TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY, JULY 22 AND 23, 2014 – NASHVILLE TO NORWAY (AGAIN!)
Departed Nashville today for Norway…one week after coming back from Norway! But the time at home with the Z’s was awesome. Also washing clothes and repacking helped a lot. J
Flew from Nashville to Detroit on Delta and had about a 2 hour layover there. Detroit to Amsterdam flight was uneventful other than occasional turbulence. They finally put new movies on the flight and I was able to watch a good one with Cameron Diaz. For some reason, I couldn’t sleep but certainly made an effort.
We landed Amsterdam and the part of the airport where we landed was under construction. The information on my flight to Sandefjord wasn’t on the board so I had to walk a long way to find another board listing the flight info. Of course, I walked the wrong way and had to backtrack to my departure gate. There was no lounge in the gate area but free wireless was available so I just sat at the gate and worked. William Clark Green (entertainer from Texas) and his 3 musicians landed early and arrived at the gate just before time to board. Really nice guys!
It was a short flight to Sandefjord. The guys didn’t check any luggage so they went outside to smoke while I waited for my bag….which arrived, thank God. Our van driver was Kjell who is the brother of Bjorn that I worked with for years at Vinstra. He asked the guys if they wanted to take the “scenic route” and they assured him they did. I sat in the back of the van and for the first time, got nauseous on the drive. The roads were incredibly winding. The drive wasn’t any more scenic than what we usually take. The beautiful scenery started when we were about 30 minutes from the hotel – and by that time ALL the guys were asleep. LOL.
Got checked into the hotel with no problem and got my “regular” room where the internet connection is great. They also had my “fan” waiting for me. It is unusually HOT here as it was in Breim 2 weeks ago. The guys went to take a nap and I called Kjell (our promoter, not the van driver) to set a time to go out to the festival grounds tonight. There are as many “Kjell’s” in Scandinavia as we have “Tom” or “Bob” in the U.S. J
Dinner started at 7 pm so I went in for a quick meal and WCG’s group started showing up to eat as well. Three of the guys were awake and decided to go with me to the Festival. The event actually kicked off today on the “side” stage with lots of European acts performing. The one that was playing when we arrived was really good. There were some pretty “wild” looking line dancers having a blast, too.
I had time to talk with Kjell and Jan (production manager) for a while since they aren’t as busy today and tomorrow. The main stage acts don’t kick off until Friday and Saturday when I have Dwight Yoakam coming in to perform on Saturday. I’ll leave immediately after his performance (at about 3 am) and be “driven” to Sweden for his show there Sunday night. Brutal travel schedule!
We were back at the hotel a little before midnight and I worked as long as I could before just “passing out”!
THURSDAY, JULY 24TH – WCG PERFORMANCE IN NORWAY:
After literally falling into bed in my clothes and “passing out”, I slept soundly for 6 whole hours! Got up and went for a quick breakfast, answered some emails and then went for a jog in miserably hot weather. Just isn’t supposed to be like this in Norway. Hey, that’s why I come here in the Summer months to get away from the heat in the U.S.! Someone is NOT reading my “rule” book.
Just when I thought my road reports were getting boring, today comes along to prove me wrong.
I stopped at the little store at the bottom of the hill after my jog to buy water and “carb free” snacks. Scandinavian countries require either a credit card with a “chip” in it or a PIN number if there is no chip. AMEX issued me a special credit card with a “chip” (because I spend so dang much money with them every month!!!) in it, so I swiped it. Nope. They don’t take AMEX. So I swiped my VISA which doesn’t have a chip. Nope they want a PIN number! Thankfully I had enough cash on me to pay. Then I realized I had forgotten to grab a “bag” and pay for it. Bags are NOT free in Europe. You have to pay for a little plastic grocery sack. The line behind me was not 6 people deep and I was NOT going to get back in line. I ended up carrying most of it cradled in the bottom of my shirt. Very attractive.
When I made it back to my room (only dropping one item once), I took a shower. The little “lever” that allows you to adjust the “height” of the shower head was broken off. So I “squatted” throughout the shower. Then I tried to dry my hair. Nope. This hotel is rated 4 stars on Trip Advisor and doesn’t have hair dryers in the room. I am going to complain! Thankfully the front desk had one I could borrow. I swear I don’t remember having to bring a hair dryer in years past. I never take a hair dryer anywhere except a combat zone!
When I got out of the shower, I noticed it had been raining. Sure hope that cools things down. Went downstairs at 4:45 pm for our ride to the venue for William Clark Green’s performance. No ride. There was some “confusion” and I had to call the promoter to send someone back over from the festival. While we were waiting, I saw Storme Rhode in the lobby. I worked with him with Jolie Edwards years ago. He is here playing guitar for the guy from Austin who is performing tomorrow night on the main stage. It was so great to see him!!
Finally made it to the festival and the guys were just in time for their “line check”. I went out front to watch but I was almost the only one out there. Seems the “audience” drank all night and it was much too hot for them to come out that early (it was 6 pm seemed like 1 pm because of the sunlight). Kjell said it had been that way all day. William Clark Green and his boys gave a great performance. The few people watching loved them even though it is definitely not country music! They called it Rock Folk.
About 5 minutes after they started performing, I received an email from Dwight’s tour manager saying they were taking the “terrorist threats to Norway seriously”! Honestly, we are so far out in the woods in Norway that we hadn’t even heard anything about a terrorist threat! The promoter had to call the police to get info. While the “threat” is very real, they did not feel we were in any danger in this part of Norway. They have increased the security for the event but even said that the threat is supposed to be reduced drastically by tomorrow. The tour manager asked for a dog/police to do a bomb sweep and have everyone hand scanned for security. That is impossible to do since this is a “camping” event and the audience arrived Tuesday and Wednesday. They arrive and don’t leave until Sunday! Honestly, while I know this is a serious matter, I also know that we get terrorist threats every day in the U.S. but we just aren’t made aware of them. If we were, we’d never leave our homes!!!
I stayed out at the venue and talked to Kjell and “worked” on the threat situation until 11:30 pm. Then we all came back to the hotel and I’m still working at almost 3 am. Time to “shut her down” I think!
FRIDAY, JULY 25TH – NO “PERFORMANCES” FOR ME TODAY IN SELJORD, NORWAY!
Is it really already Friday? My year has just disappeared. Got up at 8:30 am and got the William Clark Green guys off to the airport at 9:30 am. They are en route to France. Such a great band and wonderfully sweet boys.
Worked out and then started working on today’s challenges. First one: power for the bus at the hotel. When they arrive, the bus needs to “plug in” to a power source if they are going to let the guys stay on and sleep until a decent hour and still have air conditioning. Hotel did not understand 320 amp/3 phase but had a maintenance guy who did. He found a row of poles in the parking lot and the last one had the correct outlet. We are “saving” that one for the bus tonight.
Got all the room keys so I can give 3 guys theirs when they arrive at the hotel at around 4 pm and the others at around 4 am tomorrow morning. Had a text that the first 3 are already en route so all is good. The rest of the guys arrive at 11 pm tonight and will take the nightliner to the hotel.
I had a short meeting with a friend who wanted to show me a new “marketing item” that turned out to be pretty interesting. He wants to promote and sell it in America but I told him I’m the WRONG person to assist. I will try to find him someone though.
The 4 guys arrived a little after 4 pm and went straight to their rooms. I know Kjell was expecting them to come out to the venue but they were just dead tired. LONG trip from LA!
I grabbed a ride out to the venue with the “other” Kjell. He told me that the way to tell them apart is to call him “Nice Kjell” and Kjell our promoter “Mean Kjell”. LOL
I worked mostly on Dwight stuff at the venue, had another amazing salmon dinner, and then watched James Intveld from Austin for about 30 minutes. My buddy Storm is playing with him and Storm is just as awesome as ever on the guitar. The “real show” was watching the audience though. As usual, there were some very intoxicated people two-stepping. One guy who was dancing with a lady kept getting closer and closer to where I was standing with Kjell. I finally had to move to the other side of Kjell to keep from getting stepped on.
Left there at about 10:45 pm and going to try and get 4 hours of sleep now before I have to meet the bus.
SATURDAY, JULY 26TH – LAST DAY IN NORWAY:
What a “restless” night! I was awake off and on all night long – well from midnight until 4 am – checking for and answering text messages. Dwight and his musicians and some crew arrived at 11 pm. The musicians and crew got on their tour bus and started the drive to the hotel. I promised to meet them at around 4 am with their keys and rooming list. So, we stayed in touch via text on their drive up.
Finally arrived at around 4:30 am and thankfully everyone got off the bus and went into the hotel because the power that I spent so much time advancing yesterday wasn’t correct! It was the right amp and phase but the wrong “color”. The bus driver looked at it and said, “Oh, it’s blue. That’s for Norway”. Well DUH. We are IN Norway. I think the bus is from Sweden and you’d think he would carry convertors with him when he knows he’s going to be parking in other countries, right?
I assumed everyone went straight to bed. I did but couldn’t fall back asleep. Was very frustrated because I knew I could only sleep for 2 hours….which is probably why I couldn’t go to sleep. I went to breakfast at 8:30 am and the musicians were having breakfast with Storm (who they know). Joined them and then showered and dressed to go to the venue. Tried calling the promoter several times but no answer. He called me at 10:30 am and I told him the 9 passenger van wouldn’t be big enough. We also needed a cargo van for instruments and luggage. He assured me it would be taken care of.
Everyone was in the lobby before our 11 am call time. No vans! I waited until 10 after and called Kjell. No answer. At one point a small van pulled up and we all rushed over to put the equipment in it. Nope. It was a delivery service for the hotel! Driver thought we were insane! I kept calling until 11:30 when he finally called me. He had no idea why the vans weren’t there and said he would call back. I saw several of my friends from Norway sitting out front and told them what was happening. One of them had a van and the other a car. They offered to drive us and we quickly accepted. Before they could bring their vehicles around, the cargo van showed up for our instruments and luggage. We put everything in with him plus one of the guys. Kjell called and said the passenger van was still sitting at the venue when he found them. He sent them over but it would be another 15 minutes. My friends brought their vehicles around and we rode with them.
All the backline that Dwight had shipped over was there and waiting to be loaded onto the stage. There was a slight hiccup when Dwight’s guys insisted on setting up all their equipment on the back of the stage on the floor instead of on the risers provided. There are 2 other acts performing before Dwight and the stage crew needed to be able to roll everything on and off between acts. Jan was great and got that worked out peacefully.
I worked downstairs and got things sorted out with Kjell so that hopefully there won’t be any more issues with transportation. I now have our drivers cell number and can call him directly. Dwight’s guys finished load in and sound check at around 3:30 pm. The staff had prepared a nice lunch for them. It had started raining really hard but only lasted for a few minutes. By the time we were ready to depart, it was raining hard again. Has happened every day this week. Hopefully it won’t happen at show time tonight.
We were back at the hotel by 4 pm and everyone but me was headed for a nap. Dinner is from 7-8:30 and we depart to the venue at 9 pm. Dwight’s tour bus should be arriving from Oslo at approximately 9:30 pm, too. My “driver” is supposed to be here at 8 pm. I will give him the key to my room so he can “sleep” until we have to depart to Sweden for the overnight drive at approximately 2 or 3 am. L
Only 3 of Dwight’s guys are still with him since I worked with him last time years ago – Steve, Scott and Mitch. But all the guys – old and new – are super nice to work with. No one but me got bent out of shape this morning when the transport didn’t arrive. They weren’t “happy” that they got very little sleep and could have slept an extra half hour but they didn’t complain about it. They knew that I knew what they were thinking and would address the matter.
Had dinner with the guys at 7 pm and “thought” my driver was arriving at 8 pm but I was confused. He was set to arrive at 9 pm – when I was supposed to leave for the venue. He was able to arrive at about 8:50 pm and I had him drive me to the venue, following one of the festival vans so he would know where to pick me up tonight. Gave him the key to my room so he could sleep for a while before driving all night.
It was really busy after arriving at the venue. So busy I didn’t get to watch any of the act that was on prior to Dwight and I really like him. I was able to get the festival owners in at the end of the “Meet and Greet” line so that photos were taken with them. Dwight took the stage a few minutes after 9:30 pm and the place was PACKED. And, the audience was singing along with his songs. Only had one “minor” incident during the performance involving the clock that had been placed in front of Dwight. He was very concerned that he would go over the “curfew” but he did just great. The clock did not survive. LOL His show was fantastic…..as good or better than the one in Nashville a week ago!
Dwight and his tour manager left immediately after the performance on their tour bus. The musicians and crew stayed and ate dinner (Elk Stew that was delicious) and I left at the same time the crew bus left – about an hour after Dwight.
Dalhalla, Sweden tomorrow.