TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17TH -DAY “OFF” (SORT OF) IN ZURICH:
Got in a great workout in a “less than great” gym and then had breakfast. They actually had “brewed” decaf coffee. J Showered, worked, and met Albert from SUISA for lunch. He took me to a great restaurant that was decorated in such a way that you would think you were in the U.S. We had these hot stones with a skewer of steak on them and it actually cooked after they brought it to us. So you could have rare, medium well, well – however you preferred. Was great to see him again and catch up on business. He can’t attend the Bellamy’s performance this weekend because he has a martial arts show – he’s a pro!
Had several emails and phone calls to make when I got back to the hotel but shut everything down in time to take the train into downtown Zurich and shop for Zac and Zoe. Spent a couple of hours roaming around my usual “haunts” and found them some really cute clothes. Will wait until I fly out on Sunday to buy the chocolate.
I ate at a restaurant over the train station and it was good. Been back in the room working for hours. As soon as Lindsey gets the Z’s home and we can “Face Time”. I’m going to bed!
Have to go to the airport early tomorrow morning to meet the Time Jumpers and drive with them to Gstaad. It was snowing and raining in Gstaad this morning!
Have been in constant contact with the promoter in Germany. He says everything is going great.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18TH – GSTAAD, SWITZERLAND:
Got up at 6 am, did my exercises, showered, had breakfast, stored my bag and walked over to the airport to check out our departures for Sunday. Was hoping I could get a “group” check-in for the Nashville passengers from Delta but no such luck. You’d think they would want to make special arrangements for around 30 people with lots of excess baggage and musical instruments to check them in! Also checked on the Bellamy’s flights to Denmark. Swiss Air told me I had to “pre-register” all the equipment with them and sent me to their office. The staff in the office thought I was crazy and said it wasn’t possible to “pre-register” equipment. Oh well, at least I know where the check-in counters are for Sunday’s departure. J
I met Trisha and Rusty in the Arrival area and we waited for The Time Jumpers and Flynnville Train to arrive. Unfortunately 3 of my guys had lost equipment and luggage….and that’s after paying excess to fly it with them. I’m going to fight that for them. Supposedly it is coming in on the flight Gretchen Wilson is on tomorrow morning. After I meet Vince, I’ll go check and if it’s in, I can bring it to the hotel.
The bus driver is Tim and he is awesome….great driver! It was about a 3 hour drive…maybe more because of some construction. We also stopped at a truck stop en route for snacks and souvenirs. The hotel is unbelievably beautiful! It’s the Grand Hotel Park in Gstaad. The rooms are large with three closets, a desk, a sitting area, a shower stall with one of those huge shower heads, a bathtub, a sound system and beautiful “natural wood” throughout. Been a long time since a promoter has provided a hotel of this quality.
Got everyone checked in and I think most of them went to sleep. I worked until time to shower and go to dinner with our host – Marcel. It was a small group – me, Mark from WME, Stan from CAA and his wife Mert, Trisha and her husband Rusty, Marcel and Tina. We ate at Marcel’s new hotel – the Alpina. It’s about a 10 star hotel. J I toured it in July but the hotel owner gave everyone another tour tonight and I took LOTS of photos. We saw all the suites and the regular room. They sold “apartments” as well for millions of dollars – like 4,000 square foot apartments. The panorama suite rents for $22,000 per night during the peak season (yes, that’s right). But, they throw in a range rover for use while you’re there. I thought maybe you owned it for that price. LOL. It is a fantastic hotel with the best Spa I’ve ever seen, a private cinema that you can rent for $500 a night, and two pools – one indoor and one outdoor. I know I’m leaving out info because it was so overwhelming.
We had dinner at a really nice restaurant and as expected, it was excellent. I had salmon and everyone else had huge cuts of fork-tender beef. It was such a relaxing dinner for everyone.
It rained most of the afternoon but is supposed to clear up tomorrow before noon. Hope so because most of the group is going to the glacier and it has to be clear to see the Alps. I have to get up at 3:30 am (3 hours from now) and go back to the airport to meet Vince. Gretchen and her group are on the same flight.
