WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY, JULY 22ND AND 23RD, 2014 – CRAIG MORGAN EUROPEAN TOUR:
Had a wonderful “week” at home with quality time with Zac and Zoe. Now it’s “on the road” again! Met Craig Morgan and his group at the airport this afternoon for the flight to Norway. He will perform at a huge country music festival in Seljord and then fly way north to Trondheim for another performance. Next show is in Craponne, France at another huge country music festival. Can I just say, there “might” be a total of 6 hours of sleep for everyone from Friday through Sunday?
They are going to love Craig at these events because he is “true country” through and through and that’s what the Europeans want. It’s a big group traveling – 13 people including me. Craig has done so many tours for the troops for me that it’s nice to finally be able to “pay” him for performing! Of course, after the France shows, we’ll go to Germany for one show at Ansbach Army Garrison and two shows at Grafenwoehr Army Garrison and we all donate our time for those events.
My “guy” wasn’t at the Delta counter but I found another one of my “guys” to assist. We didn’t have to pay any excess baggage which was great since there was 10 pieces of equipment checked.
The plane was late landing in Nashville so we had a late departure but the pilot was still assuring us we would land on time…for a little while. When we finally got in the air, we were placed in a holding pattern. The little 25 minute flight to Atlanta took over an hour and a half. Not a great start for the trip!
Still had a few minutes to kill in Atlanta and then boarded the flight for Amsterdam. Was surprised to see that it was a KLM plane and crew, not Delta. It was an old plane that had been refurbished. The movie control was like a mini iPad. And, FINALLY “American Sniper” was one of the movies available. I turned it on as soon as we took off. I have never flown with a flight crew who was so SLOW to serve any food. The movie was almost over before they brought the meal. It was a great movie but not as good as the book in my opinion. Not long after we took off, there was an announcement asking for a “doctor” to assist with a medical emergency. One of Craig’s guys had tried everything possible to get “upgraded” but failed. My first thought was that he was “faking a heart attack” so they would move him to business class. Turns out it was an elderly lady seated next to him who had boarded the flight with an IV in her arm! Can’t imagine “why” they were letting her fly in the first place. He said they worked with her for quite a while and finally got her stabilized until we landed in Amsterdam.
I got up to go to the restroom after the movie but someone was in the toilet in the front. I walked to the back as we were told we could use that one, too, but a male flight attendant grabbed the curtains and slammed them shut in my face. He “snapped” them closed! One of the female flight attendants in the front told me I could use the one in the back. I told her to go tell the male flight attendant who had just insulted me.
I was able to sleep for about 3 hours and by then it was time to land. We had about a 2 hour layover in Amsterdam and then boarded the flight for Sandefjord, Norway…again a KLM flight. I think it was a full flight. We landed on time and our bus driver was there. He had a small 35 passenger bus and wasn’t able to load all the luggage and equipment underneath….until Craig’s guys “took control” and showed him how to do it! It was a 2 ½ hour ride and he was not a “smooth” driver. I didn’t even try to read or work except for answering a few emails on my iPhone.
We arrived at the hotel a few minutes after 8 pm to find that the registration desk is under renovation. It’s going to look great once it’s finished but is a mess right now. The lady who has worked here forever was waiting for us and had all the keys ready. She also asked the dining room to extend the dinner hours for us since it was supposed to close at 8:30 pm. The bus driver took the bus way down the street to the parking area before Jerry and I could get our bags off! Two of the guys went out to retrieve them and I went out to tell him NOT to move the bus until all luggage had been removed. Guess there was a communication problem because he got in the bus and drove back to the front of the hotel…following the guys as they were rolling the big suitcases along in front of him!
I am staying in the new part of the hotel for the first time because they now have internet that works all over the hotel. That was not the case before. The elevators are strange and it took the guys a while to figure them out. First of all – they are TINY. Also, the doors don’t open automatically. You have to open them. And if you accidentally “touch” the doors while the elevator is in motion, it stops immediately between floors. We are all on the 5th floor but the elevator only goes to 3rd floor and then you have to get off and take another elevator to the 5th floor. Whew!
Dinner was excellent as usual…lots of “fresh fish” but lots of other items to choose from too. The guys were really happy with the meal.
I retrieved my “fan” from the front desk that I purchased about 10 years ago and left here so I would have one every year. Have been answering emails and working for 4 hours now and hoping to close down SOON. The weather here is perfect…..probably about 50 degrees right now and got dark at about 11 pm. Will be light again in a couple of hours.
FRIDAY, JULY 24TH – FIRST PERFORMANCE IN NORWAY:
I somehow managed to lose ½ of my “night guard” on the flight to Amsterdam yesterday. I always wear it even if I am only going to be sleeping for a couple of hours. Can’t really sleep well without it because I have worn it for so long. Was a very “restless” sleep last night. Going to be a long tour if I can’t find a ‘generic’ one when we are on base in Germany!
Woke up to a beautiful, sunny day. Had breakfast and most of the guys were already eating. I’m going to wait until I get back from sound check to go for a long run. We have to leave at 11 am for sound check but should be back at the hotel by around 2:3 pm. Then don’t have to go back over until around 10:30 pm tonight for the concert.
We left a little early for sound check. Craig and Karen did not go as he wants to “save” his voice as much as possible. With very little time to sleep tonight or tomorrow night, that was an excellent decision.
Sound check went smoothly once the guys were able to get all the instruments on the stage. I have no idea why they changed the backstage are this year — after ALL the years I’ve been here. There were no stairs to access the actual stage unless you walked all the way around the backstage, went back outside and climbed a steep set of stairs. I asked Jan to “get this fixed” before we come back tonight. The guys finished sound check on time and it had started raining. Still no stairs except the steep ones on the side. They were forced to carry all their instruments back down that way only this time a huge “semi” carrying the next band’s equipment had pulled up and blocked the path they needed to walk to get inside the building. We had to walk all the way around the truck in the rain. I was NOT happy and I could not find Jan. When I did find him, I asked why there were still no stairs. He said the person who has to build them was with his son having x-rays. These must be U.S. Federal Government Employees since there is a huge staff available yet only one person knows how to do what has to be done! J
The guys ate lunch at the venue and then we headed back to the hotel. Arrived back at the hotel a little after 3 pm and we don’t depart to the venue until 10:30 pm tonight. Hopefully they will get a short “nap” because they will only have about 2 hours to sleep tonight….if that much!
I mentioned the fact that Europe did not receive the memo about the inappropriateness of the Confederate flag. I took lots of photos at today’s festival and will post on my websites. Not only are lots of Confederate Flags flying alongside the American, Norwegian, and Tennessee State flags. The country music lovers in Europe do not associate the Confederate Flag with the Civil War or slavery. To them, most of whom have never been to the United States, it is a symbol of the South and they know that “country” music comes from the Southern States in the United States. The booths at this festival are even selling hats and fleece “hoodies” depicting the Confederate Flag.
Had dinner at 7 pm with some of the guys then back to the computer to work until 10:30 pm when we departed for the show. Not raining right now but very cloudy.
It was a GREAT show tonight. Craig and his guys put on an amazing show and Kjell was extremely pleased – which isn’t something that happens on a regular basis!
Back at hotel at 2 am and off to airport at 5 am. More tomorrow.