Settle in for an epic story in fluxo De janeiro as iron Maiden, Ozzy and Queen and more play the first ever absent In Rio festival - together MIck wall surface tries to drink their rider


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In this world there estão three ways you have the right to fly: first Class, club Class e cunt class. Ross Halfin, who has simply been voted 1 of a world’s principal Rock photographers by a readers (all unfortunately halfwits to a man) of us magazine Creem, has his arse plonked squarely in naquela First Class, access-all-alcohol, $2,000-seat. Come his right is stick Stewart e entourage. Stick is looking tremendous for naquela guy who in der matter of hrs – at a stopover in Lisbon, on ns stroke of midnight London equipe – will certainly be celebrate his 40th birthday.

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He’s esporte an LA tan, e LA blond locks brushed up up in timeless Stewart cockatoo style. Every picture tells a story, e Rod’s eyes, his face, even his nose, ser estar a perfect snapshot – old absent money developed on three ancient Stones guitar riffs e a dylan love song em ~ Bob’s younger days.


Seated ~ above Halfin’s left ~ ~ the boys from AC/DC, quem over the years have acquired ns unhappy habit of completely ignoring the existence that any living thing external their own afinidade sphere. Very tiny of any kind of cogent value lies outside their very own sightless cosmology of band managers, roadies, bodyguards e immediate family members. Malcolm Young nods der ‘hi’ to Ross, and Ross offers der copy that the new Kerrang! come drummer simon Wright. Simon sneers right into Ross’s face e declines. Ah… us and AC/DC, we don’t importar on any more…


It goes without saying that a Kid has his half-starved arse parked in ns pig-sty humorously described as economic climate Class, follow me with the Rod Stewart band, numerous dozen reptiles a partir de Filth rua (the Daily Mirror, a Sun, a Daily Express, ns Observer; anyone wants a holiday in the sun!), der gaggle of compete winners on der Trip Of der Lifetime, e a couple of hundreds for-real passengers com only 1 question they want answered: for this reason tell me, my old doughnut, estão you walk to the Rock In fluxo festival?


Yes, we assumed so… todos over Christmas e New Year mine name has been jammy bastard to mine friends. What my girlfriend ser estar calling me i didn’t know how to spell. Yeah, I was south-bound on part Varig airline skyway, rise through the heavens to fluviais de Janeiro, Brazil. E no one is going come let me forget it.

Thirteen hours em ~ London come Rio, including a 45-minute stopover in Lisbon, and tudo de the snow, todos the January problem of a London blanketed in a macabre cloak of black color afternoon sky e white treacherous roadways would now be history porque o the next week. Front lay, we’d to be assured, temperatures in the 90s, the largest, most prestigious rock festival to be staged almost everywhere on ns Earth this year, and, according to a Daily Star: ‘24-HOUR ORGIES’ and ‘SEX e SUN together ROCK musicians LAY WASTE come RIO’! yeah well, we’ll see around that, won’t we?


Because they have actually played here before, Queen ~ ~ without a doubt ns best-known internacional rock action on ns bill. So when a stage lights ignite e the taped intro creams from the speaker it’s sufficient to push large sections of ns loco publicamente right over ns edge. Freddie Mercury senses all this, e with 1 mighty puff that his wide chest throws his head back e coos like naquela lovebird nestled on she eggs; prancing e pirouetting, chain-smoking and joking with the crowd, vitória their confidence e admiration with every regal flick of ns wrist.

Guitarist Brian May, bassist john Deacon and drummer i get it Taylor maintain ns same super-tight musical backdrop that has actually been their viver trademark throughout their career, and the set is largely ns same together the show the band were touting around the UK last year. The seven Seas that Rhye/Now I’m Here medley is still der feature, as ~ ~ Tie Your mother Down, someone To Love and Love Of mine Life.

It’s all the hits e more. Killer Queen, radio Ga Ga (which, just like the video, has the crowd tudo clapping appropriate on cue, a quite surrealista sight), Another uma Bites the Dust… ns only atuações moment of major metal mayhem occurs in Hammer come Fall, which watch May e co. Play with a slow-handed, advanced aplomb the true early-70s veterans: mean, moochy and meticulously magnificent. The somente pain in a nose is when Freddie and Brian climb up on two stools and make like frank Sinatra and Dean nome do menino after der night on ns piss porque o Is This a World we Created?, der pure acoustic wimp-out for tudo the james Taylor junkies in ns audience.

The large fun starts with ns encores, though. After a anticipated volcano eruption that applause, ns band bounce back on stage for I want To rest Free with Freddie esportes the exact same dark black wig he sports in a video. The looks like naquela Meard street tart taking the segunda-feira morning bus home são de Soho: faggy, draggy and tudo de shagged out. But ns funniest part(s) are the enormous pair that falsies he’s wearing! large bristols that so excite ns lapsed Catholics in the audience that they começo to hurl stones and gravel. There’s also some the attempt der quick heave-ho over the security-infested phase perimeter, apenas um to be met by destructive blows from the wooden truncheons of the guards.

Knuckles are being viciously rapped by long pieces that hardwood and there’s still der ton the gravel flying through the ar when a band return for their 2nd encore, It’s naquela Hard Life. This time Freddie’s gained his blond number dois wig on but, wily old mistress that he is, he also has naquela huge union Jack flag which, as soon as reversed, alters into a Brazilian nacional flag. Ns crowd walk suitably apeshit and a sembleance of nós vamos order is restored…



(Image credit: Hulton archive / Getty Images)

As it transforms out, fluviais de janeiro is three-and-a-half lanes the traffic lived in by Brazilian psychopaths quem feel confident enough to drive naquela taxi without uma vez resorting come clumsy indicators or old-fashioned principles like maintaining at least one hand on ns wheel. Shit, these muthas don’t even feel der compulsion to focus their eye on the nome da estrada ahead, spending most of their estrada time chit–chatting o fim of a far-side home window to other, equally dangerous e excitable types.

“Keep her fucking hand on the wheel, girlfriend stupid homo foreigner!” screams cavalo into a ear of ours driver, quem has just narrowly let go hitting two old women e a dog.

“Si, si, Señor,” grins our friend. “Estostanovacallimarri albero complimento!” that cries, winding down a window e gobbing hideously into ns kerb.

“Oh Gawd, just shut up and get united state to the hotel in 1 piece you horrible, stupid…”

Ross Halfin is not naquela man come be conveniently impressed, e so far, what with ns three-hour hold-up going through ns antiquated Brazilian immigration, and now the raging onslaught of being subjected to the most dangerous male in Brazil taking a wheel porque o our expedition to ns hotel, rio is doing nothing constructive for his indigestion.

“A fart for tudo de the people who never gave a fart porque o me,” the sneers prior to letting go uma of his many evil-smelling emissions. I’ve travelled with ross before e have mine gas mask duly prepared for this venomous eventuality. A taxi driver has actually not, and consequently nearly passes lado de fora over a wheel. This semi-conscious state, however, seems agreeable come his metabolism e his driving enhances markedly.

“Welcome to the rio Palace Hotel, Señor,” hisses the oily desk-clerk into Halfin’s beetroot boat race.

“Push off, Fernando. Just gimme mine room tricks while I’ve tho got a temper left come keep…” and Ross is off, bell boys laid to waste as the great guy slings his huge hook in ns direction of ns elevators. One of a finest guys that ever drew breath, perda Halfin.


The fluxo Palace hotel is positioned on ns lap that Copacabana beach in naquela security-guarded spot as uptown as fluviais de janeiro can offer the normal stinko-riche us tourist fora on der middle-aged prowl. It’s the best that bread can buy. And much the my equipe is going come be spent by ns kidney-shaped pool, dictating memos of remorse to a brown Brazilian dwarf e talking rapidly into a pink phone when sinking a suitably large, ice-cold jug of the finest local sangria. That, e watching a browned and bulging torso the Halfin waddling in e out of a sun, calling der spade der spade, day in day out for the next seven days, is what is walking to be happening. That, e wrestling with a languid, sunburn-slow way in i m sorry Brazilians conduct their business.

For the first thing you an alert is como as long the takes to importar the easiest thing with each other here. Now, I’m a kind of cara who, it have to be admitted, can, top top occasion, pegue bloody donkeys to vai the most basic thing together when I’m at home in London, so, you know, I dá sympathise, gringo. But, God help us, how long deserve to it take a person come hand me uma pack of Marlboros? compared to your average fluviais citizen, I mover with ns catwalk precision that Torvill and Dean on der heavy coke kick.

My primeiro co-ordinated movement, after ~ dropping turn off my baggage, is to take a walk under pool-side, there to find women, mostly American, largely on ns wrong ao lado of 30, stretched out on plastic floral mattresses, bikini top discarded. It’s tudo too much ao my nerves, so I plough gamely into the first six-pack of the afternoon.

There’s der Whitesnake push conference scheduled para 2pm, com one porque o Iron Maiden to monitor at 3pm. However plans estão already askew. George Benson, who era scheduled for 1pm, has turned increase an hour late, e the ’Snake boys ser estar left to wander roughly aimlessly during ns interim.

Meanwhile, outside a hotel, hundreds and hundreds that chanting, cheering, hysterical Brazilians push dark, toothy-white deals with up against the glass doors e screech menacingly every time naquela limo pulls up outside. Fame e success e glamour and MONEY and a comfortable ticket on the o primeiro dia flight fora of the country are the chief attractions this European rock estrela hold porque o the ticket-buying beat-on-the-street types here in Rio.

In a country wherein you either exist fully on a poverty line or estão extravagantly rich, 90 per cent of ns people muito the caminho Atlantica together Copacabana Beach are making naquela living em ~ thieving, begging, mugging, prostitution and todos manner that high-turnover pequena crime.

One of the roadies working ao Whitesnake ser estar taking in a sun top top the beach one day, his head relaxing on naquela travel bag, once two crianças simply lifted his bonce gently off a bag and snatched it away (the bag the is), do off under the de praia like carl Lewis with his arse on fire.

The guy gave chase, yet when that finally captured up com them they turned round e beat the vida shit fora of him, prior to proceeding come empty fora the entire materials of the bag in prior of him, ideal there on the pearly-white sand. Ns remaining 10 per cent of the resident population make their money a partir de carving slices of meat off ns backs of ns 90 per cent. That’s ns way the is, Brazilian style…

Back in ~ the rio Palace, when ns Whitesnake press conference finally begins the primeiro thing I notice is how well everybody is looking. David Coverdale shows up to it is in in the absolute pink of nós vamos health. In ~ 24 hours john Sykes will have his cara a cara plastered throughout the notícia pages of all the nacional Brazilian documents with a banner proclaiming him to be the major sex price of ns festival. Even neil Murray is spring decidedly clean of eye, while warm Powell has the appearance that a britânico mercenary about to to explode his straff skin choose an over-grilled sausage – brown, brawny e super-fit. The questions ~ ~ coming slowly e painfully…

“Eltobravo connidenda quel cumilulu?” asks a man a partir de the document O Globo. A interpreter inclines his head towards a microphone e repeats ns question, in English: “He wants to understand what girlfriend think about Deep purple re-forming?” that croaks through a cloud of cigarillo smoke. Coverdale watch bored and flips the cara off com some remote instant remark. Fairly right too, ao asking such a predictable question, I stated to myself, and hurriedly crossed that uma off the list of inquiries I wanted to kick around with david at der later date.


Ten minute of my time is todos the transaction is worth so i snake off back to a pool, whereby I outono into conversation with a nice, jolly Texan chap who’s in fluxo on his honeymoon. His newly-wed is under with ns shits back at his hotel, so here he is killing time and sinking beers under the Crimplene blue sky. He tells me where I deserve to buy todos the Moët & Chandon champagne ns want ao £6 der bottle, therefore I say thanks to him and take myself back upstairs where the Iron Maiden push conference is around to kick off.

As i saunter through a door Bruce Dickinson is law his best to explain a true and lasting nature of Eddie. “He’s just naquela phantom, really,” that suggests. “He started life as a band’s logo, porque o records e stuff, e just developed from there.”

“Si, si,” interrupts the interpreter. “But they want to know who is Eddie?” After the conference is over, cozy Powell decides to jog follow me the de praia back to ns Copacabana Palace hotel where Whitesnake ~ ~ staying. David Coverdale is currently being chauffeured back, while neil Murray, joão Sykes, Steve Harris and Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain, along with der few hardened rock hacks like myself, fix to a pool-side bar para further light refreshments. The celebração doesn’t start until morning night and there’s nothing to são de but drink and wait, drink and…

On a way back to my room i bump into Maiden gerente Rod Smallwood quem is in his usual virtude form. Ns word, states Rod confidentially, is that all the security guards operating fora at the celebração site estão really undercover policemen keeping their beady eyes open for any note of drug-taking among the European absent fraternity.

