Interview with Eric Martin and Jeff Scott Soto in Rio de Janeiro

JSS and Eric Martin

It’s Carnival time, the party of the people they say, that time of year which you do not work, you put on your costume, go to the streets, drink as much as you can until you fall and shag everybody who is in front of you.

It lasts for five days (seven for the “lucky” ones) and you are forced to listen to that horrible music coming from the streets nearest you.

Anyway, I bloody hate Carnival. Do you know what I do instead? I interview rock stars. And today I bring you not only one, but two interviews: Jeff Scott Soto and Eric Martin.

Both of them are coming to Brazil on a tour together, starting March 8th. I was not sure if I would have the time to meet them when they are here since they have a pretty tight schedule ahead of them, however they were kind enough to give me some of their time.

But before you read it, I must inform you of the tour. First of all, it’s not the first time they have come to Brazil together. In 2010 they came here for two shows and here’s a look to see how cool it was:

This time Jeff Scott Soto will come with his Queen Tribute Concert before coming back home to finish his next album, which will be a band album and not another solo effort.

As for Eric Martin, he promises to play some Mr Big hits as well as some of his solo material and maybe a couple of covers. Will they be together on stage? Well, there’s a chance for that as you can read in the interviews below.

Here is what Jeff Scott Soto had to tell me before getting his plane to Rio.

Hi Jeff, here you are back in Brazil after one year since you last came. What do you expect from this new tour?

“Well it’s not really a tour, it started as one show on the Motorcycle Cruise to do this Queen set as they wanted me for this, not for my own band at this time. I told them I would only be interested if I can do at least one more show, it’s a LONG flight from Los Angeles to come only for one show.

“Once the second show was booked, others came in with interest to do more. I didn’t want to make a tour of this because I don’t want people thinking this is my new decision to do tribute tours. This is more for fun, as a reason to come back to Brazil before my real tour later!”

JSS and Eric Martin

This time you are touring with Eric Martin. Can the fans expect a jam with you two on stage?

“Eric is a dear friend, I love him both musically and personally so I always look forward to sharing the bill with him. Jamming together is never discussed, we decide at the time and moment so for now, there is no plan.”

You will be on a cruise, the Motorcycle Rock Cruise. Is it your first time performing on a cruise? If so, how do you think it will be? If not, tell us how is the experience of performing on a boat? Do you end up hanging out with fans before and after the gig? Are those cruises a way of getting fans and idols closer to each other?

“No, I have done a few of these rock cruises… the funny thing about them is yes, of course you’re closer to fans and the people coming to see you but you don’t want to get too close as I have done many shows where the audience is mostly my friends or people I know and its difficult to entertain them fully because they feel if they’re too close, they don’t have to respond like an audience.

“So I try to find a balance of hanging around but also hiding a bit so they don’t see me every minute before I hit the stage and it feels more like a real gig, letting the connection occur more onstage during the gig. After the gig is totally different, I don’t mind taking photos and shaking hands, I can relax and be a part of the experience at that point.”

You recently posted on your Facebook page that this will be a busy year for you. Tell us a little bit about this reunion with Talisman. How will it be for you without Marcel Jacob next to you on stage?

“This Talisman reunion has been a long time coming. It made the most sense to do this year as its the five year mark since Marcel left us as well. He would have been 50 years old this year.

“There is a lot in the plans, I am hoping it all comes together as I have in my head, I want it to be something very special beyond just another show.”

And what about your new album? You said it will be a band album, instead of a solo one.

“I am not saying much more about this right now, one of the reasons I am refusing all interviews. I only wanted to discuss this Queen thing as I am not ready to give bits and pieces of info anymore about the next steps until I am ready to give ALL details about it including letting people hear it finally.”

JSS and Eric Martin

How are the discussions of reuniting with Axel Rudi Pell later this year? Can you comment a little further on that?

“There is discussion of me joining him onstage at a festival in Germany in July; I am waiting for details still.”

Last time I interviewed you in Rio for MetalTalk.net, you taught our readers how to make the perfect Caipirinha. Have you learned any new recipe that you’re willing to share with us this time?

“I remember that but maybe you don’t remember, it was a Caipiroska, I don’t like Caipirinha’s! I don’t have any new recipes, I haven’t even been drinking much, have been too busy touring and taking care of my health… but every time in Brazil, I make up for it!

Click here to see Jeff’s exclusive Capiroska’s recipe!

What is the question that I forgot to ask that you really wanted to answer?

“Why after 30 years of a successful career do you still get people calling you ‘Scott’ as your first name? My reply is ‘have you ever called David Lee Roth ‘Lee’?'”

Do you have a message for our readers?

“My message is all in my answers here. Love and enjoy life while you can! :)”

Now let’s check what Eric Martin had to tell us:

Hi Eric. How’s coming back to Brazil? Last time was with Avantasia, right? You were also here the year before with Mr Big.

“To me it’s a long time coming. I always miss Brazil, the fans bring so much energy and rock n’ roll love to the event I almost feel like I’m the one whose being entertained.”

How was touring with Avantasia? How did Tobias approach you? Did you know the project before you were invited? How was working with Michael Kiske?

“Tobias came to a Mr Big show that I was playing at in Eastern Europe and that was the one show out of the whole seven month tour that I lost my voice. God I felt terrible and embarrassed.

“Tobias gave Billy Avantasia’s box set for me to listen to and watch. Ironically he bought the box set at a local record store because he forgot to bring one… I think hearing that story sold me on this talented kid. I really didn’t know what this project was all about but I knew that it was some sort of a rock opera.

“I was asked to sing the balled ‘What’s Left Of Me’ and join their upcoming ‘Mystery Of Time’ tour. The music and all the musicians and singers were amazing but I was intimidated at first because I was taking the place of the great Jorn Lande. After a few dozen cold sweats, taking a diver’s deep breath and re-adjusting my balls I think I pulled it off and maybe brought some hard soul to the mix.

“Michael was very helpful and sweet to me knowing that I was new to the tour and this style of music. He has a powerful presence onstage but off stage he’s childlike in nature… he serenaded all of us with Elvis tunes before every show… it was a nice warm up before the three hour Metal opera. The King lives!”

This time you are touring with Jeff Scott Soto. Can the fans expect a jam with you two on stage?

“We’ve talked about it and we’re not going to plan anything, we’re just going to “wing it” as they say. If we’re both feeling the love from the audience then sure, why not bust out a few tunes.”

Will you be doing a fully acoustic set? What can the fans expect from this tour?

“Actually the majority of my show will be plugged in. I’ve hired a kick ass rock band from Brazil to play my songs and I will be playing a handful of acoustic songs by myself as well.”

Browsing the internet, I found out that you are currently writing material for a new Mr Big album. Can you comment a little further on that?

“Yeah we’re writing right now for an album to be released in about five months or so, with a tour to follow. I’ve been working everyday for the last two months and I can’t wait till we all get together again.”

How was reuniting with them after so many years? How did you settle everything that had happened before?

“God that was so long ago… when five, six, hell, ten years go by the things you disliked then seem so trite and trivial now. I know for a fact that we missed singing and playing that material together live.

“As clichéd as it sounds the BIG music brought us back with no questions asked. We didn’t have any big plans to do anything except touring; we had such a great time of it that we decided to do an album. The only thing we all agreed on was keeping it completely painless and stress free.

“So far so good, we get together every couple years and rock n’ roll. The minute it starts becoming a job or a pain in the ass than I guess we just put the Genie back in the bottle… again.”

Are you and Billy on good terms again (if you ever were)? Do you talk to each other or is it a professional relationship only?

“Huh? This kind of question should be reserved for Hollywood power couples and tabloid fuck ups. Billy and I have known each other for 26 years, that’s almost half my life. He’s one of the most intelligent men that I’ve ever met; he’s got a heart of gold and can also be as tough as nails. The key to a lasting R&R relationship is respect; I’ve never played with anybody better than him.”

What is the question that I forgot to ask that you really wanted to answer?

“How did you get the name Mr. Big? Or When did you cut your hair and why? Or how is it that you’re still so young looking? Do you take anti-aging drugs? I’ll get back to you on that. Ha.”

