Got an e-mail from a dear friend today. Rig, the Italian drum-tech who is part of the Jon Oliva’s Pain (JOP)-family. Haven’t seen him or talked to him in a long time, I was so happy to hear from him.
He just wanted to touch base and see what was going on in my corner of the world.
I said that I was trying to decide which TSO (Trans-Siberian Orchestra) gigs I would go to. He mentioned that he was going to Zurich (Switzerland) to get together with Jon Oliva.
I miss Jon, haven’t seen him since the Zwarte Cross festival in Holland last summer. He is a quite unusual man. Fans call him “The Mountain King” – I think that Ronnie Dio and his crew gave him that name years ago when Savatage was out on the road opening for Dio. And he is like a king.
People respect him. He is cool, always smiling, also one of the funniest people I’ve ever met.
He has been extremely good to me, I love him dearly. I remember once after their gig at the Z7-venue in Pratteln, Switzerland, I drove him back to the hotel and I don’t know exactly how the conversation went, but I guess I just wanted to know if he was okay with me being around them as much as I was, given I wasn’t part of the band or the crew – I was there just as a friend basically.
He said, in his cool Oliva-sort of way: “Daniela, you’re part of the family now...You are always welcome to join us anywhere“.
The “Family” being that unity band+crew+fans. In Jon Oliva’s case, it was all one and the same.
There has never been that feeling that he thought of himself being better than anyone else. The band and the crew were all equally important, everybody was hanging out – it wasn’t band and crew separately like with so many other bands. Everybody’s on the same bus, sharing the same experience. I’m extremely lucky, happy and grateful for having been invited to be a part of that. It’s something I’ll never forget, four of the best years of my life.
Fans weren’t treated as “fans”, you know, there has never been a “you are less worth than me because you’re standing there with a CD asking me for an autograph“-attitude. Jon has always taken time for that, I’ve seen him sign tons of albums, photos without complaining and some fans have become part of the unity and well, the biggest of them all has gone from fan to friend to employee. It’s just a very warm and welcoming atmosphere around Jon Oliva, I’ve never seen anything quite like it anywhere else.
So anyway…. Zürich is next on my “tour schedule”. Most of all I’m very glad that I’ll get to meet Rig. A few years ago, when JOP were playing ProgPower USA in Atlanta, Rig, Hanneke (light tech) and I flew in from Italy, Netherlands and Sweden at the same time. We hooked up at the airport and went straight to the hotel where the band arrived shortly thereafter. :)
The trip to Zürich is not so much about just music. It’s more about meeting people that I really love and have missed – Rig and Jon.
Curious to see the TSO-production too, it’s huge in the States and I was going to see it last year in Nashville but missed it, don’t remember the reason why.
Want to go to Japan too – saw the Firewind-dates and checked flights. It wasn’t THAT expensive, but I can’t go cause I don’t have more vacation days until May. Next time.
Maybe if they tour in the fall/winter. Or if Priest decide play there on their Epitath-tour. Unleashed in the East!!
I’m just so excited. I love this life. I simply do. :)