Continued from part 1: https://intherearviewmirror77777.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/my-year-in-rock-2014-retrospect/
This is a screenshot from my Outlook e-mail. That’s where I organize all my trips. Every single event has its own file. That way I can keep track of things more easily, and also remember where I’ve been. I couldn’t fit everything in this shot but you get the idea…
So – moving on. MAY was a busy-busy month. That’s when the Gus G/Marty Friedman Guitar Universe tour kicked off. It started in Tampere, Finland on May 1st. I remember it well, because I took the train from Malmo to Stockholm the day before and was flying from Stockholm to Tampere on the day of the show.
When I woke up at my airport hotel that morning, it was snow all over the place! In MAY…!?
I remember walking around in the freezing cold city of Tampere, where I wouldn’t get access to my hotel room until late in the afternoon, and it was some sort of stupid automatic hotel without a front desk or PEOPLE to talk to, so…
I decided to just screw it, lose the money for the room I wasn’t going to use, and got myself a room at the Scandic hotel right next to the train station in Tampere instead. That was the best choice I could have made. WHAT a room! I loved it! Still remember it as one of my best stays this year.
It was good to see everyone when I was picked up by Andy, the tour manager, just as the sound check was about to finish. Gus and his crew, and band – it’s always great to see familiar faces no matter where you go in the world. :)
One thing that became pretty apparent already at that first gig, and that was that the “guitar geek” crowd wasn’t exactly the type of crowd that would blow the roof off a place. Some fans more than others perhaps, but it wasn’t a party animal type of crowd, for sure. Nevertheless, they WORSHIP their guitar heroes, they just show it in a different way. :)
The first round of this tour for me looked like this: Malmo – Stockholm – Tampere – Helsinki – Stockholm – Malmo (as supposed to be Gothenburg as well but that show was postponed and will take place in March this year instead).
Took a few days off the Gus/Marty tour but went to Copenhagen to see Reckless Love because I had seen them at the same festival as Gus/Marty (Stockholm Rocks) and though they were a great live band. They didn’t disappoint me in Copenhagen either, cool party band!
A few days after that I headed off to Germany for a new round of Gus and Marty shows. I started in Munich, travelled by plane and train, some great places, some less great places, but what I love about those trips are people I meet and places I see. Not the tourist thing but just everday things, everyday people. I don’t necessarily need to do tourist things, I can soak up the vibe of a place just by walking down the street – any street. Even just walking into the nearest grocery store. Doesn’t require more than that to experience a city the way I see it.
Met up with my friend Suuded again in Hannover for the show at Musikzentrum (which appears in the “Blame It On Me“-video, by the way :) ):
I came back home only to do a bit of laundry, work and maybe sleep a little. Then I was off on the next flight to London. This time it was at somebody else’s expense, namely Sony Music’s.
Judas Priest had invited a select few to listen to the new album, Redeemer of souls, at the Sony Music offices in London. I also got to meet Rob Halford again, always a pleasure. The album was great, the meeting with Rob was great. It was just a very memorable experience, the whole thing. :)
The Halford-blog can be found here: https://intherearviewmirror77777.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/hello-again-metal-god/
The next day I just moved from one part of London to another, to see Gus G and Marty Friedman at the O2 again. If I remember it correctly it was the last show of the tour. At least it was for me.
Marty recorded his video there and it was a great day and evening. Herman Li from Dragonforce joined the guys on stage that night.
As always, I hate it when a tour ends. While you’re in the middle of it, it’s always fun, exciting and always a new destination to look forward to (for a travel junkie like me). When it’s over, you go home and then you have to start all over again trying to find another interesting tour, festival or gig to attend…. I’m not much for sitting at home watching reality-TV. I’d rather live my own “reality TV”. :)
Anyway, the last Gus/Marty show on my schedule was May 21st. I had about two weeks to catch my breath before the next event was to take place: SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL. My second home, the yearly tradition that I can’t imagine a summer without. THIS year was memorable in many ways – not only for the gigs but also for the people I met and got to know, that have made some pretty significant marks in my life ever since!
All about that in part 3…….. Stick around.
The ULTIMATE rock band (that’s still around, still touring and going strong!) ROLLING STONES visited Sweden on the 1st of July. My friend Hemmi and I drove the 7 hours up to Stockholm to see them.
I had no idea what to expect. I’ve always missed them when they visited Sweden, either I didn’t have any money or I was out of the country or Keith Richards would get the tour cancelled by falling out of a coconut tree! But now they were back and both me and Hemmi wanted to see the Stones – I mean, you just can’t get an opportunity to see a legendary band like that and not go!
