“Scream for Me, Argentina!”

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maiden-quilmes

Here’s my rough attempt to capture the spectacle of 42,000 Iron Maiden fans streaming into Sarsfield stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina, before losing their minds on March 28. Click that image for the full 3240-pixel-wide panorama. Actually, there should be another panel to the right to show the rear seating section — another giant flank of 8,000 or so fans.

This entire experience could not have been more huge. My intrepid she-woman and I walked many miles to the outskirts of the city, limping the last mile or so. We could hear Sepultura playing inside as the sun went down, but had to negotiate a line about two miles long before entering. Everyone arrived late—turns out Argentina was playing Venezuela in soccer. Of course Maiden knew that, and they stalled until well after the game was over. Hilarious.

The crush as the intro tape rolled was intense. You can see a tall chain link fence in the photo. Three small doors in that fence were the only passage to general admission. People were losing their heads pressing forward while Churchill’s voice rang out through the dusk. The funny thing was that this show was part of a Quilmes beer-sponsored music festival — but they didn’t sell beer. We accidentally entered through the wrong door, and access to our better seats (on the left in the photo) was blocked by a tall barbed-wire fence and a moat.

Then came Iron Maiden, playing classics to a sold-out crowd of 42,000 South Americans. Imagine a Superbowl game with every spectator cheering the same side, and without any dull moments. People were crying. The mood was a cross of jubilation and reverence. Since there was no room to move, a few thousand people just pogoed during the fast guitar bridge, evidently triggering earthquakes and volcanic eruptions around the world in the weeks that followed.

Bruce Dickinson had his usual sharp words for Madonna fans and the authorities, but let’s face it — Iron Maiden has really conquered each and every country in the world like no other metal band.

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