WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY, MARCH 18TH AND 19TH: Today I am NOT going to Iraq. 🙂 Going to Europe to make money to pay the bills. Bellamy Brothers are performing 3 days in Zurich, Switzerland and 2 days in Stuttgart, Germany at large festivals. We’ll fill in the week days with shows for the military in Germany rather than taking time off and “sightseeing”. I arrived at the airport to find that my flight to Atlanta is delayed due to “weather” (fog) in Atlanta. Bellamys are flying to Atlanta from Phoenix so they will arrive before me. I went into the Crown Room where a friend of mine works and chatted with him and answered emails for a while. Finally left more than an hour late but because I know to book “LONG” connecting times, I did not miss my flight to Zurich. I did walk straight from the fight from Nashville and get on the plane to Zurich though. The plane from Nashville to Atlanta was one of those small jets – my favorite. NOT!!! Aircraft to Zurich is a small one compared to what I am accustomed to flying to Kuwait. The flight crew is really nice once again. Business class is packed full and the seats are small. My seatmate is a lady who speaks English and German. Her husband is sitting across the aisle from her. Not sure why they didn’t want to sit together. I read for a while and tried to watch a movie but it was the same movies we had on the Kuwait flights. Couldn’t find anything good to watch, so I slept for about 4 hours. I woke up as they were serving breakfast and pushed the button for my seat back to come up. Nothing happened. I noticed that the light on the panel was out and though that it might not be working. So I tried another button. All of a sudden, the lady’s seat beside me flew up. She was asleep and that woke her up with a jolt. I had accidentally pushed the “land” button on her seat! She had the strangest look on her face. I was horrified and apologized profusely while trying not to laugh. We landed a few minutes late and our pedal steel player was missing his personal bag. Took a while to figure out his claim check number but Delta said it should arrive tonight. We shall see! Our promoter – Albi – met us at the airport. We are staying at a different hotel this year and it is really nice. It’s a Sheraton and is right next to a shopping center. The tram is right in front of the hotel and it’s a 10 minute ride to downtown Zurich. Very convenient. Since we arrived at the hotel at 9 am, our rooms weren’t ready so I sent everyone to eat breakfast. Rooms were all ready by the time we finished and I think everyone but me went to sleep for a while. I’ve been working, of course! The room is really great. Huge kingsize bed and the shower is the largest I’ve ever seen in Europe. Free internet (high speed wired) in the room and free wireless in the lobby. Ironing board and iron in the closet and a coffee maker! Really happy with this place. No show tonight and I wanted to go check out the shopping center. But I got stuck answering emails and never made it over. Met our friends Bill and Susann Loop in the lobby for a drink and then we went to dinner in the hotel. The food was superb. Plus, I had not eaten since breakfast so I was pretty hungry. I had pumpkin soup and boneless chicken that was wrapped in artichoke hearts. Although the dessert offered was sinful, I didn’t participate. Did have a great cappuccino though. And, there is a Starbucks right outside the hotel. There’s also an Asian food place with one of those conveyor belts with sushi on it. David and I are definitely going to hit that while we’re here. 🙂 Have been back in the room answering emails for hours now. It’s after midnight and I hope to get in bed within the hour. There’s a Spa in the hotel and they have a gym where I can work out tomorrow morning. Will definitely stay at this hotel again. Just got a migraine. First one I’ve had in many, many months. Not sure what triggered this one but not happy about it. Guess it’s time to go to bed! Jude
FRIDAY, MARCH 21ST: Definitely felt “hung over” from the drugs I took for the migraine when I woke up today. But, two cups of coffee and a trip to the gym took care of that. GREAT gym at the “Spa” in the hotel. Costs 25 CHF though to use it. Was definitely worth it no matter what the cost. Will be able to go again Saturday and Sunday. Love that I can get in my workouts. Went to breakfast after working out and some of the guys were also eating. David and Susan came in just as I was leaving. Took a shower, answered emails and then walked over to the 4 story shopping center. There are some pretty good shops there but nothing as nice as downtown. Will try to go there tomorrow. Didn’t have much time to look around as I had to go with the musicians to sound check.
There are a lot of “fast food” restaurants in the same block as the hotel. One has fresh sushi, so I got a couple of pieces for lunch. We departed at 1:45 for sound check. Everything was ready for us but Wally realized they had left several items that they needed for the show in Nashville. My friend from Interlaken – Iris – was there and she “borrowed” a car and took us to a music store. Only we got lost a couple of times and it became quite a trip. Finally found it, purchased the items we needed, and tried to “reserve” our journey. Iris and I met David and Susan for coffee at Starbucks (also in the same block as our hotel). Then we had dinner with them and Shannon — a business associate of the Bellamys who flew over to see the performance. He’s pretty funny. His doctor had given him two “pills” to make him sleep on the flight over (he’s never been out of the U.S.!). He put them in his pants pocket. He went to the bathroom and when he reached in his pocket, he realized he had a hole in his pocket and they had dropped out. He was convinced they were in his boot somewhere but said there wasn’t enough space on the plane to take his boot off. He’s definitely upgrading to First Class for the return flight. J Show is sold out and it was a great audience. The guys started on time and had a fantastic performance. I swear, they are like Elvis over here. I sat with Susan for a while at the merch table then went to find Maya – the travel agent we work with. This venue makes the artist take a 20 minute break in the middle of their show. Artists hate that, but no way around it. They finished the performance a little before midnight, signed autographs, and now it is almost 1:30 am. I’m going to bed! We are having lunch at Contra Punta (Our favorite Italian Restaurant in Zurich) tomorrow with our friends – Bill and Susann. Then I’m going to shop, shop, shop! Goodnight!
SATURDAY, MARCH 21ST: Ran for 5 miles on the treadmill in the Spa this morning then showered and answered emails until almost 1 pm. Met David and Susan, Howard and Jenny, their friend Shannon from Texas and our friends Bill and Susann Loop in the lobby. We took the tram (10 minute ride) downtown to that restaurant I mentioned but spelled incorrectly. It’s one word – Contrapunto. The “winter truffles” were “in season”, so I had my usual – homemade noodles with white truffle sauce and a tomato mozzarella salad. The tomatoes and mozzarella are SO fresh. It was wonderful. After lunch we all split up to go different directions – me to shop frantically since all the stores close at 5 pm downtown on Saturday and it was already 3:15 pm. I didn’t know they closed that early. Didn’t really have time to do much and my favorite candy store – Sprugli — closed before I got to it. Came back to the hotel and the shopping center next to us was still open until 8 pm. I went over there and finished up but again didn’t find much. Now I shop more for “baby” items than clothes for me. J The band went over to the venue for dinner at 6 pm but we didn’t want to “hang out” for hours after dinner for the show. Wally called and said that the show times had changed and we didn’t have to leave the hotel until 9:45 pm instead of 9 pm. Tonight is a “dinner show” and is again sold out. My friend/promoter Jurg arrived before I got there but Wally took care of him. Had another fantastic show and Susan sold a lot of merchandise. Shannon, the Bellamy’s friend who is here from Texas, didn’t make it to the show. I think he probably had a little too much to drink earlier tonight. Combine that with “jet lag” and he will probably sleep until tomorrow morning. Which, by the way, is going to be here very quickly for me. It’s after 2 am and I have to leave the hotel at 9 am for the “Brunch Performance”. Brutal. Remind me again why we agreed to this? J Jude
SUNDAY, MARCH 22ND VERY short night last night. Went down to get some coffee and yogurt and all the boys were already in the lobby ready to go to the venue. We arrived at the venue and the guys did three fantastic sets. Started at 9:30 am and ended by noon. We all had a wonderful lunch in the venue restaurant then went back to the hotel to pack up and leave for Edelweiss, Germany. That’s where our first show for the military will be tomorrow night. It’s a military base but is a “resort” Spa where the military families go for rest and relaxation. Supposedly the hotel is sold out and we should have a great show. It’s in a small club in the basement of the hotel in a club called “Zuggy’s”. Only 200 capacity, so it will be intimate. The drive from Zurich to Edelweiss is a long one – maybe 6 hours if we stop for dinner. Our drive is Michael Tietze from Tournee Service – the best bus company in Europe. I’ve known him and used him since the early 90’s! He is a dear friend and an absolute sweetheart. Not to mention FUNNY. Bellamys haven’t seen him since 2002 so they are excited that he will be driving us. The buses he owns are always fabulous. This one is a tall as a double-decker and has seats, two lounges, a toilet, coffee maker… all the comforts of home. J At lunch yesterday, Susan had something in her eye. Jenny and I kept looking at it and gave her some drops but never found what was in there. It bothered her all during lunch. Then when we separated and went shopping, the same thing happened to my eye. I never could find anything actually “in” it but it felt like there was an eyelash or something in there. We are wondering if maybe our eyes just weren’t irritated from all the smoke at the club. So David and Susan told on Shannon about his “shopping trip” yesterday. Since he’s never traveled outside the U.S., he had no idea how expensive Switzerland is. He noticed that the men and women were wearing scarves and since it was very cold, decided that he needed one as well. Susan took him into a shop (Big Mistake. Susan’s tastes run to Channel, Rolex, Louie Vitton, etc.). He found a scarf that he liked and told the salesclerk he would take it. He asked how much it cost and was told $1,800! He told the clerk to forget it and find him a Wal-Mart! David was standing nearby looking at a scarf and commented that it was cashmere. Shannon told him to get away from it and not to even think about buying it. Shannon also found a ladies handbag and it was only $38,000.00! He also didn’t buy that. He made it to the show with us this morning and through the lunch but was going back to bed for a “nap” when we left the hotel at 3 pm. He said he came to Switzerland and “SLEPT”! His flight home is scheduled for tomorrow but he’s trying to change it and go back later in the week. About time he gets over the jet-lag, he’ll go home and it will start all over again. I was telling him about flying to Japan for the weekend and he looked at me like I had lost my mind. Maybe I have! Michael Tietze showed up on time and we got checked out of the hotel and loaded onto the bus by 3:30 pm. Michael is just as sweet and funny as ever. The drive took us 5 hours which is pretty much what Michael predicted. The last hour or so was on tiny little winding roads in the most beautiful area of Germany – Bavarian Alps. Unfortunately, everyone was so wiped out from the 3 shows that morning that they slept the entire way. There was a back lounge where I insisted all the “snorers” go, so it was a quiet trip. As we were stopped at the gate clearing security, our production company pulled in behind us with their crew bus and production truck. The hotel is fabulous. Right at the base of the Bavarian Alps. There is a huge 3 story “fireplace” in the lobby and my room has a balcony that seems to overlook the Alps. Was too dark to tell. There is about 3 feet of snow piled up on the sides of the road. I think it snowed as recently as last week and hasn’t warmed up yet. Hotel had all our rooms ready for us and we rushed into the “nice restaurant” for a quick dinner since they were closing at 9:30 pm. The food was really great. I wanted Apple Strudel with Ice Cream but restrained myself. Don’t want to gain any weight. Been answering emails for a couple of hours and going to bed soon so I can get up and work out tomorrow morning. Jude