December 10-11th, 2004
Today’s technologies may seem to let any significant event be preserved for posterity, especially when the witnesses are many, and the truth can’t get contorted. As it appears, it ain’t so, and what it gets to is spreading a lie with a speed of light. That’s how it turned out, when the Web was filled with the news of Paul DiAnno having been attacked during his Israel two-gig stint. In reality, the situation was different. Very very different. Totally contrary to what the rumors said.
Never in his 10-odd-year life in showbiz, this scribe has seen such an amazing chasm between painstakingly crafted public persona and a real person. In his interviews, IRON MAIDEN’s first vocalist – that’s what Paul is for most of his audience – DiAnno isn’t bright and garrulous. The Israeli fans could have also been put off by the fact that the singer is a Muslim. All in all, an unpleasant man. Yet it takes just a couple of hours in Paul’s company to cut through the illusion.
DiAnno has a lot of charm, so don’t be blinded by the shine of his shaven head. For one, being blind you won’t see the “666 God = Fucker” tattoo at the top of it, which speaks volumes of Paul’s beliefs. More so, he says the Lord wouldn’t let so many people suffer; the singer every once in a while channels funds for the children’s charity. Then, the temporary blindness will get in the way of noticing the kindest kind of smile that brightens DiAnno’s face when he, the spectacles on, types SMS on a mobile to send to his niece. He just loves kids, and there are a few both in London where Paul was born and Sao Paulo where he lives. He misses them very much and that’s one of the reason he always talks about quitting the stage.
Maybe the December 11th Haifa concert was the last one played as part of a tour, although the 2005’s trek isn’t ruled out yet and the charity events will be played for sure. Still, the tone Paul keeps to when talking of leaving signals the decision’s been made already, with a considerable influence of DiAnno’s friend, Dimebag Darrell having been shot in Ohio on December 8th, the very day Paul arrived in Holy Land. Here’s one of the sources for those evil rumors of attack on DiAnno in Tel Aviv’s “Barbie” club on December 10th.
There was positive vibe in the audience, the feelings Paul shared after eating some nice kebabs and salads and drinking mint tea in Jaffa’s Lebanese restaurant – a good means to cool down the nerves the singer always has before a performance, all the years he does his thing. DiAnno was gladly speaking to the local band DAMNATION who accompanied him – and did a great job – and was having quite a good time until, up on stage, he found out how terrible the sound was and how badly the microphone worked. Paul didn’t let his frustration show because of the punters’ sheer excitement of watching their idol. They sang along almost each of his songs, as most of the set was MAIDEN’s cuts: easily recognizable, despite the sound problems, “Murders On The Rue Morgue” and “Remember Tomorrow”, “Phantom Of The Opera” and “Wrathchild” and, of course, “Running Free”. All that Paul promised in pre-visit interview.
It sounded much harder than the original versions. Well, DiAnno says he doesn’t like heavy metal, he loves punk he came from, and was gnashing his teeth on hearing the SLADE tapes run between the support acts sets. So there was much punk attitude at Tel Aviv’s gig, and Paul finished by falling into the audience as, in his own words, he usually does – not because he’s been attacked. Anyway, his goodwill was shaken, but he still found some of it to allow the fans into the dressing room to take pictures and sign the stuff. Did it for almost everyone.
And that was an exemplarily awful ingratitude when some jerk approached DiAnno with a reproach saying what the money’d been paid for if old songs had been done differently to what he thought they should have sounded like. And that’s when Paul punched him. At least, the singer said he whacked a fucker before taken aside by the bodyguards. The guy deserved it! Before the concert, this scribe told DiAnno, “Just don’t get angry and don’t beat anybody”, only to hear, “Can’t promised you this”. Quite prophetically right.
One of DiAnno’s bands was BATTLEZONE. Battlezone was what Paul got himself into in Israel – not because of the terrorists’ threats so feared in the West, but because of fools. That’s safer, and those you can’t get rid of, unfortunately.