MONDAY, FEBRUARY 9TH:
Where to start? So much has happened today that it seems like it’s been a week since I wrote the last “Road Kill Report”.
Okay, up early to get to the airport. Got to the lobby and realized that we had about 4 inches of snow overnight. It was truly beautiful!
No problem getting out of Zurich. Sent the Bellamy Brothers to Belfast and I departed for Amsterdam. Chely’s flight landed early and mine landed late, so she and her musicians were waiting for me for over an hour. I hate that. Don’t want the artist waiting for me after flying overseas. Some of her guys took off for downtown Amsterdam as soon as the plane landed. HMMMMM…..
As we were walking out to the bus, I noticed that the airline had destroyed my new suitcase. The entire back side was ripped out. I didn’t want to make Chely wait any longer, so I decided to deal with it after we got to the hotel. There was supposed to be either a large tour bus or 2 vans picking us up. There was only one small van so we had to cram all the luggage, equipment, and passengers inside. I had given the Ambassador’s assistant all the information on how much luggage/equipment to expect and she had forwarded this to the bus company. But, as is typical, the bus company decided everything would fit in one van. Wrong! If some of the guys had not gone into Amsterdam, we would not have all fit into the vehicle. Got that corrected for the departure to the airport.
The weather here is very cold and raining. The beautiful, 5 star hotel is located in the Hague directly on the North Sea. And, the sea was very “angry” today. Lots of waves and looked so ominous.
Tried to talk to KLM regarding my luggage but didn’t want to go all the way back out to the airport – which is a 45 minute drive. Finally walked over to a shopping center and purchased two luggage straps and some black duct tape. Going to try and make it home with the suitcase and then deal with the airline.
Chely and I went out to dinner tonight with Barbara Sobel (wife of Ambassador Sobel) and Pat de Stacy Harrison, Assistant Secretary of State. The Ambassador’s driver – Olaf – picked us up and took us to the Embassy. We wandered around downstairs while we were waiting for Barbara and Chely even played the piano. It’s a beautiful residence – mainly because Barbara completely redecorated it and has wonderful taste in art. She took us to a really “FUN” Italian restaurant. The food was fabulous and we met some interesting people there. The owner played the Star Spangled Banner, then the Netherlands Anthem, and then the Italian anthem. We all stood and took turns singing our respective anthems. One man dining there was with Shell Oil Company in Houston and kept insisting that Chely sing a country song for him. But he couldn’t name one single country song! (Photo left: Chely playing the piano at Ambassador’s residence). (Photo right: Patricia de Stacy Harrison – Asst. Sec. of State, Barbara Soble – Wife of Ambassador Sobel, Chely Wright and Judy Seale).
We are here because of a dear friend who is an attorney in NYC that we met on our trip to Iraq last June. We drank several toasts to him and then decided to call him on our drive back to the hotel. I had his office and cell number stored in my mobile phone. Barbara dialed him and talked for quite a while before realizing she had the wrong person on the phone. I then took the phone and realized it was Jolie’s husband (the artist that I manage!). I was so embarrassed. When I switched cell phones, all my numbers were transferred over. But this one was stored as Marty E. which is the name of Jolie’s husband and our friend in NYC. Somehow it stored the office phone number of one and the cell phone number of the other but combined both numbers under one name! (Photo left: Chely with the owner of the Italian Restaurant).
Almost 1 am and I still have lots of emails to answer before bedtime. Night, all.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 10TH:
Oops. I was TIRED last night when I did the Road Kill Report. We went to the Ambassador’s residence, not the Embassy!
This hotel is laid out very strange-there are 3 different levels for the 3rd floor and the room numbers are listed by section on the panel in the elevator. I somehow got in a different elevator yesterday and my room number was not listed. Had no idea what had happened to my floor! I finally went back down to the lobby and found another set of elevators-that did have my room number listed.
Up this morning to use the little gym in the hotel which is pretty nice. Just some strange “free weights” that I’m not sure I used appropriately. Walked around the city and beach for a few minutes and took some photos. Today is “show day”. We had a good sound check and rehearsal. Chely is singing “We are the World” with a Swedish artist named “Do”. She’s very “pop” and Chely is, of course, very “country”. Should make for an interesting mix.
The event benefits the Fulbright scholars — an exchange program fostering Dutch-American friendship. Chely pretty much stole the show. It was a “tough” audience as the artists performed between the various courses of the dinner. Hard to keep their attention and keep them from talking instead of listening to the show. But, she is an “entertainer”-not an artist. She heard that the Prime Minister was often referred to as “Harry Potter” and that he had a sense of humor. So she played on that and had everyone in the audience laughing. She also asked for a showing of hands from the audience as to who liked or did not like country music. Only a couple of people raised their hands when she asked who did not like country music. She brought the guy up on stage and quizzed him. Then she sang a REAL traditional country song where she actually “yodels” in it. Think she won him over! The finale went off relatively smoothly and the waiters/waitresses brought out huge plates of chocolate and had sparklers in their hands. Then confetti fell from the ceiling. It was quite a spectacular ending. Candy Dulfor performed last we left everyone rockin’ out around midnight. (Photo left: Chely, musicians, crew and Judy).
I still can’t believe Chely and the guys flew all the way to Amsterdam to sing 3 songs. But it was a great evening for a very worthwhile cause and everyone had a wonderful experience. Chely and the boys fly back to Nashville tomorrow and I fly to Belfast to catch up with the Bellamy Brothers for a BBC TV special. (Photo right: Chely with the Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende).