THURSDAY, JULY 27TH:
Ouch…2 hours of sleep. Andy was there to pick me up at 5 am and we arrived at the airport in Frankfurt by 6:30 am. I had hoped to see Penny when she arrived but her flight was delayed out of Atlanta and I missed her. We boarded the flight to Paris right on time but then sat at the gate for an hour because of weather in Paris! Thankfully I had a 2 hour layover in Paris and made it to the gate in time…only to find that the flight to Nantes was delayed an hour! Then we got on that plane and sat for another hour because of another delay. What a brutal day.
Finally arrived at the Nantes airport and Jean-Renee picked me up for the 1 hour drive to Nantes. Hotel is really nice but….:) Got in my room and it was HOT. I went down to ask how I could turn down the thermostat on my wall only for them to tell me that I can’t. It’s controlled by the front desk. When I told them it needed to be colder, the answer was, “No. It is so hot outside that we must keep it warmer inside. Otherwise, when you come inside it will be much cooler than outside.” Duh…isn’t that the purpose of air conditioning??? I finally told them that if they didn’t turn it down Dwight Yaokam’s group would not stay here. I used every word I could think of to get across the point that they would immediately move to another hotel. It must have worked because they lowered the thermostat.
Now, the next challenge. It is dial up internet again and even slower than the last hotel! I only got a few answered before I had to go to dinner with my friend Gilbert and his family and Jean-Renee and his family. We had a very traditional French meal and it was delicious.
Found out that the front desk CLOSES at 10 pm and you can’t call anyone or get into the hotel without an access key. I made sure that I called and gave Dwight’s road manager the “code” and that their keys were left for them. They won’t be here until after midnight tonight.
Came back after dinner to answer my emails and I can’t connect. My phone is dead!!! I couldn’t believe it. Of course, the reception is CLOSED! After throwing the phone across the room and using some choice words, I settled down to answer over 100 emails on my Blackberry. Not fun and certainly not good for my thumbs!!! Guess I will go to bed early tonight. It’s only 1 am!!!
FRIDAY, JULY 28TH:
Got up in time to go to the front desk and tell them about the phone lines. Was never able to make them understand that it is the “line” and not the “phone”. They came into my room and took my phone instead!!!
Oliver – Jean Renee’s son – came and picked me up and we drove about a mile for our “footing” which is what I learned they call jogging. We jogged around a pretty small area that was really lovely and I realized it was a monastery! There was one monk who came out onto the grounds while we ran. We had to cover the same territory dozens of times to cover 5 miles, but we made it. Went back to the hotel and Dwight’s crew as up having breakfast. They didn’t have any trouble getting into the hotel the night before. Several of them needed to change money and Oliver took them to the bank while I took a shower. Then he took me to his office so I could log on to the internet. After checking email, we stopped by his parent’s home where he apparently lives as well with his beautiful little girl – Victoria. I had met her the night before at dinner but she was very shy. The home was beautiful – a lovely country home with beautiful gardens and several buildings and a stable. Victoria decided that I would be her new best friend and grabbed my hand and started chattering away in French. Didn’t matter that I could not understand one word she said. She would just keep talking and staring at me like I would answer her in French. She took me to the stable to see her donkey (told you it was straight out of a movie!) and then off to see her “tent” inside one of the buildings. I had to leave and go to the venue to meet up with Dwight’s crew and hopefully his truck of equipment that was arriving from the U.K.
Crew was having lunch and the truck had still not arrived. I knew that meant that sound check would be late. The stage was really nice and the festival crew very professional. I met Christophe and Manuella who I had been dealing with for several months. We started working through the problems that needed to be solved before show time. In that process, we learned that there were a couple of DSL lines back behind some screens. We all complain about how our lives are controlled by internet access but we all know there is nothing we can do about it!
I managed to go back to the hotel and change clothes before the show. I also had my office change my flight from 2:30 the next afternoon to 6:30 that next morning. The festival had chartered 3 planes to get Dwight, his musicians and crew, and backline to the event in Ireland. We had argued extensively with the festival trying to get them to allow the planes to depart immediately after the show. The best we could get out of them was a 5:30 am departure time. That meant that Dwight would perform from 10:30 until 1:00 am (yep….2 ½ hours) then come off stage, drive an hour and a half to the airport and have about 2-3 hours to do nothing! Not good. We finally decided to get him and the band rooms at a hotel near the airport. Dwight had agreed to attend a press conference and he did such a great job with the media. It has really been a pleasure working with him again. The media loved him and I’m sure wrote great stories.
The festival catered in a nice dinner for the guys and they went on stage right on time. I was told that only 500 tickets were sold the week before he performed but the capacity of the venue was 3,000 and it was packed. When I questioned the promoters, they said that 900 tickets were sold and they gave away the remaining tickets. I’m not really sure that is accurate.
Anyway, the 3,000 attending were true Dwight Yoakam fans and he had a great show. Went back for 3 encores!
We loaded out the equipment as quickly as possible but learned that Dwight’s crew had kept his truck to transport it and the festival had also hired a truck to transport it. Lots of unnecessary expense. We went back to the hotel so the guys could shower before departing. We were told that we had to arrive at the terminal no later than 3:30-3:45 am. Of course, our drivers had NO idea where we were supposed to go and at 4:30 am, we were still looking for the right location! Finally found the place where the truck was to unload and everyone else was told to wait in the terminal! I still had to change my tickets because I have paper tickets, so I went to the Air France counter. We all managed to get on our flights on time.
I have been up for 28 hours now and still have 4 more to go. I am staying in a hotel that is inside the airport in Stockholm and I am definitely going to crash this afternoon. Don’t have anyone to “babysit” until tomorrow night at 10 pm when Dwight and his group arrive from Ireland. YEA!!!