There were plenty of people standing in line when we got there but it wasn’t as crazy as it is at heavy metal concerts. The lady in front of us was from Queens, New York, and she was telling her stories about seeing Beatles when she was 14 – that being her very first concert. “They didn’t have the sound equipment back in those days that they do now, you couldn’t hear anything“, she explained. She had also seen Jimi Hendrix, The Who, whoever – ALL the classics. She was travelling all over the world with her husband so see bands (like Stones…) now. I could see myself in her in a way – I hope that will be me when I get to her age. Hopefully I’ll have found a guy who is on the same page by then too! :D
It started raining. Not just raining, POURING, it was nuts! I’m glad I brought my rain poncho to keep me from getting soaked.
They finally opened the doors, with a bit of delay, and I was so relieved to see that there was a ROOF on the Tele2 arena, and not an open air arena. That just made my day. I got in the absolute front of the first section after Golden Circle as well, whereas Hemmi stood a little bit behind, but he’s so tall he can see anything anywhere anyway. :)
The first opener was Swedish singer Amanda Jenssen, a very talented young lady who was competing in the Swedish version of American Idol. I like her, she’s a real musician and she’s doing her own thing.
The second band was something from Norway that quite frankly was so boring I nearly fell asleep. Not my thing at ALL. Besides, it would have been quite enough with just ONE opener.
When it was time for the Stones to enter the stage I was really excited – what would they be able to do live?
I’ll tell you what they did. They absolutely FLOORED ME! I had NEVER in a million years, thought that men in their 70s would be THAT great, that full of life, that amazing – I can’t find another word to describe it.
Mick Jagger was all over the place, all the time, not still one second (except for songs where he was playing an acoustic guitar and singing). Keith Richards…. I LOVE Keith Richards, he’s the coolest man on the planet! I want to kidnap him, take him home and have him tell me stories about his life! Wouldn’t that be the greatest thing. :D
It was a strange sensation, seeing these men – obviously “old”, yet not being old at ALL. There was a glow and an energy beyond belief in Keith – and all of them for that matter. All I could see was a bunch of young naughty, happy boys trapped in older bodies. It just didn’t fit – those bodies should be exchanged to fit what’s inside them – if it was possible. :D I just loved every second of it.
I normally film every show I go to. This was one of the few times that I didn’t care – I filmed maybe 4 songs, the rest of the show I just let the music take control of my body and just LIVE it, experience it! I don’t mind the filming, sometimes it’s even better than without the camera, because the camera zoom functions as binoculars in a way, but this just…nah. Camera away. :D
Everything was top notch. Fantastic backing vocalists, very cool stage show… But you know, even if it hadn’t been for all that – it would have been enough to just watch their faces, the band having fun together and letting the crowd join the party. That’s what it’s all about. It was 100% genuine and I totally and fully understand why they have been on top for 50 years and why people all over the world still worship them. It’s because they’ve got “IT”.
It was just such a pleasure to see that show and I deeply regret not getting tickets to any more shows. But, I really had no idea what I was about to experience. I can only hope that they will come back, just once more – or just do a show or two in Europe again after their tour of Australia.
If you get a chance to see them, DO IT! :D
Woke up at SAS Radisson in Helsinki.
I had pre-booked a cab early in the morning, to get to the airport on time. So I got up at 5 AM and went downstairs to get some breakfast before the cab came to pick me up. It was almost empty in the big breakfast room, but a decent buffet to choose from. I took a quick look at my phone and saw that I had about 15 minutes before the cab was supposed to arrive, so I went to get my little carry-on that was behind the front desk.
On my way out in the lobby, I see ONE person (at first). Marty Friedman. He smiles and waves a little and I kind of wave back, wondering if he still remembers me or if he just remembered from seeing me the day before (and the day before that).
The reason why I wondered was because the first time I met Marty was when he was new in Megadeth. I did two or three interviews with him during that time. This was, obviously, before there was internet and he mentioned at some point that he had lost touch with a friend of his, drummer Anders Johansson (Yngwie, Hammerfall).
Anders was a friend of mine, so I remember dialing Anders’ number at the hotel, handing Marty the phone before leaving the room. That was the “old” way of getting back in touch with friends. Nowadays I guess it’s Facebook…
About ten years later, Megadeth were opening for Iron Maiden in Stockholm and I was at the hotel where both bands were staying. I ended up right behind Marty at the front desk, because I needed a map to find the venue.
I figured there was no point even mentioning that we had met before cause of course he would have no idea. He turned around for some reason, stopped and went: “Hey… I’ve seen you somewhere before, haven’t I?” And then he went on to give me all the details. That it was an interview in Copenhagen and what it had looked like there and soforth…
I was incredibly impressed by his memory for faces. I don’t even remember people I met last week – and he remembered after all those years. I never forgot that, I thought it was amazing.
