Ozzie and I went to Stockholm just for the fun of it really. She was on vacation and I thought it would be fun to meet Iron Maiden's tourmanager (who I thought would be the same guy who handled the W.A.S.P-tour, cause he said he'd come back in the fall with Maiden. Looks like he had a change of plans! .-)). We went to the hotel and saw a bunch of young guys with Iron Maiden t-shirts outside, so it was obvious that it was the right hotel!
We went to the hotel bar and ordered some tea, so we could sit there and relax, while we studied the activity in the lobby.
The first one I saw was Dave Ellefson from Megadeth, one of my teenage-crushes! Now he has short hair and looks like any guy off the street, but he still looks good, definitely! :-)
Dave Mustaine walked out right behind him as far as I can remember. If I had been ten years younger, I would have rushed out with the Megadeth CD-cover and asked him to sign it. But now it felt wrong to do that, he looked like he was going someplace and I didn't want to stall him.
Ozzie said that Marty Friedman was talking to the people in the reception, and Marty is one of the people I was looking forward to meet, cause I remember him very well from an interview that I did with him and Nick Menza back in 1990. We had a good time, and after the interview I helped him call Anders Johansson (Yngwie's former drummer) cause they were friends. But anyway, I figured he wouldn't remember me after ten years, so I didn't even want to embarrass myself by asking! I mean, who do I think I am, why would anyone remember me, who he met maybe twice ten years ago?!
But Ozzie and I needed a map anyway, so we could find Globen (where Megadeth and Maiden were playing, a huge arena) so I went to the reception and ended up right behind Marty. I didn't say anything, I just waited for my turn. Then suddenly, somebody from the "musician-party" (the way he looked and talked, I'd say he was some sort of tourmanager or something similar...) turned around and asked me, in a pretty loud voice:
- What does it say on your t-shirt?! (I had a black t-shirt that said in big, white capital letters: NEW YORK FUCKIN' CITY)
I opened my blazer-jacket a little so he could see, and in that moment, Marty turned around. And the next thing I heard was:
- Hey! I know you!!
The manager guy started laughing and said:
- He knew the minute you opened your jacket, haha!
- Yes you do...! I never thought you'd remember! I said, and still couldn't believe that he remembered me! I looked different back then, and we're talking about TEN long years!!
- Yeah, I do..! You did an interview or something, right?
- Yes..! Wow, you REMEMBER that??
- Sure! And you know what? I remember more than that! It was a small hotel in Copenhagen or something, like the Tivoli or something and... (and then he started to describe the place).
I just stared and couldn't believe my ears.
- I'm overwhelmed! I can't believe you remember all that!! We've met twice or so, back in 1990, how can you remember so much?
But he did, and I STILL find it absolutely amazing!!
- So, what are you doing here? he asked.
I didn't know what to say, because I wasn't sure myself what I was doing there! It was just one of those things... a good band comes to town, and you can't just sit at home and ignore it, that's all! And I wanted to meet the Maiden-tourmanager to just say hello and maybe talk to Marty (if he remembered me, which apparently, he did!), but I couldn't say that either!
So I just said that I was looking forward to seeing a good show. How the hell I was going to get into the show was a completely different story. It had been sold out for months, and I didn't even have a ticket...
- Well, good to see you, I'll see you at the show tonight then?!
- Probably, I said and wondered if I was a liar. What do I mean "probably"?? Fat chance! Globen, a huge arena, Iron Maiden, the biggest metal-attraction since Metallica, except that this was BIGGER, and I didn't have a ticket or anyone I knew who could help me pull some strings. The way things looked, Ozzie and I would spend the rest of out evening in the hotel-bar waiting for something to happen.
Then the Maiden-guys started walking in and out from the elevators, and I was still wondering if I would be a pain in the butt if I just jumped out from out of nowhere and asked for an autograph, but I really WANTED their signatures! So I walked over to Steve Harris with my leather jacket and silver marker and asked him if he could sign it. He was waiting for his cab, so I knew it was not a good time to start up a conversation.
He signed it, smiled and was very polite, I just said thanks and went back to the bar. Jannick Gers ran pass so quickly that he dropped his cap - I guess it was because the lobby was full of fans with their records, and I guess he was in a hurry, so he rather didn't sign anything at all than start something he couldn't finish and by that maybe disappoint a few of his fans.
But now Ozzie and I realized that this was our last chance to try to ask somebody to help us out. When Dave Murray came out of the elevator, I asked him to sign my jacket which he did with a smile. I remember Dave as the smiling man from Donington too (except for with the incident with the Cameraman from Hell, which you can find here...). He's easy to like, a down to earth man who seems to enjoy life! Ozzie told him that the show was sold out, we didn't have tickets and that we would have asked somebody we knew for help IF we had known anybody, which we didn't...
- It's a little late now, I think, Dave said politely.
- Are you sure, I mean, is there not even a slight possibility..? asked Ozzie.
- I think it's in the last minute, but I'll try. Give me your name and I'll see what I can do.
She gave him her name and he left - the others in the band were already waiting for him.
