Scott’s Book of Souls: Chapter Two, Toronto (2016)

Well, this one might be a tad shorter than the Montreal one, primarily because I wasn’t in Ontario for as long a time as I was in Quebec. But I could be wrong.

So, early Saturday morning, I headed down to the Megabus station in downtown Montreal, but not before I stopped at a nearby Tim Hortons for some breakfast. Earlier, I had begun uploading my video I took in Montreal of Speed of Light, so by the time I got to Timmie’s, it had finished uploading completely. With about 10 minutes until the bus was to leave, I headed to the station, just as the bus was pulling up and loading people in, and got myself a seat on the upper deck.

I got to Toronto about 6 hours later, but I was staying in Burlington, so I caught an Uber to the Union station, which is VERY close to the Air Canada Centre, in fact! It was pretty interesting knowing that’s where tomorrow night, Maiden would set their Mayan Temple up. I bought a GO Ticket and got on the train to Burlington. Unfortunately, I was under the impression I’d be leaving shit-tastic weather behind, and so imagine my dismay when snow was all I knew for the weekend.

Okay, this is from the next day, but you get the point. (PHOTO CRED: Karl-Gunnar Severinsen)

About an hour later, I met my uncle Jim at the Burlington GO station, and we somehow managed to survive the journey to his apartment, with how bad the weather was. At least twice, we got snow splashed on the windshield! It was great to see Jim again after four years. He lives all the way in Ontario, and I’d probably be able to see my dad’s side of the family more if traveling in Canada wasn’t so damn expensive. Among that side of the family is my aunt Carolyn, who it would have been nice to have seen- problem is, they live in Kichener, and she was busy with the kids. But I guess there’s always next time (which, with my current plans, may be a lot sooner than originaly anticipated). And there’s my aunt Sue, who had a friend over named Jerry. Was my first time meeting him, and he’s a really nice guy. Jim and SUe live in the same apartment complex, albeit on opposite sides- I didn’t have much time to get pics though, due to the catching up we were doing.

However, despite the dour weather conditions, which were working some Seasonal Affective Disorder wonders on me, it ended up being a good night overall. We had some dinner at Swiss Chalet, some tea and Brownies at Sue’s, and then wound down the night with some beer and something else of a seeming tradition that happens every time I head to Jim’s- namely, is girlfriend Meldy is Filipino, and the last time I was there in May 2012 and this time almost four years later, she got me to try some bizarre Asian alcohols. So let’s just say, that was something. In particular, this was the first time I had tried Sake, and… well, it doesn’t taste bad, per se, but it hasn’t got much taste. Can’t really say I see the appeal of it. Then again, it is rice wine.

So after Jim and Mel had gone to bed, I stayed up and watched some SNL, had a few beers, then after 24 hours of no sleep, went to bed.

I awoke at 11 the next day- a tad later than I expected. Surprisingly, it was sunny outside, although a tad chilly. I started off the day with some nice eggs and Canuck bacon breakfast, and since it was a Sunday and Jim had work the next day, I had to move my stuff to Sue’s. So I got all that done, and Jim took me to the GO Station. I got my ticket to downtown Toronto, and was in Toronto at about 1:30. I managed to find the FTTB line- which this time, I actually won FTTB! Again, the line took place INSIDE, which once again, was a stroke of genius considering the weather. Sadly, I didn’t get any snow pics, so here’s another photo by Karl… followed by a random inexplicable selfie I took.

Oh the weather outside is frightful… end song. (Photo cred: Karl-Gunnar Severinsen)
These people.

I did the same thing with buying Diet Cokes to keep hydrated and made regular bathroom trips (despite the bathroom being in a pedway building). I had another extra ticket, so my ticket buyer was on his way, and got there around 4:30. Kenny got to the line around 4, said hi to quite a few people and chatted a bit, and then started with the wristband giving around 15 minutes later.

Karl, Kate and Matt… with an excited Canadian

Things were going smoothly… until the actual ticket letting in happened. Remember Nat and Parker’s ticket fiasco from Montreal? That was nothing compared to this. I fell victim to the nonworking ticket scanner, and so this made me right pissed. They kept scanning my credit card, only for it to keep shitting out, and this resulted in me having to go to the box office to get paper tickets. This probably wouldn’t have been as frustrating as it was if it weren’t for the fact that one of the first fucking things I did upon arriving at the ACC was try to get paper tickets IN CASE THIS SHIT HAPPENED. So I told Blair, my ticket buyer, to sneak into the next FTTB line while I went and got my ticket troubles sorted, and I did just barely. Two other couples were having the exact same trouble, and I had to basically talk down to the ticket counter people. While they were able to help others without problem, they got on the fucking phone for no reason until a third person came to help me and I had to basically resort to “I came here from Edmonton” sob stories. So, after that shit, I got my tickets, met back with Blair in line which MIRACUOUSLY hadn’t been let in yet. Lening, my friend I met in Montreal, also acted as a legend and let us get in with him, and finally we were let in, and I got my spot at the barrier in front of Arry and Jan this time!

At least I got a paper ticket.
Reunited with the Polish friends and it feels so good!

When we got to the barrier, George Harris was on stage, setting up for The Raven Age- I called out to him, and he remembered me from Comedy Works! We chatted a bit, and he even asked where Nat and Parker were (I just told him they could only do Montreal). So, the usual- Sabbath tape, then The Raven Age. The Raven Age killed it again, and definitely had gotten even better from the Montreal show. More eye contact with the members of the band, and at the end, Dan Wright began taking setlists off the stage and handing it to crowd members- and I got one of them!



So, 30 minutes more of waiting later, Doctor Doctor was coming out of the speakers- and boy, my voice was FUCKED from the Montreal gig. But, I tried. Then lights down, video intro, and Bruce appears on stage ready to rock once more. This time, Bruce’s microphone hookup was a lot better, and If Eternity… and Speed of Light were far more crushing and heavy. After Speed of Light, Nicko gave the earliest drumstick throw I had ever seen- clearly he was enjoying every second of what was going on! Bruce gave his usual intro to the crowd, and from there on, the band had launched into the heaviest, most powerful and stunning rendition of Children of the Damned I had ever heard- so bombastic, it made my heart race. Montreal was already proof enough of it being so good to have my favourite band on stage again, but this was further proof.

Tears of a Clown as epic as usual again, and The Red and The Black- this song manages to just give me goosebumps EVERY TIME. One particular moment that made it was H running over to the right side of the stage and having a friendly moment with Jan- this was the sight of legends just having so much fun.


The Trooper was next, slayed as usual, Powerslave had another RIPPING rendition, and then the start of something epic was next: during Death or Glory, Bruce began to take note of the dance move that has now become quite a spicy meme. I refer to this:

You have Pam McGee and Peggy Gaito, a Bostonian and a “Noo Yahker” to thank for that. They kept doing that dance move, and finally Bruce noticed.

Next up was The Book of Souls, and during this, from here on, the next few songs turned into quite the comedy of errors. For a start, during this song, Bruce wrang the heart he rips from Eddie’s chest out a bit too hard, and blood went splashing all over Janick- he was drenched! So he went to get toweled off at the end of the song, which went into Hallowed Be Thy Name. He was dripping, so his guitar tech got down on all fours to wipe all the blood , then Jan took the towel and began whipping his tech’s arse until he got off stage. Hilarious!


Unfotunately, this came with quite the side effect- Jan’s guitar hardly worked. It wasn’t until his solo where his guitar finally got working again. From there on, the gig was on its feet all night- rousing and ripping renditon of all the songs, start to finish. The pyro was working much better, and as a result, I could feel the heat from the fire on my face!

After another emotional powerhouse of a rendition of Blood Brothers, and one JOYOUS Wasted Years, I was in quite the state of post-Maiden bliss. Even the lame crowd couldn’t ruin what a high I was on.

I got a picture with an Eddie Elvis (Edlvis?), met up with some IMOC friends, then made my way outside… only to find out we were in quite the winter wonderland. I made my way to the Tilted Kilt, had some burgers and beers, jammed out to some Maiden tunes with several Maiden friends, then got on the GO Bus to Burlington…

Viva Las Eddie!

The downside was, there was a blizzard, and I had to wait for a taxi for almost an hour… which arrived at 3 AM. So that sucked. Even worse, the taxi driver didn’t recognize the address, so he drove me halfway across Burlington- when I called him out, he did have the kindness in his heart to not charge me for the rest of the journey. Now that’s a first. You see, taxi Driver I mentioned in my Milan journal??? You see???

I got home at 4, got to bed, awoke at around 10, had some delicious breakfast at Sue’s made sure everything was good to go as far s packing was, and got on the GO Transit to Toronto, and on the Union Pearson express to Toronto Airport. I did have a little slip-up at security where I somehow left those scissors from Montreal in my bag, so for obvious reasons, I couldn’t bring those on board.

Aside from a long delay, I had a safe journey back home to Edmonton, and got ready for two days back to work before Johan’s arrival on the impending Wednesday before some more Maiden Madness took place.

In our next chapter, which is a different one- in the sense that it takes place in my own back yard (sort of), I meet up with a Swedish friend, show him my home turf, and get back into the Maiden Madness, like there wasn’t a two day break to begin with!

-I go to the east side of Canada to AVOID snow, not bring it with me!!!

-I will say, Toronto definitely looks pretty when it snows.

-If it weren’t for my FTTB OCD, I’d have been at the pre-show Tilted Kilt meet, which apparently broke capacity for the year as far as attendance figures went.

-Yeah, the Toronto crowd was lame. Not sure I’d go see a concert there again. Had too much o a festival vibe.

-I must say the Union Pearson trains are pretty damn nice.