“And the includes the likes that you!” he says, jabbing a finger in my direction. “The point is, if they capture you red-handed having anything whatsoever to dá with medicine they’ll arrest friend on the spot, e they don’t stand bail ~ above those sort of dues here. So it is in warned! Anyone captured indulging by the local constabulary is liable to it is in left behind.”

I’m no really listening, though. I’m too stoned…



So what"sit tudo about? Why, suddenly, straight lado de fora of left field, is there this extremely super-hyped event, rock In Rio? ns mean, as soon as it comes best down come it, therefore what? There estão dozens of rock festivals ns world over taking localização every year; far better organised, an ext experienced and a hell of a lot closer to home than fluviais de Janeiro.

With a exception of Queen, who have performed in Brazil precisely once before in your lives, in São paul three year ago, nobody rather on the bill – which consists of Whitesnake, iron Maiden, stick Stewart, AC/ DC, Scorpions, Ozzy Osbourne, Nina Hagen and Yes – has ever cared to step onto der Brazilian stage before now. However in London and New iorque the popular message come the media right now is the there is a vast market for rock music, not just in Brazil, but likewise in neighbouring nations like Venezuela, even argentina (where rod Stewart has already planned naquela visit). A people of sul America, the seems, estão just waiting for naquela little viver encouragement before leaping thongs-first into a rock music major overkill. There’s bucks to be made em ~ these schmucks, e suddenly everybody wants in.

So, yeah, sure. But a most basic research will uncover the fact that more than 75 per cent of the record-buying industry in Brazil is much an ext fascinated with plain old mellow MOR. Ns biggest names in difundido music among the hippest factions that Brazilian youth culture ~ ~ George Benson, al Jarreau and, mightiest that all, james Taylor.

Nevertheless, we estão here e we are, choose it or not, gaining ready come rock. Certainly, sitting at pagina inicial in London watching the snow fall outside my bedroom window, rock In fluxo seemed like der grand thing to it is in happening in a world. Nursing der heavy hangover the morning of the second day, however, com Rock In fluviais coming at me from todos sides, I’m starting to wonder.

O Globo is running everyday front-page stories and the damn point doesn’t even começar until tonight; rádio is rampant with a whole deal; and on day-time TV videos of tudo de the bands appearing tonight ~ ~ being rotated like der spit. First there’s Queen, then Iron Maiden; e then it states ‘Whitesnake – Love Ain’t no Stranger’ on the screen, however what they’re demonstrar is naquela clip the Ronnie james Dio crowing his head off. Dark clouds crept into ns corners the the morning sky…


In fact, absent In fluviais is ns brainchild of roberto Medina, who is the presidente of one advertising company called Artplan. He is the man responsible ao enticing cândido Sinatra under to Brazil der few years earlier for der gig in prior of an approximated audience the 140,000, then roped in all his clients ao sponsorship e made a mint out of the whole deal. The is, to tudo de intents e purposes, der sharp-eyed entrepreneur who does naquela lot of nós vamos business o fim of arranging these ‘media events’.

He paid porque o the building of the terra – the barra da Tijuca – situated following door to Rio’s Formula one motor-race track the Autodrome. Set up on what was formerly swampland, it has been furnished com state-of-the-art sound and lights by Gerry Stickles, ns expert production technician quem does der lot of work com Queen.

Medina’s early outlay, therefore, come to der cool US$11.5 million! That means that over the 10-day period the festival is scheduled to run for, com tickets selling porque o between five and seven dollars apiece, Artplan will need maybe 280,000 civilization there every day to even begin looking at any real profit.

Take into consideration ns salaries of ns hundreds the interpreters working round a clock, the roadies, ns security, a bands, the this, the that, and any way you looked in ~ it a money wasn’t walking to be coming são de ticket sales. Without doubt when the festival was end I era told the Artplan had perdido more than $5 million on that side of ns deal, yet that ns business the several sponsors involved were doing verified so phenomenal it ser estar worth a hit. Top of ns list was a beer company called Malt 99, then come Wrangler jeans, McDonald’s, the usual crowd.

Now I’m told ns plan is to monitor up rock In fluxo with annual events. The site has to be officially rented em ~ the government porque o the next four years, and after that a likelihood is the it will be torn down. So a magic of discovering you’re walking to fluviais disperses nice quickly e se you’re in reality sitting there utilizing their toilets and drinking their beer. Every little thing feels type of languid and one-off. Everybody seems to dig the localização – naquela drop the sun, sea and sin is hardly ns roughest semana on the cronograma – however nobody really cares if they ever before see it again after a while.

By lunchtime during ns sweltering afternoon of the second day, word has it that, com only uma major rua leading to e from ns site, the through traffic guarantees to be naquela nightmare, e delays of up to 3 hours ser estar being suspect on der journey the should usually take durante more 보다 half-an-hour or so.


Whitesnake estão scheduled to show up on stage at 9.30pm. Even so, Ross e I ser estar advised to leave para the site no later than 4.30pm! just to it is in on the safe side. All the bands – this particular day that way Whitesnake, stole Maiden and Queen – ~ ~ being transported by helicopter no later 보다 6pm, i m sorry will get them right into the site by 6.30pm. Ns hitch der ride com Dwayne Welch, EM internacional PR exec and son the Shadows rhythm guitarist Bruce Welch.

Contrary to what us were told, us reach the gig within 40 minutes, getting here at much ns same equipe as a bands. This provides us ns next 4 hours come kill, lucky us. “Definitely equipe for naquela spot of sightseeing,” ns say come myself. E by flashing uma of the six different passes i possess before the eyes of the security, all of sudden I’m lado de fora with the late afternoon crowd.

So here we ser estar finally: absent In Rio, Friday night, and only 4 hours left come go. I’m stand in an area 250,000 quadrado metres in size. The barra da Tijuca site is trimmed turn off to the phia băc by huge dark hills and a deep, still, azul sky. A actual stage is huge, big enough to hold two bands and tudo their equipment and props, ago to back. At the fim of one set a revolving stage just spins ring to bring a next band into view. As der result a change-overs throughout the festival were always fast e clean, exception occurring somente when creative petulance reared its conceited, artistically, uh, sensitive head em ~ time to time.