However, I honestly doubt that he still remembers now, another 10 years later, we’re talking almost 25 years ago now. But – I still couldn’t help wondering.
As I got closer to the lobby I saw the whole bunch of tired musicians sitting out there, waiting for what I’m guessing was their ride.
I picked up my carry-on and thought that I would be able to stay and chat for maybe 10 minutes before my cab arrived, but the girl at the front desk told me that my driver was already there.
Suddenly I had to run off like a freaking Cinderella..!! The guys were trying to persuade me to hang out a for a few, but as I didn’t know how else to get to the airport later, and I didn’t have time to get the details about what they were planning to do I just barely even had time to say good morning – I just waved as I ran towards the door and said that I’d see them all in Stockholm.
Afterwards I felt mighty rude but I thought I had all the time in the world – and then the driver shows up too early and there you go. Suddenly you end up getting super stressed…!
I got to the airport, expecting a large place with lots of restaurants and shops, but the security was a tiny little station that I breezed right through and much to my surprise, my gate was just a few steps ahead.
Had nothing to do, so I picked up my new little Sony Vaio ultrabook (love it – if it hadn’t been for that annoying Windows 8…). Maybe 30 minutes later or so, I hear some familiar voices. I looked up, and there’s a whole collection of longhaired musicians and crew again, walking slowly like zombies towards the same gate. We were all on the same flight to Stockholm.
So, there we all were, trying to kill some time before departure, which was maybe 2 hours later. It was a computer-central. Mobile phones, laptops, iPads, mini-iPads everywhere. You’d think you just walked in on a DreamHack convention or something. :D
And some…. took a nap.
Once we got to Stockholm, I actually didn’t have a plan, for a change. I thought I was going to just improvise, but luckily, there was room for one more on the bus. :)
So, the whole equipage headed towards the baggage carousels to pick up suitcases and gear. Then continued out to find the tour bus – their rolling home for the coming few weeks across Europe.
The nice British driver welcomed everyone onboard, and while the band went upstairs to find their bunks, I found a place downstairs at the table where I wouldn’t be in anyone’s face. I was joined by two of the guys from the crew and it was really nice to just chat for a bit on our way into town.
When we arrived outside the amusement park Gröna Lund (where the venue was and the festival Stockholm Rocks was taking place) I thanked for the ride and continued on my way to check in at my hotel which was just up the small hill nearby.
The band was getting a bit more well-deserved sleep and the crew had work to do so the best I could do was get out of the way. :)
I had very little time but I’m rarely in Stockholm and I wanted to meet at least one more of my friends there before I left. One of them being my “little brother” Chris Laney (known as a producer at the classic Polar studios (where ABBA recorded their albums), songwriter and band member of a bunch of bands). But frankly, I haven’t seen him in so long that it felt like an hour just wouldn’t be enough.
[Me and “little brother” Chris:]
So I asked another dear friend, drummer Martin who’s now in Stockholm studying to be a producer and learning management, the business part of the music industry and about a million other things. We’ve always had tons of fun, so it would be great to see him. He took the ferry over from Stockholm city to Gröna Lund and joined me while I grabbed a bite at one of the restaurants across the street from the venue Tyrol. Hadn’t eaten all day.
[This is what Martin was doing when I first got to know him and the awesome dudes of the band Chains. The band split up but the guys have been doing great on their own. The guitarist Gabriel for instance, is now in LA, playing guitar and kicking ass]
Time went very fast and I had to run so I wouldn’t miss the festival, and he had to run too as he really didn’t have much time at all but still took the time because we never get to see eachother normally. That’s what happens when you’ve got friends all over the country…!
I was going to review the festival for Sweden Rock Magazine so I picked up my pass at the door.
There was some cool stuff to see and hear. The girls onstage when I walked in, Imber, were really good and I liked the singer’s badass attitude. Very confident but not arrogant and an edgy rock’n’roll voice. She had something unique.
Next band on stage was Finnish glam band Reckless Love – and to be perfectly honest, I expected it to suck. I’ve seen shitload of those bands putting tons of time and effort on their IMAGE, hair, clothes and various props, but when it comes to the music, they usually bore me to tears.
Well, I had another thing coming.
They were quite entertaining and they did their thing very well. Their singer was a total strutter and it just worked with that whole concept. If you didn’t take it dead serious, it was what it was – fun!
