Maiden UK 2011

Posted by tom on August 08, 2011

28-Jul-2011
After work on Thursday 28th July, we headed to George Bush Intercontinental Airport (Houston) for our flight back to the UK. The flight left Houston at 20:45 (Houston time) and landed at 11:30am (GMT) (4,841 Miles). The flight was as eventful as ever - i.e. had food, slept and woke up just before we landed in the UK.

29-Jul-2011
Once we had landed we got our cases, headed to national to pick up our car from National Car Hire and then made our way to Finchampstead to stay at Trees's sisters for the next couple of nights. We had arranged to have dinner with Joy, Cam & Jodie (over at Joys house) for a "Come Dine With Me" special. The theme (as suggested by me for the night was Gluten Free - lol. Jodie is a vegetarian, so Joy had her work cut our for the evening trying to accomodate 2 diets, mine being the bigger pain in the arse, but she did a great job. We had (Gluten Free) sausages (Jodie had vegetarian) and mash on a bed of honey roasted veg. For dessert we had Eton Mess - yummy!!!! After food and lots of catch ups we headed back to Trees' sisters for the evening where we had a good catch up with Rae, Dave, Jake & Em. Boe was in bed by the time we arrived.

30-Jul-2011
The next morning we got up, headed to our storage unit to put in all of the stuff we had brought back with us, and then met Rae, Dave and the kids at Dainton Park. This is a park with a huge lake in it, that we spent the afternoon walking around. We then headed to the Garden center down the road to have a quick cuppa and a snack, as they stocked Gluten Free cookies. We then had a BBQ in the evening before settling down for the night.

31-Jul-2011
Sunday we were up and made our way from "Finch" to Birmingham (131 miles) for the first of 4 Maiden gigs in the next 6 days. We arrived there in good time as we had a good trip, and with it being a sunday the roads were relatively quiet. We arrived at our hotel and then hopped out to Wetherspoons, we went the long way there trying to follow the map on my phone, and it ended up that all we had to do was walk out of our hotel, turn right and left, and we would be there, but we went all over the shop. From the 'spoons, we popped back to the hotel room, then took the walk over to the NIA for the gig.

Tonight (Sunday), we had "First to the barrier" for the gig, so we had to be there about 5pm to get our wristbands and then get "escorted" into the gig 15 minutes before everyone else. Whilst outside the venue I picked up the UK tour t-shirt and the tour programme. When we were allowed in, we passed the guy from IMTV, with his camera, and headed straight to the sound desk. These days this is my preferred place to stand as it offers a good head on view and more importantly, you don't have anyone behind you pushing you all gig. We had a long wait from getting into the venue to Airbourne (the support band) coming on. They were alright, kinda played the songs that AC/DC never quite made. Then it was on to Maiden. For the first 2 songs Bruces' voice was a bit off (as far as I was concerned) but after that he was warmed up and hitting all the notes as they are meant to be hit. The atmosphere was excellent, the only thing that spoilt it was a complete tosser that we had problems at Sonisphere 2010 came and stood by us. Back at Sonisphere he decided to push Tree, so I gave him one back, then he was just all mouth. Tonight was no different, but he picked on someone else - what a complete arsehole. The crowd responded well to the new songs, which was excellent. The rest of the band was on good form. The first appearance from Eddie for the evening came on the Evil That Men Do, this was the walking Eddie, who was with them on the 2010 legs of the tour, then the second one came on (as always) Iron Maiden. This Eddie was a massive Eddie that rose from behind the stage and loomed over the band.

After the gig we took a punt at some stalking as there was easy access to a tour bus, after 45 minutes I decided to call it a night as I was pretty convinced that is wasn't Maidens' bus, so we went to sleep to get some rest before our trip to Cardiff for the 2nd Maiden gig out of 4.

01-Aug-2011
We hit Cardiff and picked up my mum from Cardiff central station, as she had been kind enough to bring up my something that I have been trying to get signed for a long while. We took the scenic route from Birmingham to Cardiff, coming through Monmouthshire etc, and then through the back roads (Newport etc) into Cardiff in order to avoid the Bryn-Glas tunnels. We then headed down to our hotel that we were spending the night in. I had a sense that Maiden would be staying there as I had met many bands there whilst in Uni. My sense was confirmed by the concierge guy, who told me they would be checking in shortly. We decided to grab some lunch while waiting for them. First through the door were Dave & Janick. I managed to grab a photo with Dave, but Janick was very dispondant. Next arriving was Steve, who completely ignored any advance, he then later returned (with someone who thinks he is his bodyguard) and we were promptly told not to approach him (this is all part of Maiden being there for the fans at all times). I could understand if there were loads of people around, but as it happened it was just me - this was definately not the Steve Harris I had met back in 2003 in Cardiff. Adrian then turned up with his wife. He started a conversation with me, and was extremely kind and generous - exactly as he was when I first met him back in 2003. Nicko soon followed, but I didn't manage to grab him.