And that was it... The show was about to begin, and we both thought that Dave had said "I'll see what I can do" just to get rid of us. That's not because we think that Dave is that kind of person, but I'm sure most people would have done that. So we almost didn't go! Why waste time and gas for nothing? Our plan B was to stick around till Megadeth came back and see if we could persuade them to go out to a rock-club or something.
- But we can do both...! We can go to Globen, know for SURE that we AREN'T on the guestlist and then come back here and wait for Megadeth, I said. Ozzie agreed and we left.
When we came to the security-gate at Globen arena, Ozzie said that we were supposed to be on the guestlist, and the security-guy just smiled, gave her an envelope.
- Yes! Here it is!
She looked as surprised as I did- we went aside and opened it. There were two tickets!! DAVE, WE LOVE YOU!!! :-)
I managed to see Megadeth's two last songs, and I must say that I love their music, and I had been looking forward to seeing them, but two songs were better than nothing!
But when Iron Maiden walked up on stage, it was like a huge triumph-comeback! They have the best fans in the world, I think! I looked around, and saw thousands and thousands of happy, crazy, screaming, headbanging Maiden-fans! They were in total extasy, and it was almost more entertainng to watch the crowd than what went on on stage! Almost... The last time I saw Iron Maiden was Donington 1992, but they were back to rock harder than ever! They were so good that I just stared in total amazement.
Three guitars, the typical Maiden bass-sound and an absolutely fantastic singer! Bruce has a hell of a set of lungs!! I even wondered if this WAS live or pre-recorded, but I saw that it wasn't fake, amazingly enough. He really IS one of the best vocalists around, and he's in great shape too, runs around the stage without losing a bit of his strength to hit the really challenging notes, jumps over amps like a rubberball, and owns the stage!
But every single Maiden-guy has his own unique style on stage, and they blend together perfectly! It was really an experience!
I got to hear my favorite songs "Phantom of the opera", "Run to the hills" and of course "Number of the beast"! It was a good mix actually, a little bit of everything from Maiden's long musical history! I think they satisfied all their fans, cause NOBODY in there looked the slightest bit disappointed!!
After the show, we drove back to the hotel just to leave a THANK YOU-note for Dave in the reception and also a note for Marty. Then we went to Copy, a small pub/club that played clasic heavy metal all night. I had a great time listening to old hits like "Electric eye" and "Panama", but had to leave when the air was unbreathable in there. I can't stand smoke, and it made me feel really sick. Besides, I was dead tired - I had slept a few hours and driven all day. I needed rest.
To make a long story short, I didn't get much sleep that night for various reasons (we stayed with a friend of Ozzie's who has three cats and a budgie/parakeet. The cats walked all over me during the morning and the bird screamed for all he was worth, so it was impossible to sleep). I wouldn't have slept long even IF things had been perfect, because I felt that I had to go back to the hotel and get those missing Maiden-autographs before they left! Ozzie went back to bed and I drove off to new "adventures" on my own.
I went to the hotel-bar/restaurant and ordered tea. I was so tired that I was dizzy, felt sick and saw red and yellow spots before my eyes. I realized that I hadn't eaten anything either... But then I recognized the Maiden-crew (I had seen one of them running with a fax-machine under his arm the day before!) talking to the reception-ladies, so I quickly found my silver-marker and Iron Maiden-photo. Jannick came down first, but he was busy straightening out something at the reception desk, so I waited. The hotel-staff smiled at me, cause they recognize me by now!
When Jannick seemed to have solved whatever it was he had to solve and had a spare second, I asked him if he'd sign my jacket and photo.
- Suure! I'll sign anything you put in front of me, he said and signed.
Then Dave Murray came out of the elevator with a little suitcase on wheels. He was still smiling! :-) When he had finished talking to "his" people, I approached him, and he said:
- Hello! How are you?
- You remember me, from last night? I just wanted to say thanks a lot for helping us!
- Yes, well..! It was a bit in the last minute, but it worked out okay! he said while he was signing the photo. I told him how great the show was and he just smiled and said he was glad we liked the show. He probably hears that line every day: "Great show!"...
A man who had noticed me standing there, who apparently worked with the band, walked over to me and asked what it said on my t-shirt (here we go again..!). He wondered what I was doing there (in a polite way). We talked a little, and suddenly he just asks:
- Are you going to Gothenburg?
- I'm thinking about it, I said.
- Do you want me to put you on the guestlist?
(Did I hear him right??? I wondered)
- Would you..?? I asked.
- Suuure, sure! he said. Dave Murray overheard and said:
- I put her on the guestlist last night..!
I wondered if that meant that I had used up my "quotient" or something, but apparently not - the man (let's call him, say, Walt) asked me to put down my name on a piece of paper, and I did. He asked if it was only me or if I had a friend who wanted to go. But Ozzie was staying in Stockholm for another day, and I didn't know anyone in Gothenburg...
He told me that I could just relax and go get some rest or something, cause I could get all the autographs I wanted in Gothenburg! I couldn't believe it! So they left with the words "see you in Gothenburg,then!" and I went to the garage to get my car. I had a long trip to Gothenburg...!!
More to come!! Stick around!
PART TWO OF THIS STORY (more photos on the way!)
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