Monday, June 30, 2008

My Happy Place



Three iron Maiden shows in four days. It's not a record as far as concert goings goes; but it was a whirlwind nonetheless. Maiden hit the stage and I was so excited!! I know it had only been three months since I saw them last, but dag nabbit they put on a great show. The set list was the same as the Meadowlands - come on, Iron Maiden do NOT change their set list! lol I generally rocked out and went nutzo!

Sunday the 15th was the "BIG DAY". Another meet up at Twins had been planned. Twins is a really nice bar on 9th Avenue and 32nd St. It's right across from B&H. The food is choice and the company is even better. 

I wore my ChelseaFC shirt for another Chelsea fan on the IMOFC boards. A few (super) Leeds supporters draped a scarf around me in an attempt to get me to convert. It did not work, but much fun was had by all. 


The coolest thing ever about this whole experience... I found out on the 14th ,right before the PNC show, that I had won the HEAVEN CAN WAIT contest! I would be onstage with Maiden at Madison Square Garden!! How outstanding! I've been a Maiden fan for 28 years! Twenty flipping eight!! Nothing like this had ever happened to me before.

Backstage at a Maiden show is like backstage at every show I've ever worked. Dull. Boring. Wanna-bees and hangers on. The food was minimal and quite blech in comparison to where I had come from: TWINS!!! There were a few decent folk about - Chelsea supporters who are on Steve's footy team. Got to talking about football, which is always a treat. The boys had played a game Saturday in Jersey and drew 2-2 against a local team. I did get some ribbing from people about sporting the Blue onstage at a Maiden show. I wore the shirt to be recognized by people on the bulletin boards, people that I talk to and hang out with. What do I care about some bloke who doesn't know me and never will? Why should I change my clothes for someone who doesn't know I exist? Good Point!


I did get to see Adrian before the show. He's shorter than I expected. His smile is warm and inviting; his eyes twinkled under the harsh florescent lighting. He strode by and I noticed he has a really nice bum. It's only overshadowed by his voice that drips with velvet when he speaks. He's very courteous and gracious.


With the three minute warning given, I headed to my seat. One of them anyways. I ended up on the floor in section 8 with two extra tickets in my pocket. I was originally in section 125. Then someone gave me section 105. I figured I could get rid of the 125 section at the Garden. I ran into a friend of mine and they gave me section 8, so I could sit by them. So I had to try, along with what seemed like everyone else, to get rid of two tickets. The scalpers wanted to give me $15 for each. WTF!! I soon realized why. EVERYONE was trying to flog extra tickets. No lie. It became a running joke. I'd ask if anyone needed an extra ticket and the reply would be no, I'm trying to get rid of an extra ticket! LOL


The view from the floor was ok. The seats were behind the GA pit area. Something about a live show that really gets me on the insides. I went wild again. My true happy place is in a venue with 20 thousand or so screaming fans, the glitter of the stage lights, and your favourite band onstage ripping it up! It's addictive.


They tore thru the setlist without missing a beat. Finally, Rime hit and i was off to find the meeting spot for Heaven Can Wait. I went backstage to inquire and was told the meeting spot was upfront on stage left but I would need the actual letter that stated I had won. That was odd as I was wearing the appropriate badge. I hightale it back to my seat to retrieve the letter. I made a wrong turn and ended up in the first tier of seats. Curses! Rime is a thirteen minute song (on album) but I didn't want to be late. So I tried (with my old but and bum knees) to hop the railing. I fell flat on my rear! I wasn't hurt, just peeved that I couldn't jump a simple waist high rail and drop 7 ft. to the ground without mucking it up. I made it over the second time and sprinted to retrieve the letter and sprinted back. We were led to the stands next to stag left and watched Powerslave from there.


Well, started to watch Powerslave. I was in the process of ogling over the soundboard when the lights on the board went out. Then the lights on the boxes below it went out. That can't be good. Next thing you know the house lights come on and people are running around trying to trace the fault. No sound. The stage had lost all power.


Goes to show what troopers Maiden are (no pun intended). Bruce comes to the back stage area a few times to inquire about the problem. No answers are forthcoming. He is not a happy camper. So someone gives him a football! Bruce, Steve, and Adrian proceed to play footy on stage!! Brilliant! After almost ten minutes the board lights are flicking and then it starts to boot up. Sound is restored, Bruce razzes the house sound engineer by telling the audience to "get him!" LOL He invokes the dreaded "ghost of Sharon Osborne". He asks what should we do now? Continue with Powerslave? Do something else? Nicko doesn't want to play Powerslave. Adrian has already switched guitars. So things are set and the next song begins...


HEAVEN CAN WAIT

OMFG. I wasn't nervous before, but as we are led up the metal staircase to the stage my stomach does back flips. The band is ripping thru the beginning of the song. I can't see anything but the people in front of me and the curtain. My hands are flapping like butterfly wings. Finally the curtain is pulled back and we sprint onstage. No one is on stage right by Adrian so I head that way. No one stops me.



I'm standing to the left of Adrian Smith of Iron Maiden onstage at Madison Square Garden in New York City!!


Now that is a feeling and a half. I'm singing my heart out! Jumping up and down! I can see the swell of MSG. After about three rows it's nothing but dark formless people. It's a packed swaying mass of bodies. I focus on the barrier so not to be overwhelmed. I can see the faces of the people down front. I smile and ham it up. I'm pointing to them and singing and throwing devil horns! It's aces! Did I mention that Adrian is playing directly to my right? Oh man *swoons* Ok not really, no swooning onstage. It was getting near the end of the song and I knew they were going to herd us off stage soon. In my mind it was like a slow debate. Do I reach over and touch him? He's playing and it's not good form to interrupt that. But when will I ever have this opportunity again? I turn around and plant my lips on his upper arm. It was part kiss, part lick, all ecstasy!


His skin was quite cool and smooth. He didn't smell. You know, you'd expect someone that is sweating up a storm under those hot lights to be a bit ripe. But he wasn't! I turned and ran off stage as fast as I could without tripping or pushing people out of my way. I didn't look back. I thanked the stage crew and finally was able to breath.


I wandered around MSG to calm myself. I went to catering for water, used the nice clean toilettes, took deep breaths. I still can't believe it happened. I returned to the floor to watch the end of another spectacular Iron Maiden performance. It would be hard to top MSG. That did not stop me from going to Camden to see them again two days later! I had pit tickets so I was right in the action. M camera auto focus was behaving badly, so my pictures did not come out as good as they could for being spitting distance from the band.


I was on Adrian's side (ya think) and was rewarded for it when he gave me his black armband. It was the one right off his wrist, not the white ones they throw to the crowd afterwards. Now, I'm not sure if it was because he remembered me from the previous show (I doubt that is the case) or my Eddie glow in the dark finger puppet! I had that on my finger whilst throwing devil horns and it game him, Dave and Steve quite a chuckle.



Three Iron Maiden shows in four days. That is rock-tastic!!






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