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 was online all evening yesterday, trying to figure out how to make the logistics work for the Gus G/Mats Leven tour in Greece in October. It was pretty frustrating because nothing was going the way I had hoped.
Flights that took 30 hours (with layovers), flights that cost more than it would cost me to fly to the States, cities where the nearest international airport is 4 hours away and basically – nothing went my way. Yet I really want to catch at least one of those gigs.
I’ve been following Gus G’s every move for the past three-four years, so it feels strange to suddenly NOT be able to make it to even ONE show that’s after all in Europe. Shouldn’t be too difficult. But as it turns out, it can’t be done, can’t get the parameters to fit… :-(
I’ll also be missing the US-shows because of bad timing – I’m over in the States for Rob Zombie and meeting up with Madam X in Detroit the week before and don’t have enough vacation days to stay there and wait for the Gus-tour.
And then I’m missing the Metal AllStars South America-shows too because I’ve already booked a few gigs with Billy Idol at that same time!
And THAT would have been a great reason to go to South America, as I’ve been wanting to go there for quite a while, but just needed a good reason to go.
Gus G is my “random travel-generator” and I love that. He tours everywhere, all the time – the perfect artist for someone like me.
It doesn’t hurt that he’s a cool guy who I enjoy hanging with as well – and the same goes for his crew and band members. Super sweet people, the lot of them. All of that is a bonus.
In my Facebook status the other day, I mentioned that I was slightly annoyed that I couldn’t make it to some of those shows, cause I really want to go. One guy left a comment saying: “It sounds like you’ve got a crush on Gus, Daniela”.
I can’t say that I was surprised to get that comment. I can imagine that to the outside world, that would be the only explanation why someone would act as “crazy” as I do. I’ve heard that for every single band that I’ve followed. Even going way back to my days in school, hanging “with the guys”. It was interpreted as “she’s got a crush on so-and-so“.
But that’s not what it is. Not like that. It’s a combination of music, travel and friendship. To me, that’s the ultimate kick.
Another guy replied to that first commenter with the words:
“Daniela is in love with good music! Many great and long lasting relationships”.
That was SPOT ON.
I love the life that I have chosen for myself. Sometimes I can just walk down the street and smile, because I suddenly remember a really great gig or a trip that lies ahead, or a journey that I’ve made in the past – and all the interesting people I’ve met along the way, places I’ve seen, experiences I’ve had… It’s a lifelong love – no doubt about it. But it’s not the kind of “love” some people may think. :)
I’m in love with life, with music, with everything that surrounds it. Sometimes I might even be attracted to some people for about two seconds, but it’s nothing I’ve ever acted upon. Some awesome people I meet along the way catch my interest every once in a while, but it usually doesn’t last very long. What DOES last long however, is all that other stuff. LIFE – that’s what. :)
Seeking happiness in individuals is one thing, but I think that seeking happiness within yourself and the kind of lifestyle you want to live, makes you happy in the long run and is not as fragile as “regular relationships”. Or at least that’s my take on it.
So – am I in love? Do I have a crush? Hell yeah – I love my life and I love my music, and that’s a marriage that’s going to last forever. :D
My rock’n’roll trips usually start at Starbucks at Copenhagen Airport. I always have a mocha frappucino, it’s become a little bit of a “trip-trademark” if you will. It kind of feels like “the adventure is about to begin” – not because of the actual coffee, but because of the “tradition”. :-)
So I was glad to hear that there will finally be a Starbucks here in my home town, Malmo. I was invited to their VIP-evening tonight. The grand opening for the public is on the 22nd (with a gospel choir and everything, according to Caroline who is in charge of the event). I had forgotten the exact date for the VIP-evening, thank god my colleague at work sent me a text to remind me. Was tired from a long day at work, so a coffee seemed like a perfect idea. I was dead curious to see what it looked like in there anyway.
I didn’t stay long, just a short stroll to check out the place, had one of the mini-frappucinos that were served, was taught how to do a proper coffee-tasting and left. But looking forward to having a Starbucks around the corner, pretty much.
[Got a little goodie-bag on the way out]
I mean, everywhere I’ve been on my gig-trips, I’ve ended up at a Starbucks. The 2310 festival in Thessaloniki, Greece for instance – there was a Starbucks right down by the water and the pedestrian tourist-street- beautiful view – and perfect if you’re alone.
[From Thessaloniki, as you can tell…!]
There was also one right at the corner from my hotel – ended up having breakfast there. I know, I should have been more adventurous but I just liked already being familiar with the menu – saved me time. :-)
Same in Glasgow, Scotland, I was so tired after two days of travelling (that was the Firewind UK tour) that I almost heard angel-choirs when I saw the Starbucks-logo at the central station.
[Breakfast on the train from Glasgow station to the airport – on my way to Reading…]
I don’t remember where I had the salted caramel-frappucino, but that was fantastic. It might have been in Tampa or Atlanta. And the praline-frappucino, which was one of the Christmas specials in Manchester, UK when we went there for the Def Leppard/Motley Crue/Steel Panther-gig.
I’m glad they don’t have that one here, I would probably gain like a hundred pounds if they did!
And now, when I flew over to New York City for the Steve Stevens and Sebastian Bach-gig, there was a Starbucks on every corner on Times Square/Broadway. I actually ended up not having my usual frappucino because there were too many people everywhere.
I don’t really drink a lot of coffee on a daily basis. But when I’m out on these concert-trips I need the caffeine and sugar-kick to keep me alert. It does the trick every time.
I’m not a coffee-snob by any means, but I can tell by the way a coffee house prepare their espresso if they know their business or not. I can’t resist a really good espresso – but I also need to be aware when I’m having it, otherwise I’ll be awake all night. Again, perfect if you’ve been on the road for a few days or more…
Anyway, I guess there might be a change in my gig-trip routine from now on. The rock’n’roll coffee-kick starts already in Malmo – finally!
[From Manchester, Firewind fall UK-tour, meeting up with Ronnie for a coffee before the gig]
2011 is coming to an end, and I’m already planning my rock’n’roll travels for 2012.
The biggest challenge right now is the preparations for my trip to Russia. Or maybe I should say my “possible” trip to Russia, cause I had no idea it would be so complicated to go to a country that’s not that far away and only for a short visit.
I’ve found myself in a paper-mess with visa-applications and special insurance instructions and what have you. To top it all off, they aren’t exactly helpful at the Russian Embassy, so if I can’t figure things out on my own, I’ll have to skip the trip.
But I would love to go for at least two reasons: Because I’ve never travelled in that direction before, I’ve always gone to the west, never to the east (if you don’t count Eastern Europe such as the Czech republic). So, Russia feels a bit exotic. :-)
Second reason being visiting my friend Vera, who I met at Sweden Rock Festival that she’s been visiting a few years because she’s been covering the festival for the Russian edition of Classic Rock Magazine.
It would be very great to visit her and go see a cool show. The band playing (I rarely go anywhere unless there’s a show, as I’m sure you know by now :-)) is Judas Priest.
I saw them in Tallinn, Estonia back in 2006, it was a pretty weird concert. The security guards looked like an army, very intimidating. The opening act was some embarrassing, goddamn awful local band… Just one of those places you never forget.
And now – maybe, St. Petersburg, Russia, if I get my papers in order!
But before that – Athens, Greece in a few weeks. Firewind playing. Check out my Firewind-tour diary from this summer here.
After the past summer, it has become my “house band”, and seeing them from now on is like coming home. I liked the gigs with Mats Levén singing and I liked the US-shows as well with Apollo back as the frontman.
Firewind may not be a Motley Crue-sort of entertaining band, but for a music-nerd like me, they give me kicks just by being amazing at what they do – each musician in his own right.
I love the new drummer Jo, he kicks major ass, unbelievably talented. Nobody cares much for bassplayers unless it’s Billy Sheehan, but only watching Petros‘ fast fingers gets you dizzy, fucking hell that guy can play...! Don’t even get me started on the Virtuoso-Duo Bob Katsionis and Gus G (keyboards, guitar)…!
[Instrumental “SKG” – amazing if you’re into virtuosity…!]
The reason why I even started going to all those shows was Gus G. He is unreal. He’s not just another guitar geek, he’s a true old-school ROCK STAR on stage as well, I could watch him do his thing every week.
Somebody said that “there’s a lot of Gus in your videos” after watching my uploads on Youtube from this summer. Of course there is. There is no reason why there shouldn’t be. The guy rules.
But I’m slightly nervous going to Athens. When I went to Thessaloniki back in July, I got lost after the show at the stadium – and took for granted that there would be buses back to the city after such a big event. Never been anywhere where there haven’t been buses after a sports- or music event at a large stadium.
Well, apparently, it wasn’t self-explanatory in Greece so I ended up wandering the streets in the middle of the night looking for the ONE bus stop where the LAST night bus was supposed to leave. Cause THAT particular day, taxi’s were on strike…..
It didn’t make things any easier that the signs were all written with Greek letters that I couldn’t understand, so I couldn’t get help from a Greek friend who tried to guide me over the phone. I got back to the hotel eventually, but it has taught me to be WELL prepared when going to Greece next time.
I got a tip from my friends in the JOP-camp, to contact a guy from Athens that they know from the last Oliva-tour. I’m lucky to know people in road crews, as they know the world very well – especially gig-related stuff. MY kind of “stuff”. :-) Let’s see how it goes.
And another thing that keeps me occupied right now is finding a fairly cheap flight to NYC at the end of January, because the coolest “poser-guitarist” ever, STEVE STEVENS is playing – with special guest SEBASTIAN BACH. Two guys I adore seeing live, sharing the stage?! Damn, I don’t want to miss THAT!
I’m out of vacation days until May, so I would have to go just over the weekend, see the show and then head straight back to work. Looks like the tickets aren’t even on sale yet. Guess I could ask Sebastian’s management, but when I’m traveling far, I still feel a lot better having a ticket in my hand, than the stress that always happens when you get to the box office and they go: “Hmmm I can’t see your name here…. what did you say your name was?” The classic. Happens even with bands I know very well, I guess I can always call someone, but sometimes there’s no time for that. So – old-fashioned tickets works fine for me.
Guess I’ll wait for the tickets to go on sale first – and THEN I can start looking for flights.
Started updating my tour-schedule for 2012, check it out, maybe I’ll see you there somewhere out in the world next year! :-)
Travelling for strictly recreational reasons, such as sun/beach-trips or city-shopping trips is quite different from travelling to see rock shows.
For me, it’s important to travel light, not carry around heavy, bulky, impractical baggage – and have quick access to everything I need when I need it.
Packing for a festival is also different from packing for a regular indoor-show abroad. The festival-necessities have already been described in a different blog – but these are the things I always put in my bag when going to a show abroad :-):
Cameras (I usually bring 2, one that can be dropped or used in the rain, or when Ozzy’s hosing down his audience. Camera 2 being my “good” one, when I’m not risking any of the above. Also, it’s good to always have a backup)
Batteries, chargers and memory-cards. Lots of it! :-)
Tickets (of course)
Meal bars/protein bars/nuts (if you’re in front row, and you get hungry, the whole show could get ruined because you’re starving and you can’t go anywhere for hours to buy something. Or you wake up in the middle of the night hungry, and nothing is open. That goes for the entire trip – food is expensive at airports and hotels, and sometimes you just don’t have time to stand in line at McDonald’s for a sloppy burger. Bring bars or nuts – that way you’re always good to go)
Aspirins / cold caplets. Better safe than sorry.
Nose-spray (if your ears hurt by the pressure at takeoff or landing, that’s your best trick. Nose-spray clears your sinuses and eliminates that uncomfortable feeling when your ears feel like they’re going to explode.
Your banking-info. Anything might happen – you run out of money or you didn’t have as much as you thought you did, or just for security – make sure that you’ve got a backup and can transfer cash to your card if there is an emergency.
GPS and printed directions/maps. Phone numbers, addresses in your wallet.
Program the addresses you know you’ll be going to and save them in your “favorites” in your GPS before you leave. Then you’re ready to go.
Sometimes your GPS might not work for whatever reason (happened to me in Belgium, didn’t know that the cigarette lighter socket was broken, cause the GPS was still running on battery. But once I realized it, it was a nightmare figuring out how to get from where I was to where I was going. So, always have a Plan B)
Travel adaptors (it sucks to realize that you can’t charge your cellphone, camera battery, laptop and whatever else… Be prepared)
The right currency. Even if you use your credit card for hotels and food, you will always need cash for anything from public toilets in some countries, to buying a hotdog somewhere. It usually costs less exchanging in your own country.
- I keep all my travel documents in a folder in the order I’m going to need them. That way I don’t have to stand there flipping through everything, searching for the right paper.
It’s usually in this order:
a) Boarding pass
b) Rental car confirmation or train/bus/transfer confirmation
c) Hotel confirmation
d) Concert tickets
e) Maps, directions, phone numbers
- Not necessary but nice to bring with you – hand wipes, disinfectants or just regular wipes to freshen up when you’re on the go.
- Laptop / iPhone / smartphone I get a local SIM-card (for phones where you’re allowed to switch) A lot cheaper than roaming.
- Emergency rain poncho – cheap, easy to carry with you and believe me – you never know when you’re gonna need it!
I try to be smart about the clothes I bring, some stuff can be washed in the sink and dried near a window or hanging above an airconditioner set to “hot” (be creative, you’ll figure it out).What I do shove in the carry-on, I roll, because it keeps the garment from getting crinkled – then I roll it Saran wrap. :) Makes it easy to fit anywhere in your bag, and it’s protected in case you happen to throw something in your bag that might have stained it otherwise (such as that mealbar for instance).
Just plan everything ahead, every step of the way. That saves you valuable time once you get to your destination. And, like my friend Vera stated earlier this morning – the most important thing you need to bring is your common sense.
Safe travels! :)
Also check out The Rock’n’roll traveller’s best tips part 1 and 2: