ROCK IN RIO III
"Rock City", Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Jan 2001
by Thiago Martins:
South American Field Agent for Metal-Rules.com
Well, let's get back to 1985. Brazil wasn't a usual place for heavy
metal/hard rock bands to play. Only a few gigs happened here, and on that
year we got the first edition of Rock in Rio, bringing Iron Maiden on its
World Slavery Tour, Ozzy Osbourne, AC/DC, Queen, Whitesnake, as well as
many other non-rock attractions, but respectable artists. It was the first
time that heavy metal was really played in Brazil and ater this festival
Brazil started receiving lots of rock bands, becoming each year a part of
the route for rock bands tours.
In 1991, the festival was reissued, but no more of a rock festival, it
was a "hit groups" festival, as we have Billy Idol, New Kids on
the "Cock", Information Society and stuff. But still we had a
heavy metal day, when Sepultura was for the first time recognized in
Brazil as a big band, Brazilian "AOR" Lobão, who hasn't been
very well received by Brazilian crowd, also big international acts as
Megadeth, Queensrÿche, Judas Priest and the headliners Guns N' Roses.
Then, ten years after the second edition, for seven nights Rock in Rio
was back on its third edition. For the heavy metal fans in Sao Paulo,
there wasn't many things to celebrate: Iron Maiden and Rob Halford was
scheduled to play here last year, but they had to postpone their gigs as
there is a "exclusivity clause" that don't allow the band to
play in other Brazilian city in a certain period of time. So, to see both
bands, the Sao Paulo fans had to wait and then travel to Rio de Janeiro so
we could see the band.
After all, this edition Rock in Rio schedule was definitely the worst
one: Britney Spears, Five, Aaron Carter, N'Sync, Sting, Red Hot CHili
Peppers, Foo Fighters, Oasis, Papa Roach were some of the attractions, as
well as some Brazilian crappy stuff as Sandy & Junior, a couple of
kids that translate some massive international pop hits to Portuguese and
are really big on Brazil.
The most awaited concert was the return of Guns N' Roses. Well, for the
loyal fans, they made a spectacular gig, for me, I didn't like it. They
played all their hits, the new line-up is musically better than the
original one (Buckethead and Robin Flinck are way better guitarists than
Slash and Izzy and so on), but I could not feel that it was "a
band", but some musicians playing very well the old Guns N' Roses
tunes. For Axl, he is not fat, just not on his "best weight
conditions". He actually sucks as a lead singer, like on the old
days, he is running all the stage, like on the old days, he is still
trying to be the "bad boy", like the old days, but he seems now
to be respecting his fans more than on the past. Well, if you really liked
Guns N' Roses on their glorious days, you might have enjoyed this gig. If
you didn't, like me, there's nothing much better now that would make you
start enjoying them.
I made my bags and traveled to Rio to see the heavy metal night, that
took place on January 19th, 2001. The schedule had three Brazilian bands.
The first two were called Sheik Tosado and Pavilhão 9. The first band was
a load of crap. Pavilhão 9 is a rap band, but they actually are very
heavy (not a "rap metal", or nu metal stuff, but a heavy rap).
They had some special guest, like Igor Cavaleira from Sepultura. They made
a respectable set, but couldn't satisfy a heavy metal fan. The third band
was the American Queens of the Stone Age, and they really suck. Their
bassist, former Kyuss leader, got naked on the stage and it wasn't very
pleasant for a man to look on the stage. This gig just never ended, it was
a torture for the crowd. But, as it always happens in Brazil, the
non-specialized media told it was the best gig of the night. The next act
was the third Brazilian band, Sepultura.
was the first Sepultura gig since 1999. For the first time since Max
departure, Sepultura was recognized in Brazil as one of the biggest heavy
metal acts in the world. Also, the band has finished the recording of
their new album, named "Nation", a concept piece that will
describe a "Sepulnation", with a flag and anthem.
This concert was full of expectations, and the biggest Brazilian band
of all-times really made it. Derrick Greene surely kicks ass, his voice is
fantastic, aggressive, explosive, he's way better singer than Max Cavalera.
Andreas Kisser is a good guitar player and showed to be now the band's
brain, along with Igor Cavelera, amazing as usual. Paulo Jr. keeps on
being the regular bassist he always has been.
The concert started with the massive hit "Roots Bloody
Roots", and everyone in the "rock city" (the name of the
place where the festival took place) knew the lyrics, and started jumping
along with the rhythm of the songs. The band played all its best songs,
even some older, dedicated to all the fans, like the almighty "Troops
of Doom", as well as the classics "Refuse/Resist" and
"Territory". "We who are not as others" was a surprise
on the setlist.
The band also played some new songs. The "Sepulnation
Anthem", played by the Finnish guys of Appocalyptica, that was used
as a taped opening is really fantastic. The new songs are very good, way
better than on "Against" album. During one of those new songs,
one fan invaded the stage. The security men took this guy and would start
to smack him, as usually happens here in Brazil, but the band stopped
playing the song. Andreas and Igor run into the guards and
"rescued" the fan and put him back on the audience without any
harms, showing that the band really cares about its fans.
Finishing the set, the band played the classic "Arise",
emending its end with the first verse and chorus of the "Dead
Embryonic Cells". The band was really great on stage, and now let a
lot of expectations for the new album and the new tour, so the band can
show the world that definitely Max departure is a past thing.
really born to raise some hell. Forget all the fucking techno crap he had
made. What Mr. Halford and his band showed in Rock in Rio is something
amazing, it's pure and raw HEAVY METAL! No bullshit talking, he doesn't
need anything like that. Rob Halford entered the stage with leather
jackets and pants (in a heat of almost 40°C - like 100ºF), with the
fucking great guitarists Patrick Lachman and Mike Chlasciak, the correct
bass player Ray Riendeau and the awesome drummer Bobby Jarzombek. They
haven't said many things, they just blow out everyone ears with the best
heavy metal concert I've ever seen.
The concert started with the three first songs of the perfect new
Halford album. "Resurrection", "Made in Hell", and
"Locked and Loaded" showed what heavy metal is, and even those
songs not being familiar to all of the people in "rock city",
the metal feeling was in the air. Getting more brutal, the band played two
Fight songs, "Into the Pit" and the fantastic "Nailed to
the Gun", and Mr. Halford hadn't yet talked to the crowd, the band
just kept playing the songs, fucking heavy metal!!!!
Then the first moment when my heart almost exploded. Without any
introduction, I've just heard the riff of "Stained Class" and I
went almost crazy, losing the sense of what was happening on the festival.
A special moment, as well as I didn't expect to hear this forgotten Priest
song live. Another "obscure" Priest song was played, and I was
almost dead when I realized that he was playing "Jawbreaker". I
screamed my lungs out, but when I looked around I noticed that all the
stupid fashion fans didn't know what was happening...
So fuck them, the next song was the epic-absolutely-fantastic
"Silent Screams", and Mr. Halford showed all his interpretation
power and all his voice. I could notice some tears falling from my eyes at
the ending of this one. Hell, I was completely amazed, and I haven't
noticed that the crowd seemed to not be understanding that Halford was
giving a heavy metal class. The next songs played were also from
Resurrection album, "Cyberworld" and "Nightfall" kept
the high-level of this concert. When "Nightfall" ended, the band
immediately emended with "The Hellion", and again my Judas
Priest heart was about to explode when I realized that "Electric
Eye" would be the next in line. So it happened, and the crowd now
started recognizing it, and we could hear the voices singing the choruses,
it was one of the finest moments in my life. The next song was "Metal
Gods", c'mon, imagine the hell that a heavy metal fan should be
feeling as it was the first time I could see anything related to Judas
Priest live. Ok, the crowd seemed not to know very well the easy chorus of
this song and I've got angry with the "Iron Maiden fashion fans"
that were at my side trying to survive smashed on the first row of the
venue of 250,000 people.
To close the set, Rob Halford, holding a Brazilian flag, started doing
that "sing-after-me section", "oh yeahs" and stuff for
the crowd to sing. The he made that fine question: "Breaking the
what?" Fuck it. The crowd answered and the riff started, and then
Mr.. Halford said "Sing the words Rio", and he hadn't said not
even a single word for the rest of the concert: 250,000 heavy metal fans
sang alone the whole lyrics of "Breaking the Law", the melodies
of the solo, everything. Imagine yourself on a concert and the lead singer
just leaves the crowd to sing the whole song, imagine the feeling when you
hear 250,000 people singing with you. It had never happened in any gigs
I've seen, and I was screaming my heart out, with tears in my eyes, it was
absolutely fantastic. It was HEAVY METAL!
