Friday, Oct 14 – Saturday, Oct 15, 2016
Leaving today to meet up with Frankie Ballard and his guys to do a few shows for troops stationed in Germany. It is just me leaving out of Nashville today. Frankie and his guys have been in Europe since the beginning of Oct doing regular shows and these 3 military dates are the end of his run here.
My flight isn’t until 2 so I was able to go by the school and surprise Zac and Zoe by having lunch with them. Mom is in Japan until Monday so Ms Pendleton is taking care of them until she gets back 🙂
No problems leaving Nashville and landed JFK on time. I haven’t been thru JFK since they opened terminal 4. Very nice and the Delta Sky club in the terminal has a rooftop area where you can walk outside and watch the planes take off. The weather was very nice so they had it opened. I had about an hour in the Delta lounge before we began boarding.
Flight to Frankfurt was uneventful. Ate dinner and watched a movie and then slept for a few hours. I woke up with about 2 hours left in the flight and had breakfast. I landed at 10:00 AM, which is 5 hours before Frankie and the band arrive from Dublin. Thankfully Michael Tietze met me early with the bus we will be traveling on.
Mom and Michael have been working together for over 25 years and for the past 11 years I have chatted with him via email or phone but we never had a chance to meet until now. He is a super cool guy with very interesting stories. We had coffee and a bite to eat before settling on the bus. I went in the back and took a little nap before going back in to meet the guys.
Dustin, Frankie’s tour manager texted that they landed and going through passport control. I told him that Mike and I were outside of baggage claim waiting on them. They of course, were the last ones out…with about 18 bags / equipment….
Our first show is at Kaiserslautern, which is about a 1 1/2 hour drive from the Frankfurt airport. Our hotel is actually about 15 mins from the base. Tucker, who has been my contact for this show met us at the hotel and all the rooms were ready. We checked in around 6. We all went down to the hotel restaurant at 7 for dinner. The food was wonderful, I had the pumpkin soup and weiner schnitzel. One guy got the pumpkin pasta that looked delicious – may have to try that tomorrow night 😉
The guys just love Tietze and are trying very hard to hire him and bring him back to the USA. He turned down that same offer from Johnny Cash back in the 90’s, so I don’t think these guys will have much luck. ha ha
After dinner they said there was live music at the Irish Pub across the street so we walked over there to check it out. Very cool Pub and they did have live music in the back room. Heavy Metal rock music. It actually wasn’t bad.
Stayed for a little while and then walked back to the hotel and crashed. Hard.
Sunday Oct 16 2016 – USAG Kaiserslautern, Germany
So…woke up around 9 am and got ready. We leave the hotel at 11:30 for the 15 min drive to the base. We are going straight to lunch at the DFAC there so I just ate a small breakfast and lots of coffee!
Quick lunch on base then over to the venue. Again..I finally get to meet John Howe with Public Address Production, he is another person I have worked with for the past 10 years via email and never had the chance to meet. It was great to finally sit down and chat for awhile and hear some “mom” stories 🙂
Since this is our first show soundcheck took the full 3 hours to get up and running, we finished a little after 4 and then back to the DFAC for dinner.
It is a really nice club we are playing at. Doors opened at 5pm and by 6 we had a really good crowd already in place, esp for a Sunday night.
A little before show time, the Deputy Garrison Commander came back to meet Frankie and gave us all Certificates of Appreciation and pins. Very nice lady and we are so glad they had us here.
Frankie and the guys took the stage at 7:00. He has a very good, high energy show. People were up at the stage and dancing. T Rex even made an appearance. First for me! This is my second time working with him and his band and they are all very appreciative of our military and thanked everyone for having us.
John and his crew did an amazing job with the production and sound, of course. Everything has been just top notch.
The meet and greet afterwards took about an hour and then we were ready to head back to the hotel. After a quick pit stop at the diner along the way to get late night snacks 🙂
We leave at 9:00 AM tomorrow for USAG Stuttgart for show # 2!
Monday, Oct 17, 2016 – Stuttgart Germany
Woke up at 7:00 to get ready and have a little breakfast before departing for Stuttgart. Saw Tucker at breakfast and I finally figured out how your suppose to eat hard boiled eggs in Europe. LOL. How long have I been coming here and never knew I was doing it wrong?
Bus call was 9:00 AM, but it was closer to 9:30 before we left. The band pretty much just went from the hotel beds to the bunks on the bus. George DeGrella from AFE brought Capt Patrick Ford to meet us. Capt Ford started with AFE back in August and will be with us for the last 2 shows. George is another person who I have worked with via email for the last 11 years and never met so it was good to say hello..even if it was only for 5 mins.
Very quiet ride to Stuttgart – everyone slept. We stopped about 15 mins from the base to grab a quick bite to eat. Our hotel is the Panzer hotel, which is a different base than we are playing at. Had enough time to get the room keys and sign everyone it then drive 20 mins to the venue. Show tonight is in the Patch Community Club. John and his crew had everything up and ready for us to soundcheck. Martha has been my contact for this show so I caught up with her. She is a hoot. So much energy and so very helpful! We finished soundcheck at 4 and decided to go ahead and go eat dinner instead of waiting until 5. Martha took us to a place in town called The Drive. Very good German food. Once again I had the Wiener Schnitzel and got some Apple Strudel for dessert 🙂
We finished around 5:30 and went back to the venue. We are not sure how many to expect tonight since it is a Monday night but at 6pm there was a good crowd. Lots of families. Martha did the introductions and Frankie went on right at 7pm. He did his family friendly concert tonight. LOL. Again, I think everyone was impressed with him and his band. Afterwards, he did a meet and greet for about an hour. He is very good at giving everyone time and attention.
We left around 10 and made another quick stop at The Drive to pick up some to go food for some of the guys, then back to the hotel. The internet in my room kept going in and out so around midnight I finally gave up and went to bed. 7:15 AM lobby call for the 4 hour drive to Spangdahlem.
Another great show in the books!
Tuesday, Oct 18, 2016
Saw a few guys at breakfast at 6:30 AM..
Went back upstairs to grab my stuff and by the time I got on the bus at 7, the band was already in their bunks sleeping. Rolled at 7:30 AM. The bus has a sitting area above the driver, then the kitchen, bunks and another lounge area in the back. I have a hard time sleeping in the bunks so I took the little couch area in front. Another very quiet 4 hour drive! Mike stopped about 30 mins from base and we got a few snacks and coffee. Had to wake the guys up because I will need their passports when we go through the base gate.
Once through the gate, Mike took us to Lodging to check in. All the keys were ready and my guys were hungry. Grabbed the hotel keys and we took the bus over the venue…which is right next to lodging then Capt Ford got a sprinter van to take some us to eat lunch. At 2 we did soundcheck, again John and his crew had everything up and ready for us. Frankie finished soundcheck by 4. Show isn’t until 7 with dinner after so we have a few hours. Some went back to lodging and few us went to the base exchange to buy some stuff.
Back down in the lobby at 6 to go back over to the venue. Jude, my AFE rep here came back to say hello and brought the Col back to greet and coin everyone. The venue is Club Eifel, which is like a ballroom and holds around 400 people. They are expevying that many tonight. The Col did the introduction and then the band rook the stage for our last show this trip.
Again, Frankie and the guys gave another amazing performance. They are all very talented musicians. The audience absolutely loved him. Capt Ford from AFE said he was welcome back anytime and that he has throughly enjoyed working and being on your with us.
The show ended around 8:30 and Frankie came out for the meet and greet around 8:45. He is so great with taking time with everyone. No rush whatsoever. Lol. I handed out the autograph sheets and Dustin took the pictures. About 30 mins into it, I went and told the band to go in the back restaurant and start eating dinner. Then about another hour into the m&g I went into the restaurant and made to go boxes for me, Frankie, Dustin and Capt Ford. We will just eat in the green room once we get done with the line. Which was around 10:30! Also said a quick goodbye to John Howe as he and his crew were done loading out and getting ready to leave.
Ate quickly and then Frankie and I walked back to the hotel and I think the rest of my guys are in the officers club.
6:45 am bus call for the airport in the morning. Yay.
Wednesday, Oct 19
Woke up at 6, dressed quickly and took my stuff down to the bus. A few guys were already in their bunks asleep. Capt Ford is also flying home today on united about the same time we fly so he is riding with. At 6:45 I was still missing 2 guys. Called one and he was coming down. The 2nd wasn’t answering his phone. Got Dustin to check on him and he had overslept and was getting dressed. We left around 7:05 am.
I sat and talked to Mike for a few mins before I went up and took a nap on the couch. The ride to the airport took about 3 hours.
So, I have a Note 7…yes, that Note 7. I love it but knew before I left I wouldn’t be able to have it on the plane so I activated my old Note 4 to use for this trip and I took my Note 7 with me bc the camera is just freaking awesome. So, when I left the USA last Friday, you could travel with it turned off and in your carry on. However snice I have been on tour they have banned it from all flights. When we checked in they were not going to let me fly with it. While Dustin got everyone checked in, I was talking with the Delta manager. He had no idea what to do since I was traveling home. I finally called Mike and he came back around. He took my phone and is shipping home to me today. Ugh.
Other than that no problems. Got to the gate about 20 mins prior to boarding. Flight left on time. Watched a few movie a then slept a little while. The guys are busing back to Nashville from Atlanta and I am flying. Said my goodbyes and ran to my connecting flight.
I can’t say enough great things about this trip. Frankie and his band are all such talented musicians and so nice to work with. John Howe and his production crew were just top notch. They have totally spoiled the band 🙂
Michael Tietze and his drivers are the most professional guys in the business. We are still trying to find ways to bring them all here
AFE, MWR and all the staff at each base were so kind and took great care of us. I hope to see then all soon!!