Janick then came back down and had a photo with me (which completed me getting a photo with every member of Maiden). He was a bit grumpy about it (but then boy wonder was around), but soon changed his attitude once I told him where I had seen Maiden play and he was fine. The only person who we didn't see was Bruce.


After we had finished "Stalking" we headed up into Cardiff so that I could meet up with Jason, one of my friends from Uni. We met Jason in O'Neils off the Hays in Cardiff. He gave me a LTD edition Manics vinyl that he had picked up for me. Me & Tree then walked my Mum back to the Train Station so that she could get her train back. After mum had gone through to her platform me & Tree headed back to join Jason and Alex in O'Neils before walking over to the gig. Jason was hoping for Maiden to play The Wickerman, Dance Of Death and Blood Brothers - so he was delighted when they played all 3. We decided to miss Airbourne this time, having seen them in Birmingham, and we didn't have FTTB this time. Me & Jason spent the whole gig jumping around and singing (well shouting). It was the first gig we had been to together since Therapy? in the Queens Hall, Narberth. My throat was completely bollocksed after this gig - it was already sore from the previous night in Birmingham. The sound and performance from Maiden was so much better than Birmingham - infact, it blew Birmingham away. It was a shame that the atmosphere in Cardiff was crap - and it was like being in a morgue for the new songs - the Cardiff crowd was not worthy of such a performance from Eddie and the boys.

After another sweaty gig, we headed back to central bar to have another drink, before going back to the hotel for a quick cuppa and then back to bed. In the hotel bar all the guys (minus Bruce) were in the there. As soon as me & Tree walked up to the bar, the roadie, who had been posing as Steves' bodyguard mouthed to Steve "That's him!" What an idiot - fair play to the guy, what a complete idiot. So we sat down in the corner and made an interesting observation, that the only person who actually spoke to him was Steve - everyone else ignored him. We had our cuppa and headed up to bed. The next morning we were up and about and out of the hotel by 11:00 and then over to M&S by the Cardiff City Stadium to have some breakfast. I then made Tree come with me across to the stadium to have my photo outside, and the groundsman was kind enough to let me pitchside. Although I had achieved this with mum before, the photos got lost after Tree dropped my old hard drive, and those were the only photos I could not recover.

02-Aug-2011
After the Cardiff leg of the tour we headed back to the Hallowed land of Pembrokeshire to visit our folks. We spent the first day in Tenby with Trees' parents and the 2nd in H/West with mine. The trip down to Pembs was nice and clear, but there were a shit load of speed cameras along the way. When we arrived at Trees' parents Tree decided it was a good idea to blackmail her mum into making us a rice pudding by proclaming that she could only measure how much her mum misses her, by if she cooked a rice pudding. To be fair I cannot fault this, and it was duely delivered, and as usual it was immense. Before we stuffed our faces with fresh Lobsters and then the aforementioned rice pudding we (Me, Tree, Trees' Mum & Dad and Pringle (the dog))went for a walk down Wisemans' Bridge and across to Coppet Hall for a cuppa. Somewhere in the process of getting out of the car to having a cuppa, Tree managed to drop her phone and lose it (again). She has a good knack of doing this. After our walk we went back to the house to wait for Joff (Trees' bro) to turn up with the lobsters. Shortly after Joff arrived Abs (Joffs Missus) pulled up and we all sat down and stuffed our faces. The lobsters were immense. We all stayed up chatting for a while before heading to bed.

03-Aug-2011
The next morning we were up reasonably early and headed over to Haveagoodrest (yes I still call it that) to see my mum (again) and of course my nan. We were shown around my Dads new project, his greenhouse, and then sat in and chatted for a bit. We then headed up to M&S to grab something for lunch and decided it would be a good idea to head down to the 'spoons for the evening. At least it saved mum cooking - and there were no complaints from anyone else. We went back to the house, had lunch and then I headed over to see the Dr, regarding my Gluten Intolerance and gain some advice from him, on anything else I could do to try and improve things. After that appointment we headed over to Nicks Mums gaff to drop off a t-shirt for his sister and pick up some stuff to bring back for him. We then headed back to the house to wait for my Dad & Bro to come in from work (via the gym / swimming pool) and then headed out to the 'spoons. It was pretty quiet down there in all fairness and for once I didn't see anyone I knew out and about. After the 'spoons it was back to the house, eat some M&S Gluten Free Lemon Cake (which was so so nice) and then over to Tescos to pick up some other bits before heading back to Trees' parents for the night.

