This was how the 17th of March, 2007 was spent! The day which every music lovers waiting for.. Eddie fest..Iron Maiden First time to India..!
Tompok, Naepoleon..(tompok Bro, who came all the way down from imphal to watch eddie fest) and me on the way to Palace Ground.. at around 11 am.. reach their at around 11:30.. Dayananda and johnson too join us.. I can't believe that I'm goona watch IM concert.. seeing those banners.. it's unbelievable...
I keep waiting, and the crowd starts to queue up. I turn around and observe that I can't see the end of the Rs. 1500 queue! Looked like apart from about 10-15 people, no one had opted for the Rs. 900 tickets!!
Someone from inside performs a sound check, and the crowd cheers! I start to talk with two guys behind me. They are from Goa, and have come all the way here for the Maiden concert.
The guy in front of me joins the conversation as well. People stop to inquire whether this
was the Rs. 1500 queue. I see a shocked look on their face when they hear that this is,
since it's 2:45 PM, and the queue is already over a kilometer long.
Finally, the crowd cheers as the gates are opened bang at 3 PM. Kudos to DNA Networks for their excellent time sense. It seems like people are moving too slowly. The endless wait for my turn to enter the venue starts.
Finally, it's my turn. There's this dude with some strange looking gadget that looks like the laser gun from Star Trek. Apparently, it's a Bar Code reader. He grabs my ticket, scans the bar code printed on it, I see the display on the reader, it says "Valid", and he asks me to move on. I oblige, and then this security guard gives me a free massage frisks me. He asks me to step forward, and then another free massage another guard frisks me.
I move in, and see that the organizers are tearing off the counterfoil and dropping it into a box. I ask the guy who's doing that "Are you organizing a lucky dip?" He smiles and says "No Sir."
And then finally, the arena! The first thing that I noticed when I entered was that the entire ground was covered with a green sheet, to prevent the dust from being kicked up.
Kudos again to DNA Networks! Why did no one think of that before? I grab a cup of soft drink, as that's the only thing available there, and catch up with my friends who are in the Front ... Apparently, one of them had a problem entering since the scan of the ticket was unsuccessful.
The dude who was scanning the tickets made a mistake, and quickly apologized for the same and let him in. I say I'm moving on, and move on. I quickly make my way to the
front of the ground, about 10 feet from the stage, and stay putt. The stage looks to small
for an Iron Maiden concert. There are effigies two para-troopers on both sides.
The one on the left has a parachute attached to him, and the parachute is stuck to a pole, which has the speakers. The monitor speakers, the stage are covered in black cloth, to prevent dirt from settling down on the equipment. But the opening act band's equipment is not covered. I see Parikrama's keyboards (a Hammond, and a Kurzweil) left out in the open, and a few guitars lying around, and two drum kits.
It's 3:15 PM. People start to sit down, and wait. The sun is unforgiving, and shines down on us unmercifully. Most of us start to wish for rain. Ironically, there's a song by Maiden
called "Rainmaker"! People start to get restless.
Technicians come on stage to make final
adjustments, and the crowd starts to yell "Start the f***ing show!" repeatedly. Technicians smile. I guess they never expected a crowd so huge. There's one guy who was sitting on the stage, and the crowd starts to converse with him. Technicians come on stage, take photographs. Wave their hands, and the crowd cheers.
This goes on for sometime, till FTN (abbreviation for "F*** The Name"), winners of Campus Rock Idols 2007, come on stage with their equipment, and perform a sound check. Time: 4:45 PM. The crowd cheers them, and then they start their performance. The vocalist jumps on stage, interacts with the crowd. They start belting out one of their numbers.
FTN Dudes, no offense, but we couldn't hear anything at all! I understand that the vocalist does the grunt, but he didn't perform any clean songs. His grunt was totally incomprehensible, the guitars could hardly be heard. I couldn't hear the bass at all! Not wanting to take this any further, the crowd started to yell profanities at them.
They belted out a few of their originals, and then have a discussion among themselves, and start to sing a cover of Korn (which I realized only after I read in the news paper!). The crowd still does not want them, and finally after a few songs, they move on and make way for Parikrama. Time: 6 PM.
Parikrama, kept cheering the crowd. They had a new Violinist and were showing him off. They performed an all-original set, and performed absolutely no covers. Apparently, this was the motive, since at the end of the Parikrama's performance, the vocalists came and flipped his finger to all the critics saying that Parikrama can perform originals.
Well, the crowd didn't boo them off the stage, since at the end of every song, the vocalist was cheering the crowd and talking about Maiden. There was a brief session of pushing, and pulling, wherein a lot of people fell down. But then, the vocalist brought sense back into people mentioning that the show may be called off if this happens.
By the end of Parikrama's performance, a lot of people who were standing up front couldn't take the heat anymore and started to leave for a cup of soft drink. Well, then out came Lauren Harris. Time: 7 PM. I've never heard of her before, and let's just put it this way - I don't think I'll be buying an album of hers.
