WEDNESDAY, JULY 6 – THURSDAY, JULY 7 –NASHVILLE TO VINSTRA, NORWAY WITH MARK CHESNUTT:
So enjoyed my glorious one week at home. J Definitely worth flying back and forth for that time with the Z’s. I have Mark Chesnutt performing Friday night in Vinstra, Norway and Darryl Worley performing Saturday night. Then Darryl and I go to Italy (outside Milan) for one show. I’m flying home on the 12th and leaving the next night to fly to DC! Will only be home Saturday and Sunday then back to Berlin with the Belllamy Brothers to record vocals for their new duet project with German Star DJ Otzi. Leave them and go to Seljord, Norway with Billy Ray Cyrus and Tanya Tucker. Then leave them and go to Sweden with the Bellamys. Home again for about a week starting August 3rd….then back to Denmark and Sweden and DC and NYC. Tired yet? J
Last trip I managed to leave my laptop at home and was determined not to forget it this time. I was in line for security when the office called and said I left my road book! At least this time they got me before I went through the scanner. Penny drove it out to me. Either my brain is full or I’m getting too old to do this!
One of Mark’s guys wasn’t at the airport when we checked in. The road manager had tried calling him earlier and didn’t get an answer. When we finally reached him, he was still at home. He missed the flight. He decided to pay over $2,000 and book himself on another flight that gets him to Amsterdam at about the same time we land there. Honestly, we could have easily done the show without him and I wish I could have talked to him before he spent the money. He’s part of the production team for Mark and not only do we have that part covered with the Norwegian crew but Darryl’s guys would have been happy to assist too.
Flight to Detroit left on time and we arrived 30 minutes ahead of schedule. We hiked down to the gate to see what time we would be boarding but there was no aircraft there. At 2 hours prior to departure, I knew there should have been an aircraft on the ground. I hiked 14 gates back up to the World Club and saw a double-decker sitting at a gate near there. I knew it had to be ours and I was right. They announced a gate change a few minutes later.
We all congregated at the gate area only to be told that our plane had landed only a few minutes ago and had not been there long enough for the air conditioning to cool it down. I knew that was a lie because I had seen it there an hour and a half ago! Then, they came back on and said catering had not finished with the plane and we were going to be delayed even longer. Unless we make up a lot of time in the air, we’ll misconnect. Fortunately there are lots of other options for us to get to Oslo later in the day.
So right now, I’m sitting on the upper deck of the aircraft in sweltering heat. My headset was broken, so they brought me a new one. Then the “plug” wouldn’t fit in the seat! The girl next to me couldn’t get hers to fit either. The flight attendant told us she had to distribute “adapters” for everyone. A couple boarded and one of them was going to ask to swap seats so they could sit together in front of us. But, I had sat in the wrong seat, so inadvertently we had already accommodated them. I was talking to my fella in DC when I boarded and not paying attention to where I was sitting.
Not only did the little bit of air blowing through the vents stop working, the entire plane shut down. Something about the “cart” we were hooked up too not working any more. It took another 30 minutes to fix that and I knew we would miss our connection in Amsterdam. We finally took off and at least the meal was up to Delta (not Northwest) standards. Flight attendants were nice and “attentive”. I had a salad and crab cakes and both were restaurant quality. I was trying to watch a movie but every time it started, even though I selected “play in English”, it was in French. I finally got it on English and about halfway through, I returned the remote control to the holder in the armrest. When it snapped into place, the movie changed to French again. I went through this 3 more times and finally decided the movie wasn’t that good and went to sleep for a couple of hours.
Woke up and had coffee and realized we were more than an hour late landing. When we got off the plane, they had my boarding pass waiting for me at the gate for the new flight. Had to go to a transfer desk for the guys. The agent told us we could not use the kiosk to get their boarding passes. After standing there for 30 minutes another agent told us we could. I tried it and since everyone was in the same record locator, was able to print all the new boarding passes at once! So much easier. We were booked on a flight departing at 11:40 am, arriving at 1:25 pm. We boarded on time but then that fight was delayed as well. Business class was almost empty and it was a short flight. We had a salad and some kind of little pot pie looking thing with veal in it.
When we landed, I confirmed that Mark, Slim, and Joe were already there waiting for us. Believe it or not, all our luggage arrived! Our bus was waiting curbside and after Don filed a claim with the airline for destroying his road case, we were on our way for the 4 hour drive to Vinstra. Usually it is a 3 hour drive but there is road construction. We stopped a couple of times under the pretense of using the restrooms even though there was a toilet on the bus, which means we stopped for the smokers! J
When we arrived at the hotel, they had our room keys ready for us. The same sweet lady is working the front desk. Everyone dropped their bags and went downstairs for dinner. The group was very impressed by the huge, delicious buffet – everything imaginable – for dinner. Made the group very happy after the long trip over. I had to call the promoter and remind him to bring the fans for me, Mark and Darryl’s rooms and also my jump drive for internet connection. He came by after dinner and we chatted for a little while. I’ve been answering emails for hours now and it’s almost 2 am. And I thought I’d go to bed early tonight.
Darryl’s tour manager sent a text that all flights out of JFK are delayed at least 2 hours – due to weather – although it’s beautiful and sunny! They will miss their connection in London but airlines won’t re-book them until they arrive in London. So I have no idea what time to tell the bus driver to pick them up tomorrow (actually today). Going to bed and will worry about that in a few hours!
FRIDAY, JULY 8TH – MARK CHESNUTT PERFORMS IN VINSTRA, NORWAY:
Got 3 ½ hours sleep and went down to the LITTLE gym in the basement of the hotel. At least they have “something”. Lots of free weights and a few nautilus machines and a couple of cardio. I was able to get in a 45 minute workout that was “decent”. Had breakfast with some of the guys, showered and left for sound check.
According to the internet, there is an 80% chance of rain today. The locals say it has rained all Spring. They had their first flood in this area that many of them can remember ever happening. Today is beautiful and I hope it stays that way. Has never rained on this festival since I’ve been attending for more than a decade.
Still stressing out because Darryl and his group are “stuck” at Heathrow in London. Their flight departed JFK more than 3 hours late. They aren’t able to get everyone out on the next flight. Right now Darryl is on one that departs at 1:30, part of the band depart at 5:00 and the others depart at 7:30. We only have ONE bus to pick up everyone and bring them the 4 hours to the hotel. It’s a 2 hour flight with an hour time change, so we’re looking at the last group arriving the airport at 10:30 pm, picking up luggage and getting on the road by midnight putting them at the hotel at 4:00 am! Brutal!!! My travel agent tried to get them out earlier and found a flight departing at 1:15 that would get them in at 3:15 pm. But they were so far away in a different terminal and having problems getting American Airlines to authorize the change, that they missed that opportunity.
Sound check was great and it was awesome to see all my “friends” who are on the staff from last year. The promoter and his staff were really happy with the band and their sound check and Mark wasn’t even present! We finished up right on time, partially thanks to the great production company they have handling the event.
Back at the hotel for a quick lunch and then more stress over getting Darryl’s group in. In the end, they had to stick with the 3 different flights and won’t be at the hotel until around 4 am! I walked up to the little store that is the ONLY thing near this hotel and bought some water. I stopped to take a photo of some sheep in the road and one of them copped an attitude with me. Started “bahhhhing” and chasing after me. Guess she charges to have her photo taken!
We had dinner at 7:30 pm and then left for the show at 9 pm. When I went outside, it had been raining! By the time we got to the venue, I knew we were in trouble. There’s usually about 5-6,000 people watching the show and there were only a couple of hundred because of the rain. They were all crowded next door in a large “barn” to get out of the rain. There is a stage in the barn where the smaller acts perform. I voted to move our show there but it would have taken hours to get our sound system switched over.
Mark had a fantastic show and the fans who suffered through the rain loved him. He did go out and sign autographs after the show. It started raining even harder as we were leaving. Got back to the hotel by 1 am and trying to get caught up on email. I’ve left instructions with the hotel to wake me at 4 am when Darryl comes in “if they need anything”!
SATURDAY, JULY 9TH -2011 – DARRYL WORLEY PERFORMS AT VINSTRA COUNTRY FESTIVAL:
Snow day – got to sleep FOUR hours last night. J It wasn’t raining when I woke up, so I got dressed to go running. Checked with the front desk about where I should go and the guy asked me “what I’d like to see”. I replied – Flat Land! I got about 2 miles into the jog and it started to rain. Had to turn around and not sure I even got in 3 miles but it was better than nothing. Had breakfast with some of the guys and they told me that Mark’s band and some of the local musicians had a “jam” session in the hotel until 5:30 am this morning. Darryl’s group came in at 4 am and some of them joined in. There were 2 long tables of elderly tourists sitting near our table and they said that they were kept awake all night by the noise. Ooops!
One guitar and 2 personal bags were missing when Darryl’s group came in. I made copies of the receipts and gave to the driver who was taking Mark, Joe and Slim to the airport hotel in Oslo. He was going to check on them for me and bring back if they had been found. I also checked on-line but there was no new information.
We had a really quick sound check at the venue and stopped at a little mall with several shops so the guys could buy toothpaste, etc., to get them by until we knew more about their bags. Got back at the hotel at 2 pm, just in time for lunch. Again, it was a fantastic buffet.
Today is Steve’s birthday, so I walked down to the little store to try and find him a “tacky” birthday gift. Found some really “suggestive” post cards to use as birthday cards and a similar t-shirt for him. Will give it to him at dinner.
Joe brought me my medicine for my eyes from my optometrist but it was for itching, allergy-related eyes – not what I need. L
I went down to dinner at 7:30 pm and everyone else had already eaten! Gave Steve his birthday cards and t-shirt. We left for the venue at 9:30 pm and it was sprinkling when we left the hotel. Really, really didn’t want another rain-out. The audience was small when we arrived at the venue but once Darryl took the stage, it filled up quickly. He did a great show and the audience loved him as did the promoters. Even with the rain, this weekend was another “home run” as far as selection of which artists would work well at this event. Fortunately the rain held off tonight and Darryl kept a huge crowd all evening.
We got back to the hotel by 1:00 am and I will get in bed by 3:00 am and up at 5:00 am. But, we have a 4 hour ride to the airport on a nice bus with reclining seats. I will be snoozing. J
Forgot to mention my practical jokes on a couple of Mark’s guys. There is one really young, single “kid” in the group (I won’t name names!). His mind is on one thing 24 hours a day. He hooked up with a girl at the festival and brought her back to the hotel with him last night. This morning I told him he needed to check with the desk before we left because in Europe, the hotels charge per person in the rooms, not per room (this part is actually true!). Told him they saw him take the girl to his room and he has to pay several hundred dollars before they will allow him to leave Norway. I was going to tell the front desk to play along with us but before I could talk to anyone, he hit the lobby in a dead run to the front desk. He came out smiling and said, “They said since she was only there for a couple of hours, they wouldn’t make me pay”. LOL
When I walked up to the store today, I passed the fiddle player who had just gotten up at 3:00 pm. He was one who stayed up “jamming” until 5:30 am this morning. I told him he should be glad he wasn’t at breakfast because two tables of elderly tourists were gunning for him. Told him they were talking about some fiddle player who kept them awake all night. He believed me and the other guys have started mentioning things to him about it as well. Not sure when we’ll let him off the hook. J
Going to bed very soon. We have to leave at 8 am for the airport and fly to Milan for one concert on Monday evening.