My year in rock 2015 – retrospect
2015 left the building a few hours ago (here in Sweden) and when I look back, the “slow year” I thought I had, because of the upcoming cruise that made it harder, financially, to travel all over the place – was in fact less boring than I felt it was. ;)
MARCH: The year started out with the GUS G tour he did in early March (with JEFF SCOTT SOTO as special guest) that I was doing PR for, so lots of work there but was nice to make myself useful as a professional this time.
The month before that, FEBRUARY, I also went to see his former bandmate APOLLO in Halmstad, Sweden, doing a cover gig with “TRIBUTE TO DIO” an all-star band. Great evening.
BRYAN ADAMS played at Forum in Copenhagen, an unforgettable experience and a last minute-decision to go.
Went for a short visit to Detroit to see my friends from MADAM X, hear some new music and also catch a gig with MICHAEL ANGELO BATIO at the Diesel.
APRIL: I didn’t stay away from Detroit that long, cause in April I was back there again – this time for the MADAM X gig with AUTOGRAPH and KOUGARAN, also at the Diesel. Great gig, great evening!
That same month – April – took me all the way to Sao Paulo, BRAZIL, for the MONSTERS OF ROCK festival. I went to see OZZY solo but ended up being absolutely floored by YNGWIE MALMSTEEN and UNISONIC!
Other bands that played were Judas Priest, Manowar, Primal Fear, Kiss, Motorhead (Lemmy cancelled, Sepultura filled in), Steel Panther, Rival Sons, Black Veil Brides and Accept.
MAY: After that gig in Brazil, in April – I had to see MORE, so I got on a plane to Bucharest, ROMANIA, to see the Maestro: YNGWIE MALMSTEEEN. Bucharest was a fantastic surprise, I loved that city and will go back as soon as I get a good reason. :)
JUNE was, as usual SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL-time and my personal highlight was meeting IAN HILL of JUDAS PRIEST for an interview after the press conference.
Right after Sweden Rock, literally the day after the festival ended, I got on a flight to the US again, this time to Florida to do a studio report with TSO (Trans-Siberian Orchestra): Met up with PAUL O’NEILL, JON OLIVA, AL PITRELLI, KAYLA REEVES and JEFF PLATE. Were there for two days with a non-stop busy schedule, but very very interesting and most of all, was glad to see The Mountain King again! :D
BILLY IDOL played in Varberg – HARDCORE SUPERSTAR opened on a great summer day, very cool outdoor venue.
JULY was a non-metal month, but cool gigs nevertheless. LADY GAGA with TONY BENNETT at Tivoli Gardens (amusement park) and ELTON JOHN same place, two days before.
AUGUST: ROB ZOMBIE, Vega, Copenhagen. I was supposed to see him again at a festival shortly thereafter but cancelled because one of my best friends was getting married. One of few good reasons to cancel plans of going to a show. :)
SEPTEMBER: GUS G came back to Scandinavia, this time with KOBRA AND THE LOTUS and KAMELOT in Copenhagen and Gothenburg. Kobra and the Lotus was a nice surprise, didn’t like them on record, but enjoyed the shows!
W.A.S.P with opening act DYNAZTY played in my home town Malmo later that month, met up with my friend Taz (lights for W.A.S.P), which is always a pleasure! :D
OCTOBER: No gigs. Ended up in the hospital for an emergency appendix surgery and was told to keep still for a few weeks. So I did. Kind of.
NOVEMBER: WHITESNAKE played in Denmark with openers DEAD DAISIES. The place was packed. Mostly remember the hassle with the backstage passes, those things can be a pain in the ass and never worth it.
Anyway – later in November, I took a little trip over to Detroit again to see the MADAM X boys and girls and listen to some new songs from the upcoming album in the studio.
Producer Kevin said I should go see the band POP EVIL and pulled some strings to get me in on the guest list – on the worst day of the year…! It was snowing like crazy that evening, but in the end it was a good choice, I liked the opening act KALEIDO better than the headliners, to be honest. :)
A friend, Maj-Louise, “kidnapped” me on a spontaneous trip to Gothenburg for a meet-and-greet with TOBIAS SAMMET of EDGUY & AVANTASIA, and listening party of the new Avantasia album. Also playing that night was HAMMERFALL.
And in DECEMBER, I had two busy weekends visiting Dublin and Birmingham for WHITESNAKE/DEF LEPPARD/BLACK STAR RIDERS. :D
So I’m not sure the year was a total disaster, it turned out pretty good after all. :)
My fondest moments in metal
I was inspired by a friend to remember some of my fondest metal moments. Those that truly put a smile on my face when I think back on them.
A lot of those memories have to do with mutual appreciation. No matter where we are in life and what our roles are in the music biz, we all started out as fans. You can play cool and pretend that you don’t care, but I’m not kidding myself. If it’s an artist that I’ve admired since I was a kid, he or she will still make me feel like a star struck teenager to some degree.
So…. These are some of those “smile”-moments. :D
1. DAVID COVERDALE
David always puts a smile on my face. I consider the interview I did with him on the “Farewell tour” the best interview I have ever done. The circumstances were perfect. When it comes to David Coverdale, I was a fan first and foremost, and I always will be.
I was the last person on his interview schedule that day, so there was no stress. He was in a great mood, very open and incredibly easy to talk to. We talked about everything: Serious things, funny things, deep things…
The interview took place in a luxurious suite at the Sheraton in Stockholm. It didn’t feel like an actual interview. It felt like a conversation with a friend. Looking back on that today makes me feel so privileged and it was a day I will never forget.
But even apart from that interview (and a few other conversations with him), David always makes me smile. There has not been ONE single gig or press conference where he hasn’t spotted me within minutes, smiled up to his ears and adressed me by name. Or from the stage in front of thousands of people (several times through the years. Sometimes he’s had little dialogs with me from the stage, the last one being at the Graspop festival a few years ago, and of COURSE I had turned off my camera just minutes before…).
At press conferences he’s sometimes treated me like I was the only journalist present, or explained to the others, while pointing at me: “SHE will know, cause she’s followed my work for a long time…“.
I’m sure he does what with other, select people worldwide too, he’s just that type of person, but from my perspective it’s pretty darn fantastic because I’ve always looked up to David Coverdale.
So – he’s my #1 source for smiles in the metal world. :D
2. ROB HALFORD
A few years ago, I had been assigned to write the Judas Priest cover story for Sweden Rock Magazine. Since it was an in-depth piece, I ended up calling Rob several times that year (and also speaking with K.K and Glenn). In the end, he started joking and talking to me like we were the best of friends.
He’s always been one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met, but particularly after those conversations things have been very relaxed and down-to-earth with Rob.
When I went to London earlier this year for an exclusive interview with Rob at Sony Music‘s offices, I was the only reporter who was privileged enough to get a one-to-one interview with The Metal God that day. And he was happy to see me. I’m no longer some anonymous nobody, he knows me by name.
Yes I’m like a kid. Judas Priest is the reason I’m even here in this rock’n’roll circus, Rob has a huge part in who I am today and the kind of life I’ve had. I’ve got a million Priest-stories from hanging out with the band through the years, but it’s enough to just say that every single one of those occasions makes me smile and feel incredibly lucky!
3. SEBASTIAN BACH
Baz is not an “idol” like that. It started out that way, when I was a big fan of the energetic, amazing Skid Row. But he and I are the same generation and had a lot in common (especially our love for Priest!) so we became friends. There are many “smile on my face” memories from the Skid Row-days but one of the more recent ones (even if it was a few years ago) was when Sebastian returned to Sweden to play at Sweden Rock Festival back in 2005. He hadn’t been in Sweden since the Subhuman Race Tour in 1995. I was really looking forward to seeing him again.
So, a few friends of mine and I were at the hotel Ronneby Brunn, hanging out, having a few drinks, when the band started coming in through the main entrance. I went over to Metal Mike, who I’d met with Halford, a really cool guy, and he said that Sebastian was outside collecting his bags, he’d be in soon.
I didn’t want to just stand there like an idiot so I went aside, figured that I’d let him check in in peace and quiet.
When Sebastian walked in – it was in the middle of the night, maybe 2 am, he looked tired and he was carrying a shitload of bags. One suitcase in each hand, bags on top of those and more bags hanging from each shoulder. At first he was just scanning the place with no particular goal or focus, but the minute his eyes landed on me, his reaction was so priceless that I’ll never forget it.
He screamed, in his typical Sebastian manner: “DANIELA!!!” and literally just dropped both those cabin bags so they just landed on the lobby floor, then dropped the bags hanging from his shoulders, so it was all in one big PILE right there on the floor, in the middle of the main hotel lobby – and with two steps he walked over to me, hugged me so hard that I thought he’d break my ribs.
“It’s been ten years!” he said and was sincerely happy to see a familiar face. I’ve honestly never felt more longed for or appreciated in my life. :) That was just such a sincere, happy reaction and I’m still smiling when I think about those bags just lying there in one huge pile on the marble floor.
