A few days ago, a friend of mine made a simple comment on my Facebook-page that said: “You’re the most insane person I know, yet you seem perfectly happy with it. I’m envious!”
I told him that we all have different definitions of what insanity is.
I know that I’ve analyzed this before, but it keeps coming back somehow. This is the way I look at it:
Our days are limited. Every single precious day is a gift (and yeah, I know that it sounds like a Hallmark card).
Many people spend those precious days doing anything but what they truly love to do. Afraid of sticking out, afraid of what “people might think”, afraid of what family and friends might say, or just plain insecurity or a different way of looking at things.
They spend every evening watching meaningless reality shows, admiring people who do nothing of value with their lives. The rich and the famous, women who live for botox and shopping. Kardashians, Hollywood-wives. All those people.
That’s fine, to kill a few hours of your time watching TV or going to the local bar getting drunk to numb your feelings of desperation, dissatisfaction and frustration. We all know how everyday life can be sometimes.
My point is – why settle for that? Why not just take a leap and BE CRAZY, if it makes you happy? Why am I considered “insane” when it’s NOT considered insane to NOT live your dreams?
Last week I found out that Yngwie Malmsteen and Gus G would be playing at Miami Beach on the day that I arrive in Miami (a few days before the cruise, wanted to adjust so I don’t get jetlagged on the actual cruise). Without as much as thinking, I got myself a ticket for that. I had already been cursing the fact that Yngwie would play on a different cruise than “mine”, so this opportunity – along with Gus, who I’ve seen all over the planet, literally, was fate’s way of saying: “Now, GO!”
The problem was that my original flight with Swiss would land in Miami at 6PM, leaving me very little time to make it though customs and immigration on time to get to the show, and I didn’t want to risk it. What to do?
You do the INSANE thing. Buy another plane ticket. Well knowing that you won’t get your money back for the first one, because you didn’t buy an extra insurance that would make it possible to cancel your reservation until the last minute. I never thought I would have a reason to, so I didn’t waste that extra money. Instead I ended up losing ALL of it – yet I’m HAPPY! How about that?
Because I will get to see Yngwie and Gus, and get the perfect start of my stay in Miami, I can’t think of anything bad about it. Yeah, I lost some money, and it’s not like it grows on trees, but… it’s just money, you can’t take it with you – if you know what I mean…
I’m not careless, I just look at money as something that has no value really, unless you use it to survive, first and foremost and secondly, to make your time on this planet as worthwhile as possible. And I have. So – it’s all good.
People have laughed and called me crazy for going to South Korea over a weekend to see Ozzy. But I just wanted to see Ozzy – and I love travel, so to me, I did exactly what I wanted to do. My goal wasn’t to go and be a tourist. My goal was to see a show, enjoy the adventure of travel, which I love no matter WHAT the destination is, and maybe meet some people before going home. You can do a lot in a very short time, that’s something I’ve learned over the years.
Many years ago, I did other crazy things, such as selling my furniture because I wanted to see a few more Whitesnake-shows in the UK. It was right before Christmas, I didn’t have money and I would have to use the little that I had on Christmas presents. Yet I was really buzzin’ after the Whitesnake-shows I had just seen in Sweden, so I had to make it happen, one way or another.
The solution was – sell the furniture. I didn’t need it anyway, just the couch, the bed and a table. I was good. The rest was capital. I could always buy new stuff later. And off I went. I didn’t have a hotel booked, I had no idea how to get to Southampton from London, I knew nothing really – I just got on a plane and went there. The rest worked itself out. I never regretted that for one second.
When you look back on your life someday, you won’t be thinking of the money you spent, you will remember the memories and how it made you feel. And that’s all that matters.
Music is my greatest passion in life. This rock’n’roll gypsy-life makes it worth BEING here. :) And I know it can all be gone tomorrow. If I lose my job, I will lose this life that makes me happy. I will have to adapt to a different kind of life, you just never know. All you’ve got is what’s here and NOW.
Maybe I’m childish, maybe I’m insane, and maybe I’m just not like “most” people, but we all have our weirdness that makes us who we are. I was never lucky in love, but I’m lucky in LIFE. I’ve seen the world, I’ve met amazing people, I’ve felt ALIVE, I’ve followed my dreams and done what made me happy – something I still do and will continue to do as long as I’m able.
If that makes me insane, then I will carry that brand with pride! :D
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. :)
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.
We’re a few days into 2014 already and I never really had time to do the usual look in the rearview mirror to summarize what 2013 was like for me.
Compared to the past 5 years, it was less eventful than usual, and a lot of it has to do with my father’s passing. I cancelled some gigs I had planned to go to and well, just wasn’t in the mood for anything really, but there were still a few highlights in 2013.
January started with Gothenburg Sound Festival where I met up with FIREWIND-drummer JO NUNEZ who was playing with NIGHTRAGE.
Shortly thereafter, I went to the US to see a few FIREWIND-shows and meet up with the new singer KELLY SUNDOWN CARPENTER for an interview at the Gramercy in NYC. Went to Atlanta and the Masquerade as well, pretty cool venue.
Got stuck in a blizzard the day I was supposed to fly home from JFK via Toronto, and made it home in the very last minute. Drama!
Swedish bands CRAZY LIXX & H.E.A.T played at KB, show got interrupted by the fire alarm and the club was evacuated.
Went to beautiful ICELAND with my friend Henny, that was a trip I won’t forget anytime soon – Iceland is a fairy tale country and I hope they never let the ways of the “outside world” change what they’ve accomplished. It’s amazing.
[This isn’t even Photoshopped – it actually looks like that!]
Gigs, there were a few. IRON MAIDEN played at Malmo Stadion, I spent all day in line to get a front row spot. Well worth it!
MEGADETH played at Vega in Copenhagen, they had just released Super Collider and played the title track from that album live for the first time. Dave Mustaine also brought a kid up on stage, not a usual sight at Megadeth shows. :)
STEVE HARRIS and his British Lion played at KB in Malmo, and although the attendance was low, to say the least, it was insanely cool to see a musician of his caliber that up close! I got dust from his sneakers in my face when he stomped on his monitor, he was THAT close. It wasn’t as bad as people say, the band had a good time and that’s what I remember the most.
Another memorable gig was PAUL GILBERT in Gothenburg, at Sticky Fingers. Been a fan since forever, Paul is amazing. There are some fantastic shredders in the world, but Paul is unique. I love his goofy style, his dry sense of humor, his playing, his way of interacting with the crowd… It was a great show.
After Apollo Papathanasio’s departure from Firewind, I decided to keep track of his other projects, so I went to Hamburg, Germany to visit my friend Su and see Apollo with SPIRITUAL BEGGARS. A few months later made a last minute decision to see the band in Thessaloniki, Greece as well.
Apollo also visited me in my home in Malmo for a video interview and a nice lunch. Awesome dude.
Of course, there were a bunch of FIREWIND shows this year as well. Rock in den Ruinen in Germany, SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL, and of course, the tour of AUSTRALIA. I opted out of all other shows because I needed the $$ for Australia.
SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL was a weird festival this year, it was only days after my father’s passing, but I had to go to fulfill my duties to Sweden Rock Magazine and also to my friend Su who was visiting from Germany, SRF was her bachelorette party.
Memorable interviews: DAVID COVERDALE (WHITESNAKE), love the man, he rocks!
[A short clip from that interview]
And finally meeting LITA FORD for the first time ever. She was great, I’m glad she didn’t turn out to be a bitch.
Also saw her shows in Gothenburg ad Sticky Fingers and Malmo, KB.
Went to the UK twice in May to see WHITESNAKE, Thunder and Journey. I could see Whitesnake a million times and it still never gets old. :)
GUS G came to Malmo for the SWEDISH METAL CONVENTION, had a great time with him and Andy R, thanks to Pontus for bringing him to the convention. Also met Tallee Savage and her sister Amanda, Jorn, Anders Johansson (YNGWIE, HAMMERFALL) and a bunch of other people.
(Anders Johansson (Hammerfall, Yngwie), Pekka and Gus in the VIP-room)
Gus G and Paul DiAnno:
Straight after that…business class with Emirates to Sydney via Dubai, went on a safari, met koalas, saw the first Firewind show of the Australian tour, continued to Brisbane, met up with Clint, flew to Adelaide and then finally Melbourne. Stayed there for a week after the band had left. Met a few more koalas and then some really nice people at his BBQ party.
The free BAR in business class at my Emirates-flight to Sydney. :) It didn’t suck. ;)
Came home, got another tattoo and saw BLACK SABBATH in Copenhagen.
An old friend, singer of the Swedish sleaze-band NASTY IDOLS, Andy Pierce, passed away at the age of 45, something that I still can’t quite grasp…
Finished my year in the US visiting friends and checking out two gigs that I wrote about in my previous blog, both Savatage-related.
That was it – in a nutshell. Less travel than usual 2013 but I’m already looking forward to the Steel Panther European tour in the spring and Gus G’s solo-debut! Welcome 2014!
I have no idea how many times I’ve seen Whitesnake, I stopped counting a long time ago – but after every tour I can’t wait to see them again. It’s a “feel-good” type of band. You ALWAYS leave a Whitesnake concert with a smile. So, you keep coming back for more. Year after year.
I took the flight from Copenhagen to Manchester early in the morning and walked from Picadilly station to Printworks, Arndale, Hard Rock Cafe – just the area around the MEN/MCR Arena. It was freezing cold, wasn’t prepared for that. It was warm and sunny back home. And I got lost.
I was walking all over the place, couldn’t find the hotel. Went to Park Inn and asked for directions. They told me it was hidden BEHIND the Crowne Plaza, no wonder I passed it three times without seeing it….
Thanks to that I finally found my hotel and couldn’t WAIT to kick off my shoes, take a nap and just relax.
[Labelled pillows – do you prefer firm or soft?]
The hotel had free WiFi so I quickly updated my Facebook status, mentioning that I was going down to Hard Rock Cafe later on to grab a bite. Before I knew it, I had two responses from two fellow Whitesnake-fans who were in the neighborhood and said they would try to make it down there as well.
I like social media for that reason, it gives you the opportunity to meet interesting people from all over the world.
Went to Hard Rock, ordered the BBQ chicken and was served by a pretty boy with long hair, can’t complain. :) Just as I was in the middle of massacring the chicken (with that reddish BBQ-sauce, it looked like I had slaughtered the chicken myself…!) I heard a voice going: “Daniela?”
There was Ania and her boyfriend Alex. It was the first time we met, and there I was, leaving a wonderful first impression with my mouth full of fries and a massacred chicken on the plate – must have been such a classy sight…! ;)
They joined me for dinner, and it was a really great afternoon. Really nice people, easygoing, interesting to talk to. One of the greatest things about travelling and meeting people through Facebook or Twitter, is that regardless what profession people have, their age or what country they’re from – we all share the same passion for music. So I truly enjoy meeting people and hearing their stories. :)
On our way out we met Jen, the other girl who I thought had changed her mind about Hard Rock – but she had been down at the bar, we never even saw her from where we had been at.
Ania and Alex went back to their hotel and I went to the arena to check what was going on. I’m used to there being people hours before, but there was not a SOUL…! On top of all, it started raining. I never travel without my rain poncho- especially not England, so I was prepared.
Found a McDonalds at Victoria Station, and killed time with their free WiFi. That is the best thing about McD, no matter where you are in the world, you KNOW that you will at least be able to get online at McDonalds. :)
Ania showed up shortly thereafter and we went in. Much to my surprise, the arena was almost empty when we got in. Never seen such a big arena so empty when the doors open!
[This is what we walked into… Impressive arena, but totally dead at 5.45, fifteen minutes after they had opened]
She had a spare ticket in her section, it was closer to the stage than my original ticket reservation and it was defnitely a lot nicer to be able to sit and chat a bit than being alone trying to kill time (which is my usual deal. I don’t mind but when I’ve got the choice it’s not hard to decide :) ). Thank you for that Ania.
The arena was filling up slowly but surely, when after a little while, a friend of Ania’s and Reb (Beach) came out for a short chat. I was pretty much minding my own business, observing the activities on stage and in the arena in the meantime. A guy walked up to Reb and asked him if he could wave to his girlfriend “up there” (and pointed in her direction), cause she could not believe it was actually HIM.
Might have been because Reb looked like “the guy next door” in his blue hoodie, just being very “normal” and blending in perfectly with the audience. Reb not only waved, but he also offered to come over and say hello. I think that’s very sweet, cause I’m sure that the girl now has a great memory. Great attitude, I like that.
I saw Jen briefly as she was passing by our section on her way to her seat. And Ronnie was sitting two rows behind me – which I learned AFTER the show as my cellphone delievered all his text-messages the next day, when I was back in Sweden…!
The intro of AC/DC‘s “Thunderstruck” started playing (very loud) and the lights went out. First out on stage – THUNDER.
Okay… So I haven’t seen these guys since the days when they still had HAIR (Donington 1992 to be more precise…) so when these men with short, gray hair walked out on stage (with two exceptions to be fair) I was wondering who the hell that was. But the minute Danny opened his mouth and started singing, there was no doubt that it was THAT voice..!
In short (no pun intended) – they blew me away. What a brilliant live band. Absolute perfection with heaps of heart and soul in their performance. I absolutely loved it!
It’s not often that you see a band that doesn’t rely on any of the usual “props”: looks, image, lasers and bombs, no schtick, none of that stuff – yet manages to get the crowd ecstatic!
Great songs, great musicians, a sincere love for that they’re doing and a great sense of humor. That takes them all the way to people’s hearts! And it goes not only a long way – it goes ALL the way.
I enjoyed every minute of it – and already looking forward to seeing them at Sweden Rock Festival in about a week!
Danny Bowes – what a powerful voice, he was just belting it out, not missing one single note! I’m still looking for my jaw that I dropped on the floor somewhere at the MCR in section C…!
And, Manchester got to enjoy this epic song as well. Make sure you watch the whole thing for the sing-along…:
When Thunder left the stage, I was convinced that Journey were up next. I should have checked first I guess, but it never occured to me that Journey would be considered a headliner when Whitesnake was on the bill.
Yes, yes, I know, I know – it was a shared headliner bill and somebody has to go first but still – it never even crossed my mind for two seconds that Whitesnake would NOT finish the evening.
So I sat down, thinking that I could relax for another hour or so while Journey were on….
When the lights went out and the music started playing it took a few seconds before I went… “Wait a minute… I recognize that…!” Next thing I know, the spotlights lit up the band and a VERY familiar figure in a white shirt..!
I flew out of my chair like a catapult and got the camera rolling, jesus christ, I nearly missed the intro…! That’s what you get when you don’t bother checking things in advance.
I’m not going to review Whitesnake. I can’t. When I go to a Whitesnake-concert, I know that I’ll either be smiling till every muscle in my face starts aching, or I’m going to be moved to tears.
When Bernie and Adrian were the “secret guests” that walked out on stage to join David and the others, at Sweden Rock Festival a few years ago, we were all surprised.
And I don’t know why, but it moved me so much that I was bawling my eyes out for hours. I just couldn’t stop the tears, I thought it was just one of the most powerful, touching things I’ve ever seen on a stage.
With Whitesnake it’s just always an inspiring experience – it’s a celebration of life, love, the past and the future, music, friendships, just all the good things in life. You leave your troubles at the door (if you had any) and you walk out of there rejuvenated, with a big, fat smile on your face.
That’s what Whitesnake is about to me.
Yes, the critic in me still hears the flaws, and yes, maybe David doesn’t sound the same in 2013 as he did in 1983 or 1973, but it just doesn’t matter – he makes up for it with his charsma, and he’s got TONS of that! He makes every single person in a 23,000 seat-arena feel like he’s singing just for them.
And you look at the guys – they are in great shape and they look great. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – rocker’s don’t age. They mature like a fine wine. And frankly, where else but in rock’n’roll, do you get to see men in their 50’s or 60’s looking like Doug Aldrich or David Coverdale?
With Whitesnake you know that you will get the very best of whatever you came to see or hear. Tommy Aldridge always reminds me of “Animal” of the Muppet show! He’s a fantastic drummer, the ultimate wildman who KILLS his drums every night. His playing is powerful and entertaining.
A video of Tommy for your viewing pleasure:
Two guitarists with their own distinct styles, among the best at what they do – the bluesy Doug Aldrich and the technical Reb Beach. It’s all covered for all guitar nerds out there to enjoy. :)
Bassist Michael Devin and keyboardist Brian Ruedy are not taking up as much “space” as the others, but with that many people on stage fighting for attention, somebody has to keep a lower profile, and those two guys are cool enough to be perfectly fine with that.
And David – there is a reason why millions of people worldwide love that man. He is so passionate, so vivacious, just full of energy and LIFE! He is one of the people in this world that I find extremely inspiring.
I will say one thing about their show though – without giving anything away – it was a great and surprising set list. Some of those songs I’ve never heard him perform live (I think my first Whitesnake show was in 1990 at the Monsters of Rock tour, but I’m not sure) so it was a treat to hear so many classics from the earlier Whitesnake years as well!
Speaking of which – Bernie Marsden walked out on stage to play on two songs, and it was great to see the two “old snakes” on stage together, once again. Bernie looked almost overwhelmed when he saw the crowd’s response. It was just a great moment.
After THAT, I really didn’t have ANY desire whatsoever to see ANY other band. I don’t care who they put on that stage, it just couldn’t compete, and I wanted to leave the arena with “THAT” feeling of joy. It was the perfect show and the perfect ending. Thank you for the music, my dear snakes. :)
Spoke briefly with Ronnie and his friend before leaving. I was starving so I dropped by this place on my way back to the hotel:
Ania and Alex also went to “meet some friends” so we parted ways :))) And next week it’s time for London and Wembley!
I prefer Manchester when it comes to concerts though. And I might even write a little more about that pretty soon. It’s the perfect city for visiting concert-travellers!
Two more Whitesnake-shows to go! Wembley and this one, in Zagreb, Croatia. I guess it’s time to start excercising those “smiling muscles” in my face again. :)
Photos from the show: http://www.facebook.com/intherearviewmirror
I did film a lot of the show but as David has explicitly asked people not to share too much info and ruin someone else’s experience, I’m not posting anything more for now. Maybe in a few months time. :) There is 1 clip on the Facebook-page though, check the timeline/wall!