Do you have a message for our readers?

“I love my life as a singer, songwriter and live performer. I wouldn’t be able to cross the ocean, much less cross the street, without your unwavering loyalty and support for Mr Big and myself. Thank you all for keeping my dream alive so I can rock out for you.”

The tour starts in Rio on March 8th and it ends on March 16th in São Paulo. Check below for more dates.

JSS2

I’d like to give a big thanks to Heloísa Vidal @ FreepassEntretenimento.

Bruce Dickinson’s ‘Skunkworks’: Underrated?

Fernando Souza discusses the qualities that constitute a ‘good album’, and why Bruce Dickinson’s ‘Skunkworks’ is one of the most underrated albums of all time.

How do we define a good album? The Oxford Dictionary of English defines ‘good’ as an adjective to describe something pleasant, enjoyable or satisfying. The definition of ‘album’ is a single collection of recordings on CD, record or cassette.

(more…)

Mr Big Live in São Paulo, 9th July 2011

Going to São Paulo is always nice. Visiting my local friends and breathing the rock atmosphere that city exhales doesn’t have a price. This time was even more special. I was there to meet fellow MetalTalk.net writer, Chris Dale, a friend of mine who I hadn’t seen for four or five years and on top of that I’d see Jorn Lande and Mr Big on the very same evening.

It was a very cold (for Brazilians from sunny Rio, that is!) night on a Saturday holiday in Sao Paulo, but there was a very hot place in the city: HSBC Brazil. The reason for this was the return, after 13 years, of Mr. Big to Brazilian territory, causing the cold to be forgotten in a sold out venue of about 5,000 people. (more…)

Syren, With a ‘Y’

Luiz Syren has been rocking the underground Metal scene of Rio for a little more than 15 years. Jeez, I hate to mention numbers like that, makes me realize I’m getting old!

I met Luiz sometime in this 15 years period and he’s been a good friend since then. And no, before you even bother asking me that, he’s not paying me a quid to write this article. On the contrary, I begged him quite a few times to send me some material for this article.

Syren

Syren, with a ‘Y’, is his nickname. And no, it’s not a mere coincidence. Luiz can sound like the real Air Raid Siren when he wants to. And because of that he fronted the best Iron Maiden cover band in Rio de Janeiro.

I remember they played a gig at EMI’s party just before Rock in Rio 3. Janick Gers and Dave Murray were there to see Luiz singing. Sorry for the bad joke, they were probably there because of contractual reasons and good beer.

I could keep writing about Luiz’ past bands (you must check ‘Atlantida’, though) or keep writing about the funny stories I’ve had with him, but that’s not the purpose of this article. This article is all about Syren, just Syren, Syren with a ‘Y’.

How many new Metal bands are emerging right now? Probably thousands, good and bad… but one thing is certain: in this vast musical universe it is not easy to be noticed if you do not have the formula, the differential, that ‘something else’ always connected to a simple but rare thing: TALENT, and that’s exactly what Syren has to show.

SyrenThese Metal bastards were born to spread their musical essence by mixing the new and old Metal school, giving voice to a single work that surely will sound unique to the ears of all generations of fans.

Led by their singer Luiz Syren, the line up follows with D Arawnn (guitar), B Arawnn (guitar) Bruno Coe (bass) and M Kult (drums, Coldblood).

Syren’s music explores melody and aggression, focusing on the powerful vocal range of Luiz, who explores various vocal dynamics, guitars full of punch and heavy riffs, mixed with excellent drumming, rich on double bass, by M Kult (Coldblood) and powerful bass lines.

A few years ago, my friend Roy Z (Tribe Of Gypsies, Bruce Dickinson, Halford) was here in Rio, and one day we were sitting on one of those kiosks by the beach at around 2.00am talking about music and Roy turned to Luiz and said: “Luiz, your new project sounds fantastic!” This project that Roy was talking about is what you today will know as Syren and the album title is simply HEAVY METAL.

SyrenIf Roy Z’s endorsement is not enough, Luiz has got some more. Ark, most famous for being the former band of Jorn Lande, sent an email to Luiz saying: “Great music. I loved the vocals, great atmosphere à la Bruce Dickinson! The guitars are also great and worked amazingly. It’s great to hear a new band able to keep as much quality in their songs.

“Stay strong in Metal and spread your music. Hugs from Norway.”

Johnny Forslund, promoter for Sweden Metal Music Entertainment, said: “I will listen to the songs again, but from now I can say that Syren will be very soon, the band of the moment…”

The year of 2011 brought a range of new opportunities for Syren starting with the 20 show South American tour that will soon hit Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. It is also the very first time that this new killer line up will play live together. And they have come to conquer every corner of the globe.

After the release of ‘HEAVY METAL’ in 2011, the band will enter the studio to record an EP. There is no rest for these energetic Metalheads.

There is no turning back. The ‘Brazilian Metal Bastards’ have came to rock!

Coldblood: When Heavy Is Not Enough!

Formed in January 1992 by Allan Silva, Vitor Esteves and M Kult, Coldblood appeared in the underground scene of Rio de Janeiro with the second generation of Death Metal bands with the intention of playing a sound influenced by the great names of the style such as Possessed, Venom, Sodom and Bolt Thrower.

In the same year, the band released their first demo tape called ‘Terror Stench’, which had an excellent reception from the public and the specialized media and the band began touring to promote their work in the Brazilian scene.

Due to instabilities in their line up, the band’s second demo, ‘…And It Comes The Winter’, was launched in 2000 with Gustavo Sazes on the guitar. The main characteristic of this demo is its faster and more brutal sound as compared to their first. And in 2004, the original line-up was back together to release the excellent EP ‘New Black God’.

As a result of their efforts, the band finally signed, in 2005, a record deal with Mexican Onslaught Rec to release their first album, the ten track ‘Under The Blade I Die’ which was majorly influenced by Morbid Angel, Deicide, Death and Massacre, among others.

We can also notice a certain influence of bands such as Destruction and Slayer in some parts, but the good old Death Metal is predominant in this album. Because of contractual reasons, this album was only released in Brazil in 2007 through a partnership formed by Freemind and Distro Rock Prod. Rec. The work was highly regarded by critics who identified, as previously mentioned here, the same influences from the 80s that the band had carried through the decade before.

In 2008, Coldblood went, once again, through a makeover in their line-up.  Artur Cirio (Vulgar) replaced Allan Silva as the frontman and Julio Latorraca joined on guitars. The group, then traditionally formed as a trio, became a quartet, which gave the sound an even more latent aggression and depth.

The band then performed concerts to promote their album throughout the country joining great names of the Death Metal world – Cannibal Corpse (USA), Master (Czech Republic) and Onslaught (England) – and prepared themselves to go on their first international tour, the South American tour called ‘Under The South American Tour I Die’, playing in Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador.

However, the band then faced big difficulties. Vitor Esteves decided to leave right before the tour and in a demonstration of great professionalism and will, rookie Julio Latorraca joined the band so that they could honor their commitments and make their name known beyond Brazilian borders.

After touring, bassist Alexandre Kaffer, an experienced musician in the national underground scene with stints in bands like Darkest Hate, Mysteriis and Warfront, joined Coldblood as bass player.

Today, with a finally consolidated line up, the band is in the final production stage of their EP ‘The Other Gods’ which contains five new songs and the first three demos as bonus tracks. They are also writing their new album, which is due in 2012 and will herald in a new phase for the band with the same influences that inspired them in 92. The band are aiming to write their name in the history of the underground, building a solid and successful career.

The new EP ‘The Other Gods’ will also have the following video as a bonus:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIROyudNrxk&feature=player_embedded

Roadie For a Day

What was supposed to be a nice simple day: meeting a good friend from São Paulo, having lunch together and watching a gig at night (for free), turned out to be an amazing day to break the same old boring routine.

Since my friend Juliana Negri was working for the production of the Queensryche shows in Brazil, she invited me to hang out with her backstage. I was not a Queensryche fan back then (shame on me, I know!) but I didn’t think twice and said “Sure! Why not?”

I was most curious about Geoff Tate. Everybody had told me before what a hell of a singer he was (still is, btw) – “Top three in the Metal scene”, people said.

First thing on my mind was: “How am I going to get into the venue backstage? Shall I just say: I’m with the band! – How many people do that to get in? How will the venue staff know I’m serious and not just some random fan trying to sneak in?”

To my surprise, lack of security was what I found! It took me a few minutes to figure out where the back entrance was but once I found it, there was no single soul to stop me from getting in. I had never been in a backstage before apart from the Tribuzy show in São Paulo, the one when the DVD was recorded. But that was a post gig kind of thing and this one was a bit different.

Anyway, the backstage seems like an office. There are a few rooms with desks, computers, toilets and down the corridor on the right you have the stage. My friend introduced me to her work mates in one of the rooms and then showed me the rest. One of the rooms was for the tour manager and the other one for the band crew. There was also (of course) a dressing room and a room full of food, drinks and all the cool stuff! No wonder why this was the room where I spent most of that afternoon.

Another great moment that I remember from that afternoon was when I went to the stage. I saw the guitar tech doing what he was supposed to do while making out with a groupie and I sat and played tried to play on Scott Rockenfield’s drums! That was cool! It was also the first time I saw the audience from another angle. Ok, there was nobody there at the time, the venue was completely empty, but I could very well imagine what is to be on a stage.

Once I was back in the backstage I realized some of the band members had arrived. One of them was talking with his wife on the phone and checking how things were back at home, the other one was browsing the net and was pretty pissed off that his hockey team had lost the night before. After that he went to the stage for a quick sound check and I followed him.

He wanted to see what kind of speakers the venue had. He was telling me that depending on the speakers there’s some kind of adjustments that need to be done to his preset. Dummie me! To me, speakers were simply speakers! I didn’t know they change from place to place.

Have you ever heard stories about rock stars demanding impossible things from the production? I wouldn’t say the guys from Queensryche act like ‘rock stars’. They act like ordinary people, like you and me. But something like that happened. Geoff Tate asked for a special coffee blend from Starbucks. Guess what? We didn’t have Starbucks in Rio back then. The thing is, he didn’t care! He wanted his bloody coffee! So, one girl had to fly all the way to São Paulo to get the coffee for him.

The thing is, I don’t even know if he drank it at all. I remember that I put a teapot and bags of Darjeeling tea especially for him next to the drums and that was what he drank all night long.

After a few chats here and there with the band crew, band members and fans that were already waiting outside, my friend came to me and said: “The production has just realized they’re short on staff! So, we need your help. There’s no money involved here and if you are willing to help, you will do so because of the fun and that’s it”.

I didn’t think twice and replied: “What do I have to do?” She added: “Pretty much work as a translator. The venue staff needs to communicate with the band staff and things like that. You’ll be there to help.” Sounded fun at the time and still sounds fun. I’d do it again if asked to.

During the gig I found myself talking to the spotlight guys through radio, translating whatever the band’s light engineer said to me. That was a huge responsibility! Imagine if one of them missed Geoff Tate at an important moment of the show for example?

One funny moment that night was when the dry ice smoke machine wouldn’t stop working and the band’s engineer telling me to go there on the bloody stage and shut it myself! Well, I went there but I couldn’t do it! I simply didn’t know how to do it.

Oh man, I remember his face! He was pretty pissed with me! He ended up going there himself, but before he went he showed me how to work on the light board so that I could work with it while he fixed the situation. It was cool to work with the lights. I remember changing it from lavender to yellow and yellow to lavender during a whole song!

Another thing that was fun about that night was when friends bumped into me in the venue and saw me working on the light board or coming and going from the backstage into the venue with an all access pass and they couldn’t figure out what was happening. I simply couldn’t stop in order to explain to them what the hell was happening.

As for the gig itself, it was amazing! Very technical, great musicians and a hell of a singer! The venue was far from being sold out and I could see in the eyes of the fans that were there that they were having the moment of their lives.

As for me, well, that was the moment when I first realized how the business is, what happens behind a big production, what it takes to give the fans the best moment of their lives. Apart from the coffee story, I could see that rock stars are normal people like you and me, who worry about home, make silly voices on the mobile to make their kids laugh, get mad when their team loses, wear glasses to read tiny letters and stuff like that.

Have I become a Queensryche fan after that? I have to admit that I haven’t. However, I’ve listened to all of their albums and watched videos on YouTube. I would recognize their music if I listened to it on the radio. They are good. They are great, actually! But I don’t know, I guess I’m just a strange guy…

Ooops… Maiden Did It Again!

Sunday, March 27th, the day I and another 12,999 people had been waiting for had finally arrived. I’d been anxiously waiting for this day for the past month or so, watching all videos from the current tour on YouTube, sharing them on Facebook as well as bombing my friend’s wall with them.

Anyway, the gig was scheduled for 8.30pm and the venue was supposed to open at 6.30pm. There would also be a supporting act, Shadowside – a Brazilian metal band that doesn’t say much to me, besides the hot chick on the lead vocals.

My friends and I arrived at the arena at around 6.20pm and all we could see was a crowd going back for what seemed like miles. You could feel and hear the energy and excitement of the fans while singing their football chant “Ole, Ole Ole Ole – Mai-den! Mai-den!!”

At 6.50pm the queue had not moved a single inch and that was the first signal that something was not right. I started to think: “Damn, the gig is being delayed”, “I wonder if they’re doing the sound check right now”, “What the hell is happening in there?” “If they take more time, the support band won’t have time to play”, “Is there going to be a support band anyway?”

I can’t remember the exact time I finally arrived at my seat, the only thing that I remember is that it didn’t take too long for the supporting band to enter the stage. Their set did not take too long – twenty minutes or so. After it had finished the only thing my mates and I could say about it was: “Yeah, she’s indeed very hot!”

Not too long after that could we finally hear the first chords of UFO’s ‘Doctor, Doctor’. My friends and I looked at each other and said: “It’s bloody time!”

Our excitement did not last too long, though. After a long intro, Maiden came into stage as energetic as ever, playing the title song of their latest album ‘The Final Frontier’. At around 1:30 minutes into the song, my friend pointed to something happening in front of the stage and said: “they’re invading!” and I quickly replied: “Don’t be a fool! That’s the guy from IMTV simply going backstage”.

I just realized I was completely wrong when Bruce stopped singing and decided to only observe the situation while the band kept playing. As soon as the band finished the first song, Bruce started to explain what had happened;

“The barrier has collapsed”, he said. And then, he added that the barrier is very important for our own safety and because of that the band would leave the stage for ten minutes so that it could be fixed and then they would then re-start the show. The people seemed to understand and they even started to scream for him.

It was probably the ten longest minutes of our lives and after that a lady from the arena management appeared on stage. Oh man, that woman had balls! She started to say something but everybody was booing her so loudly that nobody could hear her speaking. It was only when Rod Smallwood appeared on stage and asked everybody to shut the #$%@ up (he used polite words, of course), that the people actually shut up and started listening to her. Apparently, more minutes would be needed in order to fix the barrier.

I’m a Maiden fan for quite some time and I know that when Rod has to show his face, it’s because there’s something seriously bad going on. I said to my friends: “They’ll cancel this shit!” They didn’t say anything back, only nodded their head in agreement.

We couldn’t believe what was happening. The crowd was clearly getting more and more impatient as the minutes passed. After thirty minutes or so, we could see Bruce coming into the stage all by himself. Oh no, the woman with the huge balls was right behind him. “Yeah, they’re definitely going to cancel this.” – I thought to myself.

Bruce started to say how hard the venue’s staff had tried to fix the problem, but unfortunately the barrier was completely broken, then he added how important our safety was. At this point the people were still supportive and clapping their hands after every sentence he said. But when he said “Unfortunately, tonight we can’t play, but tomorrow…”, I think those were probably the worst boos he’d ever received in his life as a professional musician.

He talked a bit more, even trying a little Portuguese “por favor (Portuguese for ‘please’) listen…” He once again explained how worried the band was about our safety and the police had warned them that it was not safe to carry on with the gig.

“Tomorrow we’re going to build the best fucking barrier the world has ever seen,” Bruce said. He also begged us not to damage the arena on our way out, because if we did this, then the gig wouldn’t happen at all. All we could hear was boos and curses, and all we could see were cups of beers flying from one side to the other.

That was sure a disappointment, but I’d say that 99% of the people there understood the situation. Of course, when we talk about masses, there’s always a number of people who are there to try to ruin everything.

I saw people punching the walls, kicking fire extinguishers (What? Yeah! People are dumb enough to kick fire extinguishers!), nothing that made much sense anyway. I did see an interesting way of protesting: a guy cut the rope holding the huge floating balloon of the beer company who sponsors the venue and took it home!

I didn’t see any very serious things happening at all, not when I was leaving the place and not even when the barrier collapsed. However, the next day, browsing local news websites, I could see that there was indeed some damage done to the venue and most seriously, one of the flying cups of beers did hit the soundboard, fully damaging it.

“Damn, the postponed gig could easily become a cancelled gig”, I thought.

I spent the whole Monday checking Maiden’s official website every single hour as well as the arena’s website for what, in my mind, was inevitable: the gig cancellation.

At 4.00pm I hadn’t yet read anything confirming my darkest thoughts and I was finally convinced the gig was indeed going to happen. We left home one hour before we did the previous day. It was Monday, a working day, and all we wanted to do was to avoid the rush hour.

Felt weird arriving there and seeing no huge queue outside the venue. What happened was, the venue management developed some brains and let the people get in in advance. There was no hot chick leading the support band this time. It was a 100% Maiden only evening.

‘Doctor, Doctor’ hits the speaker and we all know it’s just a matter of minutes for full excitement. ‘Satellite 15… The Final Frontier’ opens the show with a few futuristic projection on the screen. On stage, the scenario is a spaceship with a starry sky.

The reception was very warm. Proving that ‘The Final Frontier’ has not reached first place in sales in 28 countries by chance, the audience sang along with Bruce. The excitement did not diminished with the next song, ‘El Dorado’, which has a powerful bass intro played by Steve Harris. It was with this song that Maiden won their first Grammy this year for best Metal performance.

Overall, the new songs were well received. ‘Coming Home’ was also sung by many, as for ‘When The Wild Wind Blows’, although very nice, it’s too long and some people decided that it was beer time.

But of course you cannot argue with history. The Arena started to boil when the first chords of ‘Two Minutes To Midnight’ were played. At that moment, Bruce had the audience in his hand and led the show with its known expertise and many “Scream for me Rio de Janeiro”‘s, his famous catchy phrase.

I believe it was after this song that he first talked to the crowd:

“I can see we have a brand new shiny, nice, beautiful and very expenisve barrier and you didn’t have to pay for it. Even better, we didn’t have to pay for it. Some motherfucker paid for it!”

It was laughs all around. That’s it, all the tension from the previous night was gone. Everybody was in ecstasy.

Maiden brought news, but they also do not give up on those moments that every fan expects: Bruce waving the British flag waving while singing ‘The Trooper’ or the chance to sing together all the lyrics of ‘Fear Of The Dark’.

During ‘The Evil That Men Do’, Maiden had a fourth guitarist. As usual, Eddie came on stage. To the delight of those present, the three feet tall puppet picked up a guitar and pretended to be playing with the band.

But what impressed the audience was the giant Eddie which appeared behind the stage during ‘Iron Maiden’. This alien version of Eddie is killer! Probably the best ever Eddie so far!

We were lucky! After the show, I read somehwere the São Paulo and Rio were the only places to see Eddie before the DVD recording in Chile. Apparently, Eddie was ready to go before expected so the band decided to use it in a couple of gigs in Brazil as a sort of test drive.

‘The Number Of The Beast’, ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ and ‘Running Free’ ended a perfect night. People were still expecting a bonus as a sorry for the cancelled gig and started to scream: “Run To The Hills! Run To The Hills! Run To The Hills!”. However, it was all in vain.

When “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life” by Mony Python (btw, what a perfect song to end a perfect night!) started to play on the speakers, we all came out of a trance and went back home with a smile on our faces and wondering when it would be the next time we would see these dudes again.