What I liked the most was the great vocal harmonies. The guitarist and the bassist could both sing which made all the difference. Few bands can pull that off nowadays (or they don’t even attempt it), so kudos for that.
Honestly, they were a hard act to follow. How do you walk up on stage right after a band that just invited to a rock’n’roll party and got the whole crowd singing and jumping? Phew.
Luckily, the act that followed was no rookie. If anyone knows how to work a stage, it’s Gus G. For a second there, I thought that his fan would have worked great now, just to add a little extra spice and effect on stage. But then again… he doesn’t really need it. :)
I saw another familiar face in the photo-pit (I chose not to go down there, eventhough I had a photo pass, because the angle where I was standing was better than the pit…). It was Tallee Savage, a very cool lady and talented photographer. Was glad to see her, so we went to the bar before Gus got onstage, to get something to drink.
Her husband left after a short while to leave the most expensive cameras at home, as those weren’t needed anymore and it was too risky to walk around with them.
I still hope she will get a chance to get a proper photo shoot with Gus, because I love her photos and I think that her dramatic but very elegant style of photography would suit Gus well, as he already has a bit of “mystery” about him. Someday, maybe, who knows :D
When Gus G hit the stage it was really a pleasure to watch. The crowd was chanting his name inbetween songs: GUS….G! GUS… G!! Some guys in the front were going absolutely wild, headbanging like crazy, reaching for him, trying to get a pick… the whole deal. I just thought it was awesome.
The rockers were totally into it, especially, of course, during the covers, which was probably the only songs they had even heard before as the solo-album is brand new. The Firewind-song World On Fire generated a bunch of banging heads as well.
In short – it was a successful show. The band couldn’t have asked for a better crowd. :)
During the changeover to Marty, we bumped into Anders Tengner, Swedish journalist and author (one of his latest books was “As Above, So Below – The Unauthorized Yngwie Biography”).
He was the presenter of this festival, so he had a few minutes to come and say hello. “Oh – Tallee – AND Daniela!” he smiled before he hugged us both simultaneously.
When I was a teenager, he was my main role-model and I loved his personal writing style. I’d say that he definitely influenced me a lot cause he was almost like a rock star himself when I was 15. All the stuff he experienced, I wanted to experience too – and then write about it, the same way. I’d say I’ve done okay doing just that. ;)
Marty went onstage to do his thing – and once again he mesmerized the Swedish crowd. You don’t even think so much about it being 100% instrumental. It’s so well carried out that you have a good time from beginning to end and he does have a stage presence that draws people to come check him out.
After his show, Anders picked us up to escort us backstage. We hadn’t even gotten through the door when we bumped into the promoter Christer. He immediately went: “Daniela Pilic! I haven’t seen you in twenty years”.
I knew I recognized his name when I got an e-mail about my pass, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember where from. He said the same thing. I do remember him working with a record company back in the 90’s who handled the band Talisman and that might have been one of those times we first spoke. But it’s a small world – it really is. :)
He continued: “I hear you went to Australia with Gus and the band!”
How on earth did he hear that? I wondered. He laughed and said that the management had mentioned it. Once again, it’s a funny and small world. :D
Once we got right in the middle of the backstage area where all the different bands were hanging out, I bumped into another old friend – Suzan from Playground Music. She’s done everything in this business and been around as long as I have, working with everything from band-PR to being a tour manager and whatnot. She’s a cool lady so it was great to catch up a little! We meet here and there, at least at Sweden Rock Festival every year. :D
The bassplayer from Reckless Love had been left behind, wearing only the thin, white tank-top that he had been wearing on stage. He had had a few beers and kept explaining that everything from their dressing room was gone – including his cellphone and his jacket.
So he couldn’t call his manager to ask where the hell everyone went or how to get back to his hotel. I had seen the manager budging out all the stuff from the dressing room maybe 30 minutes before. This dude was stranded.
Luckily, they were staying at the same hotel as I was, which was not far away so he could make it even dressed in…that. Suzan was about to show him the way when someone came for the poor guy. :)
H.E.A.T got back from their set, they are a very energetic live band and I can’t really find anything to complain about, except that they aren’t quite my cup of tea, that’s all.
TNT rushed by, passing us on their way to the stage and everyone left to go check them out from the side of the stage. Tony Harnell still has an impressive voice, that’s what stuck with me the most.
The backstage area was clearing out after TNT had finished their set and someone suggested that we should go to the classic Stockholm hangout for rockers: Pub Anchor.
This particular evening they had an Ozzy cover band which maybe could be fun for Gus to see. :D
So we all got a large cab/van and headed off to Anchor. I don’t know if I would call the cover band a good band, but at least they were kind of funny. :)
This clip is from the show at Anchor – “Ozzy” hanging from the ceiling singing No More Tears….:
We stayed there for a few hours until the place started to “thin out” just before closing time.
The guys ended up at another club I think, whereas I went back to the hotel to get 2 hours of sleep before crawling on the train back home to Malmo (as a sleepy zombie) a few hours later…
My next destination will be Munich, Germany…..!
The much anticipated Guitar Universe tour 2014 with Gus G and Marty Friedman finally hit the roads of Europe, and so did I!
My journey started at Malmö central station where I took the train to Stockholm on the 30th of April. It’s one of the most relaxing ways to travel, especially in the spring where you can truly enjoy the scenery. When the train crossed a few little lakes, it felt like we were “walking on water”. Beautiful.
I arrived at a busy Stockholm central, and used my smartphone’s GPS to find Hard Rock Cafe where I was meeting up with a friend later that day. I enjoy walking, and it’s especially enjoyable to take a walk in the sun. :)
Hours went by, I spent some time in the Hard Rock Cafe bar playing drink inspector. I love colorful, sweet drinks…! My friend Tina finally showed up and we could catch up a little. Haven’t seen her in years.
It started getting darker and that was my cue to get going so I could find my airport hotel before it got dark. Airport transportation is usually pretty expensive, but by reading tips from other travellers online, I found a way to get there pretty cheap by rail and bus.
I fell asleep pretty early (for my standards) cause sleeping is luxury when you’re out on these gig-trips. You try to get as much sleep as you possible can.
When I woke up early next morning, around 5 AM, I could barely believe my eyes. May 1st in Sweden – and there was SNOW outside?! It was freezing cold, and I didn’t’ have winter clothes, cause when I left Malmo it was spring! Oh brother….this was going to be interesting.
[The first thing I saw when I looked out the window in Stockholm, May 1st, 2014!]
The airport transfer bus was jam-packed. Got to Arlanda airport, my next destination was Tampere, Finland.
There were maybe 10 people on that tiny little SAS-flight and I could only laugh and shake my head at the fact that the plane was 55 minutes late because it needed de-icing…in MAY!
The captain went: “Well, we’apologize for the delay, but the de-icing station is slightly understaffed. We usually don’t need their services this time of year...”. :)
[Flying into Tampere, Finland…]
Tampere airport was like a ghost airport. Very small and absolutely nothing to see or do. I took a cab to Omena hotel which I thought was going to be my temporary home in Tampere. But when I got there, it dawned on me what kind of “hotel” it was. No reception, no staff, no nothing.
You got a key-code to access the premises and your room. And that didn’t work. The code/key would be “activated” at 4 PM. So there I was, at 10 AM, freezing my ass off, still tired, hungry and just needing a place to put my bags, change and relax before heading off to find the venue.
A McDonald’s was right around the corner and as much shit as you can shove on McDonald’s for various reasons, it has been my saviour many times when I’ve been out on these trips. It provides cheap food, free WiFi and bathroom. It’s the small things that count when you’re out travelling on your own.
I tried to get in touch with the Omena staff by e-mail, explaining the situation, asking if there was any possibility to get the access code to work a bit EARLIER than 4 in the afternoon, that’s extremely LATE. Nothing. To this day they still haven’t replied in any way, shape or form.
So, I thought… fuck it. I looked up another hotel nearby on my booking.com app and just walked in, asking if they had anything available for 1 person, 1 night. That was Scandic Hotel Tampere Station. The best thing I could have done! Sometimes, shit happens so that it can turn into something good.
The guy at the reception was super nice, I got a good discount, he asked what kind if room I would like, tub or shower, explained the details and was just helpful without being “in your face”-nice. When I opened the door to my room, I almost heard angel choirs and harps…! Wow.
It was modern, cool, had everything you needed and then some! It’s, hands down, the second best hotel I’ve ever stayed at. The best is still hotel Avalon in Gothenburg. But this is a worthy competitor. Normally I would have praised this place in booking.com’s review section but since I just walked in off the street, I’ll just mention a few things here in case other travellers to Tampere are looking for a great place to stay. It wasn’t that expensive either.
Sound proof – I couldn’t hear a thing from the rails, the street or other guests. Wonderful silence…!
Warm floors. Even in bathroom.
Usually hotels are focused on male travellers but this one had thought about the female ones as well. There was plenty of space to put my makeup in the bathroom, a huge mirror and good lighting.
The soap was organic and smelled great.
Another thought-through detail was the “night light” in the bathroom – a small, tiny light that lit up the commode so you don’t have to turn the big, bright lights on when you get up in the morning and need to go to the bathroom. THAT was probably my favorite feature. Again, it’s the small things that count. :)
And the BED…! I could have slept there all day, so comfortable. I felt like a queen.
But the best thing of all: It was right across the street from the venue, Klubi!
I walked down there to check out the premises, looked like a typical rock club. No activity going on though, so I went to get some dinner.
When I came back, I heard drums – actually, you could hear those thundering, wild drums all the way up to the railway tracks…!
A guy who was obviously from the club, approached me and started talking Finnish, so I told him I didn’t understand a word he just said.
– Oooh, sorry. I’m looking for a woman, but I don’t know what she looks like, he said.
OK, well. Hard to help you there my friend. :) A bit later on, I was picked up by a kind and familiar face and brought into the nice and warm club. At that point I felt like an ice-lolly or something, man it was cold!
But when you’re out on these things, there’s really nothing better to do than hang around the venue – as crazy as it sounds. There’s only so much you can do at the hotel or a restaurant, and even that gets old. Anyway, I caught a few minutes of the sound check, which was great.
It was nice to see all the familiar people and hear a little bit of Marty’s stuff as well. Mats came down to say hi when they were done, and Jo kept me company for a little while, as always, before heading off to grab a bite somewhere before the show. It’s always great to see him, I was really glad he was announced as the drummer on this tour.
That’s what I enjoy the most I think, the super sweet guys in the band and crew. In a way I share a lot of their memories cause we’ve been to the same places, all over the planet, pretty much. :) Europe. the US, Australia…
Doors opened and people started coming in. I noticed a slightly different type of crowd than you would find at a Firewind gig. Many “geeky” guys who were clearly guitarists and were there mainly to check out the fretboard techniques of Gus and Marty…
And then it was finally time to kick off this tour with some brand new music from the young guitar virtuoso Gus G and his rock-tight band. It’s always a ballsy thing to do, to go on the road with a brand new album, presenting a brand new concept. I’d say that most of the crowd didn’t know the material yet, as “I Am The Fire” came out only about two months ago.
The crowd wasn’t the drunk Beavis & Butthead type of crowd, but I watched some of them, trying to “scan” the reactions of people, and noticed the approving nods and the very concentrated looks on their faces. If you were a mind-reader you would probably hear them go “damn, this guy is SICK…!“.
There are different ways to show appreciation and this crowd was most approving indeed, but in their own, silent kind of way (to start with at least, they got into it soon enough!)
As for me, seeing THIS constellation for the first time too, I’d say it was as tight as a frog’s ass. I was there when drummer Jo Nunez was brand new in Firewind and I’ve seen him grow with the band since then. He was brilliant back then as well, but now he’s a confident showman too and really fun to watch.
I received a message from a fan who had seen the videos from Tampere who said that he wouldn’t mind just watching a “Jo-cam” cause he’s entertaining. Thumbs up for that, it’s awesome.
Both Jo and bassist Or Lubianiker are working double shifts on this tour. Or, as Or put it on his Facebook-page: “Me and Jo (one hell of a drummer) held it down nice and tight for Marty, Gus and Takayoshi to pour some guitar awesomeness on top.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself. :)
Mats is the born frontman, he is just a natural talent in every aspect. He looks and sounds the part – and he’s working his butt off. So is Gus, and he always delivers. I wouldn’t be out here for the third year in a row, if he didn’t.
It’s a shame though, that Gus tends to gets stuck in different “boxes” that limits the type of crowd he could and should be drawing.
His solo album is not a “guitar album” – you do get great guitar work if that’s what you’re looking for, but most of all, it contains a bunch of great, classic style hard rock songs.
So now, it’s a “guitar-crowd” when it should be a regular hard rock crowd as well. It’s definitely not an easy business to be in. :)
[For the guitar-enthusiasts:]
I’d say it was a good evening with a crowd that started out as slightly reserved but ended up rockin’ like a real metal crowd once they got a little loosened up! :)
I haven’t seen Marty Friedman since his days with Megadeth, so I had no idea what to expect. I was pleasently surprised. Eventhough I didn’t know the material and it was 100% instrumental, I found myself getting closer and closer to the stage cause he has an interesting way of mesmerising a crowd.
It’s not just his playing. there’s no point “reviewing” guys like Gus or Marty – anyone with ANY knowledge or music, knows what they can do and what level of musicianship they’re on.
But Marty exudes such joy, enthusiasm and pure passion on stage. You can see every single emotion that he goes through in any given moment, by just watching his face. He’s like an open book and I think that really appeals to people. You don’t have to be a guitar geek to be fascinated by this guy. Anything that is genuine will ALWAYS get the attention of people.
