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    • Steven Adler live in Virginia
      Did Steven fuck your wife or something? Haha you seem to have some sort of beef with him
    • New and Rare GNR photos
      Downzy copying Axl with a new hat.
    • Iron Maiden - The Book Of Souls album & 2016 World Tour discussion
      Okay, now that I'm back home and well rested, I feel like typing up all my thoughts on the China gigs. Maybe this will interest you guys, maybe not, but I feel like I need to jot down my thoughts somewhere and the FC is overrun with peoples' thoughts on China right now.    Beijing was the first gig of the two. The whole day had this air of uncertainty to it; we didn't know what the setlist would be, we didn't know what the stage show would be like, hell - we didn't even know if there would be a show. One of the guys I was traveling with talked to John McMurtrie, the band's photographer, in Tokyo and he had told them as of the 21st, the band hadn't heard anything one way or the other on an approved setlist for the China gigs. We bumped into a few more of our friends on our way to the ticketing office in downtown Beijing and they played a prank on us, saying that the gig had been cancelled and they weren't issuing tickets anymore; this wasn't very far off from how we were feeling though. Even when we left our hotel room to head to the venue, we all had this apprehensive "well, let's see how this goes..." attitude.   Outside the venue we ran into the band's videographer and he asked us to get our flags out for the video blog on China - within seconds we had all sorts of security and police all over us confiscating our flags, yelling at us, etc. A local who spoke good English stepped in and helped us out, he eventually talked them into treating all of our flags as checked bags that we could pick up after the gig. But it was crazy - I've literally never seen anything like it. We talked with the video guy for a few more minutes (He did get the whole thing on video but, unsurprisingly, didn't include it in the final cut of the China video blog) and he pretty much shared our views on the show; he said they only got the approval of the setlist about 2 hours earlier, and that no one in the camp really knew what to expect or how far the show would go. He also said that The Raven Age, the opening act got told that afternoon that they couldn't play, as opening acts aren't allowed at concerts in Beijing. None of that helped put any of our minds at ease.   We headed inside the venue to try and get our event shirts. We got inside about ten minutes after doors opened and there was virtually no one else in the venue yet, but even so they only had XS and S event shirts left. They couldn't have had more than 100 to 150 I think for Beijing, they basically had one moderate sized cardboard box of them and that was it. The merch stand in general was the shoddiest I've ever seen for any large-name band; they basically had the event shirt, one tour shirt, the baseball hat, and the tote bag. My old band literally had a larger merch stand on the last tour we did a few years ago. I did finally manage to get a M of the event shirt, but I had to bribe them to sell me the one that was on display - I paid more than double for it. I don't think any of the other traveling fans managed to get one in their size in Beijing (And some didn't even manage in Shanghai), and we're not even sure if they had any L or XL's in Beijing. We were chatting with our friend who runs the First To The Barrier contest and has a running pass, and he said that basically outside of the actual artist passes, no other sorts of passes were honored in Beijing. Once we got into the actual arena, they had the barrier set at least 10 feet from the stages, and they had police about 10 feet in front of that to stop fans in the front row from standing at the barrier.    In a nutshell, every piece was in place for this show to be a colossal disaster - everything aspect of the show up until the actual showtime was coming as close to the brink as possible without going over the edge. But somehow, when the band came on, almost all of the tensions miraculously disappeared. The atmosphere lightened up a ton, and it was electric. The police presence was no longer an issue, and I even caught glimpses of some of the police sneaking pictures on their phones when possible. The first of the notable changes to the show was apparent from the get-go; no pyro in China. No biggie on this one, I've seen other shows where they weren't allowed to use pyro for one reason or another. Next notable change was no swearing - Bruce played this one pretty safe in Beijing, but got a little ballsier in Shanghai (For the record, Children Of The Damned was okay as far as swearing goes). The third, and most noticeable difference was that Bruce couldn't use the flag on The Trooper. This led to two of the most entertaining renditions of the song I've ever seen, as Bruce ran around the stage with an imaginary flag, waving it, jousting it, etc. The only other small difference was, in Beijing, on the first chorus of Powerslave Bruce sang "tell me why I had to be a Wicker Man". Lots of online media is citing this one as a case of the band being censored by the government but that is absolutely not the case, since Bruce sang "Powerslave" for the rest of the song in Beijing, and the whole song in Shanghai. Someone who talked to Rod at some point during China said he said that Bruce just did it as an inside joke, because the band was prepared to play The Wicker Man in the (Likely) event that Powerslave wasn't approved by the government. But other than those small changes I've highlighted the gig was remarkably similar to any other gig on this tour. The band seemed a little reserved so to speak, but I think that's pretty understandable given the scenario. In the end, the gig went over extremely well and Maiden can finally say they crossed off one of their bucket list items.    If they seemed reserved in Beijing, in Shanghai they were back to their normal selves. The same changes still applied to the show, but Bruce really started testing how far he could push the boundaries. During his first talk break he mentioned how he's not allowed to swear, how serious Beijing was, etc. and he said (With the bracketed words being swearing he said off to the side of his mic) something along the lines of "They told me I'm not allowed to swear here, but that's a load of [shit]. So, any time you see me lean to the side of my mic, you know what the [fuck] I'm saying, alright?". He kept that up the entire night, maybe even making a point to "swear" more than usual. The rest of the band was all jokes again also, and it was great to see them so relaxed in such a volatile environment. The crowd in both cities was phenomenal, particularly Shanghai. As I mentioned a few days ago, I managed to catch Eddie's heart during The Book Of Souls in Shanghai. I think Bruce may have intentionally thrown it to me, as I was wearing a shirt from his Tattooed Millionaire solo tour and I was only fourth row - he usually throws the heart much farther than that. Either way I had a bit of an unfair advantage since I knew the show already and no one else around me did. But still, I can't believe I actually caught it - that's gonna be one of my highlights of the whole tour for sure.    In the end, I'm so happy I went to these gigs. On my Maiden bucket list, ever since I started traveling to see the band, my number one item has always been to see their first gig in China if they ever played there. It still feels absolutely surreal to me that I saw it, let alone that it even happened. I wish more bands would give China a chance when touring, as they're absolutely starved for live music there it seems. Also, huge kudos to Maiden for agreeing to play ball by the government's rules so as to give the Chinese fans two amazing shows, instead of telling the government to fuck off as they usually would under such circumstances. 
    • Ken Livingstone under fire for anti-semitism
      I didnt hear any full quote, i just heard he said Hitler wanted to send em all over to Israel at one point, which is a fact.  
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