DAY ONE – INTERLAKEN, SWITZERLAND – JUNE 26 & 27
Left for Switzerland today with the Billy Block Western Roots Revival Tour featuring Danni Leigh, the Derailers, Jim Lauderdale, Chris Knight and the Billy Block Allstar Band. Thirteen of us total.
Jim and I cashed in our miles months ago to upgrade from coach to business class. Even though there were plenty of business class seats available when we made the request, American refused to release two to us. We were “wait-listed” and when we arrived at the airport today, we were informed that the flight was oversold in every class of service and we would not get our upgrade. I am NOT A HAPPY CAMPER WHEN I HAVE TO FLY COACH FOR 10 HOURS! And, to think that American Airlines wanted all my international business….hello Northwest and Delta, we love you!
No problems getting out of Nashville and onto the flight in Dallas. Jim and I were sitting together and you know that old “Murphy’s Law of just when you think it can’t get any worse…”??? I look up and here comes this family down the aisle with 3 young children – not babies. Just kids young enough with legs just the right length to put them on the back of the seat and push the seat – over and over and over again! And where do they sit? Right behind me and Jim. AND, they are German. Didn’t speak a word of English. So, I’m sitting there trying to remember any German words I can and trying to figure out how to say, “If you don’t quit kicking the back of my seat, I’m going to smack you”. The only German word I could remember was “Nein” and I figured if I used the right hand motions, they would get the point. And, I love children, but parents need to control them. Fortunately, the little girl moved and the dad sat behind me.
The flight attendants were incredibly rude – just like Northwest. The guy sitting next to Danni very politely asked his flight attendant if she had any meals left over that were vegetarian. Evidently she went into a tirade (using hand motions!) saying they were 30,000 feet in the air and what was she supposed to do, stop the plane, turn it around, and go back and get him a meal…” I would have definitely gotten her name off her cute little badge and reported her to American when we landed.
The weather here is fantastic…outside at least. For the first time since I’ve been coming over here, I’m on the top floor of the hotel in a beautiful “loft” bedroom. Problem is, there is no air conditioning and I don’t have the nice big windows to let in the breeze…just a huge skylight/window. It’s unbearably hot but they gave me a little 2 inch fan to cool things off.
There have been some incredible thunderstorms today….very brief but lots lightning — very colorful!
Several of the guys made the incredible train trip up to Jungfrau today. I couldn’t play tour guide as I had to answer the 78 emails I received while I was flying over here. Work, work, work! Plus it would have brought back nightmares of the trip I took down the Alps on that sled at the Millennium. I still can’t believe I lived to tell about that one!
We had a really nice dinner tonight with all the sponsors for the festival. Great food and the artists got up and sang a couple of songs acoustically. This is a really nice group to work with and it’s going to be a great show.
So, it’s 2:30 am in Switzerland and I’ve been up for about almost 48 hours straight. Goodnight, Sweetheart!
DAY TWO – INTERLAKEN, SWITZERLAND – JUNE 28TH
The beautiful weather went away with a vengeance. Rained all night and all day. Now it’s turning cold.
Other than showing up for sound check with the first group at 11 am and absolutely NOTHING being ready, it was a pretty uneventful day. Just busy shepherding everyone back and forth. No time to eat – except for one bag of peanuts.
Festival was great – good crowd and they loved the music.
Evidently I’ve been coming to Interlaken longer than I thought. A car pulled over today and someone asked me something in German. I’m beginning to look “familiar”…, I think.
Made the mistake of going for “glamour” instead of “comfort” and wore shoes with pretty high heels on them tonight. Only walked in them from 7 pm until 1 am. Very smart idea.
Off to bed. Missed my jog this morning because of the rain but Danni and I are going tomorrow am. I only brought shorts and a tank and it’s supposed to be about 40 degrees. Bet we’ll run a lot faster than we did yesterday.
DAY THREE – INTERLAKEN, SWITZERLAND – JUNE 29TH
Another beautiful day in the Swiss Alps. One of the easiest jogs I’ve ever had this morning — perfect temperature and zero humidity. Maybe I don’t regret being out of the country in July.
I’m sure that one day someone will publish my road reports just for the “shower and toilet” sagas. It is a never-ending challenge in whatever country I happen to be visiting.
In Europe, there are never any wash cloths. Which would be fine except in this hotel, there is no “bar” soap. They give you one tiny “packet’ of shampoo. It’s in a plastic pouch that is definitely childproof. Impossible to rip it open after your hands are wet. So, I end up trying to tear it open with my teeth which of course means part of the soap/shampoo combo ends up in my mouth. The miniscule amount that is left just might wash one arm. Then there is the shower head. Actually, it is a shower wand mounted on the wall of the tub – not at one end, but along the wall, near the end of the tub. If you’re really creative, you can flatten your body against the tub wall and actually manage to stand partially under the shower head and get a little bit of the spray on your body. Otherwise, you have to hold the wand in your hand and basically “hose off”. I’m sure we all feel like we’ve accomplished a major feat every morning if we emerge clean and with our hair washed without any new bruises.
Think it will be a pretty easy day today – only one sound check with Jim Lauderdale. Tonight is another matter. We don’t finish the last set with the Derailers until 2:30 am. Have to leave for the airport at 6:00 am.
This is a “trucker” festival and there are about 1,000 huge trucks lined up around the perimeter of the grounds. Also, several hundred bikers there. Outside the huge fest tent (holds approximately 5,000), there is a “Western Village” with 3 stages with live music and every kind of food imaginable. I had fried rice and lo mein that was to die for. The place was absolutely packed for the show.
Things definitely got interesting tonight since it was the last night of the tour. The Derailers went on stage at 1 am and they had worked so hard to learn “Country Roads”. That seems to be the universal song – every country loves it and knows the words. So, right in the middle of the song, Danni, Iris (the promoter), Irene (our coordinator) and I took off our bras and threw them on stage. Then Danni went dancing out on the stage and put one on Tony in the Derailers. The crowd went crazy and the Derailers totally lost it. Danni and I had been reluctant to throw out our bras for fear we wouldn’t get them back — and we really liked them. Of course, ours were the two that disappeared. Finally found them under the drum riser after the show.
There is one little restroom in the dressing room area and men and women have to use the same toilet. Obviously, women are not going to sit on it under those circumstances. We learn to “hover” and it requires intense conversation. Right in the middle of my “hover” two large pieces of ceramic tile fell off the wall and crashed to the cement floor. Sounded like a small explosion. I – well, use your imagination!
We got back to the hotel at 3:30 am and managed to get a key to Jim Lauderdale’s room. We all walked in on him and told him we were there to help him pack. He was “most appreciative”.
Going to take a shower and get ready to go to the airport. We have to check out at 5:45 am, so no time to sleep tonight. Hopefully, the upgrades will come through and I can sleep on the plane. Who says show business isn’t glamorous???
It was a great trip with a wonderful group of artists. The promoters are happy, the artists are happy and the fans are happy. Success!
DAY FOUR – HOME FROM INTERLAKEN! – JUNE 30TH
Took a shower at 4 am and there was NO hot water. Not a good way to start the trip. There was some confusion with the bus company on our pick up time. It was supposed to be at 6 am but they didn’t show up until 6:30 am. Which meant we were not going to have the required two hours to check in for an international flight. Then we learned that the group Mustang Sally was riding with us to Zurich where they had the day off. Nice group – but it’s all females – and by the time we got to Zurich I realized how blessed I had been to be traveling with “guys”. They never stopped talking and laughing the entire two hour trip. None of our group had been to bed and we were just wanting to sleep!
American Airlines was packed with people trying to check in. They actually had to hold the plane for us because they could not get us all checked in. Of course, half of the equipment and luggage didn’t make it on the plane. But, at least, Jim and I got our upgrade to business and we slept almost the entire 10 hour flight.
Danni solved the “mystery” of the lack of hot water. Evidently the new drummer with the Derailers likes to turn his bathroom into a sauna and sit it in it after a show. He ran the hot water for 20 minutes and used up all the hot water in the entire hotel. Needless to say, he was the “target” for the flight home.
No problems clearing customs and we all made it home—either to Austin or Nashville. I get to stay home for 3 whole days – then fly to the U.K. and Norway on the 4th of July – not my favorite day to be flying….