Prelude: It all begins at the Volvo stand of Pune, near Nandu’s Paratha house, on Jan 31st, the day before the gig. Or is it, umm, Jan 21st, Planet M, MG Road, when I bought the tickets? Screw it. The excitement all began with the first rumors that emerged on various online forums that the Devil’s Official Children-Iron Maiden were coming, yet again, to make our ears bleed and reign our souls with their Metal-this time, not so far from here. I reached Mumbai on the 31st at 1:00 am, thanks to Neeta Volvo’s extremely “relaxed” pace.
Feb 1 Morning:10:00 am. Shit!Shit!Shit! Waking up to a Stomach Upset on a Maiden Concert day. Things weren’t as “green” as I wished they were. I mean the day. I had to rush for breakfast, coz I wanted to reach the venue ASAP. Had Chole Bhature for Breakfast cum Lunch and two glasses of water. Took a Bath, got into the Auto, oh yeah! got dressed, not in that order. Auto Waala was Shaana and knew that I didn’t know squat about Mumbai. So he took me for a RIDE. Ghatkopar West se Bandra Kurla ke beech main 3 flyovers paar kiya. ( He crossed 3 flyovers from Ghatkopar West to Bandra Kurla). And so I reached BKC somehow, amidst all the chaos of Kurla. The Namaaz was going as usual; the Mikes were playing the usual Himmess. And the crowd as busy and lost in the hustle- no one with any idea of the Mayhem that was about to get unleashed. But then, as I approached the venue, things seemed a little more familiar. Auto Rickshaws, Cars, and People Walking towards a Banner that read- To Iron Maiden Concert Venue. And before I knew, I had my devil’s horn on my right hand.
As I stepped out of the Auto and paid him his unworthy 102 bucks, I looked around, and all I could see was Black. No, not as in skin color. C’mon, me not racist! Black as in Uniform. Seemed like March of the Penguins, with denims and cargos below. Almost all of them read Iron Maiden, quite obviously. But then there were certain exceptions too with the very rare appearances of Black Sabbath, GnR, Nirvana, Metallica and even Pink Floyd! What made me wonder was, the variety in the prints of the Maiden T-Shirts itself. I could hardly find any two T-Shirts having the same print. And then I realised, I should stop thinking about it. I was surrounded by an Army of MetalHeads, no Maiden Heads, a proper Eddie Regiment. But yeah, as usual, nothing pisses me more than the fake posing junta that throng such events. I’m talking about the whore-leather booted, micro-minies, black-gothic kaajal, and black nail-polished “woman” flaunting their tempo-tattoos. And yeah, that goes for the guys too! I mean c’mon. Get a life!
4 HOURS TO MAIDEN:
I had the tickets in my hand, and was guarding it with my life as I stood in the queue braving the sunlight, waiting for my friend. And he calls me up to ask for my co-ordinates. I asked him,”What are you wearing?”. And then I realised, that’s why they call me D-Moron. And as you can see from the Picture above, if an aeroplance flew over BKC at that very moment, all they could see was a piece of earth turned completely black. What they failed to notice was that, that piece of earth was now soaked in Maiden Mania, and may be a little Beer too in the queue. I finally managed to locate my friend, and as the gates opened, we rushed to the barricades. Just missed the first row, and we were happy to be in the third row. Well for the time being! And as expected, bloody noisy soundchecks which ticked me off. Parikrama doing Soundcheck. Can’t hear Nitin’s vocals, neither Sonam’s lead. But ain’t bothered. That band from Chennai, Nervewreck, came and went, ain’t bothered. The crowd continues to daunt my confidence to sustain my position in the thrid row. The pushes increase, and the First Fall of the 3rd Row happens. Thankfully, zero casualties.
3 HOURS TO MAIDEN :
First Opening Act: Nervewreck. The same old Alternative Formula sound. They were tight no doubt. But, when you go to a Maiden gig, do you expect your mind to be as accepting as say, a Campus Rock finale. NO! Unless, well you are the next Metallica to take Ozzfest by storm. Won’t waste time by talking about Nervewreck. Only thing mentionable. The crowd went “Hare Raam..Hare Raam, Hare Krishna Hare Raam” (from the Bhul Bhulaiya Soundtrack) on one of their tracks. It was me who started that, and I feel so proud to have been comfortably fit in that into the song’s groove. Collars UP! My friend asks me- How the Fish do they maintain such good and silky hair-style? Look at mine. My reply- Dabur Amla Kesh Tail.( Didn’t sponsor the event, nor this post). Anyway, NEXT!
Lauren Harris- the chick born to -the Steve Harris -the Bassist. Okay, I’ll talk in syllables to describe her band. I hope you get this. Hot Chick- No one Listens-Her Music- Everyone Stares-You Know Where- Hot Leather Pants- Could Count Her Veins on …- Perfectly Shaped Bunnies- Not So Perfectly Shaved Armpits- Rock Chick Formula of Swaying- Bassist straight out from Motley Crue/Poison/Any Glam Metal Band-Only Thing Missing was Panty Hose-Purple Bass with Silver Star-Guitarist–>Zakk Wylde Clone- Drummer–>Some Old Blonde fighting with His Baldness, but hasn’t forgotten “her” Roots. Songs – Umm, something that had to do with, I want YOU, and she climbing up the Monitors and Jumping, and Shaking Her Booty and her well-conditioned Hair, and shouting Mumbai-how are you doing? You know it. All of THAT! NEXT! And sorry guys, no Pics.
Enter PARIKRAMA. Fourth time opening for the Metal Lords. But man, they have come such a long way from the last time I saw them perform live in 2005. An all original set- all kickass songs. How I want the album to get released! “In the Middle” kicks start their set. Rhythm n Blues- my favorite track, follows. By now, am surrounded by a wall of hard rock, and a Berlin Wall of nervewrecking sweaty smell. Soaked in sweat, smelling the dirt, trying to raise my mose to breathe in a fresh breathe of air, only to inhale another draft of exhaled weed. Cough!Cough! And before I could realis, Parikrama were playing their Countdown song-But it Rained. Imraan on Violins just kicks ass. But yeah! I was totaly not in the mood of hearing anything else but Maiden. They play another song -Tears of the Wizard based on Gandalf ala LOTR. Awesome groove man, especially the climax with the Violins and Sonam’s Les Paul doing a Jugalbandhi. And well, Chintan on the bass goes mad and starts playing the bass like percussion, literally. No tapping or slapping, just beating the strings like you’d play a bongo. Ok, now that I’ve let Parikrama tak up enough space, I’m just gonna shut my mouth, on Parikrama ie, and let you know, that it was still almost 45 minutes after Parikrama finished their set, until the METAL of MAIDEN was unleashed.
And what exactly did we do until then? We were fed to the commercials eh! One of the management guy had his 15 seconds of fame by making himself look like Michael Kaemen as the crowd sang to the tunes of the Reliance Mobile Commercial,” You got the Whole World in your Hands”. DNA kept reminding that they have been organising all these events for the last couple of years; round of applause!!!! And SRK and John Abraham on that Pepsi-My Can ad-More on that Ad, may be later (for now, the Ad just sucks). And well, can you believe, even after we all survived the boredom of Nervewreck, when I actually started to have hopes that there wouldn’t be any stampedes or wreckless pushing, me hopes got crushed with my legs, as a lump of 120 kilos rested his arse on my right leg horizontally, with no signs of becoming vertical. Kicked him with my left leg (thank God for my Class 8th Football Games), and managed to get out my right leg just in time. The song is getting louder, and I can barely see the translucent image of the shining cymbals behind the Black Screen. I can see the Huge Backdrop Painting of Eddie and I can also see the crowd ready to be more hostile and metal than ever before. Because what was next, was not for the faint hearted;because what was next was something we will tell our children as -We were There;because what was next, was IRON MAIDEN-First Gig of the Somewhere Back in Time-World Tour.
Next Up:- Mayhem at Maiden- Metal:Somewhere Back in Time