Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Boots and more

At last I am able to sit and do a bit of catch up.

The Stockholm show was set inside an amusement park.
It was a bit weird to see all the attractions surrounding us when we got there.
Rides full of screaming people whizzing by, up and down, in and around.
The band decided not to have a full sound check as there were quite a lot of people in front of the stage already so a quick line check was made to make sure the gear was working.
There were so many people flooding into the park for the show that eventually they closed it!

Steve doing his line check (double click on any pic for full size view)

The show was fantastic, the crowd very responsive and Stockholm did us proud.
Our lovely friend Marlon came to the show, I think I am getting wider but shorter!

After the show we had a 7 hour bus trip to Oslo overnight, hello little rolling bunk but would it be goodbye sleep?

Mmmmm, not much sleep;  One of us who will not be named was snooring!

The man and I were in a zombie state by the time we offloaded at the Olso hotel, I didn’t look left or right but headed right for the front doors then up in the lift to our room.
Once we caught up with rest and had a look around the city centre we realized that Oslo was a very cool city indeed, we stayed right in the middle of the city and of course since the recent tragic events there with the madman killing so many innocent people it was scary and sad to imagine the sound of a bomb going off  with so much pain and saddness which we would have heard very clearly from where we were.

It was a big show in Oslo with Iron Maiden headlining, I was pretty busy with my job and didn’t get much chance to take any pics. To be perfectly honest the main thing I remember from that few days was how tired I was.

After the show there was another 8 hour overnight drive to Gavle, Sweden.
These last few shows were all pretty big plus an extra show had been added in Norway after Helsinki so the ‘homeward bound’ goal post had been moved a couple of days but the band and the boss pulled out spectacular performances.

The last 48 hours was long, felt more like 148 hours. We left Gavle, Sweden a few hours after the show, a two hour bus drive to an airport hotel back in Stockholm, arriving at about 4am. Slept till 7am then off to board a charter plane to Helsinki.

The plane was pretty cool, bigger than I expected with two pilots, two crew, and one other person who turned out to be a Brit engineer for the plane itself. The sky was so blue as we boarded the little prop but my head was off on planet Zonk by this time.

Got to stadium at midday then worked and hung about till show time at 7pm. Catering was good with lots of activity as Iron Maiden were headlining again so there were all their crew as well as ours. I am starting to see them as familiar faces and hear their familiar London accents as we have done a few shows with them now.

There were so many people at the Helsinki show; I think maybe 35,000. I was doing the jumbo screens so didn’t see it directly from the front. I was in a van with the video crew at the back of the stage, the band was fantastic as usual, the heat was brutal for them and the audience.

After the show finished we had another four hour wait at the venue until the bus to the airport and here we are as I write this blog. It is 1.40am, the airport is quiet; no shops open and nothing to do but write.
Some of the crew initially found a few things to occupy themselves with, messing about making Chewbacca noises with some bar stools, using the check in intercom to make fictitious flight calls (with the permission of the staff) ‘ding dong’ will Toby please wake up’.
But that didn’t last, were are all exhausted; it is quiet now as we sit around in sleepy silence waiting for 3am when we leave on the charter again.

An interesting thing; I needed to go to the bathroom which was up a floor in the empty airport and as I entered I heard the sweet sound of what I imagined was a Lesser Spotted Tree Warbler! There was the sound of birdsong in the ladies toilet! Novel idea and rather comforting, I nearly moved in there for a while but needed to get back to the man.

On to Norway in our little charter plane and a whole bunch of rain and mud! I had decided to wear my old black suede boots for the last time and the show in Norway took them out in grand style.
The camera booth area was in the middle of the grounds, under an awning along with the lighting and sound desks, but to get to them I had to cross about 100 feet of thick gooey mud. There was something quite liberating about squishing my beloved old boots across that mud, they seemed to know it was their last journey and indeed it was.
The camera crew for the jumbo screens on this last show in Norway was the best of the entire tour; they completely got what I wanted and were helpful and professional, thanking me for helping them make it a good show for them.
They even handed me a yummy plate of hot waffles with maple syrup half way through!

After Norway we were all homeward bound for the USA! Steve and I had meetings in our old hometown of Hollywood, LA but more of that later.

Goodbye Europe!


The venue starts to fill up in Helsinki

 The sky says it all in Norway on the last show

The mud

My view of the Norway show

What I see to do the screens; top left is what the crowd are seeing on the screens, top right is the preview screen for us and the smaller screens below are the eight camera's.

From the stage

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