Monday afternoon we travelled by the Gatwick Express from Victoria station. We arrived at The Cornerhouse 6pm, a charming english country house near Gatwick. The staff were real kind and helpful and collected us at the airport and back to Gatwick Airport the day after. We went to the bar to see if there were any other people who were going on the same trip. There was a 6-8 fans present. I thought it would be more people there.
6 am we woke up. We had to drop the english breakfast because lack of time and went to Gatwick Airport. There were fans everywhere in their Iron Maiden shirts, and I was beginning to realise what we were going to be a part of.
We checked in and was waiting for the flight. Suddenly the crowd of 190 fans saw Bruce in the cockpit of the Boing 757 outside the terminal. Everybody cheered and then Nicko showed up. Lots of pictures were taken and autographs written.
I had my picture with Rod Smallwood, the legendary Iron Maiden manager and the head of the Sanctuary Group. Nicko was to busy at this time.
We boarded the plane and everybody shook hands with Nicko, who was welcoming everybody onboard. The sounds and visions of Rock In Rio was played at the same time..
No signs of Bruce yet as the plane was to take off any time. First Officer Bruce Dickinson took the controls and the plane was airboirne.
We got served food and drinks and Nicko made his way through the cabin to sign autograps and chat to the fans. He was in a real fine mood and laughed and made jokes. Later we spotted Bruce himself in the front of the plane, and people cheered. This was the moment I`ve been looking forward to for many months. Seriously I have never thought I`d see my top 1 singer in different surroundings than a concert. I was relatively calm when he got to us. I got signed a couple of cd covers. Tone got signed the biography. Nicko also signed this items. It was all over quite quickly. Pictures had to be shot later because of to less time.
Thoughts and feelings during this trip are hard to describe, so I`ll keep this out of the story. But any Maiden fan understands what this must have been like.
When we landed on Iceland in cero visability, Bruce said on the loudspeakers that this was normal for Iceland, and that the didn`t see anything until a couple of feet above the ground.. On the airport in Reykjavik, Bruce came walking by in his flightsuite and I had the chance to get my first picture with my one and only idol. I grabbed the chance. I would regret later if I didn`t try. I had to be quick and asked, and he replied yes off course.
Before I`ve met Janick and Steve ( +Nicko on the plane), but this was for sure the highlight. He is a living legend, fronting the biggest metal band in the world.
Bruce told us if we wanted to buy some beer, we had to buy it at the airport, because in the shops on Iceland it was really expensive..We went with Bruce trough the airport corridors and out, were Bruce and Rod told us which buses going to where!
Glad to having secured a photo with Bruce we went on. We had the choice between The Blue Lagoon or just staying in the city center until the concert later that evening. We had preordered the 2 last places for the first option ( which we didn`t regret…he he)
That place was fantastic as Bruce had promised. Natural hot, almost too hot some places, water to swim in. Pure and blue and a relaxing place.
We stayed here for about 2 hours. On the way out, Bruce finally showed up again ready for a bath, and I grabbed the chance to shake hands and tell him how this was a great moment for me, which he replied, brilliant!! I got a second picture taken. This time Tone also got a picture with Bruce. If I had not got out this of the lagoon this early I would have missed this, but if I had stayed longer I could have swimmed with Bruce, ha ha
After a while in the cafe, watching Bruce pose to some a film crew, we made our way back on the bus and headed for the city center to meet up with the rest of the fans, and to get something to eat. ( Hotdogs just like in Norway ;))
Then we headed for the concert arena Egilshollin, Reykjavik. All of us were firing on all cylinders and it was a great athmosphare outside the arena beside our buses. We got our tickets and wristbands and were let in before the 12 000 others Icelanders ( 4% of the whole population on Iceland…)
We were told it was strictly prohibited to bring cameras inside the venue, so I didn`t take any chances. Therefore, I don`t got pictures from the concert. Ironically, it wasn`t strict at all, no bodysearcing.
The concert was great, on my top 4 list after Roskilde 03, Stockholm 99 and Earls Court 03. Maybe even higher too. I hope and think Gothenborg later this summer will enter the top 2.. The band was in top shape, good sound
( after 1-2 tracks) and specially Bruce impressed me a lot. I think I`ve never seemed him this good. Remember Tomorrow, Phantom Of The Opera, Where Eagles Dare, Running Free and Drifter were probably the highlights. The playlist is at the right. A great playlist from the first 4 albums only ( 80-83!!) Amazing.
By the way I have never seen so many kids at a Maiden concert, many as young as 8-10 years!! Good to have a lot of young fans too. They`re beginning to get what real music is all about.
After the concert the buses left for the airport again. Most people was quite exhausted after the concert and the long day packed with all kinds of impressions.
On the plane back, Bruce came through the plane one more time, while most people not capable of keeping their eyes open. I grabbed my old and quite rare Samson vinyl and asked Bruce wether he`d seen this before ( a Samson vinyl single: Vica Versa, 1981), and he replied: “hm…..no…….yes….I think you will get a Bruce Bruce on this”, and signed it with Bruce Bruce :))))
Back on the ground Bruce thanked everybody for the last 24 hours and wished everybody a safe journey for those travelling further.
It was now 6 in the morning. We went to the Corner House to collect our suitcases, back again to Gatwick and travelled by train to London. Then we took the Stanstead Express to Stanstead. Here we met some swedes, who also had made the Bruce Air trip.
1230 pm our flight to Trondheim, Norway took off. At this point we nearly fainted of tiredness…but it was well worth it. Back in the flat we just sat there, not going to bed as we`d dreamed about for hours. Too less sleep I guess and wide awake all evening…:) It was 41 hours without sleep..
I want to thank Bruce Dickinson and Iron Maiden for this experience. It was a fantastic trip.
Which other band or artist on the planet have the capability and would ever offer their fans such an offer. I think none!!
Iron Maiden is and will always be a special band. They`re all top and down to earth blokes.
Hello to all the people we talked too. You are a great bunch of people. I talked with people from England, Norway, Sweden, USA, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Germany and Poland. There should be more of this!
Wouldn`t it be cool to have what that guy was filming throughout the trip on a DVD?????? Someone knows what it was for???
Up the Irons
Scream for me Oslo and Gothenborg…