Ok, so here's an interesting one - Iron Maiden in Japan.
I'm not going to go on and on about this, but I do have to write it all down now while it is in my head, because I'll be at another gig tomorrow and if I don't do this now it will all blend into one big memory.
The gig was held in a place called the Pacifico Yokohama which is a big conference hall centre by the riverfront. The hall where Maiden played was all-seater. There's a carnival ground nearby and lots of skyscrapers. We got there early (I like to be sure that I know where the venue is) then we went around the way and found the Yokohama Hard Rock Cafe to get some food and listen to metal.
The ticket for the concert is in Japanese, so I couldn't read many of the details of it. All that I could make out is my seat number (B-41-38) and that the doors were due to open at 6pm. We got there pretty handy, at about 5pm, just in case. Then at half past 5 (on the dot) some guys who were from venue security appeared from inside the Pacifico wearing long blue bubble-jackets and with megaphones in hand. They were shouting something in Japanese and pointing around the corner and down some stairs, we figured that they were there to tell everyone to start making their way to a different entrance.
Well, as soon as the guys with the megaphones said whatever they said, all of the Japanese metallers began running along to form a queue. There were 100s of them sprinting! So we thought "better get moving" and walked quickly in the direction that everyone else was moving. At the foot of a huge staircase and around the corner there was more security, they specified for a queue to be formed and it needed to be exactly 4 people wide - no more, no less. And surprisingly, that's exactly how it formed.
At 6pm (again, on the dot) they opened the doors to the venue and the queue began to file inside in a very sensible fashion. We went through security and then another queue began to form, this time for the merch tables. I have never seen such organisation from your average metaller! I got into the queue pretty sharpish (I only had to wait about 5 minutes). The tshirts were ridiculously pricey - the equivalent of £25 for a shirt. WhhaaaaaaAAA?? And there were no Japan-only shirts, they have tour dates on them for the first leg of the current tour (from the India gig on February 1st to a gig in Toronto on March 16th). I picked up 2 shirts - 1 for me (a Somewhere In Time one) and one for my brother who now owes me £25 and a night on the ale. They also had a great looking blue Maiden scarf on sale, but I never got one and forgot to check out the price for it. Maybe I'll see them again tomorrow night.
Right, enough about all that. Time for some gig review.
Support act: The Lauren Harris Band
The gig started at about 18:30 with Lauren Harris and her band. I am not a fan of hers at all. They played a set of about 6 or 7 songs that lasted roughly 35 minutes, which included a cover of Gun's "Steal Your Fire". Apart from the one song I cannot remember any of the other track names, they all seemed to blend into one long Kerrang-friendly pop metal set. Not promising for the rest of this tour, as Lauren Harris and her band are being hyped up when (let's be honest) they're only were they are because of her dad being in Maiden. Oh dear.
I remember looking around the hall during the interval before Maiden and I noticed that there was a high percentage of women in the crowd. There were a lot of Japanese businessmen dressed in suits too... I had one sat right behind me, in fact. Maybe they arrived straight from work. The row of seats were I was sat was all Westerers too, strange that. You should have seen the dress sense of some of the people in there though. A lot of the Japs were wearing full leather get ups with black bandanas and maiden tshirts under their jackets. Some Westerners looked like their mum had dressed them. the guy next to me, for example, had jeans and a Maiden tshirt on.. and a beige cardigan tied around his waist.
Before the show began event staff were patrolling up and down the aisles between the rows with placards showing diagrams of cameras in red circles and a red line through them - NO PHOTOGRAPHY. Hmm, ok. I could see that this had the potential to get messy.
The lights went back down at 19:30 and Doctor Doctor started to play. Soon after Maiden took to the stage and they did a great set.
I want to write a set list out but I won't spoil it for you! Although I could (being a sad fucker I kept notes of what got played). If you want to know what they played, I have the list here. What do you reckon, should I edit this and add the setlist to the end? It was a fucking blinding set like. But one thing that was very strange is that the whole event was over and done with by 9:30pm. In England most bands don't even get on stage til about then!
During one song half way through the night Bruce Dickinson came on stage wearing a cape and mask and I just *had* to get a photo:
As soon as I took it one of the little event security guys, dressed in a full suit, ran at me and demanded that I stop taking photos immediately or he would throw me out. I mean, he proper ran to me, past all of the other people in my row! I said "Many apologies" and I was very nice to him. I mean, what else was I going to say? Anyway I made it to the end of the night and what's more I even made a 4 minute video haha.
We're due to go to see them again tomorrow, I dunno if I will be writing such a big review then though because tonight we never had any alcohol, but tomorrow I am getting drunk.