-Bruce mentioned that he had gone to the hockey game the previous night. I guess hockey isn’t as much a thing over in the UK as it is here, and apparently he had fun. Someday, SOMEDAY I’ll attend a UEFA league game, or even more preferably, an LFC game for real.. hopefully. *immediately checks 2017 football schedule*

– And apologies for the lack of pictures. More visiting happened and less Maiden fan madness. Not like that’s a bad thing though, it’s always nice to meet with family.


QUICKIE: Star Trek Beyond

So, I’m just back from seeing the new Star Trek movie Star Trek Beyond.

Now, I’ll admit that I had my expectations for this one particularly low because, as much of a Trekkie I am, and as much as I enjoyed the first two movies in the reboot series, the constant news of studio fuckery and reshoots had me worried, and Justin Lin of Fast & Furious fame seemed like an odd replacement for JJ Abrams. But I’ll admit that I must say I was pleasantly surprised by this movie, and if anything, while this one might not have the “thrill” that the first two movies did, I do feel as though it was a better movie.

For a start, the story in this one is a lot more straightforward and not so convoluted like Into Darkness. That isn’t to say there aren’t multiple subplots, it’s just that they’re better ironed out and explored. The main story this one follows is that Kirk is finding life as the captain of the Enterprise rather laborious and tiresome, and is contemplating stepping down, only two and a half years into the crew’s five-year mission. The crew stop to get some more resources for the ship in Yorktown, and Spock finds out Spock Prime has died, whereas an alien named as Kalara claims that her ship has been stolen. Upon heading back out into their mission, a bunch of aliens attack their ship, and a warlord known as Krall boards it to steal back an ancient artifact with tons of power. When he can’t get it, the aliens crash the enterprise into a nearby planet, and with no Enterprise or any ship, and half the crew imprisoned, they’re stranded- Scotty has to help fix an old ship for an alien named Jayla, Bones and Spock are forced to work together with Spock seriously inured, and Kirk, Chekhov and Kalara try to find the ship.

So rather than delving off into eighty subplots, Simon Pegg uses this story and resorts to a linear plot outline, and the film is much better for it. The new character known as Jayla in particular was incredibly well-played by Sofia Boutella (Gazelle from Kingsman)- she’s instantly likeable and very resourceful. Much of her time in the first half is devoted to working with Scotty to fix the ship, and their chemistry is instantly believable and you can tell that they work perfectly as a team, even if there aren’t many scenes between them. As far as the rest of the cast goes- Idris Elba is predictably awesome as Krall, and the usual suspects… no surprises there.

The special effects in particular were extremely well done, I must add. There’s one bit near the beginning where the swarm of alien ships attack the enterprise, and at no point could I tell it was CG- the level of detail on every single tiny alien ship was insane! Must have taken hours for those to render.

Now as great as the film was, there definitely were some flaws.

For one, the attack scene was a mixed bag because the bits I mentioned were great, but inside the ship was a different story. There’s one bit where Spock and Kirk fight off enemies in an escape pod, and the camera was way too damn close to the action that I couldn’t tell what the hell was going on. The darkness induced by 3D didn’t help. I’m glad that the BARCO screening (which I’m going to tomorrow) is probably gonna be in 2D.

And the rest of the flaws I have are spoilery… yep, that’s right, we’re entering spoiler territory here. I’m going to grey out the spoilers, but if for some reason you inexplicably want it spoiled for you, feel free to highlight the grey stuff. Otherwise, feel free to skip past the spoilers.

Spoilers in…








Now, Krall was masterfully played by Idris, problem is, he wasn’t developed enough. There were bits of the film that I liked- like his draining people’s lives to rejuvenate himself, but Pegg’s script told too much of this rather than showed. And the whole reveal regarding “he was a former captain”… a bit too cliched. Speaking of which, there’s another problem- the whole idea that Spock was planning on leaving the Enterprise to rule over a new Vulcan at the exact same time Kirk was thinking of stepping down to pursue a Vice Admiral position. Look, you might think I’m being a bit too nitpicky here, but this happens in nearly every sequel nowadays. At this point it’s basically just an item on a checklist. When you start noticing it, you’ll complain about it too.

And also, is it just me, or the whole thing regarding Kalara luring the Enterprise into a trap… again, a cliche. Another “item checklist”. And yeah, I know Kirk isn’t exactly the sharpest tool in the shed, but given how shallow she was when leading Kirk and Chekhov on, you think he’d see through her a tad easier.


End spoilers in 3…





That being said, for what it’s worth, despite the flaws I definitely enjoyed the film and am definitely looking forward to my second viewing. For now, this one is getting an 8/10. I’m seeing it again tomorrow so it may become a 9, but who knows.

Live long and prosper!


NOTE: Quickies are basically short reviews I write while a movie is still fresh in my mind so I can just quickly share my thoughts without getting too detailed. This won’t rule out the possibility of full reviews of the movies, of which my opinion may very well change, but it’s just to get my thoughts out there without rambling on and on too much.

QUICKIE: I’m back… sort of.

Hey guys. This is gonna be a quick one after my major update from yesterday.

I’ve been off this blog for a while mostly because I’ve been busy as of late and there hasn’t been much for me to write about until this year, and I figured getting some journals from my tour this year would be a good way to keep the spirit alive here.

Because I have so much to write about when posting these travel blogs, they take a long fucking time to write, so don’t expect them to be frequent- and just as much a pain in the ass as they are to write is to edit them for the site and upload pics. So on average, they’ll be up probably once a week. Another reason they’ll be posted at that frequency is because I care about how I tell these stories, as they were fantastic times and I truly do care about making you feel as if you’re living it as you read it. Hell, I was getting nostalgia flashbacks writing about Montreal…

So thanks for understanding and do expect some other fun things other than just the blogs- more reviews, recaps of certain events, etc.

Up the irons!

And before I go, here’s that pic of Marek eating poutine.


Scott’s Book of Souls: Chapter One, Montreal (2016)

When I started doing tour blogs in 2013 to 2014, it was by sheer miracle that I was able to finish them, let alone remember at least half of what went on, mainly because I was confined to a shitty iPad most of the time, and had to compress on average 72 hours worth of memories surrounding a gig in a certain country so I could properly tell a story. The only part of that for this tour that has changed is the iPad bit, and that’s a good thing- I finally have a laptop that I got a year and a half ago, and so as you could imagine, trying to compress several memories into a single blog post isn’t as much of a problem for me anymore. And this year saw a similar undertaking to 2013, only slightly different. 9 gigs, quite a few countries, but a bit more sprawled out. Four of them taking place across Canada, and 5 across Europe. Well, it’s been about almost a month since the Europe shows, and now that I’ve had time to let the tour digest, I think it’s safe for me to start writing my TOUR DIARIES! And I’ll try to finish the whole thing this time… if I can… so, let’s go back to the very beginning… Montreal.

Or, maybe a bit further. WAY further. In fact, this is a tour blog after all, so let’s try to keep the recap short.


February 2015. Maiden fans are hit with the worst news ever- Bruce battled cancer. Fortunately, things were looking up- the news came after he finished 7 weeks of chemo and radiation. The light at the end got brighter as Bruce was given the all clear from cancer, and we were safe to continue anticipating a new album. Then in June, we get the news of a DOUBLE album, with 92 minutes of music, 3 tracks that exceed 10 minutes in length including an 18 minute juggernaut penned by Bruce himself. Then two months later, Bruce makes his return with SPEED OF LIGHT, giving his best vocal performance since his Tyranny of Souls days. Then we get the album, and it’s fucking orgasm worthy. And then Maiden announces a jumbo-sized tour spanning 7 months, and to go with it, a fucking Jumbo Jet.

I’m talking about this beauty here. A real Empire of the Clouds. 747, also known as the queen of the skies!


So, my initial plan was to just do all of Canada. But when Maiden made it clear only 13 gigs in total (which ended up being 14) were being performed in North America, that left me with only 4 gigs, and an entire summer with nothing to do, so 5 June gigs were thrown in the mix. Well, you probably know how that went down. Bought tickets, saved like a motherfucker, bought my flights and hotels… now let’s push the fast forward button and stop at the end of March, 2016…

It’s 30th March 2016, I’m awake at 4 in the AM after 3 hours of sleep (amazed I got any), showered, shaven and ready to go for the tour. I quickly munch on some toast, chug some coffee, spend 20 or so minutes OCDing over small details, get my carry on and backpack ready, and I’m off to the airport, all in 20 or so minutes. This is it- 2 years since Knebworth, I’m finally getting another live Maiden fix.

That little carryon is deceptively sturdy.

So after two flights (which included a short layover in Toronto), I arrive in Montreal for the first time in 4 years since I went for the Amaluna premiere. After a quick rest and a couple beers to unwind from the flight, I started get ready to meet up with my mate Nathaniel- formally known by some of you reading this blog as Eddy from the Iron Maiden Memes facebook page, with whom and a few others I co-admin. So with that in mind, Montreal was an obvious choice, as Nathaniel lives there, and for a few years we tossed back and forth the idea of a Montreal meet should Maiden go there. It took me a few months to get a met organized but it hapened (more on that later), and I’ll also mention that this was my first time seeing Maiden in Canada outside of Edmonton, and that Montreal had been on my gig bucket list for quite some time due to its reputation for concert crowds. And so given that I was gonna be spending a few days in Montreal, I’d finally get to actually chill with Nathaniel for a bit, which did excite me as we had chatted quite a bit on FB and he’d always seemed like the guy that would be awesome to grab some beers with.

Biermarkt: giving people a reason to move to Montreal.

And that we did. He shot me a text letting me know he was on his way, so I quickly showered… and I’ll single out the hotel room’s shower for a second, because the room itself was quite small- if there isn’t a TV Trope for “absurdly spacious shower”, someone should create it right now. It was bigger than the bathroom itself, I shit you not. I took a pic, but you see more of me trying to hide behind the door to get it than the actual shower itself, so I won’t show it here.

