WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16TH – GERMANY TO SWITZERLAND:
Had a quick yogurt and coffee with Howard and Jenny and then had to shower and pack. Bus was there to pick us up right on time – 11:30 am. Figured it would take us 3 hours – 4 if we stopped for lunch.
Ollie was our driver again and he’s a good driver. I worked most of the way and the weather wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. Bill had told Ollie to stop at the Marche Restaurant right across the border but he couldn’t find it. David had his GPS on his Iphone and was showing at least 3 but he still couldn’t find it. Finally, we made him call the next one listed. Bad thing is it was only 25 minutes from Zurich and it was now 3 pm. Everyone was really hungry, though, so we stopped and ate “lunch”.
We arrive at the hotel at around 4:30 pm. It’s a new hotel but I was concerned because it’s not near anything! While “new” is good, it’s not nearly as good as the one we usually stay in when performing at this venue. The rooms are tiny and there is not mini-bar, refrigerator, or coffee maker. Very “basic”, but tiny. Internet is free and the guys like that. Walls are paper thin and I can hear everything on both sides of me. There is a shopping mall about a 10 minute walk from the hotel. I didn’t have time to check it out today but will walk there tomorrow, I hope.
I was able to work for about an hour but then had to meet Albi (our promoter) and Wally to discuss transportation for the group the rest of the week. Worked for another couple of hours and then had dinner in the hotel restaurant. The food was great but very expensive!
Busy day tomorrow with meetings with Universal Music. We have another big project with a German artist – much like we did with the successful Gola project this year. Will have to get up a lot earlier so I can work out before the meeting.
Was raining off and on today and rain is still predicted for tomorrow. L
THURSDAY, MARCH 17TH – “MEETING DAY” IN ZURICH:
Had to get up much earlier today so I would have time to work out before my meetings began at 10 am. Went to the little exercise room in the hotel. I was the only person in there. They had an elliptical trainer, a bike, a weight bench and weights. I worked out with weights and it was okay. I can’t do Beach Body in my room because the room is too small. Tomorrow I might take my laptop and DVD down to the exercise room and work out!
A jack hammer started up right outside the window this morning at around 8 am. I knew it would wake up half our group, and it did!
Grabbed a quick breakfast, showered, and met Iris, David, and Howard in the lobby. We have meetings most of the day today with Universal Music and a German artist’s manager. We are doing another “duet” project as I mentioned previously. The meetings went extremely well and hopefully this one will be as successful as the Gola project. The Gola duet cd was promoted primarily in Switzerland. This new project will be promoted in Switzerland, Germany and Austria! I really like the Universal Label Head for Germany. He lives in Berlin, which is a fascinating city.
Meetings and lunch lasted until 2 pm then I had a quick meeting with Albi. Iris and I walked over to the “mall” and shopped for about an hour. We tried to make reservations at this great Argentine Steak House but they were full for the evening. They referred us to a really good Italian Grill. It’s just SO expensive here. Our dinner cost about $100 per person U.S.! But the food was amazing.
It has rained off and on all day today. Guess it’s good that I didn’t get outside but for a few minutes. David and Howard were talking about a maid that we had at the hotel in Como at dinner. She was unbelievable clumsy – but very sweet. She ran into the door in David’s room, hit her shoulder and almost knocked herself down! Then David left her cleaning the room and just as he was getting into the elevator, she came running after him yelling, “Telephone”. He went back into the room to answer it but didn’t hear it ringing. She had heard a phone ringing on the Television!
The taxi we had coming back from the restaurant was more like a Mini Cooper than a van. We crammed 6 passengers inside it and after eating that huge meal, we could barely breathe!
When I left my room today, I had left my spare key in the slot by the door so my electricity would stay on and my computer would not go to battery power. When I came back up from our meetings, the maid had taken the key and the power was off. I was really ticked off. Went to the front desk and read them the riot act. They gave me another spare key and said it wouldn’t happen again. Yeah, right! I didn’t trust them so I took red duct tape and covered the key slot then put a big sign with an “X” drawn on it. I was sitting my room working when the maid just walked in…no knock, nothing. Howard said she did the same thing to him today only he was naked! She started to say something in German and was looking at the key slot when she saw my “sign”. She just backed out muttering in German.
