The past few days, I’ve encountered the same reaction from different people – for the exact same thing.
In the summer, the general conversation opener is: “So, when are you going on vacation?”
That usually implies a beach holiday or working on your house or something. And most of all, it usually means “taking time off all at once”.
I haven’t had a traditional vacation in years. It usually bores the hell out of me.
Instead, I use my vacation days, a total of 32 days here in Denmark, and I spread them out over the year, for CONCERTS.
I travel all over the world for gigs. It’s the essence of LIFE to me, I absolutely love it.
I’ve always traveled alone, because most people I’ve met in my life don’t share the same passion quite on the same level, but since late 2016 I’ve shared this passion with a kindred spirit, a guy from Brazil, living in Germany.
We’ve been all over the planet for gigs: Japan, Australia, South America, USA, Europe… Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Black Sabbath, Monsters of Rock Cruise, whatever tour was announced that sounded cool.
The memories from the trips, good and bad, are invaluable.
The wonderful places we’ve been to, the people we’ve met, the things we’ve learned – those are memories for LIFE – and I wouldn’t have it ANY other way.
Paul McCartney started announcing new European tour dates recently – and we immediately decided that we would try to do as many of those as possible.
I get excited like a little KID, it never gets old.
So, we decided to dedicate December for sir Paul.
I’ve loved The Beatles since I was a little girl. Back then it wasn’t cool to like some “old dudes” from the 60’s and my class mates thought I was weird for not being into any contemporary artists.
But my love for Beatles’ music was like being infatuated. It generated a kind of high that has lasted a lifetime.
I love Paul McCartney as much as I ever did. His music is the soundtrack of my life.
I mentioned my travel plans to a colleague one morning. She just sat there for a few seconds with her mouth wide open and rised eyebrows before she said:
– But… Doesn’t he play the SAME SONGS?
– Yeah, pretty much, I replied.
– But… Isn’t it enough to see that ONCE? Why would you want to see that over and over again??
Here we go again.
I’ve heard that before. Same reaction. Same question. Same facial expression. And I already know that there’s very little point trying to explain to someone who lives on a different planet than me, why I love it so much. She wouldn’t understand.
There is only one way to understand it – and that is to actually BE there.
The the indescribable feeling of being in a huge stadium somewhere in South America or Japan (or ANYWHERE), with thousands of like-minded friends I never met …. seeing thousands of lights from mobiles and lighters swinging back and forth to a deafening ‘na-na-na-na-na-na-naaa’ that’s sounding over the stadium from thousands of voices.
Voices of people who all feel love for the music and the artist, right into the deepest depths of their hearts. That’s powerful stuff.
Songs that bring out emotions and memories like nothing else can. There’s that one song that gets me every time. Whenever Paul plays “Here Today”, the song he wrote for John, I struggle not to cry. I always fail.
Nothing else in life does that for me. The roller-coaster of emotions is beyond anything. The greatness of the experience, the kicks, the smiles it generates, it’s just amazing and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Different artists do different things. Going to a Megadeth-gig for instance, is liberating. There’s so much testosterone aggression there, so much anger and frustration, but at the same time it has a soul.
The loud, hard and heavy music – and the mayhem in the crowd, is like a cleanse of the soul. Whatever frustrations you might have had when you walked in – will be gone by the time you leave.
Going to a concert means leaving all your daily worries and troubles at the door.
And if you don’t have any, your already good life will feel even greater.
You simply can’t lose.
And then someone asks you “why would you want to see the same songs being performed over and over”…
If they only knew what they’re missing out on.
I wasn’t going to write about the Manchester terrorist act, because I just don’t want those who do it to get more fuel and more attention. It seems like that’s their way of getting their message across, in a sick sort of way.
But I will say this.
I’ve been asked: “Aren’t you at least a little bit scared?”
I go to concerts all the time. It’s my life. It’s what I live for.
A wise person once said that you should live for something you’re also willing to die for. And music is exactly that.
I’m not afraid at all. I’m not saying that to convince myself or anyone else or because I want to pretend to be cocky or whatever, I simply just…am not scared.
There is not one sexually frustrated, mentally disturbed terrorist on this planet that will make me stop going to the next concert – or the next. And if they blow me up, well so be it. Just do the job properly asshole. I’m not going to spend my life at home, being scared of traveling or going to an arena to see my favorite band. If I do, I might as well shoot myself right away, because that is no way to live.
I’ve been a “railrider” (all the way up front at concerts) since I was a teenager. At times, it’s been very tough standing there in the front row. You think you’re going to be crushed to death, suffocate or be beaten by some drunk or by someone who’s high and thinks you’re in the way.
My friend and I went to a W.A.S.P-concert in the late 90’s and it was ruthless. She decided to give up, cause she had bruises all over and couldn’t breathe. I didn’t blame her. But I stayed. My attitude at the time was, that if I die here tonight, at least I will have died happy.
And that’s what it’s all about.
I will probably be scared if someone shoots me and doesn’t do the job properly, but nothing will scare me from going to concerts, that’s my point.
I just read that Kiss cancelled their show in Manchester, and I understand that it’s just not the right time or place – eventhough it’s for other practical reasons as well. I’ve been to that arena, because I prefer Manchester to London for gigs. It could have been me.
To think that some confused individual who believes in fairy tales and is convinced that blowing up people is mega-cool, killed CHILDREN… who know nothing about political or religious beliefs…
What can you even say?
I’ve already seen enough hatred and speculations in social media, I’m not going to add more to it since it really makes no difference what anyone thinks. This shit will continue, cause there are enough airheads out there who have nothing better to do with their worthless existence than blowing themselves up.
I just wish they could do it somewhere far away from other people.
All we can do is set a statement by what we choose to do and how we choose to live.
And I choose life – and living it to the fullest. That’s what rock’n’roll has taught me. It gave my life meaning and I will stick to it.
Until the very end.
When you write a review, whether it’s a CD- or a concert-review, you can be sure that there’s going to be lots of people having opinions about it. They don’t always realize that it’s all part of the game.
Reviews are nothing but one person’s simple opinion, written for the sake of entertainment and, to a degree, guidance. But there are always going to be fans out there who think that a review is a scientific essay. They want it to be “objective”. You can’t be objective in a review, that’s the whole point! :-)
When I got my first job writing for Swedish newspaper Kvällsposten, I received tons of records from all the major record companies. I didn’t have my own post-box at the editorial office cause I was working from home. I just went there about twice a week to pick up my mail and submit the material of the week.
Every time I got there, there was a sack full of LP’s waiting for me on the floor behind the film-editor. Back in 1988, vinyl was still the main material that people wanted their music on. :-) The CD’s had been introduced but it took a few years before the music that we got went from vinyl to CD altogether.
Anyway, as I was the rookie up there, the other music reporters taught me that as far as reviews…. I was not allowed to like too many records – which means I was not allowed to rate something 10 out of 10 too often. I don’t remember the exact quota, but it was strictly limited.
I was told that I would not be taken seriously if I liked everything, especially not if I wrote positive reviews too often. They wanted me to write negative, nasty reviews as much as I could, because not only did it trigger people to react – it was also good publicity for the band/artist. If people get upset, they tell their friends, or they write letters to the editor, they simply do unintentional PR for the publication!
And as weird as it sounds – when you write something really nasty about a band or an artist, people will get curious to hear it. “Is it REALLY that bad? CAN it be that bad?”
So, they try to get a listen if they can, or they talk to other people about it. EIther way – everybody wins.
A bad review doesn’t necessarily ruin sales, if done right. It can do the exact opposite.
I think that a band like W.A.S.P is the perfect example of that. There was not one “serious” music journalist out there that wrote anything good about “Fuck like a beast“, but all the bad publicity got people running to the stores and the record just flew off the shelves!
As I grew older and started to see music more objectively – not just in black and white, like when I was younger – it got harder to write strict “good” or “bad” reviews.
The review-editor at Sweden Rock asked me what I REALLY thought about one album that I had written about, because he couldn’t figure out if I liked it or hated it, I was beeing too diplomatic about it.
I told him that personally, I didn’t like it. No reason, it just wasn’t my taste. It was well played and for those who like that kind of music, I’m sure they would love it. It’s just that I didn’t and I didn’t want to be unfair and rate something low, when I knew it wasn’t really BAD…… It was a tough situation.
He told me it wasn’t about being fair. It was about having a personal opinion. If I didn’t like it, I should just say so, straight out, no excuses, no “buts” or “ifs”. That helped me get over the “objectivity-barrier”. Thank god. But he has actually been great with constructive feedback on my writing, I’ve learned a thing or two just by small details he’s mentioned from time to time. I like working with people like that.
One of the most memorable reviews I’ve written through the years was for “Hot In The Shade” by Kiss.
That, I will never, ever forget.
I wasn’t particularly impressed by the album, and wrote somewhere that Paul Stanley couldn’t sing…. And used some pretty undiplomatic expression to illustrate exactly HOW much I thought he sucked.
Mind you, this was before the internet – back in those days, people wrote regular letters. When I got to the office a few days later, there were TWO FULL POST BAGS there with my name on them.
It took me FOREVER to open all those letters! I had pissed off the whole RAGING Kiss Army! I think every Kiss-fan from north to south had a thing or two that they wanted to…uhh, “share”… :)
I got the message – loud and clear – oh boy, it couldn’t have been ANY clearer!
Lesson learned: There are some bands that can not be criticised unless you want to get a secret identity and move to Vladivostok! Don’t ever say that Paul Stanley can’t sing and don’t ever say anything bad about Metallica or Slayer if you want to live. :)
Another time, I wrote a review about a GWAR-concert at club Stadt Hamburg in Malmo, Sweden… That review led to local authorities CLOSING DOWN THE PLACE! I was not popular by some people after that. Like I had any idea what a simple review could cause!
[I actually found a video where that whole thing was mentioned…. only, there were no “local authorities” at that show that could be spat on… they based it solely on my review. Ouch..
See it mentioned in the info text to this video. ]
I don’t know, it’s as if some people have their whole life hung up on their favorite bands. So when you criticise the band, they take it dead serious and dead personal – as if you’re criticising them.
I still think it’s fun to write reviews though. It can be diffucult after more than 20 years, finding different ways to describe something GOOD or something BAD, because you don’t want to keep repeating yourself. Yet, there are only so many superlatives you can use. It requires creativity. Sometimes you have a good day, sometimes you don’t. But in the end – it’s all just entertainment.
Or… is it? :-D