Anyways I finally got freshened up and dressed, he shot me a message saying he was outside my hotel, so I quickly headed outside, and met up with him, and off we were to the main part of downtown for some beers. I must say finaly meeting with him face to face after co adminning the FB page with him for years was totally surreal- especially keeping in mind that it seemed at one point in time like we weren’t going to get another Maiden tour. But after 3 years, finally meeting face to face and getting some beers together- it was actually happening. So Biermarkt was our chill out place for the night- and while the place is expensive, it’s ultimately worth it. 173 types of beers all on tap- there’s even an entire “cage” where you can see all the beers! So we spent a few hours there chatting, drinking some beers and you know the drill. We ended up cutting it off a tad early (around 10ish) as Nathaniel had to get home and had quite the day ahead of him, but we were still going to meet up regardless. So I headed back to the hotel, had a couple more beers, and went to bed.

Eddy und Skott
Our first actual meeting

Woke up around 10 AM the next day and got the notification that Ed Force One was expected to land in Montreal around 2. So I texted Nat, and while it seemed as though his being able to make it to the airport was in jeporady, he luckily ended up making it (more on that later). So I decided, while I had some time, to explore Montreal- but that hope was short lived, as it was pissing rain the whole day, and I was already quickly running out of pairs of socks to wear. Yeah, it kind of sucked. In fact, the furthest I got down the street was an A&W’s. I ate some lunch, then quickly went back to change my socks, and left for the airport… only to get stuck in traffic. However, I made it to the airport, and Nat did 10 minutes later. There were a number of us waiting for the plane or the band to show up. Problem is… they didn’t, so Nat and I went to go look for the plane. So we went outside to seach for places to see the plane, and the problem was that to get to the field, we had to walk at least 10 or so minutes behind it. Which we obviously didn’t want to do, so Nat had the totally genius idea of trying to see it from the airport hotel. So we went to the eleator to try to get as far up as we could… only for us to get stuck in the elevator. We just stood there, staring at the elevator console for 2 minutes in sheer silence- I wish my phone hadn’t died then, because Nat had the most hilarious baffled look on his face. Here we were, stuck in the fucking elevator. Welp, fuck that. it turned out we needed a cardkey to get to the top. So… shot down. We just gave up and went back after a while- but we were to meet at Mad Hatters’ pub for the first ever Iron Maiden Memes meetup later that night! So he went home and I went back to St. Andre’s to get some paper and scissors for the prize draw, and a Shawarma wrap to eat.

At around 8:30ish, I finally made my way to Crescent Street for the meetup. As I walked, I passed by familiar sights like St. Catherine’s, and finally ended up at Mad Hatter’s, making my way to the tiny upstairs and meeting some people already there. And so setup for the madness had begun. The lovely Morgan showed me the ropes for the DJ booth, and I hooked up my laptop and played a bit of Genesis’ “Supper’s Ready” to make sure everything was good to go. At around 9ish, I loaded my iTunes setlist I made just for the meet, which had about 5 or so hours worth of Maiden tunes. This inclued a perfectly synchronized playback of the entire Book of Souls album, and as it’s a double album, we paused halfway through to give away some vinyl. If it seems as though I’m being vague, It’s because… well, so much happened in that amount of time, so… basically, Maiden tunes played, we got shitfaced, we were there till 3, and after then, we were hungry. So Nate and I headed with some friends to get some Burgers. Nat, Marek, Juan and I and a few others, all hungry for burgers at 3 in the AM. I was on holidays… fuck it, why shouldn’t I? I made it back to the hotel at around 5:30 and got… some sleep. So, here’s some pictures.

I woke up at 10 AM to possibly the worst hangover I had in ages. To liken it to anything, it was like having 12 tons of bricks being thrown at my head. The cool thing about the hotel was that it had breakfast served outside my room- and while the breakfast did somewhat help, the lingering feeling in my head still stayed there. Worse yet… my voice was gone. I have no voice on the night I am to see Maiden. Just perfect.

Breakfast of champions!

So anyways, Nat and his friend Parker (who I quickly became friends with) had been there for a while, but I still had some stuff to get in order- the biggest of which being First to the Barrier. My friend Emil from the Iron Maiden fanclub forum told me he would get me in, so I just had to look for him. Marek offered to get Nat in, but this left Parker without a FTTB getter-inner, so I quickly made my way to Centre Bell and met with the two of them, and let them know the situation. Nat and I then decided to search for the FTTB meet place, and pent at least 15 minutes doing so- we even went inside and nearly ended up backstage doing it. We probably would have had the janitor not come and told us to fuck off. (well, he didn’t- he just told us in French we couldn’t be there.)

Anyways, Emil had somehow figured out that the Meet place was, in fact a pedway to another building. Meaning, we had to go through that other building to get to it. Initially this was kind of frustrating, but it ended up being a stroke of genius with the weather being a tad cold. So I spent most of the day there to get a good spot, and texted back and forth with a Polish buddy who bought my extra ticket (Johan, who you’ll meet in my Edmonton entry, would have ended up doing all of Canada had things gone a bit more in his favour), who showed up at the place. I got some coffee and some Diet Cokes to keep hydrated, but the biggest concern was getting Parker an FTTB spot. Luckily, Tim “TP” Philips swings in at the nick of time, and ended up getting him in. At around 4:45, Kenny, the FTTB guy for this part of the tour, showed up and began setting up for FTTB. So First to the Barrier came and went, and we began entering the arena and getting to our waiting place- but it was not without Nat and Parker having some technical difficulties. it was by sheer stroke of luck that they even got into the arena at all- Nat’s credit card wouldn’t read, and the venue offered to print out actual tickets for them- but we were being let in by the time that happened! So I managed to get in, but only a few minutes later did they get in, and it’s because Parker knew a nearby security guard, so he managed to do some sweet talking. And luckily, there was still room at the barrier for two more:

Los Tres Amigos De Montreal

So, there we were. Dead centre. For the first Maiden gig in Canada in almost 4 years, and my first since Knebworth. In that sweet spot- right in front of Bruce Dickinson. While we waited for The Raven Age to start, Sean Brady was onstage, getting some snaps of fans. I called out to him, “Hey Sean, so who do you think is a time lord in the band?”. Clearly not remembering our conversation from Frankfurt, he asked, “is that a serious question or is it a joke?”. So he kept taking pics for fans, and I asked if he could take ours, to which he responded, “Oh fuck off!” (more on that in the Edmonton entry). Oh Mr. Brady, never change.

So an hour and a half passes by and we’re kept entertained by some Sabbath classics. The lights dim, and The Raven Age begins their set. So, a bit of background here- The Raven Age is the band formed by George Harris, Steve Harris’ son. They’re self-billed “Melodic Metal” (make of that what you will). They kind of resemble a less heavy Trivium, and their EP is available to listen to on Spotify. They also, prior to this gig, released a video for their song “Angel in Disgrace” (below).

Prior to this gig, I had heard their EP a few times and did like what I hear, but didn’t really go out of my way to listen to it often- mostly due to the fact that a number of great albums were out around that time and found myself feeling more of a natural inclination to those- but let’s just say, seeing them live was when I really started to get into them. They’re quite a fantastic live band with tons of stage presence and lots of energy- led by vocalist Michael Burrough, and consisting of George Harris and Dan Wright on guitar, Matt Cox on Bass, and drummer Jai “Noisy Bastard” Patel, their music is a treat for fans of BFMV and Trivium fans- of course, an obvious Maiden influence is detectable, but their more Metalcore-ish sound is what drives it. What really sets them apart from other bands of tht genre though is their ability to get crushingly heavy when needed and throw some surprises into the music- so let me just break down their setlist:

UPRISING: A short intro track. Starts out soft, eventually takes off, slow-tempo. Not much to say.

THE PROMISED LAND: Not on their EP (I assume it’ll be on the album), It starts off with a pretty fast tempo before slowing down to a mid-tempo, almost March-ish beat, before taking off into a faster tempo near the end and boasting lyrics that, from what I could make out, seem to be about a godless nation (“Look for the sky for something to believe”). A great starter and I can’t wait to hear a studio version.

THE DEATH MARCH: This one changes tempo quite often and alternates back and forth between fast, upbeat verses and a slower chorus, and in both instances it manages to stay completely catchy all the way through- in fact, near the end there’s a rather cool “whomping” bass effect. Lyrically, about slavery in a non-specific time period, though I’ll assume during slavery in the US, as the protagonist describes being saved by a man who slave trades children. All in all, a fun track.

EYE AMONG THE BLIND: Fast-paced in the first half and slower in the second, there’s some tasty riffs here and even a soaring chorus courtesy of some excellent vocals from Burrough. Lyrics talk about how we all seem to trust governments and religion too much when horrible shit happens every day. The intense atmosphere of this one though is really what sells it, and even has a bit of an epic feel- this is why it’s my favourite on the EP. Totally recommended.

MERCIFUL ONE: Yet another song not on the EP, and musically similar to The Death March. It’s lyrically about how people are all too often put on a false pedestal. It does switch to half-time quite often, and Matt Cox does some great backup vocals here. Additionally, Mike jumped off the stage to slap some fives with the front row during this one- you can tell the band seems to really enjoy playing this one!

SALEM’S FATE: Spooky time. As you probably guessed from the title, it’s about puritans and witches, the witch hunts that happened in the 1800s and so forth. This one is the real highlight of the set- it begins with a slow, eerie atmospheric intro. Get your lighters or phones ready for this one- combined with the red lights, the intro makes for a great live moment. And from there on, the song slams into a catchy and heavy beast of a tune that will keep your attention from start to finished and even quite a memorable chorus.

ANGEL IN DISGRACE: This is the end of the set, and the “big hit”… well sort of. With lyrics about a fallen angel and probably my favourite chorus of the band’s, this is one hell of a way to finish the set, and it also rounds off their EP rather quite nicely.

So after the killer set, the band got a picture with the crowd, and made way for… the moment.


That’s right, the moment we had all been waiting for… MAIDEN!!!

So some 30 or so minutes of waiting later, and Doctor Doctor’s opening keyboard notes ring out of the speakers… and, SHOWTIME! Lights go down, and a rather cute video of Ed Force One being helped out of a jungle it crashed in shows, mixed in with some tribal music and excellent lighting on the stage. And then… lights point at some hooded figure hovering above a steaming pot… who could it be? A witch? Nope… it’s Bruce!


As he sang “Heeere is the soul of a man…”, 16K crazy Quebecois motherfuckers lost their mind and welcomed the living legend to the stage. A burst of pyro later, Maiden run onto the stage, all guns blazing. And there I was, rocking the fuck out, screaming for Bruce, jumping up and down. This was it. 2 years of waiting, and it’s all lead to this. If Eternity Should Fail finishes, and as the tape outro with Bruce introducing himself as Necropolis to the arena sounded out, the band went offstage for a change of guitars. Then… Speed of Light! Although a fantastic performance, it was sadly marred by some microphone technical difficulties, but nonetheless, Maiden remained on top form. Children of the Damned was next, but not before Bruce introduced himelf to the crowd in French, and even announcing that the album was close to reaching platinum in Canada! Children of the Damned- this was my first time hearing the song live, and first tour where it was performed with an actual acoustic guitar and not a double neck electric. It was one hell of an amaing performance! Next was Tears of a Clown, the Robin Williams tribute, and while it’s a great track on the album, it’s miles better live- the band perform it with an extra dose of mean-ness, which really makes or a great period in the setlist.


Next up was the song that’s been the best part of every gig- The Red and the Black. At 13 minutes long, this song stays catchy and uptempo the whole way through, anchored by a “whoooaaaa” chorus and a 6-minute instrumental section with some excellent solos and transitions, including a tempo change that’s like an earthquake to the senses. And so naturally, it sounds bloody wicked live. You can tell the band always looks forward to it too- it brings out the most energetic in Adrian in particular. Adrian in general has been extemely and uncharacteristically energetic on stage, jumping about and just generally having a fantastic time. This song is really something special. Rarely can a band just keep going and going for 13 minutes and keep your attention the whole time, but Maiden do that with their insistence on momentum over wankery on this one. Next up was The Trooper, and it took care of itself. Then, it was time for another surprise in the setlist… POWERSLAVE! We hadn’t heard this one since 2008, and Bruce wore a different mask than he did then- a Luchador mask. Additionally, the choirs of the 2008 tour were replaced with the backing vocals of the original album version. This song always stuns every time they play it, and this night was no different. It truly was something special. Death or Glory came next, and proved itself to be a live blast, with Bruce handling its ultra-demanding vocal parts perfectly and the ultra-tasty solos resonating just fantastically in the ears. After that, Bruce asked the crowd (in French, as per usual in Quebec) where they were from- hilariously enough, when he asked if anyone was here from Toronto, the crowd began booing!


After a story about an empire that mysteriously vanished, The Book of Souls was next. Beginning with a quiet, acoustic intro and lots of dry ice, the 10 minutes of metal magic kicked in- smoke, pyros, an eddie, and Bruce getting in a fight with Eddie and ripping his heart out!!!! Then he tossed it into the crowd, for someone to catch. I got quite emotional during this one- the song itself has an epic and mystical atmosphere that is truly palpable. Hallowed Be Thy Name was next, back after a four year break. Bruce wearing a hangman’s shirt and a noose around his neck, using it as a whip to crash Nicko’s cymbals, and the usual “Scream for me Montreal”! returning, it felt good to have this one back. Fear of the Dark came around next, and a funny thing happened- Janick noticed the Raven Age drumstick Nat caught, so he gestured to Nat as if to say “hand it up here!”. Once he got his hand on it, Jan began strumming his guitar with it! Nat got the stick back, of course. Iron Maiden took care of itself, of course. This meant it was Encore time, and so starting off the encore was Number of the Beast- given more pyro than usual, an inflatable balloon goat and a fiery performance from Bruce- took care of itself, and was as fun as usual. Then, Bruce gave another rousing speech, and then BLOOD BROTHERS! I had heard this one back in 2010, but it truly became something special on this tour. Here I was at the barrier, surrounded by 16K metalheads, seeing Bruce’s triumphant return to the stage, taking in the beautiful sounds of Maiden… I got a little teary eyed, I’ll admit. Then finishing the show was Wasted Years- an unusual choice for a closer, but it truly fit. It gave the show something of a celebratory vibe, with the background of all the Eddies gathered together, and Bruce leading the crowd together in a “soooooooo, understaaaaand….” chant, it truly had to be heard to be believed.


So after that 2 hours of raw, undisturbed and pure metal emotion, my top priority is to find Nathaniel and Parker as we got separated (though thankfully not too far) over the course of the show. I found Parker, but some guy attempted to walk off with my event shirt- and I wouldn’t have noticed this if not for Parker’s pointing it out. I immediately ran up to the guy who did it and called his bluff- he attempted to play dumb asking “what shirt”, but I told him “I can see you hiding it in your coat”, and he gave up. After that, Parker and I looked for Nat. With the little battery power he had, Parker phoned Nat who told us he was outside by one of the statues, so we met there and set out to get some beer. We had numerous places in mind, but a guy we bumped into on the street told us Iron Maiden was gonna be at a bar called Comedy Works. We took his advice, but we also had the option of going to an Irish pub called McKibbons. And the guy at Comedy Works told us Maiden pulled out at the last minute, but “stick around”. I texted my friend Mario and told him to meet us at Comedy Works, and while I tried to twist their arms a few times, Nat and Parker both insisted we stay as there might be a chance they’d show up. And while the guy at the bar was sadly right, fortunately we did get an unexpected surprise- in the form of George Harris and Matt Cox of the Raven Age showing up with none other than Lauren Harris! So we stayed a tad longer and chatted with them. The guys are total lads and George let us in on a piece of info that proved useful for the rest of the tour- that Bruce was staying behind with the 747 whereas the rest of the band was packing up and heading to Toronto. Even with that in mind, it was a perfect way to wind down the gig.

We weren’t done yet- our last stop was to get some food. I hadn’t eaten since 11 AM that morning and it was nearing 2 AM. Fortunately there was a Five Guys nearby, so Mario, Nat, Parker and I made our way there to get some delicious burgers- as Parker himself puts it, “We’re four guys on a mission to Five Guys”. He wasn’t wrong. So we got some food- it had been a while since I had eaten at a Five Guys. And boy, were those burgers GOOD! It would have been better if they hadn’t run out of bacon, but it ended up being the perfect way to round off the night. After that, I said goodbye to Nat and Parker, as they had to catch the night bus home, and to Mario, as he was headed home. My last stop was Piranha Bar, to get some Trooper Beer, and back to the hotel, to check out, try to stay awake for some time before my early bus to Toronto, and revel in my post-Maiden Bliss. As far as the newfound Maiden Brotherhood goes, I know this won’t be our last- far from it- in fact, more on that later in this blog…

In Chapter Two, which sees us in Toronto, you’ll see me get hit with an unexpected snow surprise, unexpected running out of socks surprise, unexpected rare Filipino alcohol surprise, unexpected ticket system failure surprise, and an unexpected stuck in a blizzard waiting for a taxi until 3:45 AM surprise.


-Canada Event shirt:

-I did not expect the Mad Hatter’s meetup to be as successful as it was. Neither did Nat- in fact, in this video, Nat is clearly surprised. Who can blame him? This was my first real big meetup and we couldn’t believe it was this fantastic.

-This goes out to any Iron Maiden Memes fans who want more of our meetups: More are coming. Details will follow at opportune times.

-I’m just gonna share this photo of Marek eating poutine for no reason:

-My first time meeting Juan, the legendary Mexican! He is a legend! And I hope he shows up at more meetups to come… JUAN MOORE!

-It was during this time where the artwork for the Empire of the Clouds single got unveiled. My mind was blown.

-11 bucks for Trooper? Bite me.

-The picture that has become a running gag between Nat and I:

-And last but not least, Montreal relocation is in my near future. Let’s hope sooner rather than later.

FILM REVIEW: Godzilla (2014)


124 minutes. Directed by Gareth Edwards. Starring Aaron Taylor Johnson, Elizabeth Olson, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins and Bryan Cranston. Canada: Rated PG for Violence and Frightening Scenes.


Well. It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a big review like this, and I don’t think any film is more deserving than Godzilla. There’s a number of reasons the hype around it has been monumental as of late; it’s the first American Godzilla movie since 1998’s failed attempt at giving Hollywood its own Godzilla; it’s the first Godzilla movie in ten years altogether since the rather disappointing 2004 film “Final Wars; and it’s being released on the 60th anniversary of Godzilla. And I must add, it’s the first truly impressive film of the summer; it starts the summer movie season off in fine style, and hopefully it’s the beginning of many more Godzilla movies to come. Wishful thinking? Maybe, but this Godzilla will for sure have lots of longevity, if I do say so myself.

The film is the closest to perfection any Godzilla movie has been since 1954. That’s a bold statement, but it’s the first film since the 1954 movie that’s been ever-so-close to total perfection. It’s everything you want in a Godzilla movie, and everything you don’t know you want, too. There is but a small gripe I have with the film that prevents it from being perfect, but I’ll explain that later. I’ve seen the movie twice as of writing, and I can tell you it’s stayed with me since.


The film is already impressive off the bat with the opening titles. The opening titles are similar to the 1998 movie, with the titles being shown over footage of nuclear tests, but they’re done way better here. Whereas in 1998 we are treated to generic font over what looks like footage that was shot through a jar of urine, here we’re shown old newsreel footage, and every credit is shown in paragraphs, designed to look like they’re ripped straight from scientific reports. The non-credit parts are suddenly whited-out to show the “DIRECTED BY GARETH EDWARDS” type stuff. In addition, Alexandre Desplat’s score is just magnificent. It’s not the typical Hans Zimmer “BWOOOOONG” that seems dominant in tons of music scores today. In fact, the score is very nostalgic throughout, with some influence taken from classic blockbusters and even Bernard Herrman’s Hitchcock scores, with even a dash of Cliff Martinez.

The bulk of the film follows Ford Brody, played by Aaron Taylor Johnson. Much of the first half deals with his complicated relationship with his father Joe (Bryan Cranston)- in fact, near the beginning of the film, we see the tragedy that has estranged them both- they lived in Japan in 1999, when Ford was (I think- they never quite make it clear how old he is) 12 years old. At the Janjira power plant in Janjira, something of a large earthquake happens which causes a radiation burst, causing Joe to lose his wife (Juliette Binoche) in the disaster. Fifteen years later, Ford is an EOD in the American military, has a wife named Elle (Elizabeth Olson) and an adorable little boy named Sam. On the very night he arrives home from service, he gets a call from officials, telling him that Joe was arrested for trespassing in a quarantine area. So he heads to Japan to sort things out with his dad, who reveals that he was in the area where their house was, to get floppy discs containing data about the disaster. So they go to the house the next day only to find that there’s no radiation left, and they get the discs, only to be arrested- AGAIN, and taken to the Janjira plant.


This is where we are introduced to the central conflict: the MUTO (massive unidentified terrestrial organism). There’s a large, nest-like object at the plant, and after some interrogation, the officials at the plant- in particular, a pair of researchers named Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and Vivenne Graham (Sally Hawkins), who suddenly notice what he’s talking about and realize he is indeed correct. The nest looks about ready to hatch, and officials order the workers to kill it- but they fail, and we get our first glimpse of the MUTO. These things look like a cross between tarantulas and bats- they’re huge, and absolutely TERRIFYING. After an attack at the plant, the military is ordered to follow the MUTO wherever it goes.

Now I know what you’re thinking at this point. “What about Godzilla, that IS what the movie is called. Right?” Well, here it’s where they reveal Godzilla. In the military carrier named the USS Saratoga, Ford is brought into a room where they show him footage of supposed nuclear tests on 1954 that weren’t, in fact, tests. They were attempts to kill the creature they call, “Gojira”. It is revealed that Gojira is on the move too, but they don’t know where. And at this point, it’s an hour into the film, and we get our first glimpse of the beast here. In Hawaii, the MUTO from earlier in the movie and a wing-less MUTO attack. One has knocked a submarine into the rainforest and another is attacking the airport. At the airport is where we see the titular creature. After a tsunami, he appears, and stomps over to the airport in what might be one of the coolest reveals I’ve ever seen. A full pan up his body to his face revealing a horrifying sinister grin, before he lets out his infamous “SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRROOOOOOOOOOONNNNNKKKKK!!!” roar that has made him such a household name.


I’ll stop with the spoiling right there because the rest is too good. It’s true that Godzilla’s screentime is mostly limited to the final act, but the thing is, that is hardly a problem because the rest of the film surrounding his appearance is so fucking good. There’s tons of suspense and intrigue. One thing the film really does good is show how substantial the damage is- not by showing the attacks outright but showing the aftermath- the presence of the MUTO attacks is felt through those shots, which only makes the actual attack that much more horrifying. The film does a good job at making us care for the characters too, and you also really hope that Ford will make it home on time too.

The cinematography in the film is just magnificent. I fully recommend the IMAX experience- in fact, for the cinematography alone the price is worth it. The aerial shots of Japan, San Francisco, Hawaii, etc. in particular are just awesome. Gareth Edwards’ direction is magnificent and he has an eye for detail. Whereas most monster/disaster movies show the attacks and what not outright, he chooses to limit your perspective of the attacks and what not to small doses. This is incredibly effective so then you won’t feel tired of the film by the time the final battle swings around. One problem I have with the Transformers movies is that by the time the final battle swings around, I’ve sat through so much destruction and chaos that I’m ready for it to end, my arse becomes numb and there really is no reason for it to be as long as it is. That isn’t the case with Godzilla. It’s just a few minutes over two hours, and it goes by very quickly. Transformers feels like it’s ten hours long, but Godzilla makes such good use of its runtime that it goes by quickly, and if anything, you wouldn’t mind if it went on for longer because your attention is held firmly.


And yes, I am indeed praising the rather limited Godzilla screentime. By the time Godzilla shows up for the final battle, you’ve gone for so long without him that you don’t even care he’s been out of the movie for so long, and that is because the scenes with the MUTOs are satisfying, the drama is satisfying, and the characters work. The final battle is spectacular. The battle starts when Big G and the MUTO arrive in San Francisco, and it does indeed cut away quite a bit, but not like it bothers me at all. We see a whole battle in full when the HALO Jump bit as seen in the trailers begins. The battle itself is just wicked, if you’re like me and you took great joy in watching a guy in a ridiculous rubber suit battling another guy in a rubber suit, the battle feels almost like an updated version of that. Garett’s attention to detail also shows here- when we finally see his atomic breath, his spines light up one by one, only making it more exciting. Godzilla is just brutal on the MUTO, but the MUTO also are pretty brutal, given the size. And yes, Godzilla is indeed seen as an anti-hero in the film. He has no quarrel with the humans and only intends on killing the MUTO and nobody else. He still leaves people dead in his wake, but it’s clear he doesn’t intend to and is happy to be away from civilization.

Oh, and the final minute of the movie is amazing too. I won’t give it away, but it’s chilling. Synced with Desplat’s score, it’s just beautiful.


Overall, I give the film a 9/10. Not since The Avengers has the summer season started off so satisfyingly. If I had one gripe, it’s a small one at that, it’s that there is a bit too much MUTO screentime, but that doesn’t take away too much. I strongly advise you to see this film with the biggest screen possible- IMAX especially. I saw it in AVX and while it was satisfying there, IMAX was even better. I for sure look forward to seeing it a third time, and eventually owning the movie when it comes out on blu-ray- in fact, I can’t wait already to hear Big G’s roar shake my BOSE sound system!!!

***highly recommended!!!***


Most of you probably know by now that I am heading to England in July to catch the last gig of the tour in Stevenage, at Knebworth house. I’ll write a follow-up to this as well about Knebworth, which is why I’ve called this Maiden England- Literally! Part 1.

Alright, enough of the babbling bullshit.

After a quick power nap, I woke up at 3 in the AM in my Frankfurt hostel, and was sweaty mess. I had no time to shower, really, as I had to get to the airport. Usually I try to get to the airport 3 hours in advance so I guaranteed won’t miss my flight. But getting to the hauptbanhof at 3:15 and finding out my train doesn’t come until 4, I knew I was fucked unless I took a taxi, so I did, and to my surprise, the driver drove awful fast. So bloody fast, my heart was in my throat. To be fair there weren’t very many vehicles out on the road, but it was dark with just a glimpse of daylight in the very off distance. Nonetheless I made it to the Frankfurt airport, and after a long delay waiting for the folks at the airport to set up British Airways, I got checked in and logged onto facebook to see what was going on.

The plane was so small, I was under the impression I was on a business trip. Tons of men dressed sharply in white shirts, black ties, and even suits. The plane trip was thankfully only 90 minutes, and I arrived London city airport in good time. But after a rather unpleasant encounter with the nosy customs lady (I’m just going to leave it at that), I got through and was welcomed to London. And after having to deal with THAT, I needed a fucking coffee. Thankfully there was a Costa Coffee nearby, so I ordered a big cappuccino (so big you could eat cereal out of the cup), and some brownies for breakfast.

After a train ride to Kings Cross, there was one thing, and one thing on my mind only- Doctor Who stamps. Royal Mail issued a series of stamps as a celebratory 50th anniversary deal, and so I went to a Royal Mail location that was just near the train station (which itself wasn’t too far from The Shard- those of you who watch Doctor Who will hopefully know what I’m talking about) and purchased two sets- one for me and one for Dan back home. Then I made my way to the train station and promptly got on a train to Nottingham- which is where I was staying. The train was big, comfy even, and there even were some refreshments on the train!

Having gotten to Nottingham was when I got my first taste of how truly schizophrenic the weather in England could be. It was pissing, and I had quite a distance to travel to get to my hostel. I took a taxi and thankfully the ride was short- about 4 minutes if I’d say so myself. The hostel wast he first time I had truly gotten a “home away from home” feeling. The Igloo in Nottingham is more of a big house and was owned by a guy who himself is from Edmonton! We were both surprised and that right there meant we got along easily. I needed time to relax after what I had been through, so I went to the main room after dumping everything upstairs, and used my iPad, contacted family members back home.


Your humble narrator





And off to walk the streets of Nottingham city it was. I’m sure most of you reading this journal entry are aware of the reputation this city has of being the “scary city where people get shot and stabbed”. I don’t doubt this happens often, but truth is, it happens here where I live. I practically refuse to go downtown late at night because of it (unless there’s a party going on with one of my friends). Hell, try living on the north side of Edmonton. That being said, lucky for me, I didn’t get shot/stabbed. I actually found it to be such a relaxing change of pace from the busy and rushed pace that London gives off, and I found the sleepy atmosphere refreshing. The only downside was that I was hoping to head to a pub for dinner, but that was short-lived- they stop offering food after 6. So I went to a nice restaurant called Turtle Bay at the corner house for dinner- and ended up having Red Stripe Beer on tap. First time since Jamaica in 2010! It was a Jamaican restaurant, and I also had studded lamb, which, while nice, made me feel like my tongue was on fire. But it was worth every second of it!