The hotel has a great shower stall but it FLOODS the bathroom when you take a shower. The Belays said the same thing happened to them. New hotel and already there are serious “flaws”. The water went out in Howard and Jenny’s room while she was IN the shower today.
When we got back from dinner, I got on Skype but kept getting kicked off. Tried connecting without the video turned on, but it was still just as bad. Very frustrating. Figured out that it’s the internet connection. Just like at the other hotel in Italy, the signal keeps going out. I called the front desk and they reset it and it didn’t help at all. So at 1:30 am, I have been sitting in the hallway in the floor working for the past 2 hours. Tomorrow I WILL move to another hotel if they can’t get it fixed first thing!
Sound check and first show tomorrow.
FRIDAY, MARCH 18TH – FIRST SHOW DAY IN ZURICH:
Immediately started working on getting the internet fixed. Hotel says they have “someone here” working on it. It will come on for a few minutes, then go off.
I went to the little gym and worked out on the Elliptical Trainer for an hour. Got rid of some frustration. Showered and was dressing when someone knocked on the door. It was a hotel manager and a repair person. They brought me a “DSL cable” to use and a new phone. I can call out on my phone, but it doesn’t ring when someone tries to call me!
Guess what…DSL cable doesn’t work and new phone doesn’t work. I told them it is the WIRING in my room but they don’t want to believe it. Said they will bring yet another phone and cable. I had to walk to the Mall to buy some water and instant coffee, so told them just to let themselves into my room.
When I got back, David’s internet was still out and they had brought him a cable as well. His cable worked but he kept getting kicked off on it, too! They said my phone and cable was not working in my room. More lies. Phone works but not the cable. My vote was to move to another hotel but the Bellamys didn’t want to move again so I have to stay here.
Went over to the venue for sound check and Susan rode over to check out the merch sales area. They have moved us off the floor where the majority of the people are and put us in a dark corner right next to the Cigar Lounge. Lovely. Every time they open the door to the Lounge, smoke billows out!!! Told them we MUST have a light, too. Don’t think she will sell much because no one will know we are there!
Susan and I walked across the street to a Pizzeria to find something to eat. But they were closed until 5 pm. So we walked down to the shopping mall and grabbed a quick lunch.
Came back and I worked straight through until time to go to the performance – 9 am departure from the hotel. Had some fruit in my room, so that was dinner.
The venue was packed, of course. Bill and Susann were there and I only got to talk to them for a few minutes before the show started. Lukas (Gola’s manager) was there but Gola didn’t make it. He had to go to the doctor today to have him examine his eyes and his pupils were dilated. Said he couldn’t see a thing and it was supposed to last for quite a while. Our promoter for the Schupfart Festival this September was also there with his daughter. It was a busy night except for merch sales. Hardly anything sold. L
Show finished after midnight and we got back to the hotel shortly thereafter. I fought with the internet for about an hour and finally crawled into bed at 2 am.
SATURDAY, MARCH 19TH – SECOND SHOW IN ZURICH
Took my Beach Body DVD, computer, water and towel up to the little exercise room. Again, I was the only one in there. Did the Sculpt workout and used weights instead of the bands. It felt like a better workout than what I got with the bands. Had breakfast with a couple of the guys who were all “eyes”. All the models from the fashion show in the mall were in there eating. I think the oldest one must have been about 19 years old. There were lots of guys as well.
Internet was out again, so I went to the desk. By the time I got out of the shower, it was working (although not GREAT) again. Managed to do a little bit of work and then left by taxi with Susan and David to have lunch with Lukas. Gola is still not doing so well with his eyes. We ate at Contra Punto (my favorite restaurant in Zurich) and for once, I didn’t have the homemade noodles with Summer Truffle Sauce. I had ravioli filled with Asparagus and it was awesome. After we ate lunch, Susan and David went back to the hotel and I shopped for a couple of hours. Finally made one purchase for me instead of the babies. Of course, I made several more purchases for them! Also purchased some Truffles Du Jour as gifts for birthdays on this trip.
Was able to get a couple of hours of work done once I got back to the hotel. Didn’t have any trouble finding my tram and realized that the hotel where Jenny had her purse stolen a few years ago is only a couple of blocks from where we are staying now. The name has changed from Intercontinental to Crown Plaza. So, this IS a bad part of town, just as we assumed.
Susan called for me to go eat dinner with her and we decided to walk across the street and try the pizzeria again. It took Howard and Jenny almost 2 hours to get served in the hotel restaurant last night! Wally was at the Pizzeria so we sat with him. I had half a pizza and it was okay. Susan had spaghetti and said she threw it up the minute she got back to the hotel room.
We left for the show at 9:45 and again, it was packed. Several or our friends are there tonight including Sandro, the photographer from Gola’s tour, a group of promoters from an event in Geneval who I have never met and want the Bellamys to perform there, and some of our escorts from Italy. It was a pretty busy night.
By the time we got back to the hotel, it was almost 1 am. I had taken my computer to the show with me and I didn’t even unpack it last night. Was in bed at 2 am and have to get up at 6 am. Bellamys have FIVE 45 minute sets tomorrow. BRUTAL.
SUNDAY, MARCH 21ST – LAST SHOWS IN ZURICH:
Short 4 hours of sleep. Shower and yogurt and coffee before heading to the venue for early, early performances!
Again, sold out show. They have to perform for 45 minutes, 30 minute break, perform 45 more minutes, 30 minute break, perform 45 more minutes….all to the same audience. Today is “Family Brunch” so there are children in the audience. They have set up a couple of long tables up near where we sell merchandise and have two young women with colors and activities for the kids if they don’t want to watch the show. Great idea!
Jean-Marie and Moritz are here for the show and I got to talk with Jean-Marie for a while about our next project. Really like both those guys and sorry we won’t be working with them on the new one. They are Universal Switzerland and we’ll be dealing with Universal Germany. But I liked Jochen who is the head of that label when we met him a couple of days ago. Everything was just so “easy” and we “clicked” with Gola. Since DJ didn’t show up for our meeting this week, we don’t know if that chemistry will be there or not. Jean-Marie said we are only 2,000 pieces away from selling Gold on the Anthology I cd and hopefully we’ll reach that in the next few weeks. J
There was a cute little Down’s syndrome child who sat right on the corner of the stage through all 3 shows. He was enthralled with the music. He’s the same one that John Adam Murph called up on stage with him during his performance a couple of years ago.
The Bellamys decided they were not going to stay at the venue and eat but go back to the hotel and sleep until time for the show tonight. I stayed with the guys and ate with them. I had ordered a special cake for Susan and David’s Anniversary and Kenny’s birthday. We still celebrated Kenny’s birthday and the “cake” turned out to be apple strudel.
We left at 2:30 pm to go back to the hotel and Ernie (our great driver) told us that there is a soccer game in the stadium in front of our hotel. It’s between Zurich and Basel and they are HUGE rivals. Police were everywhere and streets blocked. Ernie took as many back streets as he could but finally had to turn down a street where a policeman was blocking the way. The street wasn’t closed, the policeman just decided to “park” there on his motorcycle. Ernie got out and was yelling at him…..something that would NEVER happen in the U.S. without an arrest. Cars were blowing at us to get out of the way. Ernie finally got back in and he had to swing really wide and go around the cop to drive down the street. Crazy!
We made it to the hotel and I started working for the few hours I had there. Got a text from Ernie saying everyone was going to have to leave the hotel at 5:45 pm instead of 6:15 pm because of the soccer game. It was supposed to end at 6 pm and then ALL the streets around the hotel would be closed. He said that there are fights all over town. When we left, the riot police were there and a local car dealer was taking photos of the cars on his lot because evidently the fans bash in the cars as well. He took the photos to show the insurance company when he has to file damages.
Tonight they moved us from up in the corner to down on the floor where hopefully Susan might sell more! Got a call from Iris who was driving over with Lorenz, Romy and Alexandra from Interlaken. They had been stuck in Lucerne in horrible traffic for more than an hour. Since they were not going to stay overnight, they decided to turn around and go back. Really was looking forward to seeing them, too. L
This is the show that we “added” at the last minute because all the others were sold out. They only had about a week and a half to “promote” it but it looks full. I think the only thing that didn’t sell out were some seats up in the balcony.
We ate dinner while selling the merch so that we were ready to leave pretty much as soon as the show was over. But David and Howard still had to eat and Susan had to count out the merch. Got back to hotel at around 10:30 pm and hoping to get in bed by midnight – up at 5 am.
MONDAY, MARCH 21, 2011 – ZURICH TO NASHVILLE:
Was up, stretched, showered, answered “critical” emails and had yogurt and coffee by 7 am. Checking out at the front desk took almost as long as all that! The desk clerk who had been working since we arrived was off today and his replacement was having a really hard time. He kept insisting that the incidentals charged to my room had already been paid. I had to get Wally back over to the front desk to make sure that he had not been charged. I had only charged one dinner to my room but it was 60 CHF – Switzerland is EXPENSIVE! He found the receipt where I had signed it to my room and I agreed to pay off that as long as he would make me a copy of it.
Ernie our driver was there right on time and all the luggage and equipment fit comfortably into the trailer. It was a little “tight” with all of us riding in the van with our backpacks but we made it. We hit a little traffic right outside the hotel where a road was closed but after that it was a quick trip to the airport — more like 20 minutes than the 40 minutes we had anticipated. There was NO ONE in line at United and since I had already checked everyone in and printed their boarding passes, it was quick and painless. Checking everyone in means entering all their personal data as well (DOB, Passport Information, Emergency contact info – not a quick process). Next time I will make sure everyone has their Confirmation Number so they can check in online themselves. Then I’ll just print their boarding passes for them. Paying the excess was the most time consuming part since each bag had to be paid separately. We had a total of 9 and no overweight. Bellamys have got it down to an “art”.
I had about an hour and a half before needing to go to the gate area so I went into the lounge and worked on emails. Our flight was on time and business class was completely full. Hoping coach isn’t as full and the guys will have some space to spread out. For me, it’s a really short flight anyway – only a little over 8 hours as compared to my 14 hour flights to Kuwait and Asia.
I asked for the “express dine” which means they bring the salad and entrée at the same time. Went with the lasagna since pasta is always the “safest” choice on flights. Can certainly tell we are back on United as opposed to Continental because of the “lack of service”. Not once was I asked if I’d like something else to drink during the meal. I watched a movie called “Conviction” – a true story about a sister who went to law school to get her degree to try and free her innocent brother from life imprisonment for murder. It was pretty good. I drank all the water they had given me and again, not once did they offer a re-fill. I finally got up and went to the catering area and asked for a re-fill. Slept off and on for about 2 hours and was amazed that they refilled my water glass – once. Decided to get up and read and do a little work for the remainder of the flight.
We have a really short connection in DC and I’ve warned everyone to move as quickly as possible to get through immigration and customs. If several other flights don’t land at the same time, we’ll make it. I have the Global Entry pass, so I should be fine but don’t like to leave the others unless absolutely necessary.
We landed a few minutes early and all our bags arrived. Actually had a few minutes to sit at the gate and wait for our flight to Nashville. It was an “easy” flight and we landed early in Nashville as well. Lindsey was a few minutes late getting there with the babies. When they saw me, they came running into my arms as fast as they could. It was a great, very successful tour but…. Ahhhhh….good to be home!