04-Aug-2011
Thursday we were up, and Trees' friend Lucy and her kids were round the house to visit her. It was really nice to see them again. At the start the kids were shy (as usual) but they soon carried on their usual ways. We then sat around in the conservatory enjoying the heat and let time slip by, which we didn't really want to do, but these things happen. We finally got on our way at about 2:30pm, we made a quick stop at Morrisons in Carmarthen to pick up some snacks for the trip back and carried on our way. Fortunately we managed to miss all of the traffic and we even took a risk going through the Bryn-glas tunnels this time and got back to Finch in good time. We stopped off at the Black Boy pub for some grub - they catered for Gluten Free with no problem at all, and the food was lush. Then it was back to Trees' sisters where I met Daves' parents for the first time, had a chat with them then watched some TV and went to sleep. We were then up earlish the next morning to try and get on the go to London. My initial idea was to leave around midday - but that didn't happen and it was nearer 2pm by the time we left.

05-Aug-2011
We first put some stuff on the line to try and get it to dry, then we shoved it into the drier. Whilst it was in the dryer we headed to our storage unit to put somethings back in there that we had taken out and then got our stuff from the house and ventured into London. We managed to pretty much avoid the worst of the traffic, we did hit a few stops, but that always happens around there, especially on a Friday afternoon with everyone knocking off work early. We got to our hotel, eventually checked in, thanks to the staff being crap, and then moved quickly to get changed ready for the evenings fun. We decided we would take the Clipper from the Hotel to Canary Wharf, then walk to Canary Wharf tube station, get the tube and get to the O2 that way. This turned out to be a bit long winded, but we did manage it. We got to the O2, picked up 2 t-shirts I didn't get before hand, then headed into TGI friday and had some grub. After grub we met up with a guy from the Valencia Trip (Mark) and his family. They were only there for the friday night. We had a catch up and then headed into the gig.

At the O2 they have a completely stupid system in place, where they scan your ticket (as all the other venues do) but then keep the ticket - yes, you do not get it back. What a bunch of pricks. We got through the queue quickly, as we couldn't be arsed with all the waiting this time, and still managed to get a cracking spot right infront of the Sound Desk. No complaints from me or Tree there. DragonForce came on. This was the new singers 2nd gig since joining, and you could tell. It was a shocking performance, and in all honesty, it would be best if they knocked it on the head now. They had their moment of glory, but everything just sounds the same and the lead singer doesn't really know what to do with a crowd infront of him. Then it was the change around and onto Maiden.

The sound was very very good indeed, but again, during the new songs there was a severe lack of atmosphere. This really suprised me, with it being in London and all, but there we are. Tree ended up having a right nutter standing behind her (he was to the right of me). He ended up hitting her in the back of the head and spitting all over her (while he was singing along). Now for those of you who have been to a Maiden gig with me, you will know that I do not shut up for the whole two hours and I do have a bit of a bounce around etc - but not like this. I know my space and keep to it. So I decided to take things into my own hands as usual and during the Wicker Man, I had a bit of a bounce around and accidentally landed on his foot (repeatedly). After the gig we joined in with the FC Circle to Always Look on the bright side of life, and then headed back home. On the way out we found someone who was handing out ticket stubs, so we got one each, so at least we had one. As always after a gig at the O2 the tube was crammed, so we decided to get a taxi instead - this did end up being a tad expensive, but saved waiting for the tube. We went back to our room, had some snacks, watched some the Marriage Ref on TV, which I find quite amusing and then went to sleep.

06-Aug-2011
When we woke up, we decided to go back to sleep for a bit, then head downstairs to have some breakfast. For me this included Bacon by itself, to put in my M&S Gluten Free Bread, so I could have a couple of Bacon Butties. We then went back to the room and just chillaxed for the day as we were knackard. We then decided we should try leave about 3pm, as we had to get some food, and we were FTTB again for this evening. So this time we got the clipper across to Canary Wharf and then onto the main clipper to the O2. This was by far a quicker way of getting around. On the advice of one of the gents who ran after us when we got off the boat, we bought our return ticket, so that we could just get straight on after the gig, instead of queuing for a ticket afterwards. This did pay dividends for us.

