WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1-2, 2010 – NASHVILLE TO INTERLAKEN, SWITZERLAND:
Departed the U.S. today with the Bellamys Brothers for a 10 concert, 8 city SOLD OUT tour of Switzerland with Swiss Rock Star “Gola”. They recorded a duet cd with him earlier this year. It has sold multi-platinum and stayed at #1 in the Swiss music charts for 7 weeks – jumping Lady Gaga, Linkin Park, Rolling Stones, Madonna, etc!
We met at the Nashville airport at 11:15 pm and it took the usual LONG time to check in because of all the equipment. Airlines won’t cut any deals with excess, so we ended up having to pay for 7 pieces of overage. It’s a small jet to DC and I’m worried that everything will make it on the flight. Seems when there is a “weight” issue, the first things that get left behind are guitars.
We stopped in Noshville Deli for lunch before departing and ran into a long-time friend and their former U.S. booking agent – James Yelich. He left Nashville a couple of years ago and moved back home to Montana. I’ve known him since I worked with him way back in 1987 at the Jim Halsey Company! We shared some great, funny “road” stories from experiences with the Bellamys.
The plane was full and I had an Indian family sitting behind me. They had small children and the mother had on about 3 dozen “bells” that jangled constantly. I don’t know if she was arguing with her husband or if shouting is her normal voice, but it was extremely irritating. Then, after we took off, she pulled down her tray and spread out a 7 course meal of the foulest smelling food I’ve ever witnessed. It was an hour and a half flight and the flight attendant came by about 20 minutes before landing to collect all the trash. The lady had been eating the entire flight and was still eating. The flight attendant lost patience and told her that she had to return to her seat and made her give her the remaining food/trash. Now, this lady already had about 4 chins, so she should have pushed away a lot sooner in my opinion.
It was VERY, VERY bumpy landing in DC. My “sweetie” had warned me this morning before we left so I was already nervous about the landing. It lived up to my expectations. I know that Dulles has one of the longest approaches of any city we fly into, so that only compounded my anxiety! But we landed safely – and 30 minutes early! Got everyone to the gate and I went to the lounge to have them check our baggage receipts to see if everything made it on the plane from Nashville. It did! J Now all we have to worry about is everything making it on the plane to Zurich.
Flight took off on time and it’s one of the “reconfigured” planes where business class has alternating sides/rows facing backwards. Thankfully I figured this out before booking my seats so I didn’t sit backwards. But it is disconcerting to have the couple directly beside you looking right at you. The trade off is having the seat lay totally flat…definitely worth it. A man was sitting by me and he “hummed” the entire flight except when he was asleep. Not a song either. Just “tones”! So irritating. I watched a Julia Roberts movie that was really “sweet” and then slept for a couple of hours. Except for some really, really severe turbulence just as we were finishing dinner, it was an easy flight.
We landed Zurich about 20 minutes late but good news is all the luggage/gear made it. As we were waiting in line at Immigration, a lady was putting on a wool scarf and she threw it around her neck. Jenny was standing behind her with a cap that had rhinestones on the front. The scarf grabbed onto her cap and stuck…completely covering her face!
Our bus was waiting for us and was a nice big one that we completely filled underneath with our luggage/gear. It had a bathroom but when we tried to use it after we departed the airport, the door was locked. The driver said the water was frozen! So, of course, I complained to our promoter about that! She’s paying a fortune for the bus and it should have a working toilet. We stopped at a Marche to use the restrooms and I got a cappuccino for the 2 hour drive.
Arrived at our “regular” hotel in Interlaken – my home away from home. I have the largest and best room they have ever given me. Did I mention that there is about 2 feet of snow on the ground and it is breathtakingly beautiful? I’m usually in Interlaken in the Summer except for a couple of visits, so this is really fun. We are NOT going to take sleds down the Eiger this year – or EVER again though. J
Had lunch in the hotel restaurant and met with our promoters to go over last minute changes. Wally and I walked down to the train station and changed money and then down to Migros to buy water. I got side-tracked by the children’s clothes, so he left me to shop. Came back to the hotel and answered emails until time to shower for dinner.
Universal Music, Gola and him manager, our promoter and the Bellamys all went to dinner at this fantastic Fondue Restaurant. We have pieces of steak with different sauces plus bread with cheese, fruit, and all kinds of salads, eggs, tomatoes, asparagus, lichee nuts, olives, roasti potatoes, pomme frittes, you name it! I stayed away from the bread and potatoes and ate healthy. Instead of the huge whipped cream covered meringue a couple of them had for dessert, I had a cappuccino again. Got to wear my black sweater mini-dress and my over-the-knee black boots FINALLY. Gola was as much fun as ever. It’s going to be a great tour with lots of laughs. I really love that guy.
We had red wine with the meal and I don’t usually like any kind of wine except White Zin. But, this wine was really good. I figured it would make me fall asleep at the table but it didn’t.
Back at the hotel now answering emails and it’s now 1 am. Susan is supposed to work out with me tomorrow and then we will go to rehearsal for hours and hours. First show will be in Spiez – 20 minutes from here – on Saturday evening.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3RD – INTERLAKEN AND SPIEZ, SWITZERLAND:
Got about 5 hours sleep and then had a quick breakfast of yogurt and coffee. Susan came to my room and we did some kind of INTENSE 25 minute exercise video that killed my back! Hopefully, it helped tone the rest of my body though. J Tomorrow we’re going to do Pilates. The gym here is quite a “hike” and doesn’t open early. Still too much snow and ice on the streets to go jogging. L
Showered and Susan and I walked down to Migros to pick up the items we had “forgotten” to bring with us. Then we stopped by Iris’s home/office so Susan could see it AND all the bags, shoes, sunglasses, watches, coats, etc., she brought back from China. Susan was amazed! So was I. LOL. Susan and I tried to take the back way to the hotel to get back quicker and of course, got lost and took us 10 minutes longer than it should have.
Quick lunch of soup and salad and then we went over to the venue for the rehearsal with Gola. The backdrop is AWESOME! It’s black with the BB & G logo in rhinestones and it’s HUGE. The Bellamys and Gola were very worried about how they were going to sound and were surprised when they sounded better than expected. I never doubted for a minute that it would be awesome. They rehearsed for about 4 hours and everyone left feeling very comfortable with the upcoming concerts.
The promoter checked on the comment about needing work visas and yes, if you are in Switzerland “working” for 8 days or more, you are required to have a work permit! In all honesty, they could have shut down all our concerts until the permits were secured. But, they were nice and told her we could go ahead and perform the Saturday and Sunday shows and she must go to Bern on Monday with everyone’s passports and secure the work visas. IF we had never asked, nothing would have happened because only one of our guys got quizzed when we came in. The only place they look at the work visas are at the airport when you come in and when you depart!
It is much colder today than it was last night. No more snow, but brutally cold. The snow melted some yesterday and then re-froze last night, so it is very treacherous out there when walking. The streets have been shut down around the hotel and there is a Christmas Market set up from tonight through the weekend. Have been too busy today/night to go out there but will check it out tomorrow.
Had dinner at the hotel with the group and have been in my room answering emails for 5 hours! Had a good day though with some major breakthroughs in booking my 2011 tours. More on that later!
Tomorrow is the first concert in Spiez – about 20 minutes from here. Really excited about it, too!
I keep looking out at the snow-covered Alps and thinking that this time last week I was in the desert in Iraq!!!
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 4TH – FIRST BB&G CONCERT IN SPIEZ, SWITZERLAND:
Susan bailed on working out, so I used my “rubber bands” and got a pretty good workout. Was on the computer all morning with tech support trying to fix my DVD drive, but so far, no luck. L No idea what has happened to it but very inconvenient when I’m overseas.
Finally got out of the room at noon and walked around the Christmas market. It was FREEZING….even colder than yesterday. It feels like the “wet cold” now. The Christmas Market was mostly food – lots of yummy looking cheese – and items that looked like they were from India! I did buy a warmer pair of gloves and another scarf. Oh and a Bratwurst with mustard (no bread) for lunch.
The guys were having their passport photos made to give Iris for the work visas. Everyone got theirs made except Randy and the machine broke as he was trying to use it. No one at the post office knew how to fix it, so he had to go to the photo shop down the street and have his made. The photos for everyone are really horrible. The machine directions were not in English and the photos were taken with everyone looking at the camera sort of in a daze trying to figure out if the camera was ready to take the photo. Going to have some “fun” with those!
Showered and we left for the show at 5:45 pm. Dinner was at 6:00 pm at a restaurant next door to the concert hall. It was really, really bad food! Our promoter agreed.
The venue was “oversold”. They had kept one small row of seats for us to sit against the wall in the very back. People were even standing in the doorways. Can’t tell you how great the concert was. Bellamys started with some of their hits and then Gola came out and sang with them. They sang Bellamys songs and Gola songs. At times, Gola sang lead on Bellamys’ songs and vice versa. Audience loved it. They came back out for 3 encores. First time I’ve been able to just “sit” and watch a concert in a long time.
Gola and his “people” are wonderful to work with. Everyone was VERY nervous about how the concert would be received, but it was an overwhelming success.
Tomorrow we leave for Brig. It’s in Southern Switzerland down near the Matterhorn. We have to drive our vans on a train at one point to go through the mountain! We did that a couple of years ago with the Bellamys, too.
After 1 pm so going to bed now. Jude
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2010 – INTERLAKEN TO BRIG, SWITZERLAND:
Got up and worked out – bands again. DVD player still won’t work AND streets are too icy to run. L Met Iris for breakfast and then took our luggage downstairs so it could be transported on the truck to meet us in Brig. Susan, Wally and I walked through the Christmas Market to the “bridge” and took a photo. She wanted one with me and her in it because she has one with her and Lindsey (my daughter) from this past June on the same bridge. We picked up a couple of “extra men” for one of our photos though. Check out my Facebook Page.
Checked out of the hotel and took the vans to Brig. It took about 2 hours to drive, including the “trip” on the train in our van. I definitely remember performing here in May, 2009. We stayed at a different hotel (which was HORRIBLE) and performed in a different venue. It is the last time we performed for a wonderful Swiss promoter named Jurg Schapper. We worked with Jurg for more than a decade. A couple of days after our performance for him in Brig, he was standing on a ladder changing a light bulb in his office. He fell off the ladder and landed on his face and broke his nose. When they went in to do surgery on his nose, they found a brain tumor and only gave him a few weeks to live. He entered a “nursing” home and was still alive this Summer. We invited him to our show in Switzerland in June because they had started letting him have “weekends” out of the nursing home. He wasn’t able to attend because it was too far away but planned to attend one of our BB & G concerts this tour. I contacted his daughter to find out which one he would be able to come too and she said he was much worse and was on morphine. He passed away a few weeks ago and I never got to see him again or talk to him again on the phone. Makes me so very sad.
This hotel is really nice….much better than last time. We checked in and I was busy getting everyone to their rooms and sorting out luggage when the front desk told me I had to change rooms. Seems they gave me Gola’s suite and just gave him a regular room. J But, even the regular rooms are nice. We had a nice lunch in the hotel restaurant but by the time we were served it was after 3 pm. We were supposed to have dinner at 6 pm but no one was hungry. I knew everything would be closed by the time we finished the show so we arranged for the hotel to “hold” some food for us for around 11 pm. I worked on emails all afternoon, took a shower, and left for the show at around 7:00 pm. The venue is just right around the corner from the hotel. Much nicer venue than where we performed last time. Once again, the concert is SOLD OUT with lots of people standing in the back! Susan was sick with a migraine, so didn’t come with us. Jenny and I walked upstairs to a balcony area where lots of offices were located. We were able to bring chairs out and watch the show from there. The show was even better tonight if that’s possible. They were much more “relaxed” tonight.
I’m teasing Gola about being his “road wife” for the tour. Giving him lots of grief so he won’t miss his girlfriend. J They signed autographs after the concert and we were back at the hotel by 11 pm. The restaurant had dinner ready for us – sliced beef which was great but I hated eating that late. Considering I’ll still be awake for hours, guess it’s okay though. Had a short meeting with Lorenz and Alexandra about the rest of the tour and now in my room answering emails AGAIN!
Tomorrow we have a 3+ hour drive (by bus this time) from Brig to Herisau. Brig is in Southern Switzerland and Herisau is in Northern Switzerland. Because we are traveling in a large bus, we have to go all the way around Switzerland instead of going straight up. We will travel along the borders of Italy, France, Germany and Austria tomorrow. Pretty cool.
I took some photos of the snow covered Alps on our drive today. I wonder if the Swiss ever “tire” of the spectacular beauty of the Alps. I can’t imagine waking up every morning, looking out the window to that scene and not losing my breath at the sheer majesty of the site! Maybe I’ll “retire” to Switzerland.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2010 – BRIG TO HERISAU, SWITZERLAND:
So David and Susan got the Penthouse suite at the hotel last night. It was on the very top floor and a special “key” was needed in the elevator to access it. But when the elevator doors opened, you were in their room! The ceiling had a severe slope and David said he was forever bumping his head. They said it was beautiful but came with “instructions”. Evidently a Japanese had used it previously and tried to turn the walk-in shower into a hot tub. He flooded the entire area. Now there’s only one way the handle can be turned on in the shower. Also, all the smoke from the bar moved upwards right into their room.
Had a really quick breakfast and then we loaded on the bus to depart at 10 am. It started snowing last night and was still snowing this morning. We were driving over the Alps – going up extremely high with very steep drops and then back down the other side. The snow plows were clearing the opposite side of the road but hadn’t gotten to our side. We had an excellent bus driver though and a beautiful Mercedes bus. I was so scared, water was pouring off my palms. I couldn’t even enjoy the magnificent scenery because I was so sure we were going to roll off the cliff.
We had to put the huge bus on a train and take it though a tunnel. The bus driver called the train and asked it to wait on us for 3 minutes. Otherwise, we would have had to sit for an hour waiting for the next one that could accommodate a bus that was as large as ours. We made one stop and had a quick, really great lunch. It took us 4 ½ hours total but we DID not go the way the promoter told us last night. We went straight up Switzerland from the southwest to the northeast. Herisau is near St. Gallen and we passed Zurich en route.
The hotel did not have anywhere for the bus to park right outside the front door so everyone had to carry their suitcases up the street in the snow. Lady at the front desk doesn’t speak a lot of English either. But the hotel is great. I have a huge room and really big bathroom – with a nice, big, heated shower stall (my favorite). I was able to answer several emails before showering for the concert.
The dinner before the concert was the worst ever! It was supposed to be “meat loaf” but it looked like SPAM with gravy on top. It tasted much worse than SPAM….if that’s possible. The concert was in a really pretty hall and again…sold completely out with people standing in the back. Susan, Jenny and I sat in the very back and there were a couple of very energetic Bellamys/Gola fans right beside us. One girl was extremely obese with boobs bigger than Dolly. She danced the entire show, swinging back and forth. She was standing right beside Jenny and I kept thinking Jenny was going to get whacked in the head at any minute.
Show was a bit “calm” at the beginning but once they picked up steam, it rocked! After the show, I was surprised to see our friends Bill and Susann Loop in the audience. I have them on the guest list for Friday night and thought I had screwed up. But, they just decided to attend both nights!
Bellamys and Gola signed autographs and Wally went to Burger King to get food because no one had been able to eat the dinner. I didn’t order anything but opted to WORK instead. Which is what I’m still doing at 2:10 am. Got to get in bed though so I can go to the gym at 7:30 am.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2010 – HERISAU TO DUDINGEN, SWITZERLAND:
Was wonderful to have a “real” gym to work out in today. Of course, of all days, I don’t feel good today. Still have a stomach ache from that “Spam” last night and my chest is so congested from the cigarette smoke. This happens every time I come to Europe and have to spend time in “smoky” atmosphere. Anyway, I got in a decent workout although at about half-speed. Showered and departed the hotel to Dudingen.
We have a different bus driver today. Nice guy and he brought his young daughter along for the ride. Only problem was, neither one of them spoke any English. Fortunately Lukas was with us and was able to translate somewhat. We wanted to stop at Marche for lunch but when he pulled in, the parking lot was full and we didn’t have time to wait to eat. Took us quite a while to make him understand that we wanted to keep driving until we got to the Marche by the Zurich airport. Then, when we did get to that area, he drove right past it!. He stopped at a Migros where the food is only “edible”.
We didn’t arrive at the hotel until after 3 pm. Found out the record label had scheduled a “dinner” an hour’s drive away and we had to be there at 5 pm. Was no way we could make that happen. I got them to change everything to 6 pm which gave us time to get dressed.
The hotel is really nice and right on a lake. It turned “warm” here today compared to what the temperature has been. The hotel doesn’t have an elevator so I asked for ground floor rooms for the Bellamys and myself. They gave me one but when we arrived at the rooms, the Bellamys were still upstairs. I had to go back to the Front Desk and change their rooms again! It’s a big room with an even bigger bathroom.
We left for the “dinner” and found that it was really a reception with great hors’d oeurves (which we missed because we arrived late). After the reception we went to dinner at a nice steak house. Steak in Europe is no where near as good as in the U.S. but this wasn’t bad – just very “chewy”.
Again, concert is sold out. Beautiful venue and nice people taking care of us. The performance was even better than last night’s. Gola managed to get the audience singing in German on one of the songs. They signed autographs for about an hour and then we all sat backstage and “unwound” for a while.
Tomorrow we drive to Lucern – one of my favorite cities in Switzerland. We’ve moved our departure time from here to earlier so we’ll have some time to spend there. Susan has never been there and I’m excited for her to see it.
After 1:30 am and I still don’t feel good so will sign off for now.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2010 – DUDINGEN TO LUZERN:
Felt better today and got in a Pilates workout before showering and going to breakfast. We could actually “order” at this restaurant so I got an omelet. It was big enough to feed 3 people but really good.
Today we are riding with Mike. He was our driver at the Interlaken Festival this past Summer. It took about 1 hr. 45 minutes to drive from Dudingen to Luzern but then we couldn’t find the hotel. The GPS kept giving directions that took us in circles. I finally called the hotel and had Mike talk to them. He turned right down the WALKING STREET! Evidently, it was the only way to access the hotel but people were staring at us like they wanted to kill us. After circling for several minutes, we FINALLY found the hotel. It is actually located right on the water across from the famous wooden bridge. But vehicles are strictly prohibited from accessing from that side.
It’s a nice hotel although a bit “strange”. We have the old metal keys and you have to put them in a special slot in the elevator to access your room. Rooms are spacious, bathroom is small. I never unpack anything until I’m sure the internet will work and it did. David, Susan and I walked around a while looking for an Indian Restaurant. Found a great Indian Buffett and inexpensive, too.
I walked around for a while looking for gifts for the babies. Susan sent me a text asking me to come see if I could get their internet to connect because it wasn’t working. I tried and couldn’t get it to connect, either. We even brought her compute into my room and tried it and it wouldn’t work. She had Randy (our computer guru) look at it but he couldn’t figure it out either. I went back out to shop and found some great clothes for Zac and Zoe. Was walking back to the hotel and passed a man with a beautiful wolf hound on a lease. I told him how beautiful he/she was and noticed that the dog had a glove in it’s mouth. I asked him if it was the dog’s “toy” or had the dog found it. He said the dog had found it. I told him maybe it would belong to a beautiful woman and he would meet her. He smiled and said, “I already met the beautiful woman”. Ahhhhhhh…..the silver tongued Swiss. J
Was answering some emails and trying to dress for dinner when CNN went out on the TV and my phone quit working. Was late meeting David and Iris for dinner. Iris had a wreck today trying to find the hotel. She got lost, too, and was trying to back up and hit a car behind her!
We had dinner in the Italian restaurant connected to the hotel. It was AMAZING. It is advertised as Switzerland’s BEST PIZZA. Jenny ate there for lunch and said the advertising was true. I had a Caprise Salad and Truffle Ravioli that was to die for!
We left for the show immediately after dinner and found that the venue is the same one where the “Blue Balls” Festival is held each July. I’ve spent a LOT of time in Luzern and I love this city. Only wish I had more time to shop because the shopping is much better here than in Zurich.
The audience loved the show but those of us close to it felt it lacked it’s “zing” tonight. I know Gola wasn’t feeling well and maybe that was a little of it. But, like I said, the audience didn’t notice and they got a great response. I’m just glad this wasn’t the show that Swiss TV is filming.
They aren’t signing autographs after any more of the shows because the venues are just too large to even attempt it. So, we got back to the hotel relatively early – around 11 pm. I wanted to walk back from the venue and take some photos of the millions of Christmas lights on the bridges. But, as luck would have it, it was raining. It’s supposed to start snowing tomorrow in Zurich and Bern and snow the rest of the time we are here and turn much colder. It’s been “almost warm” for the past couple of days.
Driving to Zurich tomorrow and we get to stay in the same hotel for TWO nights. Sounds like heaven to all of us. J
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 9TH – LUCERN TO ZURICH:
They tell me today is Thursday, December 9th. I have NO clue.
Had a great compliment at breakfast this morning – the guys say this is the BEST tour they have ever had in Switzerland – and they have had quite a few! For the record, all the guys in the band and crew are awesome and so great to work with. Our promoters are simply the best and have assembled a first class staff for the tour. I’m in love with Gola and his manager so no comment on them. J
Had a quick breakfast and as I was walking back up the stairs to my room, there were two workmen with ladders and cable running everywhere. I said “internet” and they said “YES”. Figures. Guess the lady at the front desk finally believed us when we told her there was a problem.
Iris, David and I had a quick meeting before leaving for Zurich. Universal has some big plans for projects in 2011 and I’m excited to be a part of it. While we were finishing up our meeting, the truck driver left with the luggage – without David’s and Iris’s luggage. We had to call him to come back because it wouldn’t fit in the vans.
It was only about an hour drive to Zurich and the hotel is a beautiful Marriott Renaissance. But, it’s located near the venue where they will perform tomorrow night and not near ANYTHING else…especially shopping. L Our rooms weren’t ready but I was able to get Howard and David in theirs. I left my coat and backpack in David’s room and we went downstairs to meet with the guys from Universal Music. Evidently there were 2 big conferences in the hotel so the only food available in the restaurants were the buffets they were eating. It was really, really bad food. But, the meeting was excellent.
I made copies of all the rooming sheets and got a special key that allowed me access to all floors. You have to use your key to access your floor in the elevator. When I walked onto the first floor where they put me, I was overwhelmed with the smell of smoke. I swear the hallways smelled like those little smoking “boxes” at the airport. I had to go to all the other floors and none of them smelled smoky. I asked the hotel if they had put me on a smoking floor and their explanation was, “Well some of the rooms are smoking”. I’m already dying with my smoke allergy and was not going to stay on that floor. They were able to move me to the 3rd floor thankfully.
Love my room. Not only is it big and spacious but the bed is like the one at the Ritz Carlton in Pentagon City (my favorite hotel). Internet works, although SLOW on downloads.
We made reservations for the Asian Buffet in the hotel for 6 pm tonight because we have to leave for the venue by 7:15 pm. When we got down there, again the restaurant was closed because of a conference. Even though they had agreed to seat us, the dinner didn’t begin until 7 pm! So we went in the little Brasserie where we had the bad food for lunch. We ordered from the menu and it was “better” this time.
Gola’s manager was stressed because he said there was a lot of traffic and we should have left the hotel at 6:45 pm.. No way we could do it at that point. Supposedly there was a “Meet and Greet” with 20 people at 7:30 pm and a television interview. I knew that if we were late, they weren’t going anywhere. We left at 7 pm and arrived exactly at 7:30 pm. No one showed up for the meet and greet and there was no TV interview.
Tonight’s show is in a much bigger venue and it was totally packed as well with people standing. Near the end of the show, the audience crowded the stage and some females got up on the floor speakers and were rocking out. Another fantastic success.
After meeting with some of our Swiss friends backstage plus the lady who translated the lyrics for the project and the guy who designed the logo, we headed for the hotel. It’s now almost 2 pm and I’m going to bed. So happy that we are at this hotel again tomorrow night. I don’t have any commitments until we leave for the show tomorrow night. So, I will get in a great workout and take a tram into Zurich to shop, shop, shop….and freeze my big butt off. Guess you’ve heard about the “cold front” that is covering European. Trust me, it’s no lie! BRRRRRRR.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10TH – 2ND CONCERT IN ZURICH:
Had a very quick breakfast and then got in a GREAT cardio workout. So happy to have a “gym” here. J
Iris and I took the tram downtown for lunch and some shopping. It was FREEZING cold and snowing. We had to purchase our tram tickets and then stand outside and wait for the tram to come. When we got on, she realized she couldn’t find her phone. We thought she had left it at the Tram Stop but I told her I’d call her number before we got off and went back. While we were waiting for it to ring, I noticed that my seat was “vibrating”. Guess where her phone was? I was sitting on it! LOL
We had lunch at a great restaurant where one of her friends works. Had a pumpkin/ginger soup and spaghetti with arugula in it. Delicious. She brought her beautiful little shitzu “Ginger” with her and Ginger would stop walking right in front of all the expensive jewelry shops – where we couldn’t afford to buy anything. We really didn’t have enough time to shop very long and I only picked up a couple of things I needed – not Christmas gifts. We had gotten off the tram downtown by the restaurant. When we were ready to leave, we went up to the train station to change some money first. When we walked inside the train station, there was an entire Christmas Market set up inside. And, it was good stuff – not like the “Indian” stuff in Interlaken. I was so disappointed that we didn’t have time to shop there. L
Back to the hotel to change very quickly for dinner at the Asian restaurant. It was really, really good food. I had the Tom Kai Kai soup and a sweet and sour chicken served in a pineapple bowl! Again, we had to eat quickly and rush upstairs for to grab out things and go to the show. They have a “meet and greet” backstage at 7:30 pm with LOTS of people including our friends Bill and Susann Loop and their daughter Jessica and Hanspeter and several of his friends from the Schupfart Festival where they will perform next September. Albi – my promoter from Zurich where they will perform in March – was also there with his daughter. Gola’s “woman” and Lukas’s “woman” were also there. As in Scandinavia, the men and women live together and have children and sometimes NEVER get married. Helmut from Blick was there with his son and Marcus who is Susan’s buddy was also there. Alex – our Swiss engineer – also came to this show. Maya – our Swiss travel agent – was there with her boyfriend Peter.
Swiss TV is filming the entire concert and will air it 3 times throughout Switzerland. It will also be recorded by Swiss TV. So, it’s a BIG night for the Bellamys and Gola. We will own all the footage and recordings and can use them any way we want. No pressure tonight!
I think we should tell the guys we are filming EVERY night because the show was totally amazing. This is a HUGE venue – 9,500 people. Garth Brooks performed here years ago. The Bellamys actually performed here on a Mervyn Conn tour in the 70’s! I never thought I’d see the Bellamys perform in a venue this big and sell that many tickets – especially after selling out 9 other shows in Switzerland. Switzerland is tiny and a very small population. Their cd with Gola went double platinum this week. J
One of the best parts of the show is when they perform Gola’s hit song “Swan”. Gola gets the audience to sing the chorus for him. Tonight, he had a surprise for all of us – even the Bellamys. Before the band started playing, there was this “sound” like “wings flapping”. Then Gola says, “What do you think that is”? He picks up a GUN that he has brought with him – loaded with a blank – and shoots at the ceiling. White feathers fall from the ceiling. Gola killed the “Swan”. J The audience went crazy.
Gola has started taking his shirt off for the last song – only for me, he says. LOL. He is tattooed all over, so it’s pretty cool and his fans go crazy.
We were celebrating backstage after the show and someone brought in the best Bratwurst in Switzerland….truly. They sell it at this little stand right in front of the venue. We finally made our way back to the hotel where we had a drink (or two) with Albi and our promoters.
It was a fantastic, fun evening. Howard is not feeling well and I’m very worried about his voice. He’s taking it easy and hopefully can make it through 3 more shows. We leave for Bern tomorrow.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 11TH, 2011 – ZURICH TO BERN:
Had breakfast with Iris after getting in bed at 4 AM!! Ouch!!!!. Then to the GREAT gym to work out. Was so happy to have a gym, I worked out much too hard but it was worth it. Showered and was packing up when Howard called my room. He wanted to know if Iris was okay. I had no idea what he was talking about. He said he heard loud screaming outside the hotel and ran to the window to see what was happening. Evidently Iris’s dog – Ginger – had decided to chase a bird and was running into a very busy street. Iris was running at mach speed in 5 inch heels with her hair blowing straight back screaming at the top of her lungs. Now, keep in mind that Howard’s hotel room is on the FOURTH FLOOR! I call her cell phone to make sure Ginger (and she) was okay but she didn’t answer. I called Lorenz and Alexandra and they told me everything was fine.
We left Zurich on time and arrived Bern about an hour and a half later. The hotel is fabulous. Thank God this is where we spend the last 3 days of our tour. Can’t believe it’s almost time to go home. It’s a very “artsy” hotel but very, very well laid out. And, our final show is in the Casino connected to the hotel. They had our rooms ready for us and the luggage arrived shortly thereafter. I had taken my backpack up and dropped it and had used the elevator at the end of the building. It smelled like smoke. L I went to the restaurant to have lunch with David and Susan. After ordering, our bags arrived and I left to put those in my room. Jenny walked by and came in for a second and said my room smelled like smoke. I thought I was just still smelling the smoke from the elevator. So…down to the front desk to get another room. Why Me???? They gave me one on another floor and it’s fine.
Lunch was great – caprise salad and pumpkin soup. We are eating dinner at the hotel tonight, too. Went up to my room to make sure the internet works before I unpacked anything and all was well. I rushed downtown on the tram to try and print a “surprise” for Gola tonight. Susan took a photo of the guys on stage and I’m going to replace their “faces” with copies of the photos taken for their work visas. As I mentioned, those are horrible photos because all the instructions were in Swiss German and everyone looks “surprised” when the camera took the photo.
There was a little “Copy Quick” located in the train station and the guy at the counter was a tremendous help. To save me money, he let me use his scissors and glue stick and “mock up” the photo. It turned out GREAT! J I got him a couple of tickets to the concert tonight to thank him and then I stopped at Globus – a department store and purchased a nice frame.
Took a quick shower and dressed for the concert. Then went to dinner with everyone. Tonight was a salad and a great “veal” dish. We left for the show at 7:15 pm although they won’t go on stage until at least 8:45 pm. We have a big meet and greet and television interviews. This is the show where Jurg Schapper’s family is meeting us. It was so wonderful to meet them. His son and daughter both look so much like him it really pulls at my heart. We talked about him for a little while and then I told them I’d bring them back after the concert as well.
The Marketing Director and “Big Boss” were there tonight from Universal Music. And I take back EVERY comment I ever said about there not being any good looking men in Switzerland. Time to eat my words. The big boss could easily be a movie star….tall, dark, and handsome. Good thing I already have my “tall, dark and handsome”. J They presented the guys with Double Platinum plaques and they are mailing one to all of us. So, so cool! They are both just over the top about the success of this. The marketing manager is a hunk, too, and reminded me that he and I were in communication when the project was first proposed.
The 4,500 seat hall was SOLD OUT and the crowd was WILD. This is Gola’s “home town”, so they were ready to see him perform. It was another fantastic show – with Gola “shooting” the “Swan” again. Audience loved that part. I talked to the two guys from Universal near the end of the show. They were both up dancing all over the floor and high-fiving. It was awesome.
Met the “buyers” on this date who are so sweet and also the Mayor and his wife. Bern is now one of my favorite cities. Jurg’s family came backstage again and I purchased a couple of BB&G cds and gave to them. His wife was carrying one of the cds that she already had. She said she purchased it when it was first released and Jurg enjoyed listening to it. Said he couldn’t stop talking about it. Then she told me that for the last 2 years of his life, they played that cd for him. Just tore me apart! Until then, it really didn’t seem like he was gone.
We got back to the hotel a few minutes before midnight and I’ve been working ever since. I am NOT staying up until 4 am tonight though. Tomorrow is Sunday and normally everything is closed. BUT, not only are there two Christmas markets that are open but evidently the Mayor told the shop owners I was coming to town. It is SUPER SUNDAY and all the shops are open with Christmas sales. First purchase MUST be another piece of luggage! Susan wants to go to see the famous “Bern Bear Pit” too. It’s turning much colder over the next two days, so all the bears might be hibernating!
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 12TH – CONCERT IN BASEL, SWITZERLAND:
Hard to believe there are only 3 more shows on the tour. It has been such a great tour. Even the guys are saying it’s been the best ever. Next time though, we will have at least ONE day off. Has been really hard on the guys’ vocals.
Had breakfast with Iris and some of the others and even though it was a great buffet, I was delighted to learn that I could order an egg white omelet! I was really, really needing to run outside because it’s been over 2 weeks since I’ve been able to get out. So tired of the elliptical trainer and treadmill. So, I sort of “bundled” up and set out…being very careful to watch for snow and ice. I warmed up pretty quickly and instead of running along a path on the river, I hit the streets downtown. Wanted to see what all was open and where shops were located. Streets were already full of people and all the shops were open. The Christmas Market is HUGE. I did stop at the end of my run at the little Quick Copy place where I had the “poster” made yesterday. I had left my photo paper, jump drive and extra passports photos there. They still had it and I was happy to retrieve it.
Showered and met Susan to walk to the “Bear Pit”. I visited it almost 10 years ago. Guess most of the bears were hibernating but there was one big grizzly sleeping in the sun. He looked so “cute and cuddly” but then we were about 30 feet above him. J Susan and I walked around and I got lots of ideas for purchases tomorrow. Last stop on our agenda was to buy another bag so we’ll be able to get everything home on Tuesday! Excess is going to be pretty expensive, I fear. We also stopped and picked up Bratwurst and took it back to David.
Dressed for the show and we left at 5:30 pm to drive an hour and a half to Basel where the concert is tonight. Only show on the tour that begins at 7 pm instead of 8 pm. Again, the place was packed and the crowd was so enthusiastic. Howard is feeling a little better and I think his problem is allergies too! His throat and inner ears are itching which is exactly what happened to me. As long as I stay clear of smoke, I am doing much better.
Susan and I had to pick up some of the “tour merch” for the band and when we took it out to the van, we snapped some photos. Basel is beautiful and I wish we had more time here. The Christmas decorations are breath-taking. Our venue is right next to a brightly lit Christmas Market.
We didn’t linger after the show but drove quickly back to the hotel so we could have dinner before the restaurant closed. I had creamy garlic soup and a Caprise Salad (again) and it was great. Gave Howard some of my Zicam Allergy Swabs to see if they will help him as much as they did me.
Our one interview has been cancelled tomorrow, so I have ALL day to spend money. Can’t wait to get started. The show tomorrow night is in the casino connected to the hotel….great way to end the tour. Then, there is an After Party at a BIKER BAR where they smoke. Guess who won’t be staying very long. I’m going to try and find some of those little surgeon’s masks to wear so I can at least make an appearance.
LAST CONCERT IN SWITZERLAND – BERN, AGAIN:
Went to the health club in the hotel but had trouble finding it. I asked the maids but they didn’t understand any English. I was doing curls and squats — everything I could think of to make them understand. One of them finally said “ah…fitness”! And sent me to the wrong floor. 🙂 Small gym but I was the only one there. Since arms are easier to work when there are only free weights available, that’s what I did. Went down for breakfast but stopped by my room first. As I walked out my door, Frank blew right past me without speaking. From the way he was walking, I would guess he was running for his bathroom. He went to the wrong room and tried to use his key, then quickly moved on and vanished inside. 😉 I was able to drag the chef out of the back where he was chatting and order an egg white omelet. I like them here because yesterday’s was small and well done. Today was the same except he used that “stinky” hard cheese that I hate. Fortunately it doesn’t melt so I was able to pick it out of the omelet. Howard ordered one and said it was so salty he couldn’t eat it. Had to answer a few emails and then hit the streets. I shopped nonstop from 12 noon until 4:30 pm and would have loved to have had another 4 hours there! Got some great bargains, too. Had to rush to shower and get downstairs for dinner at 6 pm. We had pre-ordered our meals 10 days ago and it still took over 1 1/2 hours to be served everything. And the food was so bad! The choices were rabbit (NO WAY), sea bass with the skin still on it (YUCK) or gnocchi. Guess which I had? It was cold and absolutely tasteless. I covered it with pepper and olive oil (which took 3 requests and 20 minutes to get)! Ran up to the room and grabbed all my things for the show. At least we didn’t have to drive anywhere. Just walked over. It is a “casino” showroom and totally sold out again. Crowd is a little more subdued than last night but still a great show. Can’t believe it is the last one! Time has flown by. I looked everywhere today for a costume shop but never found one. I was going to buy a swan costume for the show. When he shot the swan was going to have someone run out in the costume with “blood” on them. Would have been a great last show. Since there was no “hole” in the ceiling, they couldn’t drop the feathers from the ceiling. Instead, Gola cut open a feather pillow and held it in front of the fans that are on the stage for Howard and David. It didn’t work AND it sucked the feathers back into the fans and darn near set the stage on fire! There was a big “lip” on the stage and Gola had everyone come up and dance. That livened things up but if I had purchased tickets on the floor, I would have been mad because they couldn’t see anything for the last 5 songs of the show. Then Gola had all our “staff” come on stage for a group photo – about 50 of us probably.
We left the venue quickly because tonight is the “after party” at the “biker bar”. It’s located in Old Town and was a really cool looking bar. They didn’t allow anyone to smoke inside while the Bellamys were there which was really nice! We all got souvenir “books” from the tour and had everyone sign them. I will not tell you what Gola wrote in mine. It is “classic”! J
Got back to the hotel a few minutes before midnight but I think everyone else will probably just stay up on all night. We have to check out at 6:45 am tomorrow, so I’m NOT staying up all night.
It was such a great tour but more about that when I’m not so tired! Nashville got 2 inches of snow and ice and everything was closed today – schools, businesses – even the airport closed. Sure hope everything is back to “normal” by the time we fly there tomorrow afternoon!
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 14TH – SWITZERLAND TO NASHVILLE!
Got 3 hours sleep and was showered and in the lobby before 6:30 am. Everyone got up in time to have breakfast. Of course, some of our guys never went to bed. Gola was having breakfast as well and they all just stayed up all night. J
Had a nice bus for the drive to the airport. Normally it takes 1 hour but I am SOOO glad we changed our plans and departed an hour earlier than scheduled. It was snowing and traffic was a mess the entire way. Took us the entire 2 hours to arrive at the terminal. After we got everything unloaded and went inside, we realized that the bus driver had dropped us off at the WRONG terminal. So we had to go back outside with all our heavy luggage and walk a few feet to the first terminal. Check in was relatively painless and I had time to go to the Lounge and download my emails so I could answer them offline on the flight. Plane is pretty full and it’s always unnerving for me when we have to be “de-iced” prior to take off. Heart that the wind is going to be ferocious in DC when we land. Not good when we have that tiny little jet taking us back to Nashville. L
This is the “reconfigured aircraft” with half the seats in business class facing backwards. I got a “chatty Cathy” right across from me – some man from New York City. I finally escaped his stories before takeoff by going into the bathroom.
Dinner was “decent” for airplane food and I watched a great – cute – movie with Jennifer Ashton and Justin Bateman called “Switch”. Worked on some emails and am now going to take a little nap!
It was a fairly easy flight with the exception of the guy next to me who never slept. He watched movies and laughed loud enough to wake the entire plane every time something funny happened in the movie! We were landing very early but they decided to make us circle in severe turbulence for a half hour. Winds are at about 25 mph. I am NOT looking forward to flying in that little jet to Nashville but really want to get home tonight.
I was able to go through the Global Access line and gather all the bags for the guys while they were still clearing customs. Everything made it – this far. When I went through Customs, the lady was quizzing me on why I had 3 bags. I pointed to the 10 people with me and all the luggage and equipment and said “Two week tour for the band”. She waved me through.
The line for security was really long and there was a lane for “Global Access” with no one in it. I walked through it but at the end, it feed directly into the long lines. A lady told me that the “line started back there”. I told her I am Global Access and this was marked as my lane as well. She said, “Well good luck getting in here”! There was a security guard standing by the wall. I called him over and told him I am Global Access and did not want to cut in front of anyone in line. I asked if I was in the wrong place. He said I was in the right place and moved me in front of the lady who had complained. Great! L
I went through and the line behind me was really, really long. Fortunately (or unfortunately) we had landed early and our flight to Nashville was delayed by an hour already. I waited for a long time at the top of the stairs for David, Susan and the band but finally gave up and went into the Lounge so I could download my emails and try to answer a few before the flight. They kept delaying our departure but finally showed it as 5:30 pm (We were supposed to leave at 4:30 pm). When I went to the gate, Wally told me what happened when they tried to go through security. Evidently the line David and Susan were in got “diverted” into the other line because the scanner quit working. Wally was behind them and when he got to the belt, the agent grabbed Wally’s shoes and threw them on the belt without letting him put them in a tray (they were out of trays because NO ONE was taking the used ones and moving them back to the people waiting in line!). Wally told him it would get stuck and the agent argued with him. Only one shoe came out and the other one stuck and shut down the machine. Wally said people were yelling and one lady was crying because she was missing her flight. The Security Agents were yelling at the staff to get the machine fixed. Finally, an elderly lady with a cane stepped up and used her cane to reach inside the conveyor belt and dislodge the shoe!
It was the small jet to Nashville but surprisingly enough, the turbulence was not as bad as I feared. Lindsey, Zac and Zoe were waiting for me when I landed. The “Z’s” have terrible colds (like everyone else) but I kissed all over them anyway. Nice to be home, but it is freezing cold and sleet and snow are predicted again for Wednesday.