Thanks to some really crazy twists of fate, I've finally got to meet Bruce Dickinson. I had no idea at the time of coming to university in Canterbury that Bruce would be performing here on this night. It's just pure chance that I happened to be passing the Cathedral shop three months ago and noticed the poster advertising the Canterbury Rocks event. I managed to get one of the handful of cheap tickets left before they sold out, and I thought I was going to end up with really crappy seats but I didn't care. As it happened, those supposedly crappy seats were situated right next to where the singers were coming on and off stage.
So, when I spotted Bruce Dickinson chatting to a guy just off to my right before the concert started, I was not going to let the oportunity pass me by. I went up to him and tapped him on the shoulder. He looks round at me and I say, "Hi Bruce. Sorry, can I be really cheeky and just ask for a photograph with you before it starts?"
He goes, "Sure, why not?" and poses for a photo with me.
I tell him I think he's incredible. He laughs and says I won't think that by the end of the night.
I then say I think it's amazing what he's doing with Astraeus and trying to get it back on its feet. He says "thank you" and asks me if I fly.
I say no but tell him I do fence sabre at the local university fencing club. By this point I start to think I'm coming across as a gushing fangirl and try and calm myself down, and then I ask him to sign my shirt.
It was a very specially chosen 'The Prisoner' shirt which I thought he might like, so when I hand him the pen and lift up my jumper he sees the logo and says "Oh, Portmeirion special!" and I'm like "Yeah!"
Then the pen doesn't work (typical!) so he messes around with it for a bit, then I hand him a different pen and as he's signing my shirt he asks me what I study at the University. I tell him "astrophysics" to which his reaction is "whoa". Then he has to go and get ready because the concert is started.
His main performance in the first half is an incredible rendition of 'Revelations', but the traditional version rather than the Iron Maiden version. It was absolutely mind blowing.
Then, during the interval I got to meet him again. I got up and headed off to the area where all the performers were, just in time before the organisers realised people were going for autographs and roped it off. This time I asked him to sign my programme, which he did and personalised it for me, and then another guy came and asked if I'd take a photo of him with Bruce, to which I said "sure". So I took the photo all the while babbling on about how great it was to finally meet Bruce, and then as I'm handing the camera back I get the impulse to ask him something.
I ask if he remembers when someone sent an email to his radio show a few years ago a joke about pilots aging slower due to relativity. All the while I'm trying to get the question out I'm regretting saying anything because I think "There's no way he's gonna remember this and he'll think you're weird for asking. Why did you even bring it up?" So when he says "Yeah, I remember that" I think my heart actually stopped.
I can't help but burst out with, "That was me! I sent that! I can't believe you remember it!"
He smiles at me and says. "I thought it was really intelligent. I tell all my first officers that: keep piloting and you'll age slower."
Hearing that from a man such as him, who I have admired so deeply for so many years, meant more than the world to me. It was the most incredible feeling ever.
And then when he had to go again he shook my hand and wished me luck with the astrophysics, joking that if he hears anything about asteroids falling to Earth he'll know to ask me - he remembered me telling him what I studied!
Then in the second half of the performance he did the one song I was desperate to hear: Jerusalem. He introduced it by saying that William Blake did a lot of things that were a bit controversial and different, and he had tried to do something a bit different with this song. "This is Jerusalem like you've probably never heard it before, and never will again." I was sat there thinking, "Bruce, I have the Chemical Wedding album. I've listened to this song countless times over and it's the one song I wanted you to play tonight. I thought I would never get to hear your solo material live and I feel so privileged that you're playing this."
It was truly mindblowing. His voice and passion in that song was just beyond comprehension and he got a well deserved standing ovation.
So, in all, the most incredible night of my life. I got to hear him perform things I thought I would never get to hear, got to talk to him, and best of all learnt that he remembered something I sent to him four years ago. And then he actually paid attention enough to remember that I'm studying astrophysics. Really, he is such an incredible man! Really friendly, a wonderful guy, and so talented with so many achievements to his name. I feel so privileged to have met him. This is an opportunity I'll never get again.
I'm so sorry if the grammar/spelling in this post is awful, but I'm just so happy right now my brain can barely function properly! This has by far been the most amazing night of my life!