Signing off now. If you go to my website after September 28th, there will be photos on their of the hotel and surrounding scenery!
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19TH, 2013 – SPONSOR PARTY IN GSTAAD:
What a long, very good day today.
Didn’t get in bed until 1:15 am and had to get up at 3:15 am. Dressed and was going to check the flight status before departing at 4:30 am. When I tried to log on, I got an error message that there was a “technical problem…please try again later”. When I went to the lobby, the night manager was there and said a technician had just left and he couldn’t fix it. He was calling Swisscom to see if they could re-set their server.
Dan and I rode with Tim’s wife in a van to the Bus Company where her husband works. Then we got on the bus for the drive to the airport. Talked for about an hour and then I fell asleep and snored! How embarrassing but I as sooooo tired!
We arrived at the airport just as Vince’s plane was landing. Tim and I walked over to Lost and Found and talked with the lady about picking up the missing luggage / equipment. She said once the plane landed, we could just come back to her and she would escort us into baggage claim. Too easy.
Vince came out and we got him settled on the bus. Dan and I went to Lost and Found and were escorted into the baggage area. As we were walking to the belt, a cart passed Dan and he said, “here it is!”. Then he had to fight with the driver to get it released to him. They were going to take it to the shipping company for “delivery”….which could have been today or tomorrow. He convinced them to release everything to him.
Gretchen and her group were picking up their bags so I stayed and talked to them. Was delighted to see that I knew 4 of her people and have for a very long time. All their luggage and equipment arrived.
We stopped halfway on the bus again today and I had a bratwurst for breakfast. There was nothing in the airport that was on my diet – not even decaf coffee. All I had was a cup of herbal tea.
Got to the hotel and got Vince checked in and the restaurant was still open for lunch. They had a huge buffet that was great. I think everyone else went to bed but I went to work, then showered and dressed. Kjell and Bjorn from Norway were supposed to arrive at around 1 pm but didn’t arrive until 4 pm because of flight delays. They walked down the hill with me to find something to eat while I met Albi at another hotel for coffee…and they had decaf – Café Hag. Had a good meeting with Albi and he drove me back to the hotel. Only he depended on me to give him directions! I took him the wrong way for about 10 minutes and he finally asked someone where the hotel was. LOL.
Dressed for the Sponsor Party and was hanging out in the bar with The Time Jumpers. We were waiting for Vince to come down and when it got to be about 5 after, Dan became concerned because he said Vince is never late. He called him and he was already at the Sponsor Party. We all jumped in shuttles and joined him.
The Sponsor Party was very, very impressive. Around 300 people in the huge fest tent and the decorations were spectacular. There were huge tables of food….one side for only salads/appetizers, a big “hot meat” section, and of course, the ultimate dessert section and coffee bar. The food was excellent. I walked around and saw so many of my friends. Albi was there as were Iris and Lorenz from Interlaken. Maya from the Swiss travel agency was there. A lady from the radio station in Interlaken and my dear friend Aschi from Grindelwald were there. Jurg who will be our “emcee” sat at our table. Trying to think if I left out anyone and I probably did.
Marcel had on the most gorgeous western jacket I have ever seen. I don’t even want to guess at the cost of it. He introduced all the artists and when he got to Vince, he said “Wince” which is the Swiss-Germany dialect pronunciation. But, I think it’s going to “stick” with the guys in the band. I can hear lots of jokes about that tomorrow night.
I sat with Stan and Mert and Kjell and Bjorn – when I had time to sit – and really enjoyed the evening! Left a little before midnight.
Going to bed soon so I can get up early and try to get in a good run or workout in the hotel gym. Sound check tomorrow and the first show tomorrow night.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20TH – FIRST PERFORMANCE IN GSTAAD:
It’s been more than 36 hours since I typed the last road report and it’s hard now to remember everything that happened. I didn’t get back to the hotel until after 2:30 am this morning and was just too tired to do the report. So, here’s what I remember:
Got up at 7 am so I would work out in their fitness room before heading over to sound check with the band. Only the fitness room is “tied” to the Spa which doesn’t open until 9:00 am. So I worked out in my room with weights because I really didn’t have enough time to change and go running. Had breakfast with lots of the others and then showered and dressed.
Most of the guys rode over to soundcheck and I walked over with Kjell and Bjorn. They were running a little late but not by much and the guys knocked out sound check pretty much on time. The “tent” area where the stage is has seating for everyone – very different from most festivals I work with. Then you walk into the permanent building attached to the tent and there are bars and food stands, etc.
Got back in time to have lunch at the hotel and walked downtown with Stan and Mert for a little shopping. My mission was to find a birthday cake for Josh. Having purchased cakes for birthdays here previously, I knew what to expect. I found a great chocolate caked and purchased candles for it at Coop.
Went back to the room to get a little work done before dressing to go to the concert. I wanted to see all the performances tonight because I am leaving tomorrow night as soon as Time Jumpers finish their set.
We went down to the venue at around 6 pm and Flynnville was already performing. They were really good and the tent was packed. Saw lots of my friends from other countries there, too. LeAnn was on next and she was awesome. I didn’t see all her show as I walked to the Rialto Restaurant with Kjell and Bjorn to eat dinner. LeAnn was working out in the hotel fitness room this morning and a weight fell on her hand and broke two of her fingers! Both were clean breaks so they didn’t put a splint on and she doesn’t need surgery.
We were told we didn’t need meal coupons and all we had to do was show our laminate. I tried that and the restaurant accepted. I argued pretty heatedly with them because I didn’t want this happening with any other groups. They said that they were only allowing the 8 people who came earlier to use their laminates! At least part of the Time Jumpers got their meal complimentary as promised. Dinner is provided by the festival but it’s AFTER the last act which would be around 1:30 am or later. I knew the guys didn’t want to eat that late.
Got back over to the venue and Time Jumpers were on next. As I guessed, the audience loved them. It was an amazing performance. In one segment Vince dedicated “Together Again” to Marcel because Marcel knew Buck Owens and loved that song. Various members of the staff kept asking for their set list and I had to explain that they call the songs as they perform them! They introduce the “band member” and then they decided what to sing.
After their set, Marcel called me, Trisha, Stan, Mark and one other person on stage to thank us. The girls got flowers and the guys got wine. He called me on first and then Trisha. As Trisha was walking up, she tripped on a big black wire. She was trying to catch herself and in the process of flailing her arms around, she popped me right in the mouth. I probably deserved it. J Hope Swiss TV caught that on camera.
We had Josh’s birthday cake for him after that and “shared” it with one of Flynnville Train who was also having a birthday. Most everyone in the Time Jumpers stayed as they wanted to eat something. Gretchen was on next and her set was extremely rock oriented but the audience loved it. After her set, several of us went upstairs for a quick meal. I was back at the hotel by about 2:10 am but had to go back to the venue. I had taken my purse out of my large black bag and left it on a chair where we ate! My passport, money, credit cards and room key were in it. Fortunately, it was still there and I was back at the hotel by 3 am.
It was a really great night of entertainment and Marcel was very happy!
I sat down at my computer to answer a few important emails but was falling asleep on the keyboard. I had left the TV when I left the room and all of a sudden, the speaker in the bathroom came on really loud! I hadn’t touched anything so I got out my handy Ghost Radar app. There were 3 red spots (very strong spirits) in the vicinity of the bathroom. That will wake you up!
I did get in bed by 3:15 am and slept until 9 am.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21ST – FINAL SHOW AT GSTAAD:
Got up and went to breakfast before they closed. Sat with Kjell and Bjorn and they are leaving at noon today. After breakfast, I went to the business center, check all the Time Jumpers in and printed boarding passes.
Then I FINALLY got to go for my jog. First I turned left out of the hotel but about 3 minutes into the run, everything turned “UPHILL”. I turned around and ran through the town and then way outside town. But, it was flat all the way!
Showered and thought I was going to grab a quick lunch but I forgot the restaurant closed at 2 pm. Barely missed it.
The Press Conference was at 3:00 pm and I saw a lot of my friends – Mitch and his family from Italy and Jean from France. The Time Jumpers were hilarious during their interviews. Really made for a nicer press conference. Afterwards, they did a lengthy interview with Swiss Radio.
We all decided to go down to the Rialto for dinner. Had a bit of an issue with the drivers but finally got it sorted out. Then, we found out that the restaurant doesn’t serve a “full menu” until 6 pm. It was only 5 pm and all they had was pizza! So, I had to go across the street to eat. I ordered a small steak cooked medium well and green salad with no pomme frites (French fries!). When it came out, half the plate was heaped with fries. Then I cut into the steak and it was cold and bloody. Had to send it back for them to cook it some more.
We went back to the hotel and I got a little packing done before leaving for the show at 8:30 pm. Tonight’s show has been sold out for months! The Time Jumpers just kicked again tonight. Such an appreciative audience, too! Marcel called the same people back on stage tonight to thank them. I stayed well out of the “strike zone” tonight. J
Trisha brought Marcel some wonderful honors for his 25th Year – certificates from the CMA, Grammys, Governor and Mayor. He certainly deserved the recognition!
Got back to the hotel at around midnight and went through all the incidental charges with Dan. It’s now almost 2 am and I have to get up at 3:30. OUCH!
SEPTEMBER 22ND – SWITZERLAND TO DENMARK:
So, one hour of sleep is definitely NOT enough. We left on time at 4 am and it’s a 3 hour drive. I had planned to sleep the entire trip but that didn’t happen. Some guys in the back of the bus were hot and asked the driver to turn off the heat. Of course, they were bundled up in fleece jackets. I only had on a thin jacket and in no time at all, it was freezing on the bus. Much too cold for me to sleep.
It was such a great trip – finally getting to see the Gstaad Festival and working with one of the sweetest groups ever. They sure made a LOT of fans this trip.
I went to the United counter with Vince while he checked in and then walked back down to the Delta counter and made sure there weren’t any problems with the Time Jumpers check in. Everyone finished relatively quickly and headed for the gate. I had to walk back over to the Radisson and pick up the bag I had stored there. Then had to walk back to the terminal and check in! Got through that process pretty quickly, too, and walked back over to the train terminal to find something I could eat for breakfast. Ended up getting McDonald’s version of an egg mcmuffin and throwing away the bread.
I talked to the Swiss Air counter and got it approved for us to check in at the Help Desk. I knew we couldn’t check in at the kiosk because our first flight is Swiss Air and the second is SAS. Even though they partner, it doesn’t allow website or kiosk check in! The lady who checked us in remembered the Bellamy Brothers from earlier this year or last year. She was very nice and helpful. After getting our boarding passes, the equipment had to go to the oversize counter and Wally and I went to the Swiss Air counter to pay for excess.
We arrived at the gate about an hour before departure. I actually found a coffee shop that sold decaf latte! Bought some Sprungli chocolates for the twins before we left.
It was about an hour and a half flight to Copenhagen. We had time there to grab a quick lunch – mine was a hamburger patty and a salad. It’s a much smaller plane from Copenhagen to Aalborg but only a 30 minute flight. When we landed it was very windy and a very scary landing! The terminal is tiny so it only took a few minutes to pick up bags. Stig was there to meet us with his beautiful wife and 11 month old daughter.
We had a nice bus for the 15 minute ride to the venue where we dropped off the equipment. Then it was about 5 minutes to the Radisson Hotel. Really nice hotel with a view of the waterfront. The restaurant in the hotel where we were supposed to eat was closed on Sunday night so Stig had made reservations at a restaurant across the street. The food was amazing. I had a salad with grilled shrimp, cod with lobster pieces, spinach, broccoli, and cheese for dessert.
Saw a great sign at the airport today in the curbside parking area. It said: KISS AND GOODBYE. NO KISSES ABOVE 3 MINUTES…!
Howard’s suite is named the Jens Bang Suiten. I told him it was in honor of his ex-wife. 🙂
Back at the hotel by 9 pm to pack then repack and answer hundreds of emails. It’s midnight now and I am falling asleep at the keyboard.
Sound check tomorrow and final performance. Can’t believe we’ve been gone almost 2 weeks!