After that, I visited an Irish pub for some pints, and had a lovely chat with an Irishman who owned the place, and the Irish guy next to me. Guinnesses and Strongbows all around, and some open mic was taking place too, which was nice. After that, I went back to the hostel, and hung out with some of the folks there, a bunch of people who were there were going to be at Donington for the show too- people from Italy, Sweden, the list goes on and on. Not wanting to versleep, I hit the hay and showered pretty early.

All ready to go at 2 PM the next day, I decided to use the majority of night 1 to familiarize myself with Donington. As per usual weather was schizophrenic. It was sunny in Nottingham then cloudy another minute, then halfway to Derby, it was pissing. Just outside Donington it was nice and sunny, inside Donington it was freezing, cloudy and rainy. Since I was staying in Nottingham, I took the Skylink bus from Friar Lane- which was only £8 for a return ticket, a steal if you ask me. So I knew to ready £8 for myself every day for transport. The journey was a good 40 minutes, and the stop was located conveniently not too far from the entrance, which was always a good thing.

Otherwise known as the field of dreams.


Immediately, I regretted not bringing boots. My white sneakers suffered the wrath of the awful English countryside weather, which does get often muddy. While I will say that mud-wise it was bone dry compared to pictures I had seen from the year before, it was still pretty muddy. Then I thought to myself, “maybe I shouldn’t fret… you’re a Maiden fan, and chances are that Donington mud, in addition to a Steve Harris wristband, will be the best souvenir you’ll take back to Canada this year.” Even Hayley had mentioned this later when we were chatting in Amsterdam, and she’s right!

I also made the smart move of buying an event shirt on that day. I knew that if I were to wait until Maiden day, they’d be all sold out. They looked like this:


So there’s not a lot to say about day one. It was more of a “familiarize yourself with Donington” day, because I was mostly there for Maiden. But using the weekend pass, I figured I’d see as many bands as I could. As I arrived, Papa roach was in the middle of their set. First off, the site is HUGE. Essentially, it’s on a slope, with the second stage off to the far left halfway up the hill, with the main stage all the way at the bottom. Mini stages are to be found in the far left and right, and in tents situated around the park. The first band I really saw there was Korn. I know that is bound to get me some flak, but I will admit when I was a little kid, Korn was the real deal. Kids wanted their CDs, despite the lyrics being inappropriate for children, which extends far beyond the swearing- songs that deal with themes such as childhood sexual abuse and what not, but when we heard the hits, our full a Trenton was theirs. And reading up a bit of their history reveals their original guitarist had left some time ago and last year had rejoined the band, and was also there at Download. So their hour long set surprised me, to say the least. It was a satisfying nostalgia trip where classics such as Freak on a Leash and Shoots And Ladders were on the setlist. Thankfully only two songs from that “Path of Totality” shirt pile were on there, and they were the good songs (“Narcissistic Cannibal” and “Get Up!”). Freak closed the setlist, and vibes were good all around.

After Korn, I went to go get a steak sandwich,and had to suffer through ten. Infuse of Dragonfarce’s set to do so. Now, I knew they were shit live, as that infamous Graspop 2006 video reveals, but they were much worse in the flesh. I could not even make out what was going on, it sounded like some sort of semi-musical noise with an audience cheering. But afterward, there was Bullet For My Valentine on the main stage, and they surprised me too. I only know two songs of theirs- “Your Betrayal”, which is one of the P.A. songs on Maiden’s current tour, and Tears Don’t Fall”, which your grandmother probably has heard by now. And I did enjoy their set, actually. Tons of pyro was on their stage, including on the side and what not.







Last of the night was the first headliner, Slipknot. I listened to them all the time in middle school, and though I don’t listen to them much anymore, I figured why not see their set. I heard that their live show is nothing short of stellar, and maybe indulge in a bit of being a teenager again. And so after “Get Behind Me Satan and Push” rang through the speakers, the band were on stage with a blast of pyro, and delivered a fun as hell set. There were two problems, however- three times throughout the concert, the fans got so rough that they caused the barrier to break. Fortunately, Corey Taylor gives a shit about his fans, stopped the band in their tracks and told everybody to take a step back and let the folks fix the barrier. Another problem I had was that I was rather disappointed that their setlist consisted mostly of a lot of their inferior new material- but when the classics came, I jumped up and down and screamed my lungs out- “Eyeless”, “Heretic Anthem”, “People = Shit”, “Wait and Bleed”, “Spit it Out”, “(sic)”, and “Before I Forget” were the real thrillers of the night, and in a sheer coincidence that was nothing short of spectacular, it begin raining when “Psychosocial” played- which is hilarious due to the line “and the rain will kill us all/if we throw ourselves against the wall”. Perfectly timed, much? In a touching move, the band had a backdrop with a giant “2” on it, paying tribute to Paul “#2” Gray, who died of a drug overdose in 2010.

Getting out of the venue could have, and maybe should have, been a problem- 90, 000 people trying to get out, which did lead me to leave during the last song “People = Shit”, and I found a bus stop outside the venue, and was back in Nottingham in an hour. And boy, it felt good to be inside and warm from all the cold. After staying up for 30 minutes to send an email or two and update Facebook, I was in my PJs and in bed.





I had no plans the next day but Maiden.

This was it.

The big day. The creme de la creme of the tour.


All those thoughts floated through my head as I tried to sleep the previous night. But I couldn’t sleep, because excitement was all over inside. I was seeing Maiden at Donington.

I left for Donny the next day at roughly the same time, and arrived to hear Alice and Chains finish their set. The weather was a tad better that day, but would take a turn for the rainy later. I was smart this time and wore a leather jacket with a hoodie. As we were on the bus, a lady walked on before we departed from the Nottingham coach station (where the bus typically went before making its way to Derby) that the East Midlands Airport Parking Lot was filled with busses, and after the show, to go right there.

Anyways, back to Donny. Since I had familiarized myself with the park, I was bit more “free” that day. I got this picture:


The sign was not too far from the mainstage, a bit more uphill. After that picture, I went for some dinner, got myself a big pork bun, and watched what may be the last Motörhead gig for a while. As you may or may not all know, Lemmy has a number if health issues that has caused them to have had to postpone their current tour. Nonetheless, it was hard to tell. He was in great spirits all night, and sounded and played great.



Right after, it was Queens of the Stone Age time, and I’ll admit I didn’t listen to their music much, and after seeing their particularly droney and boring live set, I’m glad I don’t. What a bore. They played for an hour, but it felt like three hours. Perhaps if they were placed before Rammstein or perhaps earlier in the day. I’d have not been so harsh on them, but they seemed to do a good job at putting the audience to sleep. I saw the audience get excited to maybe one song of their whole live set, and that was about it. Ugh, I’m mad just thinking about it. Part of it was the less than desirable sound at Donington, but you’d think that for a band of their reputation they’d put some effort into it. I saw multiple people leave the crowd in droves, and that’s never a good sign. In fact, the minute they left the stage, a number of people seemed to be happy it was over. In fact, I spent the better part of their set waiting in line to go to the bathroom and standing in front of a man who had drank too much beer, wine and gin.


The aforementioned drunk

Then this was it. After they finished their set, I RAN as fast as I could to get the best spot I could for Maiden. I landed a spot on the second row back from the second barrier. I would have went past the second barrier to be a bit closer to the main barrier, but given how muddy it was, and how good of a view I had, I figured it wasn’t worth giving up a good spot. Setup was an hour long, and to take the edge off waiting, security came through with styrofoam cups and offered us water. I had taken a big and long enough piss to not have to miss any of Maiden’s set, and had a good time talking to a man in front of me who went to both O2 shows in 2011.

The wait begins…


After quite a wait, there was five minutes to show time, and the park was quickly filling up. Before “Doctor Doctor” came, there was a big surprise. Bigger than any of us would have imagined. As we all looked forward, a guard on the stage silently pointed to the sky above us. We collectively looked behind us, we saw a speck of black in the sky, moving forward, getting bigger, the hum of an engine getting louder. As the speck came forth to light, it revealed itself to be an airplane. But not just any airplane. True, airplanes had flown over our heads all day due to the location of being near the East Midlands Airport, but this was an RAF spitfire. It lowered itself to being a reasonable height above the audience, flew over the stage, flew a few KM more, then turned around, flew over us in the other direction. The first few bars of “Doctor Doctor” sounded, and before we thought it was over, the plane came back for one more maneuver


You should have heard us all. We all screamed with tons of delight, joy. What have you- the sound of 90, 000 people screaming in excitement was beautiful. As “Doctor Doctor” rolled though the speakers, collective singing and suspense was in the air.

Then it hit me.


The lights went off, then blue. “Rising Mercury” blared over the heads of the metalheads at Donington Park, its pounding drums inciting claps as loud as an army march. As the piece of music neared its close, “Moonchild” sounded out of the speakers, and the anticipation level nearly made my head explode. With a burst of pyro, the band ran on, and I immediately began screaming so loud, I couldn’t process what was going on. This was it. 25 years in the making, the band was on stage, celebrating the 25th anniversary of their historic first appearance at Donington. The crowd lost their heads, there was singing and jumping abounds. “Can I Play With Madness”, “The Prisoner” and “2 Minutes to Midnight” had the crowd singing their hearts out and rocking our abounds.

Before “Afraid to Shoot Strangers”, Bruce then explained, “We were here 21 years ago, and back then, there were many things you couldn’t do. And one of them was organize a Battle of Britain tribute, have a spitfire fly over the crowd”, or something to that effect. The band were aware of the historical value of the night, and was in all-out celebration mode. The band continued through their set with tons of gusto, including a rousing rendition of “The Trooper” that sealed the deal on the history that was being made that night, and at one point in “Number of the Beast”, which always works its magic on the crowd, Bruce teased, “I’m coming back! We might return.”











During “The Phantom of the Opera”, which is always sheer magic live, and tonight was no exception, Bruce performed his usual pyro trick, and asked us what was dinner, including “Overdone Sunday roast”, and even joked that mum’s got a very burnt bun in the oven. The crowd jumped up and down and sang along in delight, and even during the instrumental section, I got emotional several times, singing along to the guitar riffs. “Run to the Hills” took care of itself, and hearing the 90, 000 people clap along to the thunderous “Wasted Years”, the lyrics rang true to this weary Canadian traveler- you’re far away from home, you’re here seeing Maiden at Donington, make every minute of it last, you’re living in the golden years. Which inspired some very heartfelt singing along to this thunderous anthem.

Hearing “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” only added to the surrealness of the night. The progressive metal classic was performed with the usual Maiden bombast, with the synth-drenched middle section casting a dream-like feel over the night. “fear of the Dark” and 90k English folks singing, Seventh Son Eddie holding his womb up to the huge crowd during “Iron Maiden”, the night was almost over, and hearing the crowd cheer and scream for Maiden was nothing short of chilling.

It was encore time, and as a means of bookending the theme, “Aces High” kicked off a rousing encore, with “The Evil That Men Do” making the crowd sing their hearts out, and at the grand finale, “Running Free” rounded off the night with two revelations: Bruce announced a show at the O2 in London to come a month and a half later, and to celebrate the history of the night, Bruce brought out a bottle of Trooper and toasted the crowd, tears clearly in his eyes. As the band vacated the stage, the big gig was over. As I made my way out of the park, and sang along to “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”, there was bliss all over. I just saw Maiden perform at Donington. This was the real deal. I couldn’t believe it. As I made my way to the bus, I was on such a high that I didn’t think anything in love, as a Maiden fan, would make my year greater.

After an hour long bus ride, I went on facebook spread the good news to all the folk, and was asleep in my usual post-Maiden bliss, sweet dreams to come.















On the last day in England, I decided to go for a lovely Sunday roast, and before I was about to leave, the pub, called The British Rose, had just gotten tons of Trooper Beer in- on tap. I knew I wasn’t leaving without drinking some Trooper on tap, so I had a couple pints, and left on a full stomach. A bus ride to Donny later, I arrived to the sound of metalcore act Parkway Drive thrilling them all. And then I got to witness Corey Taylor play a second set at Download, this time in the form of Stone-Sour. I was only familiar with a few songs, but I managed to enjoy their set, and my respect for Corey had only gone up that day. He was a. Fan of metal, and wore it loud and proud. He paid tribute to Black Sabbath, and sang his praises to the English crowd, joy clearly in his eyes.






While waiting for Rammstein, I went and got some dinner, and then noticed a most unusual sight near the second stage:


I went in and confessed to something, but nobody could hear due to Airbourne. Nonetheless, it was fun to do. This confessional booth was a gimmick they took on tour with them last year, and broadcast the confessions live to to the whole world. After a chat with some nearby folks, I walked the park a bit and stretched my legs, and then decided to go get a good spot near the stage for Rammstein. This came with a price: suffering through 30 Seconds to Mars. And honestly, I felt bad for these guys. Poor organization led to them being right before Rammstein, and in the wake of a very poorly received fourth disc, they went out like a fart in the wind. I especially felt bad, because they even had gimmicks such as big multicoloured balls thrown into the audience and animal inflatables, but I was not a fan of their live sound at all. Jared Leto seemed cocky and stopped the set twice to get people to cheer for them. Near the end of the thing, a group of people sat down, began booing them for wasting their time and began shouting RAMMSTEIN over and over, and honestly, I can’t blame them. I will always love Leto as an actor but his music will leave much to be desired for years to come. This is, of course, despite the fact that I love their first album. Space-rock with some industrial here and there.





Now, I was excited for Rammstein, because I had gotten into them a year before, and saw live videos. Words cannot describe how good their live sets are, but one thing nearly ruined the buzz- a big bottle fight. That’s right. Bottles of piss and hay flying through the air, and Rammstein’s road crew even seemed unimpressed. Luckily it died down sometime before Rammstein’s set.

And then it began. Everything onstage went silent, everything in the crowd began exploding. And speaking of explosions, as the first few powerchords of “Ich Tu Dir Weh” began sounding, sparks flew into the air. A drumroll later, the curtain dropped, and the German industrial metalheads were on stage, working their magic on the crowd. Till entered standing on a sparking RAMM-cross, before he got the crowd singing in German. The band blasted through an entire back catalogue worth of classics- “Feuer Frei” displayed the band wearing fire masks, “Mein Teil” had Till torching a big pot that situated the keyboard player, Flake. “Buck Dich” involved an act with a fake dildo and firehose style ejaculation, in addition to a simulated sex act. “Du Hast” and “Du Reischt so Gut” and “Benzin” were also in the set, and the encore consisted of “Mein Herz Brennt” being performed on the piano, which gave everyone in the audience chills. “Sonne”, the penultimate song, got the crowd singing, with a burning Rammstein logo for good measure, and ending the concert was “Pussy”, where Till manned a big penis-shaped can in which sprayed foam into the audience, and as the band finished their set and Till, in a gentle voice, declared that we were fucking amazing, the band took a bow, vacated the stage, and let the lights rise as a piano version of “Ohne Dich” rang out of the speakers. And I think it’s safe to say, this was AWESOME. Words don’t do it justice, and that says something.
















And as we all walked, in a trance for the magic that the crazy German metalheads had put us in, all we could do was revel in the magic. It was a set that left people taking, even on the bus back to Nottingham. Another year was over at Download, and this marked the end of a successful weekend in England, which will never be forgotten.

In my next journal entry, which I promise will be shorter, I’ll be discussing a tale of two German cities. With two Maiden gigs. In addition to tales of German drunkenness, the Berlin Wall, metal bars, barbecues before shows, and what happens when a Scot, a Canadian, an Aussie and two Brits enter a train.

I’ll drink to that!

SCOTT’S MAIDEN VOYAGE 2013: Frankfurt 2013 (a.k.a. “Schiesse: the world’s most important word”)

Well, I had quite the adventure to Frankfurt. I was up at 4 in the AM, left the hostel and walked halfway to the train station- but as time was wasting, I caught a taxi, bought a train ticket and was on the train to the airport to in seconds flat. I had to run to catch the train, and despite having not had coffee, I ran with enough gusto and before ya know it, I was on the train. Checked in for my flight and grabbed some orange juice once I was past security; I was then on my AirBerlin flight to Berlin shortly. I had booked with AirBerlin and was connecting in Berlin to Frankie- a 40 minute plane ride.

Getting on my connecting flight, I saw a few who were wearing Maiden shirts, knowing that I was in the company of some metalheads. When we landed, I ran into a Norwegian girl from the fan club who I met in Paris earlier, and we’d bump into each other quite a few times more later. We went and looked for the shuttle bus into downtown, but then realized that we could get a train into downtown for much cheaper. So we went down to the trains, and while the trains weren’t as impossible to figure out as Italy, we still had some trouble with the machines. But, we managed to get tickets and rode on the train, and had a nice chat about the upcoming gigs, Rammstein and a few other topics.

When we arrived downtown, we went our separate ways, and I went to the information center to find directions to the United Hostel. First off, this is one gorgeous city. There were a few fountains everywhere, some traditional German style buildings, and even a few skyscrapers. It turned out that my hostel was literally a few minutes walk away- if I had to guess, an easy 11 minutes. So take a wild guess as to whether or not I hailed a cab! I took in the sights and had a lovely stroll through Frankfurt- after all, this was my chance to stretch my legs!






When I arrived, I had a bit of trouble as a result of my own clumsiness. When I booked back in April, I had accidentally booked for the weekend after- which was when I was to be in Graz. The guy informed me there were no rooms left, and is was almost in a glut of despair… Until at the last second, he found a room with one bed left. So I went to their computers, canceled the reservation, was refunded and then used said refunded money to book the room they had for me.

View from the room… and for some reason, it felt like the late 90s again!

The hostel was pretty fancy, even for a hostel. It looked like a glorified hotel; the beds were very comfy and there were tap-key cards. We even had our own shower, and best of all- I was sharing a room with Matt, my Virginian buddy I met in Paris! Which was great, we had some nice chats. If there was a downside to the hostel, it was that you had to pay a €20 deposit for power in your room- which ended up being this useless book light. If you returned the light, you’d get your €20 back, so I guess it wasn’t all hopeless. Luckily I didn’t need it yet, so after dropping my things off in my room and having a quick shower, I went downstairs to the computers and asked on Facebook where everything was taking place tonight- to which Ian responded O’Reilleys. And I must say I lucked out with this hostel big time- for one, it was not too far from the venue, or the pub. In fact, it was literally a 5 minute walk from the pub, and a 10 minute walk from the venue- talk about conveniently placed. So I made my commute to O’Reilleys, and immediately spotted Banffie, joining him for a drink… which quickly became ten, with a steak sandwich thrown in there to boot.

The Hauptbanhof


Banffie in all his glory.

This beautiful Norwegian right here.

Bond girls

Going back to my roots, if I do say so myself!

With Tim and Brian

The soon-to-be-Usual suspects

Hell, the night itself deserves its own journal entry, but I’m not one to pad out for no reason, so I’ll try to blow through it as quickly as possible. Ran into Tim and Brian again, who were on their way out for the evening, got a picture with them. We were then joined by Karl, a Norwegian who was there for quite a while- after all some of the Killer Krew were there too. We had a nice chat and apparently he won some things in a contest- including 007 cologne and a German coffee table book that had Bond girls in it, which lead to some nice discussion about the spy himself. Next to join were two Swedes and a Canuck, Johan and Niclas, and Hayley. They’d become regulars I’d bump into as well, and they had just gotten to the pub from a football match Steve played- where they met Steve Harris! I was pretty drunk and referred to Niclas’ grin as a “hipster smile”, which did not go over well at all with him (but it later became something they’d use against me, and something of an inside joke between Johan and I [at least]). Alright, not quite drunk. A bit tipsy. But more fans, like Craig from Scotland, and some Argentines, including Pablo and Rochi joined, and that was when we were informed Janick Gers was in our presence. Of course I didn’t bother him… yet. As you guys probably know about me, I am white the dedicated Maiden fanboy. I went to the bathroom and was then surrounded by Justin Garrick, Jan’s guitar tech, and set carpenter Spider- Spider was CLEARLY drunk. But they were awesome and funny guys nonetheless!

I then got back to the table… only to find out Steve Harris was there too, and after about 5 minutes, my inner fanboy finally decided I had enough of waiting and approached Steve for a picture. Of course, I was smart and didn’t rush up to him like a paparazzo, in fact I asked him nicely, shook his hand, had a few words with him and got a nice picture. Karl asked me to get one of him and Steve too, but sadly his camera decided to not work and no pictures were taken… not gonna lie I felt bad for the guy. But, at least he got to be in Steve’s presence yet again! After being in line to get a beer, one of the two video guys bumped into me and accused me of farting- or at least asked, “THAT WASNT YOU, WAS IT?” I then responded “oh, god no!” Having a killer enough periphery to notice Janick was right across the table from me, I diverted the fart joke to Janick, asking him if he did it, to which he responded with a hilarious “I didn’t do it!” face and said “Oh, no, I would NEVER!”. After paying for my beer in a hurry, I made my way over to Jan and had a nice chat with the guy. He is super nice, and you can tell he loves the attention. I got a picture with him too, and being able to meet two of my idols in one night made me speechless- so much in fact, after meeting Steve, I could not even speak at all.

It just so happened that Sean Brady, Adrian Smith’s guitar tech was in the area, and noticed my Tom Baker shirt. He immediately commented on it, and we got into a long discussion about Doctor Who! I was chuffed at the thought of this, as Maiden and DW are the two things I love the most (Rush being in third place for that). This even led to some crazy conspiracy theories flying around our end of the table as to which member was a Time Lord. I did mention that I thought it would most likely be Steve, but he seemed to think Janick was a more realistic choice. We’ll never know, I guess, but I can swear for the longest time that there is a Time Lord conspiracy that Maiden aren’t telling us about! After another beer and some nice chats, I was back off to the hostel to send an email, let the whole world know that I met two of my idols, and journeyed back to the hostel for a good night sleep, still buzzing with bliss as to what happened earlier.



The big day dawned on me. I woke up on my top bunk at about 9 AM- earlier than usual, because it was going to be quite a day for me. I went for some breakfast- only to catch up with Craig again, had a nice chat with the guy over some coffee and breakfast. The next thing I did was immediately take to the streets to find a new voltage converter, both because my iPad need charging (and to a lesser extent, so did my camera battery). Amazingly, I found one for €10 not far from the hostel- a steal! I then went back and checked Facebook and answered to some emails, then went immediately to scout out where the Festhalle was. It was a ten minute walk, and not very hard to find- in fact, it was all a matter of “follow the signs”. After familiarizing myself with all the entrances, I went back to the hostel, grabbed my ticket, and went for some beef stew and beer at O’Reilleys. As I made my way back, I noticed that there was a protest of sorts going on- if I had to guess, it was a protest regarding fair labour practice. My German is quite limited, so that’s at least what I made of the writing on the folks’ flags.





After finding where First to the Barrier was to take place- conveniently in front of the venue and near an entrance close to the hall, I met up with Schubi- Martin Schubert as his real name was- and get in line. Schubi’s a great guy, and his parents were nice too, though their English was quite limited. To be fair, Schubi’s English is quite limited too, but it was good enough for him and I to communicate. Now this FTTB experience was almost as annoying as Paris- but mostly because people seemed to go out of their way to piss Alex (the FTTB guy) off. I was getting Matt in again (after all, I owed him for Paris), and so he especially seemed to not be happy with what was going on- in fact, everything seemed to be happening that would make baby Jesus cry. The biggest problem was that nobody was getting in line- and I forgot my fucking number! I had to borrow Schubi’s phone to check my PM and see what my number was- but as soon as I told Alex, he have me the wristband and moved on. Also, people had tickets for the seats and parking passes- not even tickets- who won, and that flew in the face of what could have been an orderly handling of FTTB. I did not even wanna talk to Alex after it was done because he seemed so pissed and I was worried that I’d piss him off even further. To be fair, Alex had every right to be as frustrated as he was.

Let me highlight something from the FTTB confirmation PM you get:
“You must have standing tickets for you and your guest. No tickets – no entry.”

Hearing Alex describe it the next day was pretty hilarious I’ll admit,but I’ll get to that later in this journal.

It is at this point where I’ll mention Schubi bought me a beer! And not just any beer…

This handsome fellow right here!

Now, a quick word about the Festhalle. Upon getting let in, I was stunned at the sheer beauty of it. Not many music halls can have the fortune of calling themselves over a century old. But it was gorgeous- gothic domes about, lights, giant windows, dimmed lighting, and what not. I felt like I was about to see the London philharmonic orchestra! In addition, there was a specific spot where Adolf Hitler gave his speeches, and seeing that was just surreal- Festhalle has a long history, and there is something exciting about seeing a big chunk of history in front of your eyes, even if it’s a horrible piece of history like Nazi occupation of Germany. Nonetheless, on a more upbeat note, seeing Maiden at a historical place adds something special to it that is beyond words. Also, apparently Cirque Du Soleil’s magnificent Quidam show was there in a week or two- imagine being there to see it.

Schubi and I

Sold out!



So we were all let in, and Schubi had to piss. So I told him to run and go to the bathroom fast- luckily I managed to save him a spot. Of course Schubi is pretty tall and skinny, and he kept turning around to see if Sven was behind him (a friend of his, who I’d later end up becoming pretty good friends with!), which only made the space for him smaller! I’d told him, but he is a great big bundle of energy and honestly, who can blame him. After an impressive set from Voodoo Six, and buzzes with anticipation, before you know it, Doctor Doctor rang out of the speakers, and the whole place sang along- isn’t it funny to hear tons of excited people sing about being left by a girl to get themselves excited? Nonetheless, it’s an exciting and integral part of the Maiden show.

So, Rising Mercury plays at 8:45 PM, the place comes off the roof. Except this was my first taste of the German crowd- and what a crowd! Hearing every single note of every song be sung by the crowd was special, and they were the best crowd I’d ever heard.

After a burst of pyro, Maiden hit the stage with their usual gusto, though some sound problems did persist throughout Moonchild. Nonetheless, that was fixed in a few minutes time. And Maiden nailed it from the beginning to the fucking end. Though Bruce struggled near the end of “The Prisoner”, everything else was a go- the band wiped the place up leaving no prisoner left behind. Add to that some pyro, some magnificent audience participation and catching Janick’s pick near the end of the show, which I damn well held onto- when the lights went up, and everyone sang the Monty Python classic “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”, another Maiden gig was over, and it was beer o’clock.

Back to O’Reilley’s it was. Ordered some beer for Ian and another friend, caught up with Justin, then back to the hostel in my usual post-Maiden bliss.






























This is thirsty work, making holy smoooooooke, yeah…


The next day, gig número dos, was a bit of a special day. I went to O’Reilleys, caught up with Greg- a great French lad who only was doing the first Frankfurt gig, but we had a nice chat- he even was a fan of Doctor Who! We also bumped into Helga (Dee), got a picture together, and then off to the Fanclub lunch it was! ian and I took a cab- I paid, and was rewarded with a beer from his mini-fridge. For the first time I got to meet Martin and Sanja, a lovely couple who have a beautiful little girl named Elea together. She’s adorable, even! We also met some lovely people there, from Canada and other places in the world. I can’t remember the name of the restaurant, but we all had a great time together. I did have to head to the venue quite early, as I didn’t win FTTB, but an Austrian guy named Heimo who did win was looking for someone to get in, and unsure if he got my response, I walked from the restaurant to the venue. I was waiting quite a while for him, but he got there- I easily spotted him, because he advertised himself as a guy wearing TFF shirt with the Austrian flag. So I immediately approached him, and before you know it, I was his guest.

So thankfully, FTTB went smoother this time. Met some friends in line, and even chatted it up with much of the German FC. Alex and I were talking about how rough FTTB was the day before, and his descriptions were hilarious. This time, I got the same spot- well, roughly just a bit more to the left. I ended up on the barrier with Ian, and that was nice. Matt was right behind me, and so a bunch if us all in one place was a nice thing.








The gig was yet again, a blinder! Though many of the people there were also there the night before, the crowd were yet again firing from all cylinders. Same setlist, and despite a hilarious incident during The Prisoner where Arry played the wrong notes in the second verse- and also Bruce missing the usual “SCREAM FOR ME FRANKFURT!!” Before the third verse in 23:58- the band were on fire all night, and played with undisputed gusto. From the pyro blast at the beginning, to Bruce making us all get on our knees and jump up during Running Free, we all had a blast and were sad the gig was over. Oh, and I caught ARRY’s WRISTBAND. I was crying from happiness!!

So, beer time was next. Had some beers with a few friends, met up with Alex yet again and boasted the wristband I caught. Then, it was off back to the hostel, first stopping for late dinner at McDonalds and then the hostel for some shut-eye.











In my next journal, I sum up the whole Donington experience, and just how surreal it was to be on more historical ground. Spitfires, German pyromanics, Trooper Beer on tap- the list goes on and on.