SATURDAY, JULY 25TH – FINAL PERFORMANCE IN NORWAY:
Did I mention how COLD it was at the festival last night? Kjell said it was the coldest he has ever seen it at that festival. Very hard for the guys to play and sing yet they still put on what Kjell says was the best country band they have ever had perform there.
With only 1 hour to sleep, most of us were afraid we wouldn’t wake up if we even tried. So most of us just stayed up. I pulled my bags out in the hallway at 4:30 am and pushed the button for the elevator. Nothing. I went downstairs to see if it was stuck and it was stuck between floors. So we all had to carry our bags down. Most of us were on the 5th floor. Not a good way to start the day – no sleep and a broken elevator.
At 5 minutes until 5, the bus driver still was not down. I had told him we HAD to leave at 5 am which means he needed to have the bus pulled up and sitting in front of the hotel before that so we could load it. One of the guys forgot something in his room so I told him to knock on the bus driver’s door (thank God I had his room number!) as he went by. He did but could not get anyone to open the door. I had to get the man working at the front desk to go get him. He was still sound asleep. Now that REALLY ticked me off. After we loaded all the luggage and gear, the driver got a hose pipe and started putting water in the bus. Something he should have done yesterday. It was FREEZING on the bus – 4 degrees Celsius! I told him and he said, the “water needs to heat up”. I really, really wanted to choke him. Then he drove like a bat out of hell to try to make up for being late. The roads are very narrow and have steep cliffs on the side. It was not a fun 2 ½ hour ride to the airport.
Check in was easy at the airport and there was a small café open with coffee and yogurt and some other items. The plane was a Wideroe “prop” plane – small but efficient. We boarded and landed on time. Fortunately, there was no turbulence either.
I called the buyer when we landed and asked where he was. He said he had sent a 16 passenger bus for us. I informed him that we had 13 people and 14 large suitcases and that was unacceptable. Now, that was just what I wanted to do…tell the guys after they have had NO sleep, that half of them are going to have to stand on the curb at the airport for 10-15 minutes while the bus makes 2 trips.
At least the rooms were ready for check in when we arrived. Only we did not arrive at the hotel where we had been told we were staying. Supposedly, we were supposed to stay at the Quality Hotel but the driver took us to the Scandic.
Our equipment was on the production truck that left Seljord sometime last night and was supposed to arrive at the venue around noon. I told the promoter to let me know if it arrived on time as I didn’t want the guys going out there for sound check until things were set up and ready for them. I took a shower and then worked for a while and ate a salad from room service. We departed at 1:45 pm for the venue and arrived there by 2 pm. This is the “first year” for this festival and I’m hoping the weather clears up so we have a huge crowd. Noticed there are thunderstorms and strong wind in Amsterdam today and flights are being delayed or cancelled altogether. We have to connect through Amsterdam tomorrow en route to Lyon, France. Since we arrive just in time for sound check and the show, I’m hoping the bad weather will blow through there tonight.
I think Norwegian promoters sent a memo around this Summer advising that it should be made as difficult as possible for the artists to access the stage. We had to walk around several trucks and then climb over piles of electrical cable to access the backstage stairs.
The “good” thing is…we have a large tour bus as our “dressing room” and it was able to take us back to the hotel after sound check. The promoter is going to have to order a much larger bus tomorrow or rent a trailer or cargo van because we have 14 suitcases plus 10 pieces of equipment. All that for a 5 minute drive to the airport. If they had “listened” to my advice, we would have stayed at the Radisson that is “connected” to the airport. Then we could have walked over to the hotel after we landed today and walked back to the airport tomorrow morning for departure. Even if the room rates at the Radisson were higher, the money would have been saved by not having to rent buses!
I am working for a few hours now then will have dinner at 7 pm, leave for the show at 9:15 pm and hopefully be back in the room by midnight. Have a 4:45 am departure time tomorrow and show tomorrow night. Then Monday is a DAY OFF, thank goodness.
Dinner was the typical Scandic buffet. Only a couple of the guys came down to eat while I was there. Craig’s manager – Bryan — and his wife and son have been vacationing in Norway for over a week. They visited Oslo, Bergen and now Trondheim. They are shocked at how expensive it is to live here. I’ve known Bryan since the very first Tanya Tucker tour to Norway!
I think I mentioned that this festival is owned by the same person at Seljord and this is the first year for the event. There are 2 stages side by side for entertainment with a huge dance floor. Then there are buildings all the way around the perimeter selling alcohol and lots of picnic tables for people to sit and watch the show. The bus driver said this is the first pretty weather they have had up here for a while, so most of the audience didn’t stand on the dance floor…they sat a long way back at the picnic tables with their friends and drank themselves into oblivion Typical Norwegian Festival. J
Craig had a really great show and the local promoter was happy. Hope they can establish this one over the next 2 to 3 years and it will become a great “tie-in” with the Seljord event.
We were back at the hotel at midnight and have a 4:30 am bus call to go to the airport. It’s crazy to be excited about getting 3 hours of sleep! Fly to Amsterdam and then Lyon and then a 2 hour bus ride to the hotel plus a 45 minute bus ride to the venue for a 7:20 pm performance tomorrow night.