Iron Maiden/Sepultura/Halford/Queens Of The Stone Age: Rock In Rio

Oliveri gets naked (and arrested) while Sepultura play in their homeland for the first time since '99...

Heavy metal is big in Brazil. So big, in fact, that heavy metal fans (there were over 150,000 of them at the City Of Rock on Friday, and that is because the organizers decided to stop selling tickets before reaching full capacity) don’t want to hear anything else but high pit solo guitars, powerful voices and a lot of noise while preferably looking at a scary monster or something.

No surprise, then, that the crowd waiting for Iron Maiden, Sepultura and Rob Halford in the fifth night of Rock In Rio are already preparing themselves to boo loudly at the Queens of The Stone Age, but the band take the audience by surprise when bassist Nick Oliveri shows up on stage completely naked. And then it’s too late to do anything else but listen to this fairly obscure band (at least in Brazil) and learn about their music.

Not for long, though, for soon everyone’s booing again. Not even the fact the Queens play a Kyuss song at the end of their performance, ‘Supa Scoopa And Mighty Scoop’ with a capoeira group (a Brazilian martial art) prevent the crowd from hating them. No surprise then, when Nick Oliveri gets arrested (and released shortly after) for indecent exposure. But hey, there is no such thing as bad publicity, right?

It’s then the turn for the most successful Brazilian band abroad, Sepultura to play again in the motherland for the first time since 1999. New vocalist Derrick Green was approved for one of his first gigs in Brazil and Sepultura play one hit after another, including ‘Arise’, ‘Refuse/Resist’ and ‘Beneath The Remains’. Two new songs, ‘Sepulnation’ and ‘Saga’, from the forthcoming album ‘Nation’, are also included in the set.

Former Judas Priest kingpin Rob Halford opens up his set with ‘Resurection’, a song that shares its name with the singer’s latest album. In a powerful performance full of loud screams, he also plays ‘Metal Gods’ and ‘Breaking The Law’, leaving the crowd happy and prepared for the main attraction of the night, Iron Maiden.

Nine out of ten T-shirts worn in the City Of Rock on Friday are Iron Maiden’s, creating a sea of black tops and angry faces. When the band finally hit the stage the City Of Rock literally came to a standstill. Iron Maiden are recording a live DVD during the performance and certainly give it their all. Major hits (‘Two Minutes To Midnight’, ‘The Trooper’, ‘Run To The Hill’, ‘Number of The Beast’) and songs from the latest album ‘Brand New World’ are performed and each and everyone of them is sung along with by a hypnotized crowd.

Jimmy Page, tipped to join the band onstage during ‘Run To The Hills’, couldn’t make it due to a back injury. But that doesn’t make it less of a memorable performance for the heavy metal fans that, for once, wore a smile on their faces.

Valeria Rossi and Luciano Vianna

Images: Valeria Rossi