Alive In Athens With Iced Earth – Day 5

January 25th, 1999

I got up the next morning at about 9 or 10, and went down to the lobby. And all the kids were still there! Apparently, many of them had stayed overnight. Unfortunately for them, Jon and Matt had already left to do interviews (Jon recorded a show for Germany’s VIVA at various places around Athens). There were a couple other members of our group down there, and the fans knew we had something to do with band, so they all came and questioned us! Thankfully no one asked for my autograph! Of course, none of them really believed that we didn’t know where the band was, but we really didn’t. Rick (who played keyboards for the shows) was the only person who actually had something to do with the music down there, so he got mobbed by autograph seekers. Jim Morris and I were laughing at his predicament, so in turn, he made a general announcement that that was Jim the Producer over there…so that made a whole wave move over to Jim to get his autograph, which was a completely bizarre experience for him. I had to go up to my room once to get my sunglasses, and a crowd of 10 or 20 chased me up the stairs and all the way to my room…it was a real frenzy! I told them there wasn’t anything exciting in my room, but apparently they assumed I had the whole band stashed in the bathroom or something.

Finally, the whole non-band portion of our group got together, and we headed out as tourists to the Acropolis. It was a beautiful day, and the Acropolis was just amazing. As we walked around, our group got split up, so I spent the afternoon with Jenny and Claudia, the new managers of Iced Earth’s European Fan Club. They’re definitely dedicated to putting together a much better club than there was before, and it was cool to hang out with them. After walking around a while, we returned to hotel (still full of fans), and waited for the bus to get together to go back to the club. As we were sitting in the bar talking, I realized that there were six of us sitting at a table, and we were all from six different countries: Greece, Germany, Sweden, Japan, the UK, and the US. I thought that was very cool. The guy from Greece was Joe, who was with the promotion company, and he finally told the hotel to clear the fans out of the lobby. I don’t know why the hotel didn’t do that themselves long beforehand, but anyway, they just stayed out on the street then, right in front of the doorway. Eventually, everyone got together, the bus showed up, and we returned to the Rodon Club.

Since I got there a lot later than I had the previous day, the crowd of fans waiting out front was MUCH larger this time. Because it was their second night in a row at the same place, all of the equipment was exactly where it was the night before; there had been no need to tear down the equipment and set it up again, which was very nice for the band and crew. The soundcheck was much shorter, although several adjustments were made of course. It was at that point that my new digital camera decided to break, so I only got about half the pictures that I wanted to from the trip. After a while, the doors opened, and the same process which had occurred the night before commenced again: the fans running in, waiting, the excitement building, singing to the pre-show music, and going crazy when the show began

For this show, I got a completely different perspective than I did the night before. I was at the very back of the club, up against the wall. After a while though, I still had to get into the crowd, but I stayed pretty far back, where it was slightly more relaxed. It was a nice change, because I could observe everything better, from the band, to the sound, to the crowd. One amazing thing about the Greek fans is that they seem to know and love every song equally well. In the U.S., people are generally more familiar with the newer stuff than the older, but these kids knew everything. Most people I talked to who saw both nights seemed to enjoy the second night more. For me, it was hard to say, since they were both so different, but the second night was definitely more “evil”, as it seems like they played more of their darker songs. They only repeated a few from the previous night, so those fans that came to both shows got to see two very different sets, and that provided more songs to put on the live album.

After this show finished, there was a much longer wait, since the equipment had to be broken down and taken with us. So by the time we left, the crowd outside was much smaller than the night before and more manageable. This time, instead of going to the hotel, the promoters took everyone to a very nice restaurant, where we were given tons of great food and drink. It was a very cool experience, sort of like a very big family dinner. The promoters were very pleased with the results of the two nights, as they apparently didn’t really believe Iced Earth would be able to sell out both shows…but the band (and the fans) proved them wrong!

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