TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 15-16, 2011 – NASHVILLE TO DC TO ZURICH, SWITZERLAND:
Left Nashville yesterday to fly to DC for “Valentines’ Day” with my Valentine. I had two great meeting while I was there. Got to meet the new Director of Armed Forces Entertainment and my dear friend MG Anderson. It was a very, very good visit. Lindsey was supposed to escort this tour but when I had a tour cancel to Iraq during this time period, no reason I couldn’t come with Lonestar.
Met Lonestar at the gate at the Dulles airport on Tuesday afternoon. Their flight was on time from Nashville and our flight to Zurich was also on time. My sweet friend with United who always takes such good care of us met us at the gate. She was able to get the guys on board before the other passengers began boarding. That is a PLUS when there are guitars that need to go in the overhead space. Business Class was totally full but coach had lots of empty seats which was great for the guys.
I sat next to a Doctor who is the acting Deputy Commissioner and Chief Scientist for Medical and Scientific Programs at the Food and Drug Administration. He has done a lot of work with patients at Walter Reed and Bethesda so we had a great conversation. There was a lady in the row behind me in the window seat who had a toddler on her lap. I could not believe she paid for a business class seat but intended to hold the toddler for 9 hours…Lindsey do you think we could do that with the Z’s! Before we took off, she got up to move to the coach section where there were some empty seats and the flight attendant told her if she moved, she had to stay in that section. She decided to stay in the business class section. I’m sure the lady sitting next to her was THRILLED to have paid many thousand dollars for the luxury of being able to “sleep” in business class only to have her as a seatmate!
Right before the meal was served, I noticed Lonestar’s road manager moving into her seat. Evidently he had an empty seat next to him in Economy Plus and the lady moved there with her baby. That was a GREAT perk for him!
I watched an action film titled “Unstoppable” with Denzel Washington. It was “okay”, just predictable. At least the aircraft was one of the ones that has been “reconfigured”. Every other row in business class faces backwards but the seats recline totally flat. It also has the new in-seat video monitors which allow you to select from dozens of films and start and stop at will…not like the planes to Kuwait and the one I’ll be flying home from Munich next week.
Jackie introduced me to one of the pilots before we took off and I tried to cut the same deal….”no turbulence”. Evidently I should have brought gifts this trip, too, because there was LOTS of turbulence.
We landed on time and ALL our luggage and equipment arrived. Our promoter Albi and driver Ernie met us after we exited baggage claim. They guys rode in the van with Ernie and I rode with Albi to the hotel. It’s a very small hotel where I’ve never stayed before. Other artists have stayed here but either Lindsey or Penny escorted those tours. Actually it’s not as bad as I anticipated. Just very “plain” with a tiny shower. I’ve stayed in much worse in Norway and other countries!
Our rooms were not ready since we arrived at a little after 8 am. We had breakfast in the hotel dining room. Since it took an hour just to get a cup of coffee, most of the rooms were ready by the time we finished eating. Dean and a couple of the other guys were going skiing today! Everyone else went walking or took a nap. After Dean left, I learned that he has NEVER been o skis. Freaked me out. I mean these are the ALPS…I don’t think they have Bunny Slopes. I certainly hope he doesn’t break anything.
I worked all afternoon and then late evening, took the Tram into downtown Zurich to eat at my favorite Italian restaurant – Contra Punto. Had the same thing I always have — Caprice Salad, homemade noodles with truffles and cappuccino. Perfect “low calorie” meal. But since I had not eaten anything since the yogurt at breakfast, I don’t think that was too bad. And I didn’t get lost going into town or returning…a miracle for me!
Have been working non-stop since I returned to my room. It’s now after 1 am, so need to get some sleep soon. We have sound check and our first show tomorrow night at Albisguetli Schutzenhaus. It’s a great venue and I know the guys will enjoy it.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 17TH – LONESTAR PERFORMS AT ALBISGUETLI SCHUTZENHAUS IN ZURICH:
Got in bed at 3 am after a challenging video chat with my grandbabies. Internet “fluctuates” and keeps dropping the SKYPE call. Big difference in talking to them this time and several months ago. They actually recognize me and blow kisses. So cute.
Up at 7 am and down for yogurt and coffee by 8 am. Some of the boys were down there and said everyone got back safely from skiing with no injuries. Turns out Dean was not the one who had never skied. It was the bass player! I could replace him if anything happened….it’s just 4 strings. LOL
My friend just lost over 20 pounds and got into really good shape by using a DVD program called Beach Body. I decided to try it because it’s so hard to find a gym when traveling….at least one that opens early! He was telling me how challenging it is. There are 2 DVDs and the first one is Phase 1 and 2 sculpting and Phase 1 and 2 Cardio. The second on is the same format but Phase 3 and 4 – more challenging. I popped in the DVD and the program is about 40 minutes long. When I was 25 minutes into it, I still was sweating and was beginning to think Phase 1 and 2 was too easy for me. I finished up and decided to at least check out Phase 3 and 4 tomorrow. When I put the DVD back in the case, I realized I had been working out to Phase 3 and 4! So, guess I’m in a lot better shape than I imagined. It’s still a decent workout and I’ll keep bringing it along when I travel as a “backup” when I can’t work out in a gym or exercise.
Ernie met us with the van and I left with the tech guys for load in at the venue at 11:45 am. Everything was set up and ready for them. George – the manager of the venue – offered to provide lunch for us – just something light. Turned out to be a huge steak, salad and slaw! Albi and Winnie came by just as we were finishing our lunch. Albi gave me a ride back to the hotel so I could come back over an hour later with the artists.
Left at 2:45 pm with the artists for sound check. They are allowing themselves until 5 pm to finish because sometimes using all different gear in a foreign country can take a little tweaking. Mitch (promoter from Italy) and his girlfriend are coming to the concert tonight and I invited them to have dinner with us.
Sound check was painless and the guys did a short interview afterwards. Mark left during sound check to try and buy Static Guard. Michael was getting shocked on stage. He was gone for over 2 hours. Evidently Switzerland has never heard of Static Guard. I told him hair spray works just as well and gave him a little travel can I brought with me.
We all ate at the restaurant in the venue. I had a good Caesar salad and pasta. Mitch and Francesca joined and it was good talk with them. He has the Bellamy Brothers performing for him in a couple of weeks. We will actually have a week off in Como, Italy which is about 30 minutes from Milan. George Clooney has a house in Como so I will be STALKING his neighborhood! J
Show started on time and Lonestar was great. Audience and buyers were happy. In this venue, the artists have to perform for 45 minutes, take a 20 minute break and then perform for 45 minutes. Artists HATE doing that but it is not negotiable.
We were able to leave the venue by midnight and I’m NOT planning on staying up until 3 am tonight. I need to go into Zurich tomorrow to shop and then have a meeting with Iris – our promoter from Interlaken. She and Lukas (Gola’s manager) are coming to the concert tomorrow night.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18TH – LAST LONESTAR PERFORMANCE IN ZURICH, SWITZERLAND:
One of the guys who has not been in Europe had his first “attacking shower wand” experience yesterday. I’m a “pro” at handling those situations. J I may have mentioned that the showers in this hotel are about 2 feet by 2 feet. Once you squeeze your body inside, the curtain tends to attach itself to your body when the water is turned on. You can imagine the contortions required to bathe! The shower head is actually a wand hanging on a hook. The guy who was “attacked” had turned on his shower and then stuck his hand inside the curtain to feel the water temperature. That’s when the wand struck. Flew off the hook and sprayed the entire bathroom and even out into the bedroom (told you the rooms are TINY. I have two bags and can only open one at a time!). If he had been as experienced as I am with these wands, he would have simply turned off the water. Instead, he tried to capture the wand…almost impossible to do, so everything got a nice hosing down. LOL
Got 5 hours sleep which was great. Tried the Cardio 1 and 2 on the Beach Body DVD and loved it. My friend who got me interested in this fitness routine pointed out that the reason I found the Sculpting yesterday so easy was probably because I wasn’t getting enough “weight” from using the bands….something I had not considered. I’m always focusing on more reps to tone and lengthen not more weight to build muscles. Will give it another try tomorrow with more weight and “slower” reps. J
Went downtown and shopped from noon until around 4 pm. Only purchased “baby” clothes. My daughter commented that she used to get great gifts when I went overseas but now everything goes to her children. Iris met me at around 3 pm and we shopped for a while together. Then came back to the hotel where she saw my spacious (yeah, right) hotel room and we had a conference call with David Bellamy. I had spent half the day re-arranging our transportation to the venue tonight because the artists did not want to go over early for dinner and then have to sit around for a couple of hours until show time. Then, when I got downstairs at 6:30 pm to get the crew off, all but one of the artists was standing there ready to go with the crew. And they say women can’t make up their minds. HA! I sent them off with the driver and I stayed until 8 pm and rode over in a taxi with the lone artist.
I met Iris and Lukas (Gola’s manager) for dinner. Was great to see Lukas again after all the fun we had in December on tour with the Bellamys. Wish Gola could have come with him but he might see us in March when I return with the Bellamys. Dinner was “so-so”. I ordered a Caprice Salad (again) and a pizza. I asked for a tomato, cheese, and mushroom pizza – no ham. They brought me a tomato, cheese and ham pizza – no mushrooms! When I pulled off all the ham, it also took the cheese. So basically I had bread with tomato sauce. Yummy! Bill (our promoter from Germany) also arrived with the tour bus and drivers for our trip tomorrow.
The venue was even more packed tonight – standing room only. And it was a much livelier crowd than last night. Great, great show. I got to talk with Iris and Lukas at dinner and Bill during the second set. Nice evening.
We finished up at around 12:30 am and it’s now almost 2 am. We have a 7:45 am lobby call meaning I have to get up at 6 am….short, short night for me.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 19TH – TRAVEL FROM SWITZERLAND TO GERMANY:
Pretty easy day…except for no sleep last night. Showered and had breakfast and then the bus arrived at 7:45 am. Our driver was great! I was giving Bill a hard time about the driver who tried to take us through the pass that was closed. This driver got us to Germany in record time – 3 ½ hours – and we even stopped and exchanged dollars for Euros on the way.
Hotel was ready for us and rooms are fantastic compared to the hotel where we stayed these last couple of days. Nice thing about this hotel, is that it is right next to the venue. We just walk over.
Got checked in and then walked to the venue for lunch. The food at the restaurant there is the best anywhere. They really should open up a place in Nashville….or better yet….in DC where there are NO good restaurants to be found…except Old Ebbitt Grill. I had a tuna salad sandwich that was delicious. Came back to the hotel and walked next door to the little “market” and purchased some water and tea….another nice thing about this hotel…having a market next door!
Answered emails and worked until time for sound check. We had dinner at the club again after sound check. I always get the Wiener schnitzel my first night here. Unbelievably tender and good. I was NOT disappointed. J Had time after dinner to come back to the hotel and work some more. Have to figure out what we’re going to do tomorrow. The musicians wanted to go to the music store but because it’s Sunday, it’s closed. Some of them just want to sleep and some of the crew wants to go to Daucha. It’s a pretty depressing place so not sure they should see it right before a performance!
Walked over for sound check and then dinner. I had the Wiener schnitzel and as usual, it was EXCELLENT! I asked Bill to just give me one piece because it comes with 2 large pieces. He said he would and then when it came out, there were 2 pieces. Evidently Marianne said “no one just eats one piece”. But, I gave one of the pieces to the guys.
Came back to the hotel to work and then dress for the show. I had a massive headache as did some of the guys. Think it’s the weather! Took a couple of Advil and laid down for about an hour.
Cripple Creek Band is the opening act and they are recording one of my artist’s (John Adam Murph) songs….Blue Water. They did a really great job on it, too. The little club only holds 250 people and it was “packed to the rafters”. There is a balcony around the top and not one more person could have fit anywhere in the club. The good news is, the club is now non-smoking. That was brutal before they passed that law.
Lonestar did a GREAT show and then signed autographs for over an hour. I left them at the club and came back to the hotel at around 1 am. It’s 2 am now and I’m hoping to go to bed soon. Having lunch with Bill at the hotel where I’ll be staying with Howard and David Bellamy next month….new, nice hotel where his daughter works.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 20TH – LAST SHOW IN UNTERMEITINGEN, GERMANY:
Slept 6 hours and it was great. Had coffee and saw the sweet lady at the front desk (Sonja) who takes such good care of me. She had a beautiful pot of tulips delivered to my room yesterday! Worked out to the Beach Body video again. This time I did 20 minutes of the Phase 1 and 2 cardio and then the full sculpting workout for phase 1 and 2. Slowed down and I think that helped. I still am not great with the bands but getting better. Bill called and said since my boys stayed at his club until 4:30 am, he was going to have to cancel our lunch date. I didn’t want to sit in the room all day, so I sent a text to the guys who drove the van to Dauchau to see if they were going into Munich. Said they were still at Dauchau but would meet me. I walked over to the club and Bill called me a taxi to the nearest train station. Bought a one way ticket and left for Munich. It was about a 40 minute drive. Guess I misunderstood the guys because I got a text saying the were not coming into Munich but would pick me up. I decided to just take a train back. Absolutely nothing was open in Munich except train stations. I walked around for a while then bought a pretzel for lunch and took the train back. Totally wasted my afternoon!
Made it back just fine on the train. Now if I can just figure out where the shopping street in Munich is from the train station, I’ll be comfortable going back and forth. Bill met me at the station and took me back to the hotel.
Walked over to the club for dinner. Had a really good cup of hot tea. It had 2 different kinds of berries in it. I talked them into only one piece of salmon and it was even better than what I have in Norway. And this time I saved room for the apple strudel. Marianne would have been offended if all the guys had not eaten some as well. They were so full but rallied and had the same opinion I did…delicious. It was snowing really hard when I walked back. By the time I left to come back over 2 hours later, there was at least an inch on the ground. Sure hope there are no flight delays tomorrow. I wanted so see some of the opening act’s set (Cripple Creek Band) and walked in just as they kicked off JAM’s song “Blue Water”. They did a great job, too. I called him and let him listen to a little of it and he was pleased too. Lonestar did a great job again tonight. Cody’s voice is definitely better. It was sold out again tonight. Bill thought some people might not attend because of the snow but everyone showed up. The autograph line was less than an hour though because people were worried about the roads and left right after the show. There’s at least 2 inches on the ground now and still snowing. When we land in DC tomorrow, it will be 70 degrees. Sure hope it’s that warm in Nashville all next week!!!
It’s a little after midnight here and I need to get up at 5:30, so going to bed very soon.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 21ST – GERMANY TO NASHVILLE:
Why do I usually get to spend my “holidays” traveling overseas?
Woke up at exactly 5:45 am and alarm went off a few seconds later. Good internal clock today! Showered and tried to check email but internet was out. ent to the front desk and asked them to re-set the system but the young girls at the front desk had no clue what I meant. I left them with instructions to call “someone” who did. By the time I finished dressing, internet was back up. Took my luggage down and ate a quick breakfast. We left 7 minutes early for the drive to the airport. It was a new bus and driver that Bill was trying out. When the driver couldn’t get the bays open for the luggage and we got on the bus to blasting, freezing air conditioning, Bill just looked at me and said, “Want me to come with you to the airport?”. Think you know my answer to that! What should have been less than a 1 hour drive turned into almost 2 hours. Traffic was horrible — I guess because of the snow and rush hour traffic. I was really worried about making the flight. I got checked in quickly because I am “Global” but it took forever for the guys to check in and pay the excess. I left them and went to the gate since there was nothing I could do to speed up their check in process. Figured I could at least beg the flight crew not to leave them if I was on the plane — which is exactly what I did. The production techs were the last ones on board but thankfully everyone made it. It was a pretty full flight. It was one of the older planes and I had an empty seat next to me. Just as they started serving the meal, one of the flight attendants asked if I was “Judy”. Seems one of my guys in coach had sent his laptop up for me to charge since there were no outlets in their seats. What he didn’t realize is you need a special adapter to plug in even in business or first, so I couldn’t help him. I put his laptop in the empty seat next to me and figured he would eventually come for it. After the meal, the flight attendant said I would have to store it because if there was turbulence, it could injure someone. I took it back to coach but he was asleep, so I just stuck it in his overhead. Watched a movie with Bruce Willis titled “Red”. Had a ton of big name stars in it. Funny movie and fairly predictable. Slept for a couple of hours and then read. There was no turbulence the entire flight until about 1 hour before and during landing. But the info on weather.com was wrong last night. It was not 70 degrees in DC. Temperature had dropped and it was raining and cold. Had to retrieve my coat from the suitcase I had stuck it in when leaving Germany. We landed DC on time and all the bags made it. Had time to make a couple of phone calls and download email. I usually sit in the Exit Row and when the flight attendant asked if we were willing to assist with an emergency, the 2 ladies in the exit row across from me just stared blankly at her. She asked 3 times and one finally said she didn’t understand. The other just kept staring. The flight attendant told them they would have to move them and the one who had answered her was fine with that. The one who was staring at her became “hostile” and finally spoke with an accent I didn’t recognize. She refused to move and it got pretty tense for several minutes. She finally said she was asleep when asked the question and that she was willing to help. Hmmmm, asleep with both eyes open? I think not. I was very surprised that the flight attendant allowed her to stay in the exit row. The passenger quite obviously had no idea what to do if required! I decided to keep an eye on her during the flight! 🙂 Terrible turbulence getting out of DC and just as bad landing in Nashville. But, we made it home and so did all our bags! Great trip, Great Shows, Great Group of Guys!