BLIND GUARDIAN - Feast Your Eyes! Page 4
by Martin Popoff

When asked about interesting experiences playing to crowds round the world, the first one that comes to mind for Marcus concerns Japan. "The biggest kind of cultural shock we had was when we toured Japan for the first time, because this was the first time we ever traveled to the other side of the world to play some shows there. And everything was so completely different over there. We were sitting backstage and we were wondering when they're going to open up the doors and let the people in. And then one guy from our crew came back and said, 'Well, the venue is full. It's already packed, I don't know, 4000 people in there.' You couldn't hear anything! They didn't talk, they didn't produce any noise, nothing. We said 'No, that can be true.' 'Yeah, check it out, the venue is packed.' And it was. And when you normally play a show and you have security guarding the stage and you have all the barriers in front of the stage, in Japan, there were three people in suits holding a line, a piece of rope. And none of the fans even touched this line (laughs). That was the security barrier. That was amazing, really funny. I guess this is typical for Japan; everything is different there. In other countries, it doesn't matter, even when you go to the states or Canada or southern Europe or whatever, it's all pretty much what you expect from a metal show. But Japan is totally different."

And then there's Russia, where, ironically, exactly the opposite happened... "The second of two times we played in Russia, the first time was perfect, but the second time we were supposed to play on the weekend when that hostage thing happened in Russia, where they took all those hostages in the theater. I guess this happened on Wednesday or something and we were supposed to play on Sunday. So when we heard about this hostage thing, we immediately canceled the show because we didn't really feel like playing a rock show when people were killed and being taken hostage just two blocks away or something. Then we got a phone call back from the promoter saying, 'Well, the government says that everything should go on like usual, and please play.' Well, we said OK, we're going to play. Two days later we canceled again (laughs). Because it was a really difficult situation. In the end, we flew to Moscow and we played that show. When we were told 'Yeah, they freed the hostages; everything went fine.' We got that call actually when we were at the airport and thinking about canceling the show, now seriously. And we were told everything fine, they got out, you can come. So we jumped on the plane, flew to Moscow and when we arrived, we were told, 'Well, it isn't just exactly like that; there are some people killed.'"

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