WEDNESDAY, JULY 27TH – BERLIN TO OSLO:
Interesting Day! Got my 3 hours of sleep, quick shower, even quicker breakfast and took a taxi to the airport. Found out the taxi driver must know the airline you are flying AND where you are going or he can’t determine which terminal to take you too. Air Berlin is in a “tiny” terminal and it was not crowded at all. Man, did I get burned for excess luggage though. I had 2 bags weighing 50 pounds each. Air Berlin doesn’t have “business class” so I was booked in coach and only allowed one bag free. They charge 15 Euros per kilogram for the extra bag. I paid $500 U.S. for that bag. Had I known, I would have shipped it home instead of flying it with me!
Flight left on time and was packed full. Thankfully it was a short hour and 20 minute flight and no turbulence. Both bags made it – I would have thrown a fit if the $500 bag had been lost! I usually stay at the Radisson that is connected to the airport. But, this time, I decided to try the new Park Inn (a subsidiary of the Radisson) that is also connected but a little bit longer “hike” from the terminal. It’s a beautiful new hotel and my room is a “mini-suite” – much bigger than the one at the Radisson. Hotel desk clerks are nice but know “nothing” about the area.
I wanted to go into downtown Oslo to see the Memorial site. I knew that the express train was not operating between the airport and downtown because the tracks are under construction. Had to go to the airport to get any information because no one at the hotel could help. I’ve taken the Radisson bus in many times and really like it when the express train isn’t available. It cost $42 for a roundtrip ticket and took about 20 minutes.
I did something to my foot yesterday. It’s swollen and hurts a lot and I’m limping. Strange thing is, it’s on the top of my foot. I found a bandage downtown and wrapped it. Hope it is better tomorrow!
I’ve very familiar with Oslo and walked right to the Memorial. Absolutely takes your breath away. The only thing I can compare it to is the “memorial” the people made at the site of the Twin Towers. There were thousands and thousands of flowers, notes, photos and thousands and thousands of people. I stood behind one young girl as she laid flowers on the ground and sobbed. Just heart-breaking. I did take some video and lots of photos but it made me feel like I was “invading their privacy” and that it was not appropriate to be taking the photos. But, there were TV camera crews everywhere and of course all the tourists were taking photos. Really glad I had the opportunity to see this first-hand. It’s going to take some time for Norway to overcome this horrific tragedy.
I walked around for as long as my foot would allow and then took the bus back to the hotel. Didn’t have time to eat all day today and had lots of work to do, so I ordered room service and have been answering emails for about 6 hours now. Almost 3 am.
Tanya Tucker is “supposed” to land at 11 am tomorrow and we will drive to Seljord. I’ve managed to pack everything I need in one bag and will store the other bag and pick it up on Sunday when I fly to Sweden with the Bellamys. Billy Ray Cyrus comes in on Friday. Think we are going to have good weather, too.
I’m posting photos and video on my Facebook site. They will also be on my JSI, INC. website after August 7th.
THURSDAY, JULY 28TH – OSLO TO SELJORD, NORWAY:
About that bus ride into Oslo yesterday….as I mentioned, it was packed. I sat in a window seat and of course a very large man sat beside me. I am convinced he was wearing an entire bottle of cologne and it was not one that I like. Since there was no way to avoid touching him because of his “width”, I smelled like his cologne for the rest of the day. Gross!
Did not sleep very well because of my foot. Wish I knew what I have done to it. Was much too painful for me to even work out this morning. Showered and had a terrible breakfast at the hotel. Guess I’ll be going back to the Radisson in the future. Even the coffee sucked. And, I didn’t notice that they had not left any coffee packets in my room for the “kettle”…just tea…until I got up to make my first cup of the day.
I stored my huge duffle bag at the Oslo airport and will pick it up on Sunday when I fly to Sweden with the Bellamys. Jack (Tanya’s tour manager) let me know that they made their connection at Heathrow but had to run the entire way. However, when they landed on time in Oslo, none of the bags made it. Supposedly they were coming in at 4 pm this afternoon.
The promoter provided a really nice tour but with INTERNET (first time for me) and Tanya rented a sleeper bus for her and her “entourage”. We left the airport much later than anticipated because of the paperwork involved with the lost bags. Stopped about 15 minutes outside the airport at a Marche for lunch. I had no idea Marche’s existed in Norway but delighted to learn that they do. I had an omelet that was great.
We left for our 4 hour drive to Seljord and I was going to work the entire drive since there was internet. Not a good decision. Roads are narrow and winding up and down mountains. I was “car sick” in no time from trying to answer emails. Had to shut down the computer.
We arrived in about 3 hours and 25 minutes. Hotel had all our rooms available and I worked until time for dinner. The dinner was much better this year than last year so I guess my complaining paid off! J Some of the guys decided to go check out the local acts performing tonight and see the stage set up. We got word that the luggage would arrive around 1 am and it did!
We have a sound check departure time of noon and I want to sleep more and 3 hours tonight! Billy Ray Cyrus is on his way here and all is good so far. Bellamy’s musicians and Penny are on their way to Lyngdal, Norway. Busy weekend!
Foot seems a little better tonight – probably because I didn’t walk on it so much today. Hate that I won’t be able to jog here. It’s one of my favorite running spots in the world!!!
FRIDAY, JULY 29TH – TANYA TUCKER PERFORMANCE IN SELJORD, NORWAY:
STILL cannot exercise. It’s killing me! Foot is better but still limping. And if I stand for more than 5 minutes, it swells. So crazy.
Billy Ray’s group landed right on time and got all their bags. Presley (one of Tanya’s daughters) did not get her bag when everything was delivered. They told Jack that it was still in London and they would fly it in today. Our bus driver went to baggage claim when he picked up Billy Ray and they told him it was still in London, too. He left with Billy Ray’s group and got a phone call 5 minutes from the airport saying they had it. The first flight from London didn’t arrive 11 am and it was only 9 am which means it was there all night and should have been delivered last night with everyone elses! I figured that it was. Our driver said it was a “nightmare” in the lost luggage room with stacks and stacks of luggage that British Airways had lost. That’s the same airline that lost Darryl’s group’s luggage a couple of weeks ago. Not that every airlines doesn’t do that…
We came out for sound check and had a new van driver bring us. The security wouldn’t let us in the front gate and the promoter was in a meeting and not answering his phone. We finally “forced” our way in but then the driver didn’t know the way to backstage. When we arrived nothing was set up on the stage which has never happened. This sound company is so great and professional. I found out that when they talked to Jack and discussed “load in”, they thought he meant their load in when he said 1 pm. Instead he meant Tanya’s load in! They got it set up quickly and the guys helped as well. It was moving along pretty smoothly when we were asked to take a 15 minute break because there was a “memorial” taking place on the festival grounds for the guitar player whose daughter was killed in the shooting. Of course, we were happy to do that.
Billy’s group arrived at the hotel while I was out and I had their keys and room sheets waiting for them. We finally made it back to the hotel at 5 pm and I met most of Billy’s people. The internet in my room wasn’t working because too many people were on it! Our van driver loaned me his wireless Ipad and it worked but was very slow. Took 35 minutes to download something that should have taken 1 minute!
We all had dinner at 7 pm and Billy looks great with his short hair. Such a nice guy, too. All of Tanya’s group and Billy’s group are! I was pretty stressed about this event, but it has been really smooth and great so far. Where’s wood to knock on?
The time is flying and I don’t have enough hours to take care of “business” back home and do my job here. We did pull off a massage after the show at 1:30 am for Tanya at the last minute. Now they are out searching for Red Bull. LOL. Minor challenges.
Billy said dinner was the best meal he has ever had. It is much better this year than last year…back to the way it used to be. I talked to Jonny Minge’s sister for a while today. Jonny was my dear, dear friend who handled this festival and the one two weeks ago in Vinstra. He passed away much too young of cancer a couple of years ago. I still “feel” him here at the events and know he’s watching over things. His sister said the same thing. Even when he only had days to live, he was trying to get all the acts booked for the next year’s event. Did I mention I really miss him?
We were trying to get permission for Billy to visit the hospital on Sunday to meet some of the victims and their families. But that’s not going to happen because the ones in the hospital are in serious condition. You probably heard that the bullets he used were the special kind designed to cause the most “damage” to the body. Jonny’s sister and a couple of my friends here said this event forever changed the Norwegians. They are not a real “demonstrative” people and now you see them embracing and showing their love and concern openly. Sort of like what happened in America after 9/11! I did hear that now they are saying he could get 21 years and then another 30 years to be served consecutively. But the people here think that someone will probably kill him in prison before he serves his time!
There are more people at the festival than I have EVER seen!!!! That’s a good thing. The guy who makes the t-shirts obviously decided to take care of me this year. Last year there was a semi-naked cowgirl on the front with the words “Stud Poker” on the front. Go figure. This year there is a cowboy with his shirt open and showing spectacular abs. Not sure what it says because I wasn’t looking at the writing. LOL.
So, I am at the concert and Tanya is supposed to go on in 15 minutes. Praying really hard that it happens close to on time.
There is surely an angel on my shoulder this weekend. Tanya took the stage right on time. There’s a LOT more than 4,000 people crowding the stage, too. Fantastic show!!!!
Had a great conversation with Tanya and her sweet daughter after the show. She was gracious to the buyer – who is ecstatic about the show. Says it’s the biggest crowd they have ever had and the best show ever at this event.
Back at the hotel at 2 am and it’s almost 3:30 am now. Sleep? Doubt it.
SATURDAY, JULY 30TH – BILLY RAY CYRUS IN SELJORD:
Wow, 3 hours of sleep reminds me of being in Iraq! Tonight will be the same since Billy takes the stage at the same time Tanya did last night.
Had breakfast with some of Tanya’s guys and daughters and then saw them off. Really glad I had this opportunity to work with Tanya and get to know her. She was in a great mood the entire trip and my promoters are extremely happy.
I had discussed the definition of “load in” with our Norwegian sound company yesterday when we arrived and nothing was set up. I thought they understood and would be ready for us today. Nope. Nothing on the stage when we arrived. So my guys had to sit around for an hour waiting for their sound check. Means they could have slept later and come over later. The promoter asked me about it and I told him what happened. He talked to the sound company and learned it was not their fault. They told the backline company to be at the venue at 12 noon so they could be set up for us at 1 pm. The backline company is the one who showed up an hour late. But, Billy’s guys were cool about everything and we’ll just finish up a little later than planned – like yesterday. Billy doesn’t do sound check himself.
This is such a great festival with wonderful people to work with. Tanya’s guys thought the best show of all was last night on the drive out. They had never seen people that drunk and still walking around….at least for a few minutes. Several fell over right in front of our van and we had to wait for their friends to move them out of the way before we could drive on. J
Got back to the hotel at around 4:30 pm and thought “ah nap time”! No way. Text messages and phone calls killed that idea. Billy and his group have decided not to leave the hotel at 9 am tomorrow morning but want to wait until afternoon. That means I have no ride to the airport in time to catch my plane to Stockholm. It’s a 4 hour drive, so it’s not going to be easy to find transportation there on such short notice. Have been talking to our bus and van drivers but because of the restriction on the hours they can drive, it won’t work for one of them to take me.
We finally figured out a way to get everyone back from the festival so that the van can take me to the airport at 9 am and the bus takes BRC’s group at noon. This week is a Classic Car Convention, so they commandeered 3 of the “relics” to drive us back. Truly awesome cars.
The crowd was just as big tonight as it was last night and they loved the show. It was definitely more of a “rock” show but the people know Billy’s music and loved it. I have some very, very happy promoters. Now the pressure is on to top it next year!
After the ride back to the hotel in the classic cars, I am working in the lobby because the internet still doesn’t work in my room. But, it’s bedtime very soon so I can get up and leave for the airport at 9 am!