There have been many similar occasions though. In New York, when he was performing with Steve Stevens at the jazz club Iridium, he dedicated a song to me which I never even noticed, and asked me backstage afterwards if I had heard his dedication. Basically, he can be the most appreciative person on the planet, then again, sometimes he barely notices one’s existence, it all depends, but all in all, this guy knows how to make me smile for the most part! :)
4. LITA FORD
That was a meeting I never thought would even take place. Lita has been my #1 female rolemodel since I first got the Out for Blood-album. I missed her when she played in Sweden or Denmark a few times either because shows were cancelled (she was supposed to come here with Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow but the show was cancelled because the venue was too small for Rainbow’s…uh, rainbow-prop. :)).
Second time she was here with Bon Jovi I couldn’t go cause I had a gig of my own with my band. Then she disappeared to a desert island, literally, with her family for years and I guess we all thought that was it. Lita Ford, as we knew her, was gone.
However, last year she got on a plane and toured Europe. When Sweden Rock asked if I wanted to do an interview with her, I danced around the apartment like an idiot. FINALLY!
When I got to KB in Malmo, my home town (yeah, even THAT!) she was sound checking and I waited for her to finish. She came over, said we could go upstairs to the backstage area and do the interview. It was a hot day in July and we were DYING up there, it was unbearably hot. But, it was the most relaxing, unpretentious meeting I’ve ever had with an artist. Lita was down to earth, open, funny and very easy to talk to.
There were moments where I even forgot that I was sitting there with an artist that I’ve admired since I was a teenager. It was a great chemistry and she didn’t hesitate to speak about difficult or personal things. Much like with David Coverdale, it wasn’t one of those usual “come in, get out after 20 minutes“-type of interviews. We sat there for over an hour and she was in no hurry at all. On the contrary. Even after the cameras had been switched off (it was a video interview as well – still not fully edited…) she kept talking.
One thing you’re always worried about when you meet an artist you grew up with, is if they’re going to disappoint you IRL. She didn’t. Fantastic meeting, great person and a really good interview situation. And I got those old vinyls signed too (better late than never!)
5. TONY MARTIN (Black Sabbath)
I got to know Tony Martin when he was touring with Black Sabbath all over Europe. To this day I think he’s the best heavy metal vocalist ever, and the most underrated one for sure.
When Sabbath came to Copenhagen, I headed over to their hotel to get a chance to hang out a bit with Tony. I remember Tony Iommi and Geoff Nicholls (keyboards) coming out of the elevator with big smiles, letting me know that Tony was on his way (then we kept passing Tony and Geoff on the pedestrian street Stroget a few times, later on that day).
Tony came down and pretty much needed a guide to show him where he could buy a new leather jacket and he also needed to find an exchange office. So, off we went. It was a slightly chilly and cloudy day, so I remember telling him that if he wanted to walk into HMV to check if they had Sabbath’s latest album, he might want to take his sunglasses off if he just wanted to blend in. :) Luckily for HMV, they had all the Tony Martin-Sabbath albums. ;)
He visited a few leather-shops but couldn’t find what he was looking for. It was just nice walking through Copenhagen talking. I was a huge fan of his voice, and I thought he was a cool person to hang out with so that day is stuck in my mind to this day.
He was starving so we went to this Italian restaurant. I hadn’t counted on that, so my wallet was pretty much empty. Oh, well, I thought I could always find whatever was cheapest on the menu. Us Swedes aren’t used to the guy paying unless it’s a date, and this wasn’t a date. So I assumed that I would be paying for my own food and drinks.
I got a glass of cheap wine that tasted horrible. Tony immediately noticed my expression and asked if the wine was ok. I lied and said that it was fine, but he didn’t buy it. So he called the waitress and went “the lady doesn’t like her wine. Do you have anything else?” I was panicking because whatever else they had was out of my price range that particular day.
Anyway, as we were waiting for that wine, I said that one of my favorite songs, where I really loved his vocals, was a song from the album Eternal Idol, the title track. Next thing I know, he starts singing it, right there, a capella in the restaurant…
“No one said it had to be this way
Why are we the victims of their
Dying world is killing us so slowly
I believe no god may save us now
Can’t you see what I see
Sinners say your prayers tonite
Your judgement day is here”
I was in seventh heaven. Having your favorite singer in the world singing especially for you like that was beyond any expectation. Will never forget that. What an amazing moment that was.
[There’s no actual video to that particular song – but listen to this, this is amazing!]
This was pretty recent, but still one of those things I know I will look back on in a few years and think of with a big smile.
I was in Seoul, Korea for that one-off Ozzy show and had spent almost an hour trying to get my backstage pass that Gus G had asked the tour manager to leave for me in the VIP booth (apparently I was the only guest too. I’m guessing they didn’t know anyone in Korea. :) ).
That whole “going backstage“-thing seemed unthinkable to most of the security people I spoke to. Their attitude was “you can’t just go back there and meet the band?!?!“.
Yes I can, that’s what this pass is for – and if you show me where to go. :)
It took forever, involved a whole bunch of people and so finally I was escorted through a private steel elevator by two security guys on segways – one in front of me and one behind me (in case I would try to…run away??). Through doors and more security – I was finally let in to the backstage area and they went to go find Gus. I was so incredibly happy and relieved when I finally saw him – a familiar, friendly face in a far away land. :D
After watching the Korean superstar Psy, we went to the dressing room (Blasko, Tommy Clufetos, Billy Morrison, Adam Wakeman, Gus and me) and just sat there, talking while Gus was warming up. Ozzy was on his way and it was a little bit as if the president was coming, the crew very anxious to make sure he would be pleased with everything.
But Ozzy is a simple guy. :) Instead of sitting alone in his own dressing room, he suddenly showed up in the doorway of the band’s dressing room with this HUGE boyish smile that we all know and love, and immediately cracked a joke that had everybody laughing.
I was sitting on this 2-seat couch and he just crashed right beside me, going “You’re Gus’ manager, right?” I tried to explain that I was just a friend but he was already on the next subject (I’m smiling even as I’m writing this right now).
It was totally relaxed and simple. It didn’t really dawn on me until afterwards, that I was sitting backstage in Korea (of all places!) with Ozzy and his band, being the only guest there. I never expected that, cause I was there to see Gus.
People pay big bucks for those meet & greets with Ozzy, so I had ruled out the possibility of bumping into Ozzy at all.
The smile-factor was simply that it was so normal and so “every day-ish”. No big deal, no cameras, autographs, selfies, people running around adoring anyone. Just a bunch of people relaxing, cracking jokes. You can never plan that, when it happens it happens. And I cherish those moments more than anything.
The Ozzy-trip to Korea…!
It’s taken a week to get rid of the jetlag, but the trip to Seoul, Korea was without a doubt one of the most memorable ones I’ve done. I had no idea what I could expect, as I don’t know anyone from Korea and I don’t even know anyone who’s ever BEEN there. Ozzy doing that one-off gig there was the perfect reason to go and I’m so glad that I did.
It took me 16 hours to get from Copenhagen to Seoul (with a landing in Dubai) but my favorite airline ever, Emirates, made those hours pass very quickly. Comfortable seats, good food and lots of movies and entertainment.
I landed in Seoul on Friday afternoon, around 5PM local time, and speeded through immigration like a flash. Very efficient and speedy process. When I got out, I was greeted by THIS! My cab driver, James (which he called himself, but his e-mail addy said his name was Kang :D) had placed the sign with my name on it RIGHT in front of the exit-doors, you just couldn’t miss it!
He was a happy, laughing man who was glad to show me the city and answer any questions I might have. The first thing he said was:
– This is the country where everybody’s got black hair and nobody speaks English, haha!
– Well, the country where I’m from everybody’s blond and everybody speaks English! :D
When we got to the guesthouse where I was staying, Sutome, I was greeted by a woman who said that she lived there. She showed me my room and explained how everything worked. I had no past experience at all of guest houses. Either it’s a hotel or a bed and breakfast. This was something inbetween.
I saw that everybody’s shoes were outside, so I took mine off as well. There was a hot/cold water dispenser outside my room which was perfect, cause there was this humid heat that was almost unbearable. The whole house had this wonderful scent of essential aromatic oils – there was Ylang-Ylang in the bathroom and lemongrass in the entrance room, all very fresh. Sutome was actually an art gallery but they also rented out rooms, and some people lived there permanently.
I asked the woman who had welcomed me, if it was difficult to get to the World Stadium or if she could maybe draw me a simple map or something. She smiled, asked me to put my shoes on, and she would show me.
So, we went for a walk! :) It was so easy to find, once we got to the nearest junction I could see the signs to World Cup stadium, and she pointed at something and I could even SEE it. No way to miss it. Then on our way back, she showed me a small alley that she said led to a little marketplace where I would be able to find good Korean food and do a bit of shopping. Unfortunately I never had time to go check it out during my very short stay….
When we came back, she showed me her tiny little garden, and she had watermelons growing there! I LOVE watermelons, thought it was so cool to be able to grow your own!
It was hotter than hell and I was tired after my trip, so I fell asleep almost immediately.
The next morning, I was wondering when it was breakfast. Usually you are told that breakfast is served between 7 and 10 am and if you miss it, you’ve missed it, tough shit… I was to learn that that wasn’t how it worked at a guest house.
When I got up, there was a lady there who greeted me with a smile and asked if I had slept well. Her English was limited but perfectly sufficient for a simple conversation. She asked me when I would like to have my breakfast. I asked her when they usually HAD breakfast (figured that I didn’t need any special treatment, I would eat when everyone else ate). She said around 9.30. Perfect. 9.30 worked for me.
I wanted to take a few pics of the street outside, when I noticed a cat and a few kittens right outside the door. From what I could understand, they were stray kittens, but the lady fed them and had prepared a nice little “cat home” for them where they had their sanctuary.
A guest house not only for people, but also for homeless cats, it was beautiful, I loved it. :D Check out the little grey fellow – and his VERY relaxed style! :D Lol!
My room was very simple, but clean and perfect for a young person. A CD-player was hanging on the wall and two shelves right next to it, with CD:s lined up to choose from. Two single beds, AC that didn’t work (or I was just too stupid to figure out HOW it worked) and a little table that I used as my makeup table.
Took a shower before breakfast and got online – was there was free Wi-Fi in the whole house. Maybe not the fastest one in the world, but at least it worked (kind of…. on and off at least…).
The lady was in the kitchen, preparing something and she brought me a tray with a pitcher of milk, some cornflakes, toast, little dishes with two different types of jam, the coffeemaker was brewing… And then she brought out a plate with scrambled eggs that she had just made. Perfect way to start the day.
She smiled once again, told me to enjoy breakfast and then disappeared. I understood that there was no “breakfast time”, you just got your breakfast when you could/wanted it, and she would make it from scratch. :)
After breakfast I packed my “concert bag” (all the usual – camera, batteries, memory cards, earplugs, mealbars, bottle of water, wallet, headache pills, nosespray, sunglasses…) and went to find the stadium. I wasn’t sure about the times or how it was all going to be organized, so it just felt safer to be there early.
One thing I noticed during my stroll, was how CLEAN everything was. There was no litter on the streets. Not as much as a chewing gum anywhere! I was impressed by how well the Seoul-residents kept their city tidy.
The stadium was huge. It took me almost fifteen minutes to try figure out where the entrance was! There was a big mall integrated with the stadium, and also a spa and what I think was a fitness facility.
I saw people with music t-shirts and decided to just walk in their direction. Sure enough, it led me straight to where I needed to go.
I had to pick up my ticket and luckily, there were signs in English that directed me to where to get my ticket. The funny thing though, was that once you collected your “paper ticket”, you had to walk over to the OTHER side, right across from this booth, and exchange your ticket to a wristband instead. Oh boy. Why not do both at the same time?
So I got in THAT line. And suddenly I became aware of the fact that I stood out in the crowd, quite a bit. I was the ONLY European-looking person there and most DEFINITELY the only BLONDE there. Not even as much as a fake blonde anywhere.
It was pretty cool, because you got your wristband and a kind of “pass-holder” that you could wear around your neck with the schedule and all kinds of good-to-know info.
I decided to take a look around the premises. The security check and everything else, went so smooth. In Western countries we are so unorganized because we are selfish and eager to accomodate ourselves, which usually leads to the exact opposite – longer lines and crammed entrances and exits. Here, people are used to co-existing in a different way somehow. It simply works. I was very impressed.
There were a number of different stages where you could check out various types of bands/music, food and sales of souvenirs and stuff. I forgot to get myself a t-shirt at least, would have been cool to have one.
Once I had checked out the area and I knew where to get in and out, and the different stages and stuff, I decided to go back to Sutome. It was way too hot for me, I just wanted to get indoors, in the shade for an hour or so (and drink lots of cold water).
I was still jetlagged to I ended up taking a nap for a half hour.
Went back to the stadium a little later to pick up a pass that was hopefully there, somewhere, I just didn’t know where or when. So I tried to find someone who spoke English. They directed me to this girl who said she spoke English. I tried to explain, as slowly and as uncomplicated as possible, that I just needed to know where I could pick up my pass. She nodded and asked me for my ticket…. I couldn’t see what the ticket had to do with anything, but I gave it to her and she pointed in the direction of the entrance.
Okay, this wasn’t gonna be a walk in the park, apparently. *phew*
I said that I knew where the festival entrance was, but I wanted to know where to pick up my pass. The word “pass” seemed new to her. She looked at me like I was from outer space. So I tried once again to explain that a pass was used to get in backstage… as in “behind the stage”… as in where the artists usually are.
She looked at me with a totally horrified, shocked expression and went: “You can’t go meet the band!”
Yes, I can, but I need my pass, so where do I collect it?!
It was as if she figured I was some random fan from the crowd who was trying to talk her way into the “holy area” or something. My god, that was quite a challenge. In the end, I just gave up, said that it’s okay, I would find somebody else to help me out.
I eventually found the lady who was in charge of promoter tickets and VIP passes, and she spoke English. Thank god. I had to wait, she said. So I just sat on a bench nearby and played Tetris for a while. ;) She finally came out, said that my name just came in, and put it around my wrist. I asked if she knew where the backstage area WAS, and she couldn’t quite explain it, so she told me to ask once I got inside the stadium.
Great. Whoever was on stage at that point had made the crowd go absolutely hysterical, mega-crazy, I mean, I have NEVER in my LIFE heard that kind of noise from a crowd EVER! I’m not kidding, it was what I imagine that Beatlemania must have sounded like – aliens must have heard it!
Turns out that it was PSY, the Gangnam style guy. I didn’t know that when I was trying to get from point A to point B in that crowd, though. Dispite the noise, I tried to find somebody who was in charge of security, and finally found one. He told me that the backstage was “out there and around to the left“. That road led to nowhere…. So I asked at least five or six people who all shrug their shoulders and had absolutely no clue where that backstage thing was or how to get there.
I ended up outside the arena somehow and went looking for the guys in dark blue t-shirts and walkie-talkies as I figured they should know more than the regular security people. Maybe they did, but the language barrier made it all take a long time. Suddenly, a girl walked up to me and said in loud and clear American: “Do you need help?”
Her parents were Korean, but she was from California, but had moved to Korea when she married a musician that was in a band (that was playing on the Music stage when all of this was going down).
Once she realized that I had come “all the way from Sweden” to Seoul for the Ozzy show, she was determined to fix this. So, she stopped a bunch of people with Security t-shirts, said something in Korean, pointed left and right and was bossy in the most polite sort of way, then walked over to me and said: “They’re gonna figure it out, just hang in there…”.
A few phonecalls, a few people in charge that were called in to see what the problem was, they all showed up on those segway thingies….
[Pic from Wikipedia]
After another ten minutes or so, I was told to “follow them”, one segway guy in front and one behind me as my “escort”. The California-girl waved to me, smiled and yelled “Good luck!!”
I was led into this big elevator with metal doors, escorted by these two security guys, then powerwalked (I had to try keep up with those rolling damn things that they were transporting themselves on!) for what seemed like forever and like a hundred miles, until we got to a door where we were met by two other security people and I was shown to a section where I was supposed to wait until I got picked up by someone. Then they all left.
I was listening to the “oomph-oomph“-music coming from the stage, when suddenly I saw Gus, a familiar friendly face in this “far away land”, that I was very happy to see. Him and Blasko were going to see Psy do his thing so we all went downstairs to the side of the stage to check it out. Never in a million years did I think that I would be in Korea of all places, checking out their “National hero” performing his biggest hit, with two dudes from Ozzy’s band, haha! It was just slightly… bizarre! :)
Before Ozzy’s show, I found a good spot in front of the stage, and felt very grateful that I didn’t have to be squashed in the crowd this time. I was excited and full of anticipation but at the same time, I was still struggling a bit with the jetlag.
Nobody bothered me, nobody had a problem with my presence there at all. In Europe and even in the States, there’s always some security guy with an attitude problem who wants to be a pain in the ass just for the sake of it. But here, it was just so easy and so uncomplicated, it was pure heaven.
The show…….. How do I even describe it? Ozzy was in FANTASTIC shape. He sang like I haven’t heard him sing in a long time, solo or with Sabbath. He was just at the top of his game in every possible way and I’m so glad that I decided to come “all that way” to see it. It was worth every single travelled mile, every single annoying kids’ scream on the plane back, every minute of jetlag and whatever else. It was just simply WORTH IT – ten times over!
There was an amazing atmoshpere over that whole show. The crowd was fantastic, I haven’t experienced anything quite like it before. Enthusiastic but still civilized. At shows this size in Europe, you’ll get dozens of people being pulled over the barricades during the show. HERE, there wasn’t as single soul causing trouble and the security had pretty much nothing to do. That must be the easiest job in the world – being a security guy at a gig in Korea!
I LOVE this Ozzy lineup. These guys work together so well, with all their different personalities, they are the perfect stage combo, and the very best at what they do. Gus G is the guitar hero who’s never ceased to amaze me with his impeccable playing. Whatever it is he does, it’s magic enough for me to want to see and hear more of it, anywhere on the planet.
Once again, he did all those classic Ozzy and Sabbath-songs justice, the perfect guy to interpret all his predecessors. He does it respectfully, classy and with great passion. Just the way it should be.
Tommy Clufetos burns with a fire behind his drums, and he’s kicking the living daylights out of them. He’s a great entertainer as well. As is Blasko, who adds that raw badass attitude to the stew. :) He just is that tough, bad motherf***er that every dude in the crowd wants to be. Adam Wakeman is the multi-talented keyboardist/guitarist and probably one of the funniest guys in rock. ;) Unfortunately he’s “the Invisible Man” on stage. Does his job but doesn’t take up a lot of space or spotlight from the others.
Ozzy himself was absolutely adorable. He looked like he was exactly where he wanted to be. He was enjoying himself and his frequent big, sincere smiles, magnified on the huge screens, were the unmistakeable evidence of that. Also, like I mentioned before, he sang better than ever. I saw him with Sabbath a couple of times the past year and although I’ve always loved his stage persona, he didn’t sing as well as he did at the Citybreak festival in Seoul.
So, I am praying to all the gods of metal, that the whole moneymaking Sabbath-business takes a break for a while and he does THIS for at least a little while. I had the best time ever – Oz and his boys were really at the very top of their game!
That evening at the World Cup Stadium in Seoul, Korea – was MAGIC. Just pure, amazing magic.
Another thing that was magic was how wast the stadium cleared out! In Europe, it takes HOURS to get thousands of people out of a stadium. In KOREA, the place was empty in a matter of MINUTES!
A man with a whistle was walking around blowing the whistle, showing those who were still lingering, the nearest exit which they should use. I’ve never seen such efficiency in my LIFE!
I left the stadium feeling great. Can’t explain it, it wasn’t a “gig high” or anything like that, just a very different kind of feeling that I actually had for days after the show.
If there were only more shows like this around the corner.
The next day, at breakfast at Sutome, I met three girls who were also staying there and were going to the festival. One of the girls was very curious, because she loved music as well and wanted to write about music. She hadn’t been to that many concerts yet but mentioned one where she initially went to see Muse but ended up seeing Metallica as well who played that same night, and was totally blown away.
I told her to start blogging, it’s a great way to start out, and if she wants to contact a music magazine down the line, she will have enough material to show. It’s just great to meet people all around the world with the same dreams and the same passion for music. It’s our most universal language!
The only thing I got to see in Seoul before going home, was the IFC Mall, right next to the luxurious Conrad Hilton Hotel. And one thing that I could establish, is that the world looks pretty much the same everywhere you go. There are a few small differences of course, but the mall could have been anywhere in the States. All the same type of stores, right down to the Starbucks and McDonald’s!
I suppose they were trying to appeal to the tourists, but to me it’s just like being at home, pretty much. I didn’t buy anything at all in Korea. Just a mini-fan that you could hang around your neck and it would cool your face. Pretty neat little thing that cost like a buck or two. Other than that – nothing. Only because we import all this stuff from Korea, Japan, China, all those countries, so I can easily find most of those things at home as well.
I did visit the World cup mall too, which was mostly an outlet mall. And the electronics department there just made it clear that when it comes to electronics, we are still a bit behind in the West. Some of those things that I saw, I even wondered what the heck it WAS!
When my cab was supposed to pick me up, it started raining…. and I mean RAINING, as in a total crazy monsoon! It was pissing down like it was the end of the world, and I thought I that maybe my flight would be cancelled or something. But just as we were approaching the airport area, the rain stopped, and I saw the most amazing thing…. I tried to take a photo but it didn’t work… The sky was almost black and was like this giant fluffy carpet above us… except for a little hole in the sky, from which bright sunrays came out and besides that – formed a “one legged” rainbow!
It was just such an amazing sight, I’ll never forget that.
The flight back home was a nightmare. Screaming kids all over the cabin, I sat there for over 16 hours listening to whining, crying, screaming, yelling… I would give ANYTHING to be able to travel long distances without hearing a single SOUND from those little devils. I even contacted a custom hearing protection manufacturer, but I guess they didn’t take me seriously when I said that I was looking for something that could filter out whatever frequency kid screams were usually on….
So I’m back in Sweden again, it took a week to get back on track. It was fantastic, the people, the country, the show – I couldn’t have asked for a better trip. :)
FOR PHOTOS FROM THE SHOW – GO TO www.facebook.com/intherearviewmirror
And a “PS”…. :
Strangely enough, this showed up on Facebook this morning. The weather phenomenon that I mentioned I had seen on my way to the airport, even had a name. It’s called “sky punch”, and I found a pic of it as well, since I didn’t manage to get a decent pic of it myself:
Ozzy in Seoul, Korea – one week from now!
Today is Saturday – and in exactly one week, I will be in Seoul, South Korea to see the first Ozzy solo gig in quite a while. I’m super excited about it, cause I didn’t think he would do anything solo anytime soon. The whole Black Sabbath-thing has been going so well that I pretty much thought that that was going to be his main focus for another few months at least.
But when I heard that he’s putting his band back together for this gig I was so glad to hear the news that I didn’t even stop for a second to ponder whether or not I would or should go to Korea to see the gig. OF COURSE I WAS GOING! :)
I love Ozzy. There’s something so lovable about that man – as crazy as he can be, he’s genuine and his enthusiasm and big smile on stage is so contageous. He might be The Prince of Darkness to some, but to me he’s The Prince of Smiles.
I always leave his gigs with a big smile. A lot of times his vocals might not be perfect and to some, his show consists mostly of doing the “Ozzy walk“, but I love all of those things. Even that hose! I don’t know how many times I’ve been soaked in either water or foam, and I feel like a kid all over again going: “Yeah! Do that again!” It’s so liberating.
The songs are classics, and he’s never done a bad solo album EVER. Sure, different albums appeal to different people, but all in all, I can’t think of any album that has sucked. The songs are always the best. And he’s got the best people to play them too.
And of course, guitar mainman, Ozzy’s squire – Gus fuckin’ G, will be on his right side, making him sound even more brilliant.
What’s not to like? This will rock everybody’s socks off, and I can’t wait!
I have a long flight ahead of me on Thursday. About 16 hours with a landing in Dubai, and all I’ll get to see is an airport, a hotel, a gig and maybe a mall before going straight back home and back to work. I won’t even have time to get jetlagged! I think…. and hope.
When I was in Australia for the Firewind tour, I was fine for the first few days before the ‘lag kicked in, but this time I won’t even be around that long. We’ll see.
It doesn’t matter. The adrenaline will make everything else go away, I’m sure. :D
Some things simply ARE worth flying to the other side of the globe for!
Off to Seoul – Ozzytime!
I had barely landed in Sweden after the Guitar Universe tour, before I started feeling restless again. Yes, there’s Sweden Rock Festival next week, but that’s “home”. Then there’s Rob Zombie in Rome, Italy later in June. But after that… jesus christ, there was NOTHING.
But…. when you least expect it – The Random Destination Generator, Gus G, tweeted something that I just read as “Ozzy” and “Korea”. BAM! There you go! Problem solved! THAT shall be my next destination!
Much to my surprise, it wasn’t that expensive with flights there either. And with the miles I earned with Emirates for the business class trip to Australia back in November, I’ll get it even cheaper! :D
Can’t WAIT to fly with Emirates again, the best airline ever!
Also, really really stoked about seeing Ozzy solo again, with that lineup. I think they have such a great chemistry on stage: Adam, Blasko, Tommy and Gus. Nevermind the fact that I’ll be seeing Ozzy with Black Sabbath in a few days, it’s not quite the same.
So, it took me all freaking evening to figure out how to get a concert ticket for the event, as everything was in Korean and the website was designed in a way where most of the text was in pictures, which means that you can’t run Google translator on it. But I’m hopelessly stubborn, once I’ve decided on something, it’s just gonna work. So, after clicking on everything, ten times over I finally managed to get myself a ticket to that festival. Awesome!
Next thing was finding a hotel near the stadium. Turns out that HOTELS in Korea aren’t quite what we expect over here. Most of the hotels were small, privately run and most of all – lots and lots of dormitories and bunkbeds to choose from…! The one I eventually found was less than 1 km from the stadium, only 3 minutes with the no 6 subway line. Had great reviews, so eventhough there was no private bathroom, I’m okay with that. Some of the places I’ve chosen in Europe before with “shared bathroom” is all good, it’s just outside your door and usually clean.
I even went on Youtube to learn a few tourist phrases in Korean, might come in handy!
Like I’ve said before, I’m not a tourist traveller. If I’m gonna travel, it’s for music. And I doubt that I would ever have ended up in South Korea just to look at houses or whatever. So this is perfect – VERY different, exotic – and exciting. A little scary too because it’s so far different from anything I know (travelling to Australia is no big deal, it’s just like going to the UK, only farther away… People know the language and it’s the same type of western society as here). But THIS – requires guts for a solo female traveller. I’m taking on the challenge and looking forward to the adventure, once again! :D