Not to disappoint her, but it wasn't exactly a great opening act considering Maiden was coming up next. She performed a few songs, and quickly left. She had a good guitar player to back her up. The bass and the drums were pretty good too. For a moment, I wasn't exactly sure if it was Zakk Wylde playing the guitar, then I realize that it isn't him.
And then the technicians were back on stage again. They made some final checks, realized that the front of the stage may not be able to withstand Bruce's jumping. Out came the carpenter, fixed the stage. Time : 8 PM.
Lights off!! Black covers are pulled off!! Crowd yells!!!! Intro tape rolls!!!!! Nicko counts down on the hi-hat, and out comes Iron Maiden!! Bruce comes, jumps over the monitor speakers, into the front of the stage, and sings "You lead me on the path..Keep showing me the way..I feel a little lost..A little strange today.."
Yeah man, yeah!! Bring it on!! The crowd sings along, Cheers them!! Steve Harris is singing along too. The feeling - Just Awesome!! It took a few seconds for most of us to realize that it was Maiden who was on the stage! I have no words to explain what it felt like at that moment.
I mean, Bruce was singing on the stage!! Janick, Dave, Adrian, Nicko, Steve, and
Bruce! That's Iron Maiden on the stage!! Then I notice that the stage has been set up to reflect a war-field. Sand bags and all!! Awesome lighting effects!! Audio just sounds awesome!!
They perform a few more songs from their new album, and then one of my all time favourites -
Wrathchild!! Gawd!! I just let myself loose! Out came Trooper (Yeah, Bruce did wave the
British Flag), new songs, classics. Everything!! On one of the songs, Bruce climbs the
speaker frame, high up, looks down on everyone, gets the crowd all worked up.
He slides down to safety, and starts singing again! They definitely did get the crowd all worked up. Most people didn't feel the effect of standing in the sun. It was pure adrenaline!! Fear of the Dark, The Number of the Beast, Run to the Hills, Iron Maiden, all classics!!
The performed 11 songs, and then left. The crowd kept cheering. The dude standing next to me says, "They'll be back with 2 minutes to midnight". I was like - "How the heck do you know that?" and then quickly realize that it's the same set list as that they had performed in Dubai a couple of weeks back.
The lights were turned out, and I saw a couple of guys on the
stage moving something. Lights on, and there's a tank coming up from behind! The tank opens,
and Eddie looks out. Eddie's eyes are all glowing!! I'm sure that "Hallowed Be Thy Name" is
going to be there!! And he was right. They came and performed 2 Minutes to Midnight.
The tank went back in again, and they started the intro of The Evil that Men Do. The song
progressed, and out came 15 foot Eddie!! He had a gun in his hand. He moved around the
stage, pointing the gun at the audience, and then went back.
Maiden finally closed the show with Hallowed Be Thy Name. My throat was parched, and I was standing next to a dude who was just about to pass out (or so, I guess). As the song came to an end, I croaked "Yeaaaahh… Hallowed Be Thy Name!!!" a couple of times.
Maiden was on full throttle. Everyone of them! Steve Harris just moved left and right on the stage. I have seen videos of Maiden performing on stage, but never in my dreams realized that he could run so fast! Bruce Dickinson's agility is second to none! Janick Gers was swinging his guitar all around.
Adrian Smith, stood rooted, as he usually is, but deftly dealt with all his solos to perfection. Dave Murray, Dave Murray.. What would Maiden be without him? He stood on the monitors a few times, smiled at the crowd, nailed every note!
Nicko McBrain actually came out from behind his enclosure, sat down on the stage when Harris was playing the intro of "For The Greater Good of God". Needless to say Bruce kept yelling his trademark slogan - "Scream for me Bangalore!"
Well, and I'm sure most people around a 5 KM radius should have heard us! They got the crowd worked up awesome!! No one showed any signs of being tired. Even if they'd performed a 3-hour set list, people would have been singing along.
Bruce spoke quite a lot - He said that he had been waiting for 17 years to visit and perform in India. And that India wouldn't have to wait for 17 years, not even 17 months for Iron Maiden to come back!
Apparently, the day before, someone had recognized him on the road, stopped his motorbike, walked up to him and said "Hey Bruce! How're you doing? I'm going to be at the center front tomorrow".
Bruce even recognized the guy and pointed at him. They loved the crowd, and said that this was one of the most amazing places that they are really really happy to be performing here.
Yeah, man. I had an awesome time!! India's first Iron Maiden concert, and I was there!
Oh yeah, almost forgot. Here is the set list:
- Different World
- These Colors Don’t Run
- Brighter Than A Thousand Suns
- The Trooper
- The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg
- For The Greater Good of God
- The Number of The Beast
- Fear of The Dark
- Run To The Hills
- Iron Maiden
- 2 Minutes To Midnight
- The Evil That Men Do
- Hallowed Be Thy Name
I came back home at around 12 AM.
Boris Oinam writes to e-pao.net for the first time.
He can be reached at boris_f9(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)in .
This article was webcasted on April 13th, 2007