The sound and lights all belong come Queen. Ns light-show is competent and generous, skilled in every respect, if slightly less than completely dazzling in scope e imagination. A out-front sound, however, is superb. Apart são de the gigantic military of statuesque amplifiers e speakers perched either ao lado of the stage, roughly 100 metres são de the front are placed dois further towers of strength that throw a sound, together crystal-clear as a foul waters the Brazil ser estar polluted com germs and poisons, an also greater distance.

However, com the celebração capable of comprise 300,000 people, ns absence of dois large video clip screens to assist you navigate ns pelvic gyrations of david Coverdale or the head-butting athleticism the Bruce Dickinson (total Neanderthal, baby!) is a strange omission em ~ an otherwise mostly impressive set-up. There’s der Press Room, replete com typewriters and telex machines; der shopping centre with more than 30 shops, beer gardens, fast-food restaurants; a telephone centre; naquela mini-hospital porque o the severely intoxicated; one information centre for the overly anal; even toilets and – gulp! – showers.

I foi ~ told the there to be also, in fact, dois ‘video centres’ which to be both transmitting the viver shows e stringing todos the boring push guff simultaneously, however I never controlled to locate them personally. Ns dunno, must have actually been something i didn’t eat…

As i wander backstage novamente I clues Freddie Mercury was standing at ns gates signing autographs. He’s got naquela superb, quite ridiculous cowboy cap on his head and, my impressionante my, yet isn’t the short! I’d always imagined Freddie to be naquela lanky matador in shades. In realidade he looks much more like a villainous cousin of Manolito são de The alto Chaparral, the far side of one two numerous enchiladas; broad captain Kirk torso and gaucho Groucho moustache! for this reason he is human…


In his dressing room, david Coverdale is working o fim before the show; cozy Powell, Nicko McBrain, cara Sykes e Neil Murray are todos wandering about amiably, not quite sure what to do with themselves till show-time. Sneaking fora onto the stage, however, craftily disguised behind his portable video camera, is Steve Harris.

“I want to importar the group on video clip just so ns could concertos it to civilization when we get home,” he speak me. However he’s recognised creeping approximately at a back of the stage in ~ minutes e the crowd começar to walk crazy. That looks in ~ me, surprised. “I knew we’d sold a few albums end here, yet I had no idea they todos knew what us bleeding look at like…”

For the último hour before Whitesnake arrive on stage to start the celebração proper – there’s currently been a handful of local acts geeing-up the audience increase – I’m holed-up in ns beer locker in stole Maiden’s dressing room. Stick Smallwood is laying down on a couch pondering the vida expectancy of a average Marlboro, Adrian blacksmith is quiet plink-plonking longe on his guitar, Bruce Dickinson is squaring up to his winter reflection, fencing tongue gripped in his best hand, consistently en guarde, en guarde, en guarde, e tour manager Tony Wiggens is swarming in and out of ns door with the urgent calm of a man totally equipped emotionally to deal com at the very least 12 worried breakdowns e 550 niggly problems, while tho finding time to deal with important stuff like getting a drunken slob são de Kerrang! a bottle opener. Oh well, tick-tock-fuck-the-clock… “LADEEZAN’ A-GENTLEMEN… PLISS WELCUM FROMMA LONDON, INNLAND… WHITESNAKE!”

Cue instant, immediate, quite unexpected hysteria. Coverdale shakes his tail under ns nose of the crowd, john Sykes rattles his long blond locks if ripping out the monster riff to slow-moving ’N’ Easy and Neil Murray e Cozy Powell lock horns favor rowdy stags, and suddenly ns 150,000-strong audience estão full the at least 149,999 laugh upturned faces, relieved as much as something that the whole shebang is finally off the ground.

The 1 solitary screwed-up e pissed-off enfrentar belongs to ross Halfin. “BLOODY joão SYKES!” that screams. “He had me THROWN OFF ns stage! lock haven’t even built the bloody photographers’ pit however so there’s durante way you deserve to shoot viver pictures the mean a shit. Iron Maiden had actually to fight tooth and nail to compreendo the security to allow me on stage ao their set. Then i go through ns same routine com Whitesnake and 30 seconds before they which I’m told I have to compreendo off the stage and get off NOW! e WHY? since BLOODY cara SYKES said he’d REFUSE to play while I was there. BLOODY joão SYKES!!”

Ross is not having der fun time at all. Poor old doughnut. Meantime, Whitesnake ~ ~ battling tough to guarda the enthusiasm for their set high. Lock haven’t play live ao seven weeks and are quiet rusty. With Love Ain’t enquanto Stranger e Ain’t enquanto Love In the Heart of The city Coverdale’s voice crack at ns edges. Cozy Powell’s drum aterrissam is cut from the show. It’s clean that a short, sharp shot in ns ass is what Whitesnake ser estar out to offer Rock In Rio. And, despite a disappointment Coverdale expresses end his croaky larynx after ns show, that’s exactly what lock do.

With mel Galley agora out of ns picture porque o good, e the keyboards – taken on well through ex-Magnum/Alaska man richard Bailey – tucked unsure behind curtains side-stage, ns rambling, bluesy Whitesnake the just der year back is gone e gone for good. This line-up is stripped e ready para some hefty MTV-type Stateside action. Com obvious exceptions like Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland’s previously mentioned Ain’t no decorrer Love…, which, no decorrer matter como as emotively interpreted by Coverdale, will constantly sound forced e white and very 70s to me, the direction ns Whitesnake collection is adhering to these dia has much more to são de with ns super-chrome, rear-wheel journey of upfront rockers like deslizamento It In e Slow ’N’ Easy, the best number of the night. Coverdale ends ns set com his usual, “We great you well. God bless and good night!” and the group sighs deeply…

If ns response come Whitesnake had actually been uma of unrestrained awe, ns reaction iron Maiden drew em ~ the love of ns vast beast ser estar exultant. Aces high comes roaring lado de fora of the speakers with ns mega-tonnage of der hub-capped, diamond-starred Sherman tank, ns frontline the Dave Murray, Bruce Dickinson, Steve Harris e Adrian smith hanging over a cliff face of the exterior stage nível like condemned marionettes suspended by a throats são de invisible steel wire.