TGI Friday was the call of the day again. I then had another photo with Somewhere In Time Eddie, who they had brought down to the front of the British Music Experience in the Dome. I had a photo with him about 12 months ago or so, but thought it would be rude not to have another one with him. Then it was on to the entrance to get our wristbands, have our tickets taken from us, and then into the venue, infront of the sound desk, as always. We got talking to a few other FC members and had a good laugh. Trivium then made their appearance on stage. Everytime I have seen them their performances get more and more lacking. They don't really seem to enjoy themselves on stage these days. It comes across as more of a chore for them to be up there, than enjoying themselves as it should be. After a few songs our favourite man, appeared. We knew it was too good to be true, not to see him again - but at least we had one night without him. But this time he did not bother us.

After Trivium, the 40 minute change over took place and it was time for Maiden again. Before they took to the stage the IMTV guy (as usual) appeared, and was taking some video footage. Some of the crew decided it would be a good idea to pick him up and throw him into the crowd - although they never did throw him in. During Satellite 15 (the intro) Tree said to me "is that a rugby player?" So I looked around into the sound area, and Martin Johnson (England Rugby Coach, and of course World Cup Winning Captain) was sat their. I was a bit suprised to see him there, but at the same time with Rod (Maidens' Manager) being a big rugby fan it didn't suprise me. The gig tonight was not as good as the previous night. There were a lot of sound problems, including Bruces' mike cutting out at the Beginning of El Dorado, followed by a lot of feedback. Eventually Bruce had a right go at one of the sound techs behind the stage (not too sure how many people saw that), but he had a right one at him. Steve and Janick also disappeared off stage to see what was going on. This is what I would have expected on friday night, not the saturday. Although, it doesn't suprise me as Maiden do not carry out their own sound checks - they are done by the Killer Krew, which makes me respect them more for being able to get the sound so good most of the time. After the dance it was time for the final dance to "Always Look...." and then back to the clipper to get on the move back to the hotel for some snacks, a quick rearrangement of the suitcases and then to sleep before our next fun journey.

07-Aug-2011
We had to be up earlier on Sunday to ensure we got breakfast and then got on our way to Heathrow to get our flight back to Houston. We got to National to drop the car off and that was a right flipping ball ache. Tree got pissed with them. Their service at LHR is crap. No one knows what the hell they are doing and we ended up waiting a good 40 minutes for a 2 minute job - fortunately we did have some good time before we were due to check-in. After all of the arsing around, we got on the shuttle to the terminal, checked in, went through security and then onto the plane. It was then time for the meals - for the first time BA did not load my Gluten Free meal. Needless to say I was completely and utterly hacked off by this, but fortunately we did have a few snacks. The crew tried their best to accomodate my diet, so I ate like a fecking rabbit for the flight, with a couple of salad leaves and later on some fruit. Not exactly something to keep you going on a 9 and a half hour flight - not happy. When we got back to Houston we were greeted by the heat - which is always nice, we then got a taxi, dumped our stuff back at the house and headed up to Chilis so that I oculd get something to eat. So I stuffed my face with some ribs (as they make them Gluten Free), then it was into bed.

A fun end to a completely knackering week. All fun and games.......

Iron Maiden Set List for the tour:

Doctor Doctor (UFO song)

1.Satellite 15... The Final Frontier
2.El Dorado
3.2 Minutes to Midnight
4.The Talisman
5.Coming Home
6.Dance of Death
7.The Trooper
8.The Wicker Man
9.Blood Brothers
10.When the Wild Wind Blows
11.The Evil That Men Do
12.Fear of the Dark
13.Iron Maiden
Encore:
14.The Number of the Beast
15.Hallowed Be Thy Name
16.Running Free

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (Monty Python song)

Distances:

Origin

Atascocita
IAH
LHR
Finchampstead
Birmingham (NIA)
Cardiff (CIA)
Tenby
Finchampstead
London (Hilton)
London (O2)
London (Hilton)
London (O2)
London (Hilton)
LHR
IAH
Destination

IAH
LHR
Finchampstead
Birmingham (NIA)
Cardiff (CIA)
Tenby
Finchampstead
London (Hilton)
London (O2)
London (Hilton)
London (O2)
London (Hilton)
LHR
IAH
Atascocita
Distance (Miles)

16.7
4,841
31
131
119
90.2
202
48.7
5
5
5
5
22
4,841
16.7
Approx Distance Travelled:
10379.3

Cheers
Tom & Tree

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