The only unfortunate was that Melanie one of the tremendous backing vocalist had issues and could not continue to Brazil.
She intends to rejoin the group later next week in Venezuela. She will be missed. Visas in hand we headed to the airport.
Now David Hinds has been telling me that in the airports here that if your shit is not nailed down in baggage they will steal it, and they have a phenomenon here where they shrink wrap your luggage to protect it from thieves. After hearing his shit for 2 days I relented and had the wrap done( $12 US). Well worth it as several of our party has had things stolen from their bags. Once cleared to customs we had a 2 hour wait in the airport and got some food and hung out. Here in Brazil when you go to fast food they offer very good food but the weigh it to determine what it cost. D. Hinds being the frugal man & learned man he is watched me load up my plate, guesstimated the weight to determine whether it was worth it or not. he was spot on with the cost. I see why some rock stars have $$ and others don"t. Interesting.
We finally head out of the airport and here you walk on the tarmac to board and several of the road crew got very excited to see the "Iron Maiden" plane parked as they have just started their own world tour. Pretty uneventful flight with the exception of watching "bassy" Amlak Tafari work his impeccable magic on the stewardesses; this brother is unbelievable. Highly skilled in several languages & quite the "closer". I thought I had game but I've learned a few things from Amlak that should also help me in my business.
We landed in Sao Paulo and immediately the vibe changes to one thats charged with heat, humidity and a palpable sexiness that permeates the city.
Loaded up and dove into rush hour traffic that was crazy; it should be noted that when we move its usually in two vans, 1 air conditioned and the other not which is affectionately known as "the Caribbean bus". AC does a number apparently on vocal cords.
Now you might think this trip is wine, women and song but its not, it only 95% the latter and the rest of the time we are engaged in high level educational discussions about hypotenuse
triangles, relationships, and world politics. Selwyn, Rich and David usually take the Caribbean bus so I do as well just because I look forward to the discussions on the rides. I studied english in school so the Hypotenuse was new to me.
Got the the Venue, Citibank Hall, which is in a fashionable part of town called Moema and our hotel was right across the street. Long story short the crew had a very difficult time with the sound and technical elements of the show. Clearly any fault of their own but that of the promoters. Many many people were queued up outside the venue doing it Brazilian style with bars set up on street corners, vendors selling spliffs and reggae blasting thru the air.....muoite gostoso!!!! Very sexy vibes in this place.
While all this is going on I'm rolling with Pablo to prepare the after show guest list which in itself is a hard job and I am grateful to be able to help. I take this work very seriously. lol!! Rich Nesin, Steel Pulse's venerable road manger worked for many years with Gene Simmons and KISS, and Rich has taken the time to teach me the nuances of preparing the after show guest list...it is a science!!!
Anyway, Steel Pulse played another excellent show as they are truly beloved by their fans the world over. I spoke with David later on the way to Porto Alegre in the Caribbean bus that the fans seemed so young but clearly sang along and knew all the words. That speaks volumes about the Steel Pulse catalog and the depth of their influence on World Music.
After party: In Sao Paulo many people came to the show including several local "Dons" whom we were introduced to and spent time with the next day. El Hefe was by all accounts the most interesting because he was jewish, a big man and has a Meyer Lansky vibe; you know who he is and that he's in charge.
Several young brothers were also there from the ghetto who run tings in Sao Paulo who very Afrocentric and politically in tune with the US as they asked me many questions about Barack Obama.
They are praying for America to do the right thing with this man and hope that "hope prevails". by coincidence I was wearing my "Obama 08" shirt.
Everyone then adjourned to the hotel for a good time of drinks, conversation, and new found friends.
This turned into another 5am night, and I was picked up at 9:30am to head to the ghetto to visit a store owned by one of the local Dons to pick up some gear for me and the band.
Very cool place they took me to, it reminded me of the grand concourse in the Bronx. I wished I could have hung there all day but we has a lobby call at 1pm for our next flight to Porto Algere. All in all Sao Paulo is now one of my most favorite cities in the world and I intend to return next year as well. Great big city, wonderful people, good vibes, and they will welcome you with open arms as long as you come in peace and with a smile. See you in Porto Alegre. Ciao!!
We finally got visas sorted out thanks to the assistance of Paulo who can operate down here like no other.