The influence is still on ns up when Bruce announces 2 minutes To Midnight in semi-fluent Portuguese e the group goes also wilder. A Trooper and Revelations follow, and Bruce is climbing ns rafters, taunting ns crowd come raise your arms e punch chest-deep holes in ns star-tinged stratosphere. “Scream for me, rio DE JANEIRO!” that screams. “SCREEEAAMMMM ao MEEEEEE!!!” Here e there, union Jacks ser estar sprinkled throughout ns crowd, yet not to be out-done the Brazilians remover up the ferocious singing of “IRRRON MAYYYDEN! IRRROONN MAAYYYDDEENN!!” com emphasis on those rolled errs…

Rime Of ns Ancient Mariner, replete com taped creaky hull atmospherics, totally freaks everybody out, slaying a audience fully when a band come trooping back ao the roar finalé. But a suspension of shock isn’t truly complete until, halfway v Powerslave, ns 12-foot tall number of Eddie limit on stage to cries that utter astonishment em ~ the Brazilians who know that these English rock teams are, girlfriend know, der leetle crazee, yet hadn’t bargained on the appearance of the surreal rogue-phantom, headbanging his savage caminho across a footlights.

Eddie is the ultimate symbol of stole Maiden’s superiority, e the glazed, phantasmagorical photo of Eddie insanely poised, eight flailing behind a huddled figure of Adrian Smith, is miscellaneous they were still yakking around on the streets of fluviais long after ~ the grupo had left the country to proceed their marathon trek across America.


Saturday afternoon in rio de janeiro is start to feeling much much more agreeable. Me and Boss Halfin draped over dois wooden sunlight beds by ns pool, end head der marine-blue sky reflecting temperatures nosing into the 100s, and at our feet the largest glass jug that sangria Ross’s Am-Ex card can afford. Tonight there is der party being held by EMI over at ns Copacabana Palace hotel in honour of number of unpronounceable, wholly uninteresting Brazilian acts along com Queen, Whitesnake, Scorpions, stick Stewart and Iron Maiden. This afternoon, though, me and Ross ser estar off to toque tourists-for-a-day com Maiden’s Steve Harris e Dave Murray.

Two car whisk united state off to a two main spots any righteous-minded visitant to fluviais will go out of their caminho to view at least uma vez on their journey: Corcovado, and Sugar bread Mountain. Corcovado is uma of ns seven wonders of a world: der mountain height God alone knows how many feet over sea level com an massive statue that Christ, arms outstretched, above ns clouds, constructed on a apex of ns deep slopes. Sugar bread is an additional high-altitude rock the rises lado de fora of ns ocean, bloodlessly penetrating a skyline and approachable only by cable-car.

Climbing fora of ns cars, the four of us stand transfixed by a sight of fluviais de janeiro splayed out like a map listed below us. Even ross takes a breather são de beating on ns heads of the grinning locals come contemplate a awe-inspiring scene. Above us stands ns super-tall cristandade monolith, staring unblinkingly into the arsehole of a sun, while in ~ eye level tudo de you see ser estar more mountains and hills vying para their place in a currant bolo of life.

The Brazilians, every little thing else they might or might not be, estão by natureza an inquisitive bunch, and within minute of noticing the long-haired young gringos gaining their foto taken for this reason fanatically by Ross, everybody wants to understand what is going on. When the security man tells them that the famous English rock coporação, grupo IRRROONN MAAYYDENN, enquanto less, are in their mountain-top midst, word spreads and it causes naquela commotion.

Steve e Dave ser estar still fazed through it todos as us drive longe an hour later. An hour of being adhered to every wherein they walk, 60 minute of smiles and yelps and handshakes e T-shirt buying and ice-cream scoffing… when we arrive at a cable-car station ao the ride to sugar Loaf, tudo that’s transformed is a location. People cercos us wherever us go. Me e Ross have actually been said by Steve to offer up trying to define we aren’t in the group. “It’s less complicated just come sign a autographs,” the says, laughing in ~ our discomfort. “Go on – you’ll love it!” and so, para the next pair of hours, me e Ross toque at gift Iron Maiden para the day.


That noite at the barra da Tijuca celebração site it’s al Jarreau, james Taylor and George Benson, e therefore no of a slightest attention to the geezers são de Kerrang! undoubtedly we feeling it são de deep within our bones that it was ns EMI party we have to be attending. And, sure enough, there everybody is. Jesus! a Filth street hacks e the absent comix clowns outnumber your prey a solid two to one. Queen e Rod Stewart are all there, gadding about with their personal bodyguards in tow to “stop girlfriend bastards taking pictures”.

Mainly, as far as we deserve to tell, since Rod is satellite chit-chatting to a knee-trembling blonde com pegs that stretch right the way up to her powdered chin quem doesn’t go by ns name the Kelly. As a result, Justin Focus, intrepid Englishman-abroad lensman para the insipid sounds magazine, is thrown o fim after a fool do the efforts to revolve paparazzi and get a sneaky shooting of pole avec blonde. Meanwhile, neil Murray quer it come be recognized that he is not just here ao the beer, e that certainly his public image together a, uh, socialite, is completely unfounded.

This while dashing off another vodka and tonic e gassing about tudo de sorts of things I need to pretend i haven’t heard. Climate Brian may dives into the pool fully clothed – gasp! – as naquela line of news-hound photographers vai tomorrow’s page 5 printout. I’m standing com Michael Jensen, us publicity guru ao Rod Stewart, Ozzy Osbourne and Iron Maiden, nose-diving right into what Michael likes to speak to “some really serious cocktails”.

Over there Robin Le Mesurier (Rod’s guitarist) is supping icky-looking environment-friendly shit with cara Sykes são de Whitesnake. And over there Brian May and Neil Murray estão discussing, um, technique or something… But, in truth, as these points go, ns action is slow, and the wine is transforming warm. It’s been naquela long job and, anyway, mine mind is still stuck up what pinned to a slopes the Corcovado…

The inquiry is: will Ozzy stay sober? If so, what will he be like on stage? Will a self-proclaimed ‘born-again drunk’ cracked up under ns heat and go mad, demanding der barrel that brandy prior to he hits ns boards? e what walk this todos mean porque o the remainder of us? These e other, same fascinating questions ~ ~ firmly answered a following noite when Ozzy renders his o primeiro dia appearance in the bar spring trim, tanned e extremely healthy and on his finest behaviour.

Not a single light ale dampened his lips tudo de evening, e he won the admiration that even ns most hardened cynic (hi, Ross). But a fear returned once later a story went lado de fora that Ozzy had broken his vow of abstinence on the flight over, drinking the aircraft dry, lastly collapsing in naquela happy drunken heap into ns aisle wherein he slept off a remainder of the journey…


Ross discovering der Japanese restaurant around ns corner em ~ our hotel was one equally notable occasion. Ross loves Japanese food ns way Humphrey Bogart loved Lauren Bacall: com a cruel passion that refuses to expropriate second-best on any type of level. Halfin is no possessed of naquela forgiving natureza at a best that times, yet when it concerns his episode fish and soy sauce he merely will no tolerate imperfection.

A hot, dirty country full that punters prepared to swipe your cameras is an acceptable burden on Ross’s large shoulders; he is, after all, acquiring paid to suffer. Naquela badly offered sushi, with the sake warmed to ns wrong temperature is, however, UNACCEPTABLE. On todos counts.

“PSSAACHHTT!” that cries. “EERRGGHHH… PPSSSAACCHHTTT!!” His enfrentar is going naquela horrible shade of purple… “GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY! lock CAN’T EVEN importar BLOODY SUSHI best IN THIS BLOODY HELLHOLE… PSSAACCHHTT!!!” Waitresses come to run from tudo de directions. But the damage has been done. “Take that away. It’s bloody horrible! you don’t even know what soybean beans sauce is, dá you? a partir de you! Oh, walk on, clean off e bring me dois beers!”

The sushi tremors don’t subside till I point lado de fora that Moët champers sells porque o £6 naquela bottle in this joint. “Oh, well. Agora that’s different,” the sighs. A rest of a evening is spent watching ross bill e coo over his cheap champagne into der stunned Brazilian waitress’s ideal ear.

The adhering to afternoon, both the Scorpions e Ozzy have arrived in ~ the rio Palace hotel para their push conferences. While a Scorpions paper into the conference room, Ozzy is sitting by the piscina being interviewed ao local Brazilian television. Increase on naquela ninth-floor balcony, rod Stewart attempts naquela bit the thunder-stealing by play his ancient rock and soul tapes as loud as a volume level will enable – i beg your pardon is an extremely LOUD! – and the entirety pool-side área is drowned in wave after tide of Booker T, chuck Berry e Percy Sledge.

Meanwhile, inside the conference room Scorps singer Klaus Meine is explaining to the assembled Brazilian press corps the wherever ns band take trip throughout a world they constantly like come learn 1 of the traditional native songs, and would anybody care to oblige them? Half-a-dozen journalists instantly increase to your feet for an impromptu vocal rendition of part fine old Brazilian people tune. It’s naquela weird, emotional scene, which the Scorpions identify by was standing up e replying with der German individual song.


By the time Ozzy bring away his spot behind the média microphone spirits are still high, but ns questions are tudo de coming straight lado de fora of left-field. Ns interpreter educates Ozzy that a press desire to recognize if that is going to be biting the heads off any type of chickens while he’s in Rio? “Tell lock I’m off chickens at ns moment,” he deadpans. “I might try naquela few cats e dogs though…” a headlines on ns front page of O terra the next morning report Ozzy’s response verbatim amid loud, literature gasps the horror.

Tonight is another george Benson, al Jarreau, MOR night out at a festival. So in our ceaseless bid come cover ns action wherever a hideous trail could lead us, Ross and I são de a Judas monk (as in Head ~ above Down the Highway) end to the Copacabana Palace hotel where dois lonely bar-stools ser estar awaiting ours arrival. And in a bar tonight… It’s der bloody absent convention! tudo of Whitesnake; Ozzy and his wife e manager, Sharon Osbourne; Klaus e Rudy são de the Scorpions; world-famous iron Maiden manager (it sez here) rod Smallwood, together com various various other rock types.

Ozzy wanders by e we shiver hands. “What a partir de you think of it so far?” i ask. “I think Rio’s a fucking shit house, myself.” that gazes at me balefully. “I mean, it’s der fucking toilet, ain’t it? dreadful grub, friend can’t drink the water, e I can’t go exterior the hotel because I’ll get mobbed. I’ll it is in glad come fucking leave. Ns tell friend what, ns feel really sorry para Ronnie Biggs – trapped here! ns know civilization say that did bad things that he never gained punished for, but, fucking hell, having actually to spend ns rest of your vida in this localização must be fucking worse! Me, I’d rather have done my time before I’d come to run to this bloody place. Honest, i would. And I’ll tell friend something else,” he says, with der concerned watch in his eye. “I’ve had the fucking shits since I come here.” e he strolls turn off to a corner table, ago to his mineral water e his wife.

Meanwhile, back at the rio Palace Hotel, naquela mile or so additional up the beach, the action is decidedly more sedate. Pole Stewart and his entourage ~ ~ joined by roger Taylor of Queen plus der couple of the Go-Gos. They’re planning a midnight dinner, somewhere lado de fora on ns peak the the rio social stratosphere, followed by cocktails and empty talk at the nearest accessible millionaire’s shack. And for God’s sake don’t forget to wear naquela jacket. The said, AC/DC haven’t been seen in days. What does it todos mean? Fucked if ns know. Or care. Let’s compreendo back to ns bar, pronto…

“I can’t it is in certain,” says Michael Jensen a next morning, “but ns think I’ve regulated to collection up one interview for you com Rod. Will certainly it compreendo the cover?” Michael, pole Stewart’s us publicist, is busting his balls do the efforts to do the impossible: organise der Rod Stewart interview porque o Kerrang!

“I don’t think you’ll get the cover, Michael,” i reply, trying to stifle a smirk. “Nobody ~ above Kerrang! really cares enough around Rod the Mod any more. We’re all too young, ha ha ha!”

“It has to be naquela cover, or that won’t go ao it.” There’s naquela nervous edge to Michael’s voice. Anyone in Brazil, the seems, wants to rap com Rod, apenas um Rodders ain’t interested. Yet his guitarist Robin Le Mesurier, who I uma vez got drunk with, has put der good native in for me, e now Michael’s trying come wrap a deal up.

“All right,” i say, “Tell him ns say he have the right to have the cover. But don’t tell him that i told friend he won’t get the cover,” i suggest, tudo bushy tailed.

“Uuuhhhhh… no,” states Michael, “I got der better idea. Meet me in room 855 in ~ 7pm, e for God’s sake don’t it is in late. Rod will certainly be there. We’ve organised an informal press conference between him and one or dois Brazilian journalists. I’ll try e organise something para you then. Just hang out. Make like a fly on the wall for naquela while e I’ll try and introduce you.”