When the song ended, hell, I didn't knew what I was feeling, I just
looked on the stage and the guys were destroying their instruments on the
stage, Halford was kissing the Brazilian flag, no one was believing on
what happened. Rob Halford is the same thing as heavy metal, and he proved
that he's back to raise some hell again.
Choosing Brazil to record the DVD is a risk for Iron Maiden. One point
is that Iron Maiden is a mania in Brazil, they always recycled their fans
here, almost every teenager in Brazil is an Iron Maiden fan. But when they
grew up, they barely listen to heavy metal. The problem is that they
usually becomes a fashion fan, and not many of them are interested in
knowing the whole career of the band, and so they only knew the classic
hits. That happened on this night in Rock in Rio. From the supposed
attendance of 250,000 people, I think that "only" 20,000
actually knew more than half of the Iron Maiden set.
Okay, let's talk about the set. If you have the chance to see any
concert from the Brave New World Tour, well, this concert in Rio had
absolutely nothing different musically related. The setlist was the same,
the stage effects were the same also (well, here in Brazil we didn't have
the cross stuff on "Sign of the Cross"), the difference were
Bruce Dickinson speeches between the songs, stuffs like "Rio de
Janeiro is the capital of heavy metal in the world" (well, if you see
that here in Brazil Rio is considered the "rock grave", I think
Bruce is not very corrected on this), or making some angry critics to
Britney Spears fans (she "played" on the festival on the day
before) and so on.
On stage, Bruce Dickinson is really the highlight for this concert. His
singing is amazing, he still is the best frontman in the world, keeping
the 250,000 people interested on the concert during the whole 2 hour-set,
he was perfect on stage. Also, for me is a great pleasure to see and hear
Adrian Smith back in the band, as he get the chance to play perfectly his
sols, and it was beautiful when I've hear "The Number of the
Beast" solo perfect again. The other members made their usual
performance. Steve Harris was an electric bassist, jumps and runs during
all the concert, Nicko McBrain keeps on making his joking drumming play
live, Janick Gers keeps on making his circus performance and screwing all
the solos and riffs, like he always does, but actually he wasn't so bad on
The highlights of the concert were the amazing "Ghost of the
Navigator", as well as Bruce's performance on "Sign of the
Cross". The negative point is the setlist (well, it's always the same
old songs, "2 minutes to Midnight", "Wrathchild",
"The Number of the Beast", "Hallowed be Thy Name",
"Iron Maiden", "Sanctuary", "The Evil That Men
Do", "The Trooper" - I expect the band to do like Halford
did, finding some obscure or forgotten songs and play them live again, as
the band usually did until No Prayer on the Road Tour), as well as the
large number of new songs on the set (I think that "Blood
Brothers" and "Dream of Mirrors" don't work out well on
live performances). Other thing that I didn't like is this three-guitar
bullshit. There's nothing actually new on this, the old songs sound the
same, unless some parts where it seems that there is a guitar more than
it's needed. On the new songs, this three-guitar seems to make no
difference to only two as the band always did. So, until I can't
understand why Janick Gers keep on screwing songs like "2 Minutes to
Midnight" and "The Evil That Men Do", while Adrian Smith is
back to play them correctly. Well, I can't even understand why Janick Gers
is still on the band.
Finally, the worst point of the gig was the fans. If it wasn't for
Bruce keeping the crowd awake, probably they would only be noticed on
"Fear of the Dark" (a blockbuster hit around here), "The
Wicker Man", "The Number of the Beast", and "2 Minutes
to Midnight". Old songs easy to sing like "Wrathchild" were
strange to the them.
After playing "Sanctuary", the band made their photo for the
DVD, and then announced that they would play "a song we haven't
played for a long long time". I was naively expecting some obscure
song, some different song, or at least "Wasted Years", never
played live in Brazil, but they played "Run to the Hills". It
was a surprise, it was very good to hear this song live, it was one of the
I wasn't completely satisfied with the gig, but it was surely very
good. Actually, this DVD will be very good too, Iron Maiden is in fact the
biggest heavy metal band ever. But I expect much more from Iron Maiden
than they are delivering since Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. I hope
someday Maiden become again as fantastic as they were in the 80's.
Photos courtesy of