My last concert “in the old world” was Vixen who played at the Monsters of Rock Cruise, while we were sailing back to Miami from having been at sea and in the Caribbean, enjoying life and our beloved rock’n’roll to the fullest.
Without those regular concert-journeys, my life would feel pretty meaningless.
I’m not the only one, there are thousands of us out there in the world.
Live music is our oxygen, our reason for living if you will.
The first sign of something going wrong, was when the Debbie Harry/Chris Stein “In Conversation“-event in Hamburg, Germany on the 7th of March was canceled because of Covid-19.
I didn’t get it at the time. I thought it was just an exaggeration from the media, it wouldn’t be the first time. I laughed about it and went to Hamburg anyway and met up with a friend from a record label – where we both sat across from each other, both coughing, sneezing, feverish, not thinking much of it – cause in the “old world” that was nothing but a common cold or possibly the flu. Who cared?
Shortly thereafter, the world closed down. BAM!
My best friend in Hannover called me one day, extremely upset, telling me to take this seriously and stay indoors. He had seen people dressed like the scientists in E.T, rolling people to an ambulance and it had scared the shit out of him.
I lived in fear for months, because that’s what our media and our governments told us – this is very dangerous, don’t go out.
Don’t meet other people.
Since then, I’ve acquired enough knowledge and information to know how to handle this, and I think that the way it’s being handled – especially the way they’re killing our music – is terrifying. Only those who don’t understand the importance of music would do something like that so casually, like it’s nothing.
Mothers sing to their newborns to form a bond when they rock them to sleep. Children learn skills with the help of music, they can learn how to count, or how to cross the street safely, by singing songs that make it easier to remember those things. Music has saved many from poverty, hopelessness, possibly from living a life in crime.
For many of us, it has given us our identity, our sense of belonging. Without it, we’re lost, cause what ELSE is there out there worth living for? I still don’t know. Seven months of this vacuum has left me feeling like a numb zombie. I work from home, I visit my mother, I go back home. That’s about the extent of the life I’ve lived since March.
My “old life” was ALL about TRAVELING THE WORLD FOR CONCERTS. The reason I had a job was because something had to pay for those trips across the globe. Nothing else mattered.
I was on a constant quest for musical adventures. Bright lights, loud guitars, pumping bass, the collective ecstasy of thousands of screaming fans – where the music united us all.
We could be from different countries and cultures and speak different languages – yet the language of music made us a FAMILY and CLOSE FRIENDS for the hour or hours that our favorite artist or band was on stage charging our inner batteries so we could go on with our “other” lives.
That energy is like charging your cellphone. When you don’t charge it, it fades and locks down until you charge it again. That’s where I feel that I’m at right now.
I am forever grateful to DENMARK for being the first country to find a solution, and making it WORK. Karosserifabrikken in Helsingor, Denmark, arranged a concert with Jesper Binzer from D-A-D on the 21st of August, which was so long-awaited that I could have just cried. It was a small club with a small crowd – but you know what, there’s a charm and an exclusivity that is very appealing with that too.
Shortly thereafter, the owner graciously invited me to an by-invitation-only gig with Danish rock queen Sanne Salomonsen & Electric Guitars band, that had rehearsed for their upcoming tour at Karosserifabrikken and kicked it off with a private dress-rehearsal gig that was kick-ass.
She’s the real deal, she’s been around since as long as I can remember and she still sounds and looks great, still has that organic love for what she does – much like we in the audience have a neverending love for the experience that those on stage bring us.
It’s not “just entertainment”. It’s what we live for. Our everyday jobs are what we live of. There’s a huge difference.
And now, it’s started to move in the right direction in Denmark, concert-wise. D-A-D was supposed to play at Royal Arena in Copenhagen, but for obvious reasons, they had to cancel that…HOWEVER, they didn’t just sit down and sulk.
They announced a series of smaller concerts at the Tivoli, and I just went ahead and got a ticket for two of those. I contemplated going to maybe one more but figured two would be just enough to keep my spirits alive-and-kicking for another while. :)
Following that, is a show with Mike Tramp (ex-White Lion) at the Karosserifabrikken again – which I now see as my “hospital of the soul“. While nurses and doctors are treating Covid-19, these clubs are treating our bruised SOULS. We need both.
But I see little beams of light in Sweden as well. The movie theater Spegeln in Malmo, announced a viewing of the Phil Lynott-documentary, which is as close as we will get to anything music-related in Sweden, so I got a ticket for that. Should be fine, the salon takes 167 people but only allows 50 for that which is safe enough.
And our local rock club, KulturBolaget – KB, which is more than just a club, it’s an INSTITUTION, has tried to survive by streaming live gigs but now they’ve introduced “lounge-concerts”. Seated by a table, and only using a fraction of the premises, but nevertheless, you’ve got to work with what you’ve got. It’s the only way forward and it brought a big smile to my face and such relief cause I was worried that they wouldn’t make it through this.
They’re still hanging in there, and although none of the acts that they’ve announced is “my cup of tea”, I’m thinking maybe I should go anyway just to support the cause. Or else there won’t be any other concerts there ever. This is critical, it’s not the time to be picky – just freaking to to everything, and spend, spend spend for dear life!
Otherwise we’ll all be stuck in our homes for the rest of our lives, “saving our bucks” – for what?
Music has been such a strong force in so many ways, we tried to stop hunger with Live Aid back in the mid-eighties, The Beatles refused to play for a segregated audience forcing the promoters to change the rules which politics couldn’t or wouldn’t have done as quickly, the glam- and disco-era helped the gay community in a way that wouldn’t have been possible any other way, we’ve been there to change the world since rock’n’roll was born. It’s time to help ourselves now, go buy that ticket as if your life depended on it!
Cause maybe it does.