I tell the I’ll think about it, immediately forget all about it and head on down to ns pool, wonder what the hell I have the right to ask pole Stewart after tudo these years… that evening I’m booked to take a car o fim to the festival to see AC/DC and the Scorpions strut your stuff before the multitude. Big problem: i didn’t see any kind of of AC/DC once, either on stage or off, the whole time I ser estar in Rio. Wherein were girlfriend hiding, boys? and why? even when I ir to ns gig it turned lado de fora I had been given ns wrong pass and so had actually to stand outside e was eventually forced to look for solace in der bar. That was der damn shame (hic!).


Fortunately i had ns right pass porque o the Scorpions, therefore the noite wasn’t completely wasted. I’ve seen a Scorpions set a torch come the night in novo York and Madrid so longe in ns last four months, and Rio, the course, was enquanto exception. A rock an equipment that powers the music of ns Scorpions on phase thrives on estrada work, e the band have definitely had your share that that because Love At primeiro Sting hit huge worldwide.

Savvy as ever, singer Klaus Meine appeared on phase at the começar of a set carrying a huge Brazilian flag i beg your pardon he subsequently hurled fora into ns audience, lot to a unbridled displeasure of a tooled-up protection guards, before the band launched into a suitably hyper-charged performance of Coming Home. Reaction ser estar rabid, but ns biggest thrill that the night was reserved porque o Still Lovin’ You, naquela ballad which has currently been naquela hit single in Brazil for the band, e so ir down naquela storm. As I intimated earlier in this never-ending piece, ballads ser estar the big noise in Rio and Holiday ser estar also cure to some an extremely special emotionally muscle são de the crowd.

Towards ns climax of the Scorpions’ set, throughout Can’t compreendo Enough, Rudy Schenker practically topped himself when he did naquela back-flip in ~ the edge of ns slanting stage, etc still in hand, and slipped and cut naquela gash over his eye that gushed a fountain of purple blood and later required three darn to hold his enfrentar in uma piece. Porque o the encore of The Zoo Matthias Jabs arrived at stage carrying naquela very low-slung guitar shaped like der map of sul America, which, with der bit of imagination, resembled der Gibson Firebird.

And then, finishing off ns whole event with a atuações flavour of international bonhomie, ns entire band stepped lado de fora to the front of the stage come sing the same Brazilian folk a música the journalists had actually taught castle parrot-fashion ago at the press conference the previous afternoon. Oh, there is Wagnerian magic afoot this night…

Earlier, earlier at ns Copacabana palace Hotel, david Coverdale had just operation into a millionth human to asking what he think of a re-formed Deep Purple, a publicly touted ‘definitive’ mk II line-up that, uh, doesn’t incorporate him. “I think they look like a bleeding Moody Blues’ pan club!” he snapped at last, before hurriedly acquisition his leave. Three feet em ~ certain escape Dave was collared by weirdo Teutonic chanteuse Nina Hagen, who is additionally on the celebração bill. Castle stood together e exchanged pleasantries, e when they parted Nina breathed into Coverdale’s ear: “You estão such a nice man. If I had known what naquela nice guy you are I would have actually washed prior to meeting you…”

Around a same time, in room 855 that the fluxo Palace Hotel, stick Stewart had actually just go in to it is in greeted by half-a-dozen toothy grins em ~ the assembled Brazilian press hierarchy. Só the crème de la crème is granted one audience com Rod a God, and, for once, in my role as Sam Spade fidgety fly on ns wall Wall, that includes me. I’m under orders not to take part in this knotty small gathering, with ns semi-promise of der few words with his royal Haircut afterwards, yet figure I might just sling der few verbal appropriate hooks his way anyway, if the opportunity gift itself.

Huh! Fat chance! no with a assembled heavenly chorus of hungry hacks tudo begging para priceless jewel like: “Eeezze eet troo the yooo were once naquela grave digger, Rrooddd?” Or: “Why deeed yooo leeewe Innland to live inna ELAAAAY?” ns moment a inane questions have dried up, pole is whisked lado de fora the door quicker than naquela greyhound out of a trap. I knit my eyebrows and wonder why i wasted my equipe on this media-Mephisto. Michael Jensen shrugged his shoulders e whispered those famed last words no decorrer journo likes come hear: “Maybe tomorrow…”

Much later on that noite me e Ross ~ ~ among a party the guests having actually dinner with Ozzy. Ns restaurant is Muiro’s, reputedly uma of the finest meat-eateries in town. While the waiters repetitively throw large skewers of barbecued flesh onto our yawning good plates, Ozzy is reminiscing about his time in black Sabbath.

“It foi ~ such naquela laugh in the early days,” the recalls. “We cure nothing seriously. Let’s cara a cara it, we couldn’t treat anything seriously exterior of playing, us were tudo too bloody thick! i remember Tony e Bill doing this live radio show once, and the interviewer inquiry Tony who ns biggest influence foi ~ on his etc playing, and he simply sat there e went: ‘Er… um… ah… er… well… er… let’s see… er… Bert.’

The DJ era like: ‘Bert? Bert who?’ Stupid sod foi ~ talking about Bert Weedon! then Bill, who’s been sat there speak nothing para the last half an hour, unexpectedly leans over e asks ns interviewer if that minds if that just gets rid of his throat. The bloke says: ‘No, of course not.’ So bill leans into a microphone e goes: ‘Bollocks! Fuck! Cunt! Piss! Shit! Bollocks! Fuck! Bastard!’ Honestly, the cracked me up.”

He fui on to falar about those rock estrela who ~ pretend to dislike being recognised but secretly love it. “You view these fuckers hanging out in tudo de night clubs in new York or somewhere, e they’re tudo de walking roughly wearing bloody sunglasses. They can’t see a fucking thing e spend dois hours talking to der bloody brick wall, acting cool.

Actually, the reminds me of the time I era just leave this clube pissed o fim of me brains. As I obtained to ns door i get it Taylor em ~ Queen was standing there com his shades on, e he stops me and says hello. Ns looked at him and said: ‘Who the hell estão you?’ and he shoves his bloody sunglasses under his nose, peers over a top that them and says; ‘It’s me, man, Roger.’

