We picked our tickets up and headed to the venue a bit earlier today, arriving around 6 P.M. We had VIP standing tonight—it was general admission on the floor and there was a VIP standing section in front of the stage in a semi circle.
Our friend Marcelo had the same ticket as us and had gone to the venue early to get a good place. He arrived around 5 P.M. and was dead centre on the rail. Kami and I found a place on the rail just in front of Harry and Jon Carin and decided to stay there for the duration of the show. Robbie came by to take pictures of the crowd and stopped to chat for 10 minutes when he saw us. There were 65,000 people due at tonight's show, and you could tell. It was so much busier as we walked to the venue. We had the travel to the venue down to a fine art since we’d been doing it for two weeks and 8 shows already. We knew the bus routes and stops like the backs of our hands! While we said hi to Marcelo, someone on the rail turned around and said, “Hey! I remember you from Athens.”
The local bus to the venue Couple who recognised me from Athens
The venue looked the same except for the lack of chairs on the floor and the addition of a lot more cameras. A couple of camera cranes stood on either side of the stadium. More were planted dead centre in front of the mixing board tent. Two other cameras ran on a rail along the front of the stage.
I took a walk round the venue to take in the atmosphere. You could tell that of the people at tonight's show, a lot more were true fans than the people in the front block seating at the previous shows. There were also a lot more band t-shirts worn by the crowd. As you may have noticed in the pictures, the wall was already 90% built with only a few bricks missing before the show. This was to check the alignment for the projectors. It is done before every show, but the wall is normally dismantled before the crowd are in the venue.
View from the rear:
I had brought half a dozen of the masks used in Athens, but as Kami and I entered the venue, we saw people holding the very same masks. They were obviously handing these out to everyone in the crowd. I handed the few I had out to people that didn't have one. We gave one to the double bass player with Harry’s band—we saw him just as we arrived.
Mask delivery! Crew sleep when and where they can! Frederico and Kami with masks
Kami went off to buy a t-shirt while I held our places on the rail, and I got chatting to the guy next to me who had seen the show in the same stadium in 2002. He had not seen Roger since. The place started filling up really quickly in the last hour, and about 30 minutes to show time, a Spanish-speaking girl came on stage to tell everyone what to do with their masks. They wanted to film some footage of people wearing the masks before the show. They did this in Athens, too. For 20 minutes they had everyone wearing masks and performing different maneuvers. They filmed the crowd looking to the right then to the left all together, then they had everyone raising them up and down slowly, followed by jumping up and down with them!
Crowd jumping with masks:
After the mask filming session had ended, the 7 track pre-show music started. The upper tiers of the stadium started the Mexican wave going for a good 10 minutes, and you could tell the crowd were going to be far more excited and louder than they had been at the previous shows! The whole atmosphere was electric! The rain had held off, and it was a clear sky with only a bit of smoke drifting over the wall they pumped onto the stage readying it for the In The Flesh opening.
At the start of the 7th pre-show track, “People Get Ready,” the crowd really came alive and started whistling and chanting. They obviously knew from previous shows that after this track was the start of the show.
Roger came onstage to a tremendous applause. I think he was actually a bit taken aback by it! The first thing I noticed was the lighting in the stadium—they had not only the lights on the crowd tonight, but also had spotlights up around the uppermost tier of the stadium, and these looked fantastic! They changed colour and angle appropriately during the show.
The Stuka plane looked great as it came down from the rear of the stadium and emerged from the lights and smoke!
The crowd started their Ole, Ole Ole, chanting as Roger started his “Mother speech,” and again, Roger was a touch taken aback by this. He just stood there and let everyone sing.
I have to say that Robbie's voice just seems to get better and better every time I hear it! Roger could not have picked a more perfect person for this role. It’s not only his voice, but also his manner on and off the stage, and it’s something he should be very proud of!
Love Robbie’s screams on Young Lust.
As some of you will have read on my Facebook and on some of my previous blog entries, I've noticed that Roger spits onstage at the exact same moment every show. At the start of One Of My Turns when he’s sat on the lower bricks in the wall and just as the woman on the recording says “Wanna take a bath?” he appears to spit to his right. Well, I have the answer as to why! He doesn't actually spit—what he does is take a throat lozenge at the end of Young Lust to prepare his throat for singing One Of My Turns, then, as you may have guessed already, “spits” it out onto the stage.
Roger “ejecting” his throat lozenge!
Roger’s recently made official wife, Laurie, came out to watch him during Don't Leave Me Now. You could tell she was enjoying the show.
The cameras on the rails in front of us had been going up and down all night, but it wasn't as distracting as we thought since they concentrated on shots from towards the centre of the stage. Roger did apologise at the show the night before and said he hoped they weren't too distracting for people along the front.
Crowd at intermission:
It was nice be right below Dave and GE for ITAOT for a change. Normally Kami and I are stood on the other side of the stage when we've been on the rail at other shows, but this time, Dave and GE were right above us.
The unfortunate part of being on the right, though, is that you don't get a great view of Roger during Nobody Home. However, the live video feeds on the sides of the stage made this a bit easier. Besides, it’s not like we haven't seen it before! :)
During the show it’s very difficult to take pictures of the band. For starters, they are usually behind parts of the wall. Secondly, there's usually a red or blue glow from the lights over the whole area onstage. The best time to take pictures is during In The Flesh/Run Like Hell/Waiting for the Worms section, mainly because of the white light on stage and the clear, unobstructed view of the band. As you can see below, the pics I took during the above tracks came out better than any from the 1st half of the show.
The crowd were amazing during Run Like Hell. I think the only show that was better was the 1st show in Athens. However, the extra large pig and the stadium lights pulsing really made this performance stand out.
The pig was led around the stadium on its “leash,” but I'm not sure what happened to it tonight, since I was watching the stage all of the time. I'm not sure if it was led back behind the stage or set down at the rear for the fans to destroy. Security came out at the beginning of The Trial to move everyone that wasn't needed in front of the stage in preparation for the wall fall. Something I do miss from the arena shows is the much shorter distance between the railing and the stage—it’s about half as much as it is at the stadium shows. When the wall falls the bricks don't come anywhere near the railing and barely even fall off the stage! I miss the feeling of “wall wind,” and, even being on the rail tonight, we didn't feel a thing.
It was cool to get some shots of the guys as they came out to go onstage for Outside The Wall.
This was probably the best show, atmosphere wise, but I really did enjoy seeing the 1st two shows from the back of the stadium with the full range of projections visible. Of course, as much as I did enjoy that, I just can’t stop thinking that the only place for me at any show, whether it be in an arena or a stadium, is leaning on that rail in front of the band and hearing their monitor speakers!
Full album of pictures: