says the magnificent National stadium where the Chilean football team play. This is the first concert there ever for a Metal band and Maiden have waited a number of years to play here as the stadium was being fully refurbished and in 09 there was a football match there for Chile on the date needed! I spent the whole day running around, making sure our guests were taken care of and that they were having a good time. I was also dealing with my usual onsite routines. I had a chance to peek my head out and saw that it was already a full house, complete with actual dogs running around! The opener, Kingdom of Hate, kicked off the night with their own brand of speed metal. Next up was San Francisco's Exodus. I was in the back when they started but, being a fan from back in the day, I made sure to watch a little of their set. This was the biggest crowd I've ever seen them play to as they broke into their thrash metal classic "Bonded By Blood." 

Finally, the time had come. Sam from Banger films came onstage with an interpreter and let the crowd know they were being filmed and, in the spirit of friendly competition much like a soccer match, they urged Chile to out do Argentina who were filmed the night before. That did it! The entire stadium erupted like a hometown, championship match. Maiden hit the stage at 9:00 PM and you just knew from the first note that the band was right in the pocket with the audience right there in full sync with them. It's one of those moments you just knew this was going to be an incredible show. The fans went mental, flares going and all.  They may be dangerous, but the bright red fire glowing against the sea of bodies looked great aesthetically. I can't wait to see how it looks on film. At some point someone threw a roll of what looked like toilet paper up in the lights and, to Banger Film's dismay, it got stuck and just sort of just hung there, right in front of the stage blowing in the wind. Bruce laughed and carefully yanked on it a few times until it came down. During the set I went to the seats on the side to watch a little of the show and ended up there for most of the set. I just stood there watching around 50,000 fans bouncing around and singing to EVERY song throughout the entire set. I watched the entire floor as they swayed as one large mass, much like the constant roll of the waves in the ocean. The one thing I noticed about the South American audience is that they not only go to enjoy the concert, they seem to celebrate just being there. In everything they do, it always feels like they are just celebrating life.

Big Eddie returned for his fourth and final cameo in South America. Even in that huge stadium he looked just massive. He towered over Nicko's kit while he mischievously tapped his fingers across the entire row of amps.
After the show we all went back to the hotel to process and talk about the night's events. Everyone seemed very pleased with the way the show went including the some of the Banger crew who rolled in a little later. There was also a sense of relief that both nights of filming went so well.
The next day everyone, band and Krew, were given a much needed day/night off. Bruce, Tom, Monkey, Patton, John, Tom and a few others went to the go kart track to blow off a little steam. Monkey and Bruce had a little friendly wager going and Monkey was going on the whole night on how he could take on Bruce at go karting.  It turns out Monkey's kart went into a wall, breaking the steering wheel completely off, ending the race for him with his tail between his legs. John J was also with them and apparently he cracked a rib!
Later that day I ended up going to see a little of Chile with my new friend Lisette. She was kind enough to show me around the beautiful city and take in some of the wonderful sights.
That night management threw a barbeque for the entire crew and band for a job well done. While everybody always gives it their all on every show, the stakes were raised with the added production needed to film these shows. Tonight is was time to relax and celebrate a job well done. We were coming around to the last 3 shows of this leg so there was still a lot of work to do but tonight, we celebrate!

Later that night, still a little bummed that I didn't get to go out the previous night, I decided to join the gang (Justin, Griff, John, Tash, Nick (Merch), Antti, Rob, Monkey, Nick (IMTV), Kerry and the Banger crew) for a night out at a different karaoke bar. To back track a little, Justin was really looking forward to going to a proper karaoke bar in Tokyo so when that didn't happen, he was determined to hit up as many along the way as possible. After a massive search on Google, we found one called Tavarua. What a night! I had my camera and managed to capture some of this night's highlights. While there were MANY highlights, the best was Griff doing Eminem "Without Me" almost flawlessly with a "Scream For Me Tavarua" for good measure. Another highlight was Rob doing Abba complete with dance moves. Karaoke bar in Chile. Yet another night to remember on this wild adventure called world touring.

- Todd

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