And of course i knew quem he was, I ser estar just pissed o fim of me head. So i looked in ~ him e goes: ‘Bollocks! Queen simply ripped off whatever they ever before did são de Sabbath!’ and I walked fora the door. Can you introduzir his face?” that roars com laughter. “You should have seen the trying to figure that one out! Queen ripped turn off Sabbath! What der fucking joke! he hasn’t spoken a word come me from that day to this…”


Finally, it’s ours last night at the festival. There’s still another five dia to go prior to things attract to a close, but Ross e I have crucial don’t-be-late date in novo York and, frankly, us can’t wait to leave. We’ve had actually enough. A Daily Mirror and The Sun could reckon this city to be a riot of rigoroso orgies e winter sunshine, however me, I’m aqui to tell friend that’s der load that crap. Rio is hot, dirty, dangerous and devoid the civilised recreation. Jesus, of food I’m glad I foi ~ there, however not half as glad together I ser estar to leave. Sod what todos the various other posy press pussies wanna phone call you.

So anyway, it’s the last night. Two shows: Ozzy Osbourne e Rod Stewart. There have been waves of consternation a partir de the rod Stewart camp over the visualizar of adhering to Ozzy top top stage. On the uma hand, Rod’s guitarist Robin Le Mesurier has currently confessed come me that ns band ~ ~ dead chuffed the they e not Ozzy ~ ~ headlining ns show.

In the States Rod and Ozzy estão approximately neck and neck in completely commercial terms, with Ozzy most likely to be the 1 who will eventually gain the more outstanding lead. On ns other hand, though, Ozzy Osbourne is uma of the greatest rock’n’roll performers in ns world when it comes to delivering a goods to vast open-air festival crowds. Pole ain’t no decorrer slouch either, yet it’s going to be longe from simple converting ns excitement Ozzy’s metal-plated music generates from the group into a more melodic groove-along Rod’s trust thrives on.

“I dunno what he’s worried about,” Ozzy shrugs. Stewart’s jitters smack the superstar soft-soap, e Ozzy knows it. “I’m the one that have to be nervous. This will be my primeiro time on stage without naquela drink within me porque o 16 years!”

Classical music fills a night. The lights die and 150,000 human being open your throats e howl. Suddenly, flash-bombs ignite, guitarist jake E Lee stabs his fist into ns beating heart of his flaming guitar and… Christ! It’s Ozzy! Sober… and three equipe as crazy!!

I Don’t recognize opens a deal and the crowd are going mad. Ozzy looks fantastic, pounding ns stage with naquela new-found vigour acquired entirely em ~ his own unnatural energy. Your eyes simply follow every move he makes. Mr Crowley and Bark At ns Moon chunder e boom; the band ser estar choke-tight e the share is jumpin’. Ozzy’s voice never ever sounded cleaner, and he sings his arse off like naquela choirboy ~ above speed. Revelation mom Earth, i beg your pardon follows, is simply that; a revelation… really. Der monster opening and closing its great jaws. A slow build-up, the stake-through-the-heart rhythmic fee of a middle section, then the all-out átomo strike of the big finalé. A habilidade adrenalin fix; a best blood transfusion in town.

Live, Suicide Solution has become the jake E Lee show and no mistake. Ozzy throws an eight round Jake’s neck halfway through ns number and hurls him to a ground. Jake bounces ~ above his back, still playing, tho making magic, points his toe to ns sky, arches his spine e begins tipping into a país that hits the back of your throat like nerve gas.

Springing earlier onto his heels, tho playing, tho grinning, todos his cat-like mobility is shaded in rock’n’roll malevolence, his guitar naquela sub-machine-gun strafing between the eyes of the crowd. Earlier up ~ above his padded feet that is flying, fucking paris across a boards, quiet playing, still edging closer to a limit. Iron Man and Crazy Train nearby the concertos in a bloodbath the flash-bombs, and animal screams a partir de Ozzy. Forget last year’s Donington. Compared to rio it never happened… and Ozzy was the best thing todos day at Donington.

January is traditionally when ns rains outono the hardest in Brazil. Sure enough, towards the fim of Ozzy’s collection the primeiro showers start to fall e quickly começo to crescer in strength e sheer bloody-minded persistence. Porque o the opened of rod Stewart’s collection we’re talking torrential.

Built ~ above swampland, the celebração site turns swiftly into der bubbling vat that mud-glorious-mud: strictly quick-quag alley. Before he leaves ao his hotel Ozzy blinks into a rain and says: “People aren’t leaving this place, they’re simply sinking into ns mud. It need to be der plot flower by Queen. What they são de the job of your second show is, they turn sun-ray lamps on ns ground e up pop around 100,000 punters waving hello out of a mud!”


Dressed in naquela canary yellow shirt e blue strides, pole comes dançar out of the wings as ns band to win up naquela greasy, trucking version of quente Legs. The band ser estar tight, guitars swaying in ns night, horn ar rolling. Rod’s in good voice and, despite a thousands leaving the celebração because of ns appalling weather, those that continue to be forget a rain e get right into it.

The last equipe I witnessed Rod Stewart era back in the mim when he ser estar still to sing Jimi Hendrix’s Angel e Chuck Berry’s Sweet tiny Rock and Roller… ah, yet that era more than 10 years ago. How was ns to know earlier then that the next equipe I witnessed him perform it would not be with ns Faces, and tudo de my favourite song – with the obvious exemption of Maggie May – would be consigned to the history books.

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Funnily enough, the didn’t matter. Everything magic stick Stewart own as naquela rock’n’roller will certainly be his ao the remainder of his life. These days the songs estão more las Vegas – You’re In my Heart, infant Jane, Tonight’s ns Night, Young Turks, Passion – but on stage the athleticism is still all there, a voice quiet carries that borda and, well, that did throw in naquela very tasty variation of Otis Redding’s sit On ns Dock Of ns Bay.

By the end, ~ half-a-dozen footballs have been shot com Dalglish-like precision into the marcado mouth of ns crowd, he’s right into Maggie May e the time-warp is complete. I’m jigging at the página of the stage, plonked right next to the roadie who chucks out the footballs. E I figure, what ns hell, it’s my critical night. So ns stoop down and pick up 1 of Rod’s footballs and… this is my chance… this is what I came to fluxo to do, I’m encouraged of it…

One mighty, drunken kick later and the ball is travel through ns air. Then I rotate my ago on ns stage e pick my caminho through ns dark to a waiting limo…