The Metal Minute Awarded 2009 Best Personal Blog By Metal Hammer Magazine

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Stories From the Road: Iron Maiden

I intended this post to be upbeat, full of happiness and enthusiasm, to begin with how much life was turned around when my cousin-in-law sat me down in his bedroom, told me I was listening to shit with Top 40 radio and introduced me to Iron Maiden's Killers. I wasn't the same afterwards. I wanted to gloss and gleam about how much I've loved Iron Maiden since the early eighties and how I still say they're the supreme heavy metal band of all-time. I wanted to reiterate what a joy it was to finally reach a plateau as a music journalist to have Nicko McBrain on the other end of my phone, rolling along like we were throwing down pints together. Yes indeed, this is how I wanted it to begin...

None of that changes, actually. Iron Maiden is still the best, they're not to blame in the least for what happened to me this evening. In fact, I bought my Maiden concert shirt on the way out despite my anger. One day all will be righted in my world, but for now, a momentous personal occasion was soured by negligence, and despite the fact that I was flat against the stage in my own photo pit, as close to Iron Maiden as I'd dreamed about in my teenage years, I came home from Camden, New Jersey full of piss and vinegar and I'm mad. Mad at Tweeter Center and mad that I can't get over what happened, even though I took home a better souvenir than anyone who got to see the entire show as you'll witness below:

Keep in mind I'm looking for no sympathy. After all, I get a gratuitous amount of freebies in this industry: CDs, DVDs, free concerts, interviews with people I've always dreamed about talking with. I live a charmed existence in my second life, and normally something like this--which has never happened to me before--would be something of some irritation if I were closer to home, but in this instance, I was 2.5 hours away from home and almost 40 bucks in the hole from tolls and parking. That part is to be expected, but it underscores the anger I felt this evening.

When I arrived at Tweeter Center, I was on such a high. Earlier in the day, I'd gotten promo reissues of Trouble's The Skull and Psalm 9 in my mailbox and I was enjoying them on the road. I was making good time despite the rain and despite the pee breaks, and I had to laugh despite the $15 parking fee that the parking garage near Tweeter was logjammed with metalheads lounging on their vehicles, tailgating, thundering metal in an echoey environment. It was so much like the movie Heavy Metal Parking Lot but inside a garage. My, how the times have changed...

The Tweeter Center is actually a nice facility situated on the waterfront across from Philadelphia, and I was really taken by the view. Points in this place's favor for when I decided to write the show up. Well, those points went bye bye and dipped drastically into the negative...

I go to claim my ticket and photo pass that was promised by the record label, and to my astonishment, I'm told I have a photo pass only! In some of the smaller venues, all I've needed was a photo pass. Obviously this is the major leagues and while I've covered the Sounds of the Underground festival and stuff like that where the stages are getting bigger before my eyes, so too is the red tape, apparently.

In a panic that I'd driven 2.5 hours to make this gig and I had no ticket for the show, I punched digits all over the place, having my wife call my contact then me with his number, then my friends, then my editor at Metal Maniacs who was coming to show as well...lots of calls, none of them made a difference because I couldn't connect with my label contact.

Worse, the Tweeter peeps said the label was being stingy on tickets, thus my temper was really flaring. I've had a short but mutually beneficial relationship thus far with Maiden's label, and it just didn't seem right. No matter, none of it. I protested, explained I had a ticket plus the pass, strongly mentioned I'd come quite far to get there. No matter, none of it. I was given a release form that I thought was going to be for my ticket. Nope. Just a photo policy Iron Maiden wanted signed.

You can imagine how I felt with this mixture of emotions. I was being given access directly to the stage for three songs. Anyone in their right mind would kill to be in my position, and yet, I felt the magic of the moment for only a short time, partially because I was busy firing off photos and knowing in the back of my mind that after the third song I was going home.

Photo copyright (c) 2006 Ray Van Horn, Jr.

To top it off, I was going to be meeting our own Blogging wordsmith Fred Charles after the gig, on top of my friends and editors from New York. Instead, I drove into the night and let Red Sparowes play on loop. Knowing that I'd been fucked over this evening kept me wide awake on the long drive home, knowing that I had some choice words for certain parties and also knowing that I was acting like a punk bitch about it all.

If it wasn't for the 5 hours I'd put on the road to do this gig, I could let it go. Now that I have the story apparently straight, it appears that Tweeter Center screwed me and another journalist there. Why this is, I don't know. The show was sold out. I'd heard great things about the place, but this mishap appears at face value to be malicious. I could forgive it all if someone at the guest services said they screwed up, but I kept getting hope dangled over my head by them and when my time in the photo pit was over, they naturally had no tickets left whatsoever.

Photo copyright (c) 2006 Ray Van Horn, Jr.

In all my time covering bands, the biggest faux pas I've had to overcome was a missing photo pass at an Overkill gig that was remedied immediately since the publicist was there on-site. It's going to take me a few days to let this go, and I feel like a pansy grumbling about this on the blog, but you know, fuck it and fuck Tweeter Center...if this is the kind of value they put on having press in their venue, let the chips fall... Too bad such a beautiful moment in my music life had to be ruined by corporate bullshit.


OnMyWatch said...

Wow. I don't know what to say.
um...the pictures came out great.

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

thanks, I appreciate it...I look at my pics and feel like a jerk for wrath is strictly directed towards the venue, and if I hadn't drive 2.5 hours, I would've been able to let this go a little easier

The Management said...

You're right Ray.. you shouldn't bitch.. :) I really have never liked the Tweeter center. I've been there three times and something has sucked each time. Plus, since you were there for only three songs, you missed how the electricy didn't work whcih prevented a giant Eddie driven tank from rolling op the back of the stage.

I was so far from the act I don't think I could of smacked a golf ball to the stage. Oh well...

Your photos kick ass (plus they let me see what I was missing).

THe show was awesome though. It was a huge rush to finally see a band I've loved for all these years. You can check out Scaggsville for my crappy review of the show.


fred charles said...

The pictures came great. Too bad that they screwed you over like that, especially after all of that driving you did.

The show was great but I thought that the set list was a little lacking. I love the new album but I thought that they should have played more than 5 old songs. The show ended at 10:30 which is kind of early for an arena show. The worst part was that the Eddie Tank was busted and did not come out during the song Iron Maiden.

Anyway...see you at Celtic Frost!

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

that's the whole point to my rage, the fact that I drove so damned far and how nobody gave a rat's ass at Tweeter...I had to calm down before they denied me my photo pass, lol...that being said, I'm grateful as hell for the pics I got...I have even more goodies as well, so one day, I won't feel so angry when I look at those shots and remember how close I was to Maiden....and that was a nice thing to say, Mgmt, with the letting you see what you were missing...that's a huge compliment, thanks! Thanks for dropping in, too...always like fresh new faces! I'll stop by everyone's blogs as quickly as possible

David Amulet said...

The pics did come out great.

Let it go. You had an experience 99% of metalheads would give an arm for, to be that close and get thosxe shots (not to mention having interviewed Nicko), so this is just a blip. And not Maiden's fault.

(Great recap of the story, BTW. I feel like I was there--MY blood pressure was rising!)

-- david

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

thanks, David, the more I've looked at them and shown them around...and I didn't even post the best one of Bruce here...the more I realize that as much as I was screwed, I was also given a huge gift, to be able to stand that close to my favorite metal band and come back with those shots...I went down to the beach this weekend and got my head in check about everything in my life...ironically, I snagged a Trooper t-shirt for 5 bucks down I said in the post, Maiden was never to blame and I not once have held them accountable...Nicko's a gentleman and it was he who told me I should try to "shag a ticket" from the publicist if there was any to be had...I love those guys, period, and will never shit on's been a week now, and I'm over it...those pics will have a great story to go with them, that's about it