I heard a girl saying after his show in Stockholm, “I don’t really like this kind of music, but I stayed throughout the whole show, I didn’t want to leave”. I rest my case. :)
And then…. as icing on the cake – the evening was concluded with this. See the video footage below. I was right in the middle of the warmed up crowd and it was awesome. :)
I left straight after the show to get some sleep. Had an early wakeup call the next morning.
Next destination: Helsinki
[Watch for the next tour blog in a few hours…]
Found this story from September 22, 1999 that was originally on my old website. Thought it would be cool to dust it off a little as it’s time for Maiden again next year. This was also during a time when I was collecting autographs – I don’t do that anymore. But it’s a nice memory. Here it is:
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Janet and I went to Stockholm just for the fun of it really. She was on vacation and I thought it would be fun to meet Iron Maiden’s tourmanager (who I thought would be the same guy who handled the W.A.S.P-tour – he said he’d come back in the fall with Maiden. Looks like he had a change of plans).
We went to the hotel and saw a bunch of young guys with Iron Maiden t-shirts outside. We went to the hotel bar and ordered tea, so we could sit there and relax, while we studied the activity in the lobby.
Yes, tea, because you get a whole pot which is cheap and gives you all the time in the world to just sit there. (Comment: This was during a time when hotel staff used to throw out people who were not guests..)
The first one I saw was Dave Ellefson (Megadeth), one of my teenage-crushes. Now he has short hair and looks like any guy off the street, but he still looks good.
Dave Mustaine walked out right behind him. If I had been ten years younger, I would have rushed out with the Megadeth CD-cover and asked him to sign it. But now it just didn’t seem like the right time or place for something like that. He looked like he was going someplace and I didn’t want to stall him.
Janet said that Marty Friedman was talking to the people in the reception, and Marty is one of the people I was looking forward to meeting, cause I remember him very well from an interview that I did with him and Nick Menza back in 1990.
We had a good time, and after the interview I went with him to his room and helped him call Anders Johansson (Yngwie’s former drummer) cause they lost touch and he didn’t have his number anymore. Anders was one of my friends so I just put them back in touch with eachother. Yeah, no weird business when this blonde goes to someone’s hotel room, lol! :) Felt nice to reunite two friends. (Comment: The time before Facebook….)
But anyway, I figured he wouldn’t remember me after ten years, so I didn’t even want to embarrass myself by asking.
But Janet and I needed a map anyway, so we could find Globen (where Megadeth and Maiden were playing, a huge arena) so I went to the reception and of course, ended up right behind Marty. I didn’t say anything, I just waited for my turn. Then suddenly, somebody from the “musician-party” (the way he looked and talked, I’d say he was the tour manager…) turned around and asked me, in a pretty loud voice:
– What does it say on your t-shirt?! (I had a black t-shirt that said in big, white capital letters: NEW YORK FUCKIN’ CITY)
I opened my blazer-jacket a little so he could see, and in that moment, Marty turned around. And the next thing I heard was:
– Hey! I know you!!
– Yes you do. I never thought you’d remember, I said, and still couldn’t believe that he remembered me. I looked different back then, and we’re talking about TEN long years!
– Yeah, I do..! You did an interview or something, right?
– Yes..! Wow, you REMEMBER that??
– Sure! And you know what? I remember more than that! It was a small hotel in Copenhagen or something, like the Tivoli or something and… (and then he started to describe the place).
I couldn’t believe my ears. After ten years he could even describe details – I don’t even remember people I met last week!
– So, what are you doing here? he asked.
I didn’t know what to say, because I wasn’t sure myself what I was doing there. It was just one of those things… a good band comes to town, and you can’t just sit at home and ignore it, that’s all.
So I just said that I was looking forward to seeing a good show. How the hell I was going to get in was a completely different story. It had been sold out for months, and I didn’t even have a ticket…
– Well, good to see you, I’ll see you at the show tonight then?!
– Sure, I said and wondered why I said that. I had no idea if we would get in. Globen, a huge arena, Iron Maiden, the biggest metal-attraction since Metallica, except that this was BIGGER, and I didn’t have a ticket or anyone I knew who could help me pull some strings. The way things looked, Janet and I would spend the rest of out evening in the hotel-bar waiting for something to happen.
Then the Maiden-guys started walking in and out of the elevators, and I was still wondering if I would be a pain in the butt if I just jumped out from out of nowhere and asked for an autograph, but I really WANTED their signatures! So I walked over to Steve Harris with my leather jacket and silver marker and asked him to sign it. He was waiting for his cab, so I knew it was not a good time to start a conversation.
He signed it, smiled and was very polite, I just said thanks and went back to the bar. Jannick Gers ran past us so quickly that he dropped his cap – I guess it was because the lobby was full of fans with their records and as he was in a hurry, he probably didn’t want to start signing anything and then not be able to finish – and maybe disappoint a few fans.
But now Janet and I realized that this was our last chance to try to ask somebody to help us out. When Dave Murray came out of the elevator, I asked him to sign my jacket which he did with a smile. I remember Dave as the smiling man from Donington too (except for with the incident with the Cameraman from Hell, which I’ll tell someday…). He’s easy to like, a down to earth man who seems to love his life!
Janet just walked up to him and said that the show was sold out, we didn’t have tickets and that we would have asked that other guy (W.A.S.P‘s tour manager who said he was going out with Maiden and then didn’t) but as he wasn’t there….
– I think it’s in the last minute, but I’ll try. Give me your name and I’ll see what I can do, Dave said.
She gave him our names and he left – the others in the band were already waiting for him.
And that was it… The show was about to begin, and we both thought that Dave had said “I’ll see what I can do” just to get rid of us. Most people would have done that. So we almost didn’t go. Why waste time and gas for nothing? Our plan B was to stick around till Megadeth came back to the hotel and see if we could persuade them to go out to a rock-club or something.
– But we can do both…! We can go to Globen, know for SURE that we AREN’T on the guestlist and then come back here and wait for Megadeth, I said. Janet agreed and we left.
When we came to the security-gate at Globen arena, Janet said that we were supposed to be on the guest list, and the security-guy just smiled, gave her an envelope.
– Yes! Here it is!
She looked as surprised as I did- we went to the side and opened it. There were two tickets!! DAVE, WE LOVE YOU!!! :-)
I managed to see Megadeth’s two last songs, and I love them. Had been looking forward to seeing them, but two songs were better than nothing.
When Iron Maiden walked up on stage, it was like a huge triumph-comeback! They have the best fans in the world! I looked around, and saw thousands and thousands of happy, crazy, screaming, headbanging Maiden-fans! They were in total ecstasy, and it was almost more entertaing watching the crowd than what was going on on stage! Almost… The last time I saw Iron Maiden was Donington 1992, but they were back to rock harder than ever! They were so good that I dropped my jaw. Holy shit.
Three guitars, the typical Maiden bass-sound and an absolutely fantastic Bruce! He has one hell of a set of lungs!! I even wondered if this was live or pre-recorded, but I saw it wasn’t fake. He really is one of the best vocalists around. He’s in great shape too, runs around the stage, jumps over amps like a rubberball, and owns the stage!
I got to hear some of my favorites: Phantom of the opera, Fear of the dark, Run to the hills and of course Number of the beast. It was a good mix actually, a little bit of everything from Maiden’s long musical history.
After the show, we drove back to the hotel just to leave a THANK YOU-note for Dave in the reception and also a note for Marty. Then we went to Copy, a small pub/club that played clasic heavy metal all night. I had a great time listening to old hits like Electric eye and Panama, but had to leave when the air was unbreathable in there. I can’t stand smoke, and it made me feel really sick. Besides, I was dead tired – I had only slept a few hours and driven all day. I needed rest. (Comment: This was before smoking was forbidden in public places in Sweden).
To make a long story short, I didn’t get much sleep that night for various reasons (we stayed with a friend of Janet’s who has three cats and a parakeet. The cats walked all over me during the morning and the bird screamed for all he was worth, so it was impossible to sleep). I wouldn’t have slept long even IF things had been perfect, because I felt that I had to go back to the hotel and get those missing Maiden-autographs before they left! Janet went back to bed and I drove off to new “adventures” on my own.
I went to the hotel-bar/restaurant and ordered tea. I was so tired that I was dizzy, felt sick and saw red and yellow spots before my eyes. I realized that I hadn’t eaten anything either… But then I recognized the Maiden-crew (I had seen one of them running with a fax-machine under his arm the day before) talking to the reception-ladies, so I quickly found my silver-marker and Iron Maiden promo photo that I got from EMI. Jannick came down first, but he was busy straightening out something at the reception desk, so I waited. The hotel-staff smiled at me, they recognized me from the day before.
When Jannick seemed to have solved whatever it was he had to solve and had a spare second, I asked him if he’d sign my jacket and photo.
– Suure! I’ll sign anything you put in front of me, he said and signed.
Then Dave Murray came out of the elevator with a little suitcase on wheels. He was still smiling! When he had finished talking to “his” people, I approached him, and he went:
Then Will (the guy who had helped me out all day with tickets and passes) grabbed me and went: