So I’m back from my Iron Maiden Tour, Eddie Rips up Athens and my feel still hurt from the sheer amount of walking we did in Athens. Did anybody listen when I told them to take an organized tour with a bus and everything? No, we had to take the damn Train and suffer so many hours of waiting and boredom. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The original plan involved us getting the train to Athens and then waiting in the station for the next train to head back, my idea was to wait at a bar or something while we were there and take an early morning train. Well OSE (Greek Railroads company) had other plans for us.
For of us, Dimitris, Lampis, Athena and me were on the same trip. We met up in front of the station and started our journey uneventfully. Now allow me to rant about the quality of seats in these damn trains…they’re impossible to sleep in! While we spent most of the trip talking, I still tried to catch an hour or so of shut-eye but it was nearly impossible. The seat is just VERY uncomfortable (It’s uncomfortable enough just sitting) and there is just too much interference from around. In any case, the six-hour journey was unproblematic and I got to know Athena who I was seeing for the second time. So far, so good.
Due to a spot of good luck the train driver makes a stop, just for us metalheads, to get off in Malakasa (where the concert is taking place) and he start marching to the concert area a simple 1km trip. Luckily it was a bit overcast and we didn’t had to suffer the sun on our heads the whole time.
We reached the concert area 3 hours before the doors open and we have the joy of sitting there doing nothing but hearing the cantinas around us advertising their ridiculously overpriced goods. I mean 4 Euro for a damn Souvlaki Sandwich? WTF is that? I didn’t give them the joy of my money of course Dimitris was pretty much starving so he had no choice, especially after they enticed him with a free souvlaki.
As the four hours were reaching the end, another good event happened. A romantic acquaintance of mine showed up and brightened my day and I think that Athena got a bit moody about that but I can’t be sure. In any case, the last hour went by pretty quickly and then the doors opened.
I got inside the concert area with said former acquaintance and cruised the are to the stage where she decided to enter the mass of people and head for the front a few hours before Maiden were scheduled to start despite my warning that it wasn’t a good place to be. Oh well…
After that Dimitris called and we met in front of the toilets (of all the places) and slowly the rest of the crew gathered as well, including four other people that arrived in a private car.
First Dragonforce came to the stage to the dismay of everyone else in the crew instead of me. I can’t say they were perfect, at least not for the Greek crowd, but I enjoyed them and I even headed for the front at one time. Let me tell you, never head for the front in a concert this big. There are at least two thousand people wanting to get to the front and they all try like mad to get to the first line. I, for some reason, can always get to the front line if I really want to and I proved that to myself by getting to the front on W.A.S.P. and Queensryche/Nightwish at last year’s Rockwave. In any case I got till the third line where the sheer amount of pressure around me was enough to suffocate a smaller person and that’s when I thought of my friend. I threw a desperate search for her but it was just impossible to find her. I sent her a message where to find me and returned back to my cluster of friends only to hear them groan about how long Dragonforce had to play.
I don’t understand why so few people like power metal around here. Almost everyone I meet likes all kinds of metal except power for some strange reason. They either find it too happy or too stupid or something other like that. It’s very strange that I keep liking it so much.
After Dragonforce there was a half hour pause to get the stage ready for Maiden where I took the time to grab something to eat and look around the area. There were some nice clothes shops around with some shirts I really wanted to buy but the some price tags were unbelievable. I just can’t spend 65e for a damn shirt, not in my condition. Funny thing is that the guy who was selling the shirts was very enthusiastic when I looked around, telling me how they were from the US and showing me all the nice stamps and whatnot but I soon as I mentioned that I had no money, his enthusiasm died like a spider on a frying pan. I headed out and to the cluster of friends again.
At last Iron Maiden came on, among cheers and whistles and let me tell you, these guys know how to put up a really nice show. There where entrances, fires, giant eddie balloons, giant Piece of Mind Eddie’s walking around and other fun facts. I’m sure there are many sites giving an adequate review, even in Greece so I won’t go into detail about that. Needless to say that the rest of the crew, along with several thousand other people, were jumping around like insane rabid monkeys on crack. Especially Dimitris who was seeing maiden for the first time was cumming out of his nostrils, so to speak. I am sorry to say that I wasn’t as excited as I could have been because I didn’t know the song quite as well (They played only the first four albums which, while I have them, have not listened to them that much) and also because I was a bit afraid about what happened to my friend. Thus I ended up only really getting down to it at a few select songs like Running Free or Number of the Beast.
When the concert ended it caught as all in a bit of surprise as it looked like they (Iron Maiden) were waiting for a second call to stage (We Want More) which never came. I don’t know if it was because people didn’t like it that much (I don’t think so), because they were tired or because they didn’t understand. In any case I later heard that the Maiden where pissed off for some reason and this could just be it. Last song of the concert: Always look on the Bright Side of Life 😉
After that we were running or, more appropriately, strolling quickly, to the train station. Unfortunately not only did the crew not go quite as fast, but they also stopped not once but twice for water on the way. As a result we lost the final train and we stayed at the station for no good reason. At least I got something out of it when I met a girl there that Athena had started chatting with. She turned up to be a 30 years old freelancer photograph and I ended up chatting with her until we reached Athens. How did we reach Athens? well after an hour and a half waiting at the station it finally dawned on us that a train was not forthcoming and we headed out to find the bus. At one point we reached a crossroads where someone had told people the bus would come through and people stopped there and started lighting fires and stuff. Sooner or later people would be jumping over the fire in a mock pagan ceremony. In any case we headed out and finally learned that we should take the bus from the concert area groan.
At the concert area it was panic. A whole lot of tired people wanting to get on the bus without having any money and patience. Shouting at the bus drivers, shouting at the managing team, shouting at everyone, panic I tell you! Luckily we got in the bus before any riot started and I dozed off for the half hour or so it took us to reach Athens, (Happy moment: The reporter felt comfortable enough to sleep on my shoulder 😉 ).
So we are at Athens’ train station and after I give my goodbyes (and phone number 😉 ) to the reporter, we learn that the first train to Thessaloniki is approximately 7 hours away Groan! again. We decide to visit a local bar and grab a drink so we catch a ride to the central square of Athens and we almost get into a fight with the Cab driver. After I calm the spirits and we reach the square, we get to eating. For some reason Lampis takes a dive in a eats one Everest sandwich and two Croissants. Talk about hunger. After the we argue a bit where to head to and finally we decide to go out to Psiri. We almost get lost, get past a few hookers and find a nice enough bar playing rock but not quite. Unfortunately at this point exhaustion was creeping in and my usual talkativity was giving way the sleep. After about two hours we pay the very expensive drinks and head to the station again.
Now the waiting was just awful. While at the bar, I could sleep wherever but at the station, due to the noise and commotion, it was impossible to sleep. Whenever you drifted into the arms of Morpheus at fucking train would come by and whistle you into the land of bitter consciousness. Athena decided to get the Intercity train in order to get to Thessaloniki 3 hours sooner, paying 18e in the process, but we, as eternal brokes waited until the 9:45 train. It finally came and after a brief struggle with the train staff about where it was appropriate to sleep (we were in a kid’s playground at the time) we got into our chairs and tried to sleep. I ended up getting cramps in my lower back and sleeping approximately three hours our of six.
Now, I’m back in my room after a good solid 5 hours of sleep in my comfortable bed and I’m ready to head out into the night!
Oh, and my feet hurt!