FRIDAY, JULY 5TH – GERMANY TO NORWAY:
Totally confused on what day it is now. I think because the office is closed, it seems like the weekend!
Got up at 6 am, showered, had breakfast and everyone was on board the “mini-bus” to the airport by 8:30 am. We arrived on time but the line at KLM was really long. They only had 2 agents working when we arrived but eventually added a couple more. We were in the “bag drop” line and it still took us well over an hour to check in and pay the excess.
Flight departed on time and I had an empty seat next to me which was really nice. We arrived Amsterdam and had less than an hour before our next connection to Sandefjord. That flight also left on time. I was talking to the flight attendant and he’s coming to Nashville with his girlfriend in September. Gave him my card so he can email me and get some “tips” on what to see and do.
Flight landed on time and it is a really, really small airport and very confusing. I was following the crowd off the plane and walking to baggage claim. Then I started thinking that maybe they didn’t check bags and I was going to end up outside the terminal without access to mine. But, I finally found the right area. Howard and David went upstairs where a sign said “Passport Control” instead of baggage claim. But eventually we all ended up in the same place waiting for our bags. Luckily, everything made it.
Two members of the group “Smokie” were on our flight because theirs was delayed out of England. They have a show tonight, too! I was very concerned when I saw that we had a little “mini-bus” with a trailer instead of a large bus. We completely filled the trailer with luggage/equipment and had to put some in the bus as well. All the seats were filled with people or bags and it was a 2 hour drive. A big bus would have been much nicer.
We stopped for water and then drove straight to the hotel. I’ve been to Seljord almost every year for the past 10 years, but never to this festival only to the country festival. Had never stayed at this hotel but wish we would stay here every time. It’s GREAT and the staff are wonderful. Got everyone checked in and we had a buffet dinner that was really excellent. The rooms aren’t air conditioned and it was sweltering in my room. I asked the lady at the front desk if they had a fan but she said they didn’t. I asked her if I could go somewhere and buy one. She called a shop and was going to send someone to buy it for me, but one of the staff found 2 in storage!
Got to “Facetime” with Zac and Zoe for a very long conversation. I took the iPad outside and showed them the pool, mini-golf course, playground, blowup house and cotton candy. They are pretty unhappy that I didn’t bring them with me! L
It’s almost 2 am, so going to bed now. Show day tomorrow.
SATURDAY, JULY 6TH – SELJORD, NORWAY FESTIVAL:
Slept great…even had to turn the fan off at one point because it got so cool in the room. Had breakfast and then worked out with “bands” in my room. I can really tell a difference in how my shoulder feels when I take the time to do the exercises he gave me.
Walked into “town” and found a great two-story shopping mall. Of course, I didn’t have time to do much except walk past the shops. Found a print cartridge for my printer and hiked back to the hotel. By that time, we were ready to go over for sound check. It’s about a 30 minute drive but beautiful all the way. They were running late with sound check but the production company is excellent. My dear friend Lise Minge came to see me. She is the sister of Johnny Minge who passed away a few years ago….much too young…with cancer. Johnny was the person I worked with on this festival and the one in Vinstra for more than a decade. He will always be missed.
Had time to talk to Kjell the promoter now for quite a while. Was nice to “catch up” with him. He’s a great guy with a fabulous sense of humor. There have been lots of improvements in the venue since I was here last. Backstage is really nice with beautiful dressing rooms. There is a cover over the audience which I learned will not be used for the country festival. Much different audience at this festival.
We went back to the hotel after sound check and had dinner. Had a few minutes of down time, then went back to the venue. The show was behind by several minutes due to a technical problem so the Bellamys were late going on. They cut their show from 90 minutes to 70 minutes because there is a 1 am “curfew” in this area. The band before them went over and the guys didn’t take the stage until 11:10 pm and we were scheduled to begin performing at 10:40 pm. But, it gave the Bellamys some time to talk to Kjell while we waited.
Our dressing room is upstairs in the venue that is directly above the backstage. There are windows that open and look out over the stage and audience. It’s the perfect place to watch the show. Got some great crowd shots from up there. I also walked out in the crowd and took some photos and went to the vendor area to look around. This audience is much more sober than the country festival at the end of the month…more of a listening audience.
The crowd loved the Bellamys. We are guessing at 5,000 people. They sang along and danced the entire show. We had been told not to do an encore but the crowd went wild when they left the stage. The emcee did not tell the audience that there wasn’t time for an encore, so they went back on and sang one more song. The last act did not get on stage until 12:45 am which only gave them 30 minutes to perform. I felt really bad for them but the situation was not within our control due to the late start. Hopefully they let them play past the curfew.
The staff brought some great food for the guys after the show…something that rarely happens after an event overseas. Everyone was most appreciative, too. We got back to the hotel at around 1:30 am and Sunday is a day off for us. Kjell was kind enough to arrange a sightseeing tour for us but only one person other than me was interested. Everyone else just wanted to “rest” before our travel day on Monday to Denmark.
Bed at 2 am and going to sleep until 8 am and then go for a really long run.
SUNDAY, JULY 7TH – DAY OFF IN “BO”, NORWAY:
Was really nice not to have an “agenda” for today. Had breakfast since I figured there wouldn’t be any lunch. Not sure if anything is open in this little village on a Sunday. I haven’t eaten this late since we have been staying at this hotel and the restaurant was packed with families. The hotel brought out plastic bags and the families began filling them up with everything from the breakfast buffet. I watched one lady slice an entire loaf of bread and put it in the “to go” bag. Guess the restaurant doesn’t mind since they provided the bags for this.
Waited an hour after breakfast and then went for about a 6 mile run. It was awesome. Weather is perfect and I ran along the bike path next to a beautiful little stream. Came back and worked for several hours and then literally passed out for an hour. What a luxury to actually be able to “take a nap” in the middle of the day!
I walked into “town” to look for something to eat since I woke up starving. Saw Wally and ran to catch up with him. He walked with me to get a grilled cheese and he had a burger. There were actually several places open to eat – Pizza, burgers, sandwiches, etc. Plus the gas stations over here all sell sandwiches, hot dogs, etc., and they were all open today.
Had a short meeting with David regarding international tour dates for the remainder of this year and into 2014. Things are shaping up nicely if everything comes through.
The hotel restaurant is closed on Sunday but they arranged to have food for us. It was a “cold plate” with deli meat and lots of salmon, etc.
Back in my room packing and working. Going to try to go to bed by midnight tonight. Lindsey is flying home from Norway today and I’m glad she will be back with the Z’s tonight. Also, glad the Z’s can’t read yet because I just found out this hotel is near the largest water park in Norway. J
Off to Denmark for one show tomorrow. Hard to believe I only have 3 shows remaining on this leg…..Bellamys in Denmark and Norway and Gene Watson in Norway.