SATURDAY, JULY 8TH:
It was the usual “wild rush” for the airport. We made it on time and had to stand in line for a long time waiting to check in. Then we had the same problems with the ETICKETS that we did in Italy. No “eticket” number in the record. Thankfully, my travel agent had emailed me that information and I was able to print it out and take it with me. We got checked in and did not get hit with excess luggage charges for once. KLM is much more knowledgeable about that. I had paid for business class so I could hopefully get some sleep. Didn’t happen. The ONLY difference in coach and business class was a small curtain behind my seat. Seats were the same size and did not recline. No pillows and no blankets. Thankfully, business class was empty except for me and one other man. I can see why! So, I was able lay down in three seats which didn’t work at all. Big metal seat belts that were immobile. No sleep at all on the 3 ½ hour flight to Amsterdam. We had less than an hour connection in Amsterdam and then we had a 1 ½ hour flight to Oslo. Landed on time but our bass guitar and ear monitor rack did not make the flight! It was coming in on the next flight, so the promoter had to call the driver who had just dropped off Lindsey for her flight to the U.K. and have him come back. We loaded up the mini-bus and drove the 3+ hour flight to Vinstra. I knew it would be a beautiful drive, but everyone slept because we were so tired. When we arrive at the hotel, Carlene Carter and her group were waiting to take our mini-bus back to the Oslo airport area. They said she had a great show the night before to a packed venue. The venue is an outdoor amphitheatre. Probably holds around 4-5,000. Marty Stuart and his group were there and Connie Smith (Marty’s wife) was with him. Connie’s son and one of his daughters were also there as they live in Norway. I had to bail out on sound check with Marty so I could take a shower. Cowboy Crush decided to let their production manager do the sound check for them so they could get some sleep before they performed that night. We grabbed a quick lunch and headed our separate ways. I was going to try and answer emails after my show but ended up dealing with problems instead. The bass and ear monitor rig made it, so that was one less “worry”. But, I called the hotel at the Oslo Airport to make sure Carlene had reservations there tonight and everyone else had reservations there the following night. The Radisson could not find any record of reservations! I called Jonny (promoter) and he had just learned the same thing. The buyer told Jonny that he had booked the rooms but instead he booked them at another hotel which was less expensive BUT the Radisson is connected to the airport and everyone could have walked over for their flights on Sunday AM. All the other hotels in the area require that you take a shuttle bus (not free!) which is much too small to hold our passengers and all their luggage and equipment. Jonny had to contact the driver of Carlene’s vehicle as they were about 10 minutes from arriving at the Radisson and direct her elsewhere. Then he had to reserve 3 mini-vans with trailers to take us from the hotel to the airport the next morning. I’m sure this cost the buyer much more than the few dollars he saved by not booking the Radisson. I went down to have dinner with Cowboy Crush and Marty’s group and got a phone call from Cowboy Crush’s production manager saying that neither of the keyboards they had agreed to provide were there. Again, a phone call to Jonny and he had to get his production company to start looking for the correct keyboards. The reason specific brands are needed is because all of the “sounds” needed for the show are stored on a computer chip that the girls bring with them. That is then just inserted into the keyboard and it is programmed. If another brand of keyboard is used, it would require the keyboardist to spend several hours re-programming it….time that we did not have before the concert. I drove out to the venue with Cowboy Crush and by the time we arrived, the correct keyboards were in place! A local act was playing and then Cowboy Crush took the stage. The place completely filled up as the music started and everyone loved their show. Actually, the “show” is always in the audience at the Norwegian festivals because they are all so drunk — falling down drunk! One lady who was about 70 years old was “dancing”. She had on Capri pants with shoes with stacked heels and Knee High stockings rolled down around her ankles. Lots of coon skin caps and guys with no shirts on when they needed to be wearing clothes. Cowboy Crush absolutely ROCKED the place. I saw lots of my friends from years past including “Tiny” a 7 foot security guard who drove us around when I was there with Jolie Edwards a couple of years ago. I adore him. Cowboy Crush came off the stage and another local Norwegian act went on. Marty was scheduled to go on stage at 11:45 am and play until 1 am. I went out front with Cowboy Crush for them to sign autographs. The merchandise sales were a nightmare. Everyone was so drunk it was impossible to establish any “order” to the line. More “eye candy” to watch though – one guy had on a pink tank top and a short white mini skirt that was pulled down way too low on his torso. I hope someone besides me took a photo of him to show him when he sobers up. They sold out of t-shirts but didn’t sell may cds because there are only 2 songs on the cd. I took them back down to the stage are to do a radio interview and to eat. Marty’s guys arrived and took the stage. A lot of the people had just gotten so drunk that they had left. The venue was about ¾ full and he gave an awesome performance. I wish Marty had been on immediately after Cowboy Crush before it got so late and everyone got so drunk. He decided NOT to sign autographs after the show, so we immediately departed for the hotel near the Oslo Airport, arriving at 5 am. I checked on the mini-buses with the trailers that were to take us to the airport and no one knew anything about these. I had to call Jonny and wake him up and get the information. Finally located the correct company and spent 10 minutes convincing them to show up at 9 and 10 instead of 9:30 and 10:30 am. Went to my room for 2 WHOLE HOURS OF SLEEP.
SUNDAY, JULY 9TH:
Up at 8 am and downstairs to see if the mini-buses and trailers had arrived. Of course, ONE mini-bus arrived with no trailer. Said they couldn’t find anymore and he would just have to drive back and forth to the airport. Called Jonny again but this time there was nothing he could do on such short notice. So, Marty’s road manager and Carlene’s road manager and I began loading as much as possible onto the one vehicle and sending it to the airport. Took 4 trips to get them over there. I waited for Cowboy Crush to come down and went over with as much of their gear as possible. Scott (Carlene’s road manager) met me curbside and helped me load everything onto carts. While we were standing there, a huge airport bus backed into our mini-bus and slammed it about 6 feet backwards. If one of us had been standing in the back of the bus unloading it when that happened, it would have been very bad! While I was dealing with the carts, the driver got in and drove away. I had no idea if he was going back to the hotel to pick up the rest of our group and luggage or not. Cowboy Crush walked up a few minutes later but they came in a mini-bus that had a trailer on it. I seriously doubt that it was the one reserved for us, but too bad. At least they got there. We all got checked in and only one person had a bag that was overweight. It was only 10 kilos overweight and cost her $160 in excess fees! We flew from Oslo to Amsterdam and then I had to fly back via Detroit while they flew via Minneapolis. It has been a fantastic “journey” and it really nice to spend so much time with Cowboy Crush. They are an unbelievably talented all female band and I hope they will succeed in the U.S. I’ll be taking them to Japan in October and I am SURE will have lots of offers for them to return to Europe next year. No problems in Detroit or once I got back in Nashville. All my luggage made it. Did get sent to “x-ray” when I cleared Customs in Detroit. First time that has happened. Course they didn’t find anything, so all was good. Photos from all the trips will be up on the website next week. Back home for a week then off to Europe again for a month! Jude
Wednesday, July 5th, 2006:
SUPPOSE to leave Nashville at 4pm through Newark to Oslo, Continental called early Wednesday morning and said that the 4pm flight had been cancelled and they were putting me on the 12:45pm flight to Newark. Which meant I would have a 5 hour layover in Newark. The good thing about taking this earlier flight it put me with Travis LeDoyt and his band who are headed to Birmingham, England to play at the Americana Festival on Sat. and Sun. (this is where I am headed to on Sat. after this festival in Norway).
Well of course the 12:45 pm flight out of Nashville actually didn’t leave until 3:00 pm. Landed in Newark at 6:30 pm there time which left Travis and them 30 mins. to get to their connection. They made it though. My gate was next to theirs and I was on time to leave for Oslo at 8:00 pm, at 7:30 they came on the loud speaker and said it was delayed until 9:30 pm. At 8 they came back on and said it would be 11 pm and then 2 minutes later they changed it to a midnight departure. There was something wrong mechanically with the plane so they were bringing in a new one.
Left Newark at 12:45 AM and made it to Oslo at 1:00 pm (not 10:00 am like I was originally scheduled for). The hotel is a 3 hour drive from Oslo, which I napped the whole way. Made it here in time to have dinner with Carlene and band. Very nice people. Very long days the next few days. Tomorrow Carlene performs at 10:30 pm for an hour, it will be about 1 am before I get back to the hotel tomorrow night and I have to leave at 6:00 am to catch my flight to England.
The hotel, or should I say lodge, we are staying at is very cool, about 30 mins. from the venue, up in the mountains. Sheep and horses everywhere! Plus all the stuffed wild animals they have mounted here in the hotel! It is 9:15 at night and the sun is just starting to set. Sometime when I am here I am going to make it to north Norway and see the midnight sun.
Going to wind down……
Friday, July 7 ,2006
Was able to sleep in a little bit and get a little breakfast before we departed to the venue in Norway for Carlene to soundcheck. No problems at soundcheck and we were back at the hotel by 5:00 pm. Marty Stuart and his entourage arrived at the hotel while we were down at the venue. Carlene plays tonight and Marty and Cowboy Crush play tomorrow night. Carlene and her husband Joe went downstairs to eat dinner when we got back and I came down as they were finishing up, seems Joe grabbed the last piece of meat on the buffet, he thought it was reindeer only to find out AFTER he ate it that it was Whale! He wasn’t feeling so well after that.
Carlene, her band and I departed back to the venue at 10:30 pm, yes it is still daylight out. The drive from the hotel to the venue is beautiful, we follow along this river that some of the guys fished in a few days back. Carlene went on at 11:45 pm and gave a great show. She is so very talented and a really nice person. She signed autographs after her show and we got back to the hotel at 3:00 am….yes still light outside!