JULY 24TH AND 25TH – NASHVILLE TO SELJORD, NORWAY:
Left Nashville today at 2:30 pm with “some” of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band for their performance in Seljord, Norway this weekend. Jeff and his wife Matraca are on my flight to Atlanta. We meet up with everyone but Bob in Atlanta for the flight to Amsterdam. NGDB played this same festival a few years ago and were a hit. Glad they were able to go again this year. Penny will leave Nashville tomorrow with Bo Bice who will perform on Saturday evening in Seljord. Then I leave everyone and fly to France for a performance with the Mavericks in Craponne. Not going to get any sleep Saturday night. But, we have a day off on Monday to recover.
Met Jeff and Matraca in the Lounge and gave them my “pointers” on what to see in Oslo. They are staying over for a few days just to sightsee as Matraca’s family is from Norway. Flight to Atlanta departed and arrived on time. We met up with all the other guys except John who was landing a couple of hours later. We landed at around 4:30 and don’t depart until 8 pm. Fortunately, there is a great lounge in the new international terminal, so we were able to hang out in there. We boarded the flight to Atlanta and I was in the second row. Jimmie was in the 1st row, window seat across from me. A “family” boarded – husband, wife, two young girls and a toddler and took the seats in front of me and next to Jimmie. Now, my grandchildren have taught me “patience” with families flying. However, there was no discipline at all taking place with this family. The father sat next to Jimmie with the baby in his lap which would have made for an extremely long flight for him. Fortunately, the seat next to me was open and he was able to move. So, the family got 6 seats all to themselves and only had to pay for 4 – in first class. How do families afford to fly their children in 1st class on an international flight anyway? When Zac and Zoe fly, everyone thinks we have hypnotized them because they are so well behaved. Much better than some of the adults. J
I noticed that John was not on the plane and Jeff called him. Seems he changed his flight to a later one and would be meeting up with us in Amsterdam.
The flight departed on time and I can’t believe how much better the food was than on the flights a few weeks ago. Same routes from Atlanta to Amsterdam, same airline, but really great food. I watched one movie that was sort of bizarre (can’t even remember the name of it) and then tried to sleep. The lady in the window seat across the aisle from me was snoring so loudly, I thought I would have to get out my ear plugs. She woke up long enough to shove open both her window shades and flood the entire cabin with light. The flight attendant saw it and rushed to close them and by the time she got there, the lady was snoring away again. Flying is such fun. LOL. At least there was very little turbulence and the flight attendants were nice enough….just not overly friendly.
We landed on time and have a 4 hour layover here. I found the lounge and got my seat assignment changed for the flight to Sandefjord. After we land, it’s a 2 hour drive to the hotel. Much better than flying into Oslo Gardenmoen though, which is a 4 hour drive!
Kind of excited to see Bo’s show on Saturday night. The promoter came up with the brilliant idea to make it an “Idol” night. The Norway Idol winner this year is a 17 year old girl who sings “classic” country music. The runner up from last year is a male who also sings country music. They will both perform at the festival and then come on stage to sing “I’ll Fly Away” with Bo. They had to lower the admittance age to the festival so the girl’s “fans” can attend. Should be a fun night. Only we’ll be back at the hotel at around midnight and have to leave for the airport at 2:30 am. OUCH! And there is a show that evening with the Mavericks.
Love working with Nitty Gritty again. All such great guys and “easy” to travel and work with.
We were all waiting in the gate area for our flight to board for the Amsterdam to Sandefjord portion. There was a lady with two little girls who must have eaten about 10 pounds of chocolate. They were bouncing off the walls and she was totally ignoring them. I looked at Jimmie and said, “There’s your seat mates”. LOL. Then we boarded the plane and Jimmie was in the last row of Business Class. Guess who was sitting right behind him, kicking his seat and chattering non-stop….the Twins. I told him he is a “child magnet”. Fortunately, the seat next to me was open again so he moved up.
Flight landed Sandefjord on time and it took quite a while for our bags to come out. Strange because it’s such a tiny airport – only one belt in baggage claim and ours was the only plane on the tarmac. But, at least we got everything. George (our driver who lost the trailer key with the Bellamys – LOL) was waiting for us. We made one stop enroute to purchase “snacks” at a Gas Station. Gas stations in Norway are not like ours in the U.S They have a full bakery and fast food restaurant with hot dogs and really great sandwiches.
It actually took 2 ½ hours drive time from the airport. After already having traveled for 20 hours, it seemed more like 5 hours! L But, the hotel had our rooms ready for us. This hotel has wireless but it only works well in the “common areas” (lobby, restaurant, pool area) and picks up a signal in “some” of the rooms. They guys were asking if they could be moved to a room where the internet works but there’s really not one….it’s just hit and miss that some rooms might pick it up occasionally. Thankfully, the wireless I rented for Europe works GREAT! Really happy about that.
We unloaded all the equipment into a “storage” room and the guys went to the restaurant for dinner. I was talking to the driver about how we would get the equipment to the venue tomorrow and we called the promoter to double check. He suggested we go ahead and bring it out tonight. I didn’t want to disturb the guys while they were eating, so I ended up carrying 9 of the 13 pieces of equipment down the hallway to the mini-bus. Good think I work out!!!
Had dinner with the guys and the food was excellent as usual. Then went to my room to hook up my wireless. I couldn’t get the cover off to install the battery and had to go outside and find the guys so they could assist.
Penny and Bo’s group left for Norway a few minutes ago. Hopefully their flights will go as smoothly as ours today.
FRIDAY, JULY 26TH – NITTY GRITTY PERFORMANCE AT SELJORD COUNTRYFESTIVALEN:
Major packing disaster discovered just as I was thinking I would get in bed before 1 am. My liquid makeup opened and every drop spilled all over my other makeup. Thankfully, it was inside a plastic baggy inside my makeup carrier. But, all my brushes, etc, were soaked. And now I have no makeup which is truly frightening. I’m going to try and reach Penny and have her buy me some at Duty Free during her long layover in Amsterdam. If I had been thinking clearer, I could have taken everything out of the baggy and just kept the baggy full of makeup. Instead I dumped everything in the sink to clear it and then washed the baggy. L
As with every “first” night here, I slept for an hour and thought I had slept all night. Was up every hour. Had set the alarms for 7 am and when none of them went off….even my reliable blackberry…I knew something was wrong. Seems I set the clock an hour later than it really was and it was only 6 am on my phone. Then I couldn’t fall back asleep, so I got up and went for a fantastic run along the lake. Weather is perfect….was probably about 50-55 degrees when I ran. Supposed to be a high of 75 today.
My room, however, will reach near 100 degrees because of the sun. I have to open the balcony door to let in the “breeze” but that also lets in the afternoon sunlight. And big mosquitoes. Hey, I shouldn’t complain. We are in the “woods” of Norway. J
Had breakfast with some of the guys, showered, and went over to the venue for sound check. Bo Bice and his group arrived in Amsterdam early and were waiting for their flight to Norway. They actually landed during the sound check and started the 2 ½ hour drive to the hotel. Sound check went smoothly and we were back at the hotel around 2:30 pm. Penny was already there and had everyone checked in. I walked over to the little store to buy water and yogurt (for lunch). The walk over is all downhill which means the walk back is all uphill….not fun when carrying a heavy bag. Got all the way back to my room only to remember I forgot to purchase “bug spray”. The mosquitoes tried to carry me away last night! Hiked back over and fortunately, they had it!
I worked for about an hour and then met everyone for dinner. Food was excellent again and I was able to eat very healthy. We don’t leave for the venue until 10:30 pm tonight and won’t be back at the hotel until after 1 am! I need to take a nap. J
Bo has a terrible headache, so I took him some Tylenol and some of my migraine medicine. NGDB’s manager told me to ask him if he was drinking water….which I totally forgot about. I drink so much water even when I’m not flying overseas that it never occurs to me to check with other people. He has not been drinking water so I’m sure that’s why he has the headache. I lectured him and he promised to drink water immediately.
The Hellbillies were on stage when we arrived and the festival grounds were packed. They are the “Elvis” of Norway and I was very concerned that NGDB had to follow them. We lost some of the audience after their set but it was still a huge crowd and definitely NGDB fans. The guys did a fantastic show. Because of the curfew, they could only perform for 75 minutes plus encore. They like to play for 90 minutes. Just watching them perform, you know how much they still love playing music. And such nice folks to work with. Matraca went out into the audience and a young man (probably in his 20’s) wearing a poncho and sombrero grabbed her and danced with her. She said he was very nice and polite. The only apprehension she had was when he lifted her into the air. LOL.
Guys signed autographs and took photos after the show and then ate a great meal prepared for them by the girls in the kitchen. We arrived back at the hotel at 2 am and it’s almost 3 am now. Going to bed!
SATURDAY, JULY 27TH – BO BICE PERFORMANCE:
Forgot to include the craziest thing I’ve ever encountered over here. Penny was changing money at the Amsterdam airport and had given them a $100 bill that I had withdrawn from the bank before she left. It was one of the older $100 bills….didn’t have all the new “watermarking”. The exchange agent told her it was counterfeit and called the airport police. They questioned her and she told them just to give it back to her and she would give them another bill and take that one back to the U.S. They refused and took the money from her. They gave her a receipt and told her if they found out it was “legitimate”, they would “return” it to her. I was furious. There is an email address on the receipt and you can bet I’ve already popped off my opinion to them. I’ll be giving them a “visit” on my stop through Amsterdam tomorrow. Never encountered anything like this before.
So, in bed at 3:30 am and up at 8 to work out with the rubber bands. Had breakfast and my “groups” were slowly trickling in. I went to Bo’s room to wake him up and he said his headache is gone and he feels great. Really glad to hear that!
Sound check went great and they finished way early. The two Norway Idol stars were supposed to come by at 1:30 pm to rehearse with Bo and the band but didn’t show up due probably to some miscommunication. Bo wasn’t worried at all and said they would just “run through” the song tonight before his performance. Kjell heard most of his sound check and “loves” the music….as I knew he would. J We walked out and looked at the classic cars. I swear ALL the U.S. classics are over here. Beautiful, beautiful vehicles. One belonged to John Wayne from 1953 until 1979!
While I was getting my things together to pack this afternoon, I moved the curtains away from one side of the room. There are long ceiling to floor “black out drapes” which cover one wall. There is a sliding glass door and that’s what I’ve been opening on one side of the wall to get a “breeze”. Never opened the curtains on the other side of the door. When I did today, I discovered a wall radiator heater and it was ON! No wonder I was sweltering in my room. And, the floor to the bathroom is heated and no way to turn it off. Of course, I discover all this the day I am leaving.
Had dinner with the “gang” and changed for the show. We arrived early so that Bo could rehearse with Siri and Steffan the Norwegian Idol winners. They are all singing “I’ll Fly Away”. Bo took the stage a few minutes late and the crowd had left between the acts during set changes. But as he began playing his Southern Rock, the people started coming back in. The audience loved the show and he had to do an encore. The “duet” with the Idol Stars came off great. We have named our new bus driver “Hollywood”. His name is Holvar but hard to pronounce. He brought me and Matthew from Bo’s band back to the hotel while Bo signed autographs and the group ate something after the show. It’s midnight and we have to leave for the airport at 2 am….Nitty Gritty to fly home and me and Kjell to fly to France for a show with the Mavericks tomorrow night. Pretty brutal schedule. Going to shut down my computer and pack up for the trip now.
Thursday, July 25 and Friday, July 26
Today I leave for Norway with Bo Bice and his band. Judy left yesterday with Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, so we will meet up in Seljord. Met Bo and a few guys at Customs to register their gear. My son, Andrew, was stoked about getting to meet Bo! Registered their grea and headed to the airport. I called one of Judy’s favorite skycaps, Charles, and he met us and took all of the gear in. Ted and Danny with Delta took great care of us and got us checked in with NO excess fees. 🙂 Short uneventful flight to Detroit, had about an hour layover, everyone boarded and “we’re off”! Watched the movie “the life of pi”, which was pretty good and started watching “stolen identity” with Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthey. We landed before it could finish. I did sleep about 3 hours, I think.
Landed in Amsterdam, we went through passport control and security. Then we were all going to exchange a little currency. I had an old $100 bill. Really didn’t think anything about it, but the lady at the window said it wasn’t real so she had to send down to someone in the office. A few minutes later she asks for my passport and says the police are coming, they need to question me. WTH? They ended up confiscating the money and will send it to the Dutch officials to see if it is real. If so, they will find a way to get it back to me. If not, oh well, you are out $100. 🙁 Now we are all sitting, waiting for our connection to Oslo / Sandefjord.
Short flight to Sandefjord, only Bo got pulled in by Customs and asked what was in his care. He told them a guitar and they let him go. 🙂 We had a 2 1/2 hour drive to the hotel, which I dozed part of, but it’s hard when you have small winding roads.
Got to the hotel and all of the keys were waiting for us. Judy was finishing up sound check with NGDB. Got all of the gear put in storage and the guys off to their rooms. Bo and I waited for Judy to arrive to say “hi” and then we all went to our rooms to rest / shower.
Back down for dinner at 6 PM. Bo came down to eat, but has a terrible headache so Judy gave him some advil and he went to rest. A few of the guys went to see NGDB’s show, but I was so exhausted I skyped the family and went to bed.
Saturday, July 27
Slept so hard I don’t think I even moved all night! Showered and went down for breakfast. Then I walked to the little store down the hill for some aspirin and a coke, really need some caffeine. 🙂 Back to the room for a bit and then we all left for sound check at 11:30 AM. Production company was set up and ready. Bo and the band finished early and we waited until almost 2 PM for the Norwegian Idols to show up only to find out they were not coming. They were supposed to rehearse “I’ll Fly Away” to perform during Bo’s show. We decided to come back a little early tonight to give Bo and the other Idols a chance to “rehearse” before the show.
Had a quick dinner and headed back to the venue about 8:30. Bo, Sirie and Steffan met and went over the “duet” for the show. Bo had a quick dinner before the show. He hasn’t felt good since we arrived and is not eating much. Hope he is ok…..
Had a great show!! The crowd was a little small at first, but as he started doing some Skynyrd covers, they crowd came over and loved it!! I have never seen Bo perform except on AI, of course, and I was not disappointed. He is a great performer and I love his style of music. 🙂 After the show Judy and Matt left immediately as they have to depart for the airport at 2 AM. The rest of us stayed for a bit, had dinner, watched the next band and Bo took photos with some people backstage. Got back to the hotel about 1:30, just in time to say “bye” to NGDB before they all left for the airport. Bo and a couple of his guys were at the bar having a beer so I sat with them for a little bit. Finally went to my room about 3 AM to skype the family and crashed about 3:45 AM!
SUNDAY, JULY 28
Woke up at 10 AM, looked at my watch to see I had just missed breakfast so I just layed back down. Bo calls a few minutes later telling me he has been up and sick all night, and that he should see a Dr. Judy and Kjell are flying to France today so I can’t get in touch with her. I got a quick shower, went to the front desk to inquire about a Dr. only to find out the closest is in Seljord, about 20 minutes away. I called Bo to let him know and we left about 11:30 AM for the Dr.
I was not aware, but Bo had some serious intestinal issues during Idol and has had 3 surgeries to correct things. Bo said he got sick right after he got in his room a little after 3 AM. He is not supposed to eat spicy foods and he said the spaghetti was very spicy, plus he is under a lot of stress, not drinking water, dehydrated, headaches, etc. We took a taxi to the dr and he was so dehydrated, it took forever to get him an IV. The ambulance took us to the hospital about an hour away so that he they could run some tests, do x-rays, etc. to try and find out what was wrong. The dr there said they would do some tests and keep him for 24 hours. I told him we had a flight to catch back to the States at 6 AM, and the rest of the band and all of our belongings were back at the hotel – in Seljord, 1 1/2 hours away. The dr said “well, let’s run some tests, see what we find, then we can decide if he can fly”. The x-ray didn’t show anything so they gave him meds, let him rest and we finally left the hospital in Notodden about 6:30 PM, and got back to the hotel about 8 PM. Bo slept all the way back in the taxi, then went straight to his room to sleep some more. We have a very early morning flight so we have to leave the hotel at 2 AM.
MONDAY, JULY 29
The hotel had sandwiches for us before we left, which was really nice. I think Bo did eat an apple, but the dr had said not to eat, just lots of liquids. George picked us up, loaded the gear and we left for the airport. After a 2 1/2 hour drive to the airport, we got checked in without any excess charges, which I could NOT believe. There was hardly anyone in the airport, not much open for shopping, but the guys did find a few souvenirs to take home. We took off on time and I slept a little bit, arrived in Amsterdam and I was on a mission to try and get Bo and I upgraded to Business, especially after the day he had on Sunday.
I stayed awake long enough to finish watching “Stolen Identity”, eat dinner and I started to watch “Argo”, but I could not keep my eyes open. I slept until about 2 hours before we landed.
We breezed through passport control and went straight to the gate. I was told that we would have to speak with the Delta agents at the gate on the other side of security. The guy doing security told him to come and see him when my group got there and he would get us through. We all did a few minutes of shopping, Bo went to get a massage and once we were all together, the nice gentleman let us bypass that really long line for security and escorted us through. Once on the other side of security, Bo and I went to the gate agent, I asked about upgrades and he said I had already been upgraded because the flight was oversold! 🙂 I asked if there was any upgrades for my friend, we waited about 2 minutes and he handed Bo a “Sky Priority” boarding pass with a seat in business right beside me – for FREE!! Woo Hoo!!! We boarded and left on time. Bo slept most of the flight, didn’t eat much either. It really worries me, hope everything will be ok. Landed a little early, breezed through passport control, got our luggage / gear, cleared Customs and rechecked out bags. It was all way too easy. I was afraid it would be a nightmare since this was my first time coming back through JFK, but was way too easy. Went through security and there was no one in line ahead of us, again, way too easy. Located our flights on the monitor and took a shuttle to our gate. Bo and I went to the Delta lounge, again, I inquired about an upgrade for him. The lady in the lounge said she put in the request and if it was granted, he would get a new seat when he boarded.
Just as it got time to board, I noticed our gate had changed, which was not even announced. We all went to the new gate and there was 4 other flights going out that gate, and none of them were Nashville. Finally about 4:30, 45 minutes after our scheduled departure, they announced “Nashville”. Bo and I checked in, he was upgraded (again) and we boarded our flight to Nashville. We landed in Nashville about 30 minutes late and was so glad to be home, and so glad that I didn’t have to leave Bo in Norway, alone!! All 3 of my boys met me, each with a bouquet of flowers. Was so nice to be home. 🙂
Oh, btw, Judy contacted the Dutch officials on Thursday and was informed that $100 I had was “counterfeit”. Can you believe that???