It all startet in the middle of the night. A tired bunch of people crawled into a rented van and started out for a journey to Germany. For the next 16 days, we the people of Schtimm will play 13 gigs in Germany and one in Switzerland.
The trip from Trondheim to Oslo went like a dream for some, while the ones who were doing the driving kept each other awake by telling stories about the Russian staring dog race "Laika" and Human wolverins. The standards were set for the tour. The Oslo-Kiel ferry "Color Fantasy" was brand new; a lot of glitter and glamour. It had shopping streets, casinos, Jaccuzies, a lot of restaurants and several stages for shows and cabarets.
All in all, there was a very high cruise-factor on board. We missed the old ferry: Less Las Vegas and useless thrash, and fairly good chairs you could sit in and just watch the sea. On this new "Loveboat", you got more a feeling of being in a shopping mall from the eighties. This boat wasn't exactly made for us.
Indiego Glocksee and ants in the bus!
At the other end of the sea-journey, our conception of luxury was waiting: The nightliner that was going to be our home for the next weeks. The nightliner was yellow, and not exactly brand new, but had all we needed: DVD, Playstation and a nice guy who was going to drive us around on tour. It was a real satisfaction to just lie down in your own bunk after a few heavy rounds with Tecken, instead of sweating over German roadmaps, staring ourselves blind on the signs along the Autobahn.
The first destination on the trip was Hannover, and a Venue called Indiego Glocksee. Our stay here was extremely nice and relaxed. Indiego Glocksee is run by a volunteer group of people, has a capacity of 450 visitors, and is ornamented with loads of politically correctly graffiti. All the people we dealt with there were kind, and the technical standards of things was fine.
It took some songs before we got ourselves and the audience in the right mode, but after a couple of songs the atmosphere changed. We suffered some minor technical problems, but nothing that could contribute to damage the concert. The audience looked a bit shy in the beginning, but they loosened up and delivered well when they were invited to a little sing-a-long on the last song. When we returned to do encores, we did something we never have done in Germany before: We played a song from our home village Saltdal. It had been a good night in Hannover. But there was one thing that was bothering us: We had noticed that a colony of ants had found their way into the bus. Little black ants were crawling around in the back, and even if some of them met their maker in the vacuum-cleaner, we couldn't get totally rid of them. But the ants didn't manage to take over the bus completely, and we could leave Hannover without further drama.
The next stop was Düsseldorf, a city we have been to before. The experience last time was not all good; difficulties with parking, technical problems, sickness within the group, just to mention a few things. But this day we weren't going to play a gig, just participate in what we had been told was a relatively hip TV-show. Even though we gave David the driver a non-existing address, he took us safely to the locations of GIGA-TV. We threw in the little equipment that was needed to do the show: We were going to do singback, so the instruments were only there with us to fill the room. Yes - there we sold another piece of our tormented soul. The rest of the TV-affair mainly consisted of eating, drinking strong booze from large mugs, wearing TV-make up and waiting. We also had a short but hearty meeting with our record label Boss, Jörg, a soundcheck that lasted for approximately 2 minutes (in a commercial break) - and of course playing a song live, showing our new "IDIOTsong"-video and talking. People were nice to us, and it all went pretty well.
After the show, we spent a few hours driving, and since we were caught in the rush-traffic, it took quite some time. The next stop was Bochum: A middle sized city (in Norway, it would of course have been big). We didn't know much about it, expect from the fact that the musical "Starlight Express" supposedly had been playing there for the last 60 years.
The venue of the evening was Bastion, which is a large building that was used as a bomb-shelter during the second world war. The walls were 2,5 metres thick, but ironically the ceiling which was even thicker had a leakage (even that's information that doesn't have much relevance for this story). The local promoters were simply very nice and helpful people. We felt welcomed from the first moment on. Just like yesterday, there were shown some Norwegian shortmovies. But to the main issue of the day: The concert. The audience didn't count very many, but just like the local promoters they were very good. To put it this way: They followed the dynamics of the concert. All this in combination with the the intimate venue contributed to make it a totally great evening for us. After packing down the equipment we hang out with the promotores, forced them to drink some Norwegian Booze, and told some cock and bull stories from the high North until the new day dawned.
After a good breakast, farwells and one hour of driving, we arrived Viersen; a nice little place not very far from the boarders to the Netherlands. We hung out on the venue, drank coffee, got a shower and were in general taken very good care of by Max, who was today's host. The guy who delivered the gear for tonight's concert really had done his homework and everything was in perfect order. The rigging and the soundcheck took some time, but time was something we had enough of that day.
Conny's Come In
The venue we were going to play was called Conny's Come In, and was situated in a quite part of Viersen. It was completely different from the two places we had visited the days before. If there's ever to be a remake of the series "The children in Heidelberg", Viersen would be the perfect location. There were flowers and small dogs in the windows, and it was just the incarnation of what one associates with village-idyll. It was a strange Sunday-mood in the air, even though it was Saturday. It was not many people to see, except from a car driving every now and then. But when two cars had a minor accident, people came from nowhere to watch what was going on. Strange...
When Conny's Come In opened, people started to come - and there were quite a few of them: Both old and young. The youngest was maybe 10-12, but the average age was relatively much higher. They ate pizza, laughed, and had a nice time. We started to be a bit sceptic, and feared that we were going to play for a handful people that were listening, and very very many others who weren't interested at all. Since we come from a small place in the Norwegian countryside, we dare to say that we know what we talk about. So this was going to be a sad evening. But we were surprised, indeed.
Already from the first tone, we had as good as all the people's attention. Before us was a crowd of listening people, moving their bodies to the music. It really gave a feeling that could have born numerous klicheés about love between stage and crowd. We gave them the world-premiere of a song called "From The Times Of Neverletgo", and it was a goosebump-experience. A noisy coffee-machine kicked in when we had played some minutes of the song. But things like that happen. When we thought the concert was over, they didn't. We had to do two rounds of encores. With great pleasure!
Many came to buy merch, and to have a nice chat after the gig. Our host Max even gave us a disk with pictures he had taken during the concerts. Even when thinking very hard, it's hard to find something that could have been better - without it being too much of the good stuff. This was really one of the nights where everything, in some strange way, was right.
On the road between Viersen and Berlin, nothing interesting happened, besides building up our nerves to do the show on Machinenhaus, the same venue we played last time. Without elaborating the details we can say that the two shows we have done in Berlin have given us quite a severe Berlin-complex. Therefore today's plan was to get some good memories from this city, and to "take back Berlin". Mashinenhaus is situated in a gathering of many buildings with different kinds of clubs, theatre-scenes, coffeehouses and such things. In between the buildings, they had a street-theatre festival this weekend. They had a lot of different acts like juggling, phantomime and such. One of the acts was a very loud and annoying iron-horse, and a strange man who played with flames. Luckily we were mostly inside and worked with our things.
Then it was the concert. We had some stress, because we had to start the gig a bit earlier than expected. Not too many people had found their way to the Mashinenhaus this evening, but the ones who did were both listening and responding. We also sold quite a lot of merch after the concert, and got some good words from the people who came. But were we satisfied with our job? We know we have done several much better gigs, but also some that has been worse than this. The conclusion seems to be that we have broken the spell, and the Berlin-balance is restored once again.
During the driving to Berlin we got some interesting information from David, our bussdriver; he lived in the eastern part of Germany, only ten minutes from the Berlin-wall, when it came down in 1989. He said that it was quite an absurd happening when, without much "warning", they suddenly started to tear it down. We remember watching when the wall came down, on television in Norway, and it was interesting to hear about it from someone who actually experienced it. Another interesting story from David, was that he played in a band, that was actually signed to the record label EMI. But the rock-and-roll fairytale ended when the singer fell out from a window on the third floor, during the releaseparty for the first (and last) album of the band (for the record: he did survive).
Berlin is a quite fancy city. We used much of our day off here to shop and extend our wardrobes to a more cosmopolitan and high standard. All in all we got different kinds of Berlin-effects, some cool shoes, and some other stuff.
Polar Zoo, our booking agency, has their headquarters in Berlin. We had the pleasure to meet Alex and David from the agency, and they were really nice guys. They took us to a club, in a place where there used to be a carpet-shop. It was an open room, with a mix of furniture from the seventies, big windows, and gloomy weird light. It was what we like to think of as a typical Berlin club.
We left Berlin in the night, but didn't get any further than to a gas station about 15 minutes outside Berlin. Then the bus wouldn't start again after stopping for a few minutes. All we could do was to go to bed in the dark of the night, with fingers crossed, that we could fix the problem the next morning...
When this is being written, we have still not managed to get out of Berlin. The bus is totally f.cked, and the next three gigs are cancelled. It turned out that the whole engine was wrecked. The bus had been running for 750 000 km, so it was maybe not a big surprise. David, the driver, who all the time had seemed like a neat and good guy, turned out to be a real monster. In the development of the dramatic situation, he just ran away (after trashing the lounge and taking the Playstation with him). No one from the nightliner-company is answering the phone - so here we are left alone without a driver, and a bus which is not even close to running. This will of course mean big financial losses for us, and we can kiss the next album recording goodbye... The interview with Der Spiegel and Die Welt are also cancelled. It's a total disaster, and we are so homesick we've never been before.
Nooo, just kidding. Everything is actually just fine. The true story is that we spent the night on the gas station. But early the next morning we had a new start-engine and everyone was in a good mood on our way to Halle. It is true that the bus has been running over 750 000 km, but the engine is quite new, so only the chassis has experienced this enormous distance.
In Halle Æ and B did a quite long interview with an American, who wrote for a magazine called Stonefree Magazine. This took place on a boat which was anchored by the rivershore, and seemed to be characteristic for the idyllic town we were in.
The club we were going to play in Halle is called Objekt 5, and is situated in a building that used to be a barn. Before the wall came down, it was told to be a "bring your guitar and a couple of cases of beer and lets rock"-place. The way it looked nowadays, the place was perfect for us to play, and the atmosphere in the venue, and the place itself was good. We had a very enthusiastic audience this night, and we did two rounds of encores. The promoter on the place was also very enthusiastic, and already talked about that the next time we come, it would be sold out. Lets hope that he's right; both that we'll be coming back, and a sold out gig would be a good bonus as well.
The venue we were going to play on today was situated a bit outside the downtown of Köln, and we had to take the U-Bahn to get to the "right" side of the river. Of course we had to see the Kölner Dom. It was a dark, gigantic and monumental building, which demanded respect. It looked a bit like it was made from dark stone, which was dripping upwards in a way. Other than that it was not much to brag about here. There were loads of stores in a big shopping-street, for those who like that. For people who don't like crowds, it wasn't exactly Eldoradoish conditions.
Kulturbunker, where we were going to play this evening, is situated in a bunker from the second world war (there seems to be a lot of bunkers used for cultural purposes down here). The scene was quite ok, and the local promoter was nice and helpful. The problem seemed to be the place where the venue was situated. It was in an area called Mülheim, which seemed to be populated with people who were placed fairly low on the "social ladder". There was a lot of talking about drugs, crime and prostitution. We had to remember to lock the bus, and all the doors on the venue locked automatically. Not many people came to the show (four!), so we thought about inviting the guys who sat outside and drank beer and took other substances, in for a cultural experience. But the promoter (probably wisely) refused us to do so, because it could mean stealing and possibilities for rough behaviour.
The fact that it was only four persons paying to see us, meant that it was four persons who deserved an exclusive experience. We gave them all we got, and went down to shake their hands right after the gig. It was a very pleasant experience. Some of them knew about us before they came, and one of them asked if we could play "Somewheregone", because it was her summer-song last year. We did that, and also played "Suncotic Drive" so she could have a summer-song this year too. It was a very nice crowd, and 75% of them bought merch. We presume that the last 25% (also called "the guy in the white T-shirt") got our albums at home.
This day we also met Mike, from one of our two booking agencies (Encore Booking). He's the totally opposite of Mike from Polar Zoo booking (who we met in Berlin). Alex is outgoing and social with a lot of things going on. Mike seems to more introvert and very focused on the business-part. He is good in what he does in his own way, but we have agreed to work only with Polar Zoo from now on. Mike wished us the best and we wish him the same.
Our guy in Germany, Jörg Timp (who we met in Düsseldorf), had also taken the trip to the Kulturbuker. We had some time for taking business and what to do next. He also told us that the "IDIOTsong"-video had been played on some local TV-stations in Germany. And it had also been number three in an internet-community/TV-station-vote - before Coldplay and after The Foo Fighters and another German artist. And there were actually a couple of hundred thousands who visited the page! Nice. Vielen dank to you who voted.
The first thing we did in München was to have a good cup of coffee in an outdoors-café in the hot and nice weather. Then we met Amund, a friend from Norway who lives in München. He took us to the heart of the city, and showed us the Town Hall and Frauenkirche (or something like that); both very impressive buildings. Some of us needed the regular shopping-round (Read: Tor), and the rest bought a bottle of wine and a bag with cherries, and camped by a little river in a big green park. For some reason we did not know, there were quite many naked people there. When we talked about it with a veterinary later in the evening, she said that it was a difference between "blotsnabel" and "fleischsnabel"; the first gets bigger when erected, and the second doesn't grow, it only becomes stiff. That was the anatomic lecture of the day.
The last time we played in this city we had a very good experience. As then, we also played Prager Frühling now. It is a strange kind of club, with many different kinds of wallpaper from the seventies. Unfortunately they had the same equipment as the last time; an 8-channel mixer, one monitor-course and not too many microphones; that is too little to make us sound as we want to sound. It was a challenge for our sound-engineer Tor, but from experience we know that nothing stops this brilliant man. The technical boss of the venue didn't seem to care about the crappy equipment. He was a nice guy though, and looked like a mix of several Norwegian celebrities (the band Cumshot's leadsinger Kristopher Schau, and some other guys).
The concert was against all odds a nice one, and the crowd seemed satisfied. They wanted more and also bought a lot of merch. And of course it's always nice with the people who come and tell us that they have been to concerts with us before. The only sad thing was that someone stole a Schtimm hooded-sweater. So if anybody sees a person with this (who isn't our Norwegian friend Solfrid), ask if the person has got a receipt for it, and mail us if they don't. Now we're half way through the tour and so far everything has mainly been really good, concerning promotors, the audiences, sightseeing, travelling comfort and such things.
The last time we came to Erfurt, we flirted with the city, and almost became engaged with it. Now we want to marry it. But because of a big summer-festival that started this day, we expected a small crowd on the gig. They were going to have many free concerts around the city. Quite a few people came anyway, and the crowd was great. We did two encores and sold a lot of merch, again (it seems that this is a thing we keep repeating, but is a nice thing to repeat). Also some of the people there new about us, and had been to the show last time.
Earlier on the day, we had some time to check out the city. It was a really nice and cosy city, which comes high up on our favourite-ranking.
On the two first shows (Hannover and Bochum), we got visited by a nice gentleman called Kai-Uwe (with his companion, Jessica). He is probably our greatest fan and good supporter here in Germany. He also came to the show in Erfurt. That means that he has been driving many miles, because he lives in Göttingen. He is also coming to see the last three gigs as well. On every concert he brings a camera and records both picture and sound, which he is going to edit. It's truly touching with such enthusiasm. We thought he was the only guy who came to see more than one show. But as we have played more gigs, more people has travelled to see more than one show.
As the good North Norwegians we are, we had planned to go down to a lake that was situated approximately five minutes from the venue we were going to play in Chemnitz. But instead of carrying out what probably was a very good plan, we went down town to see what the city had to offer.
Karl Marx Stadt
One of the things that lured us away from the lake, was the wish to see the big statue of Karl Marx's head. Not that we are Marxists or anything, but the statue (which is situated outside what looks like a big bureaucratic institution) is truly amazing. We have learned that Chemnitz was called Karl Marx Stadt for 40 years during the cold war, even though Mr. Marx has no special connection to the place. The city used to be heavily industrialised, and as a result of that, heavily polluted. But for the last years they have worked a lot to revitalise the city and make it a nice place. It seemed like they had come a long way in doing so.
It looked like the mentality behind the drifting of the venue of the evening was more focused on music than tiding and cleaning. It was a good old rock / punk-cave. It was probably one of the most punkish venues we have played until now on this tour. But some change of environment every now and then will most likely do us no harm. The most important thing anyway, was that the promotors treated us good, and we were ready to do a gig.
The worst so far?
The technical equipment wasn't something to make a song and dance about, and our soundman Tor really had to use all his talent to try to create a decent soundscape. It was also a bit strange audience. The venue was ok crowded, but the great relief never came, even though it's hard to point out exactly what was wrong (if anything was). Maybe it was a splitted audience, because we had to give encores, and people told us it was great after the concert. Strange. The feeling we had wasn't the best, but we always give what we have. We hope that a little stay outside the European Union is what is needed to get back on track. Tomorrow we go to Switzerland, and Basel - if we are going to play out of doors or inside will be decided by tomorrow. We are looking forward to it!
Bloody hell, this was a hot day: 33 degrees and no wind. Early in the morning we stopped at a service station a bit before the Swiss board, so David the driver could get some sleep. Poor man. The bus is like a thermos, and seems to be sucking in all the heat in the world. In addition, B found out that the ants had attacked again and found a new home in her bed. Luckily they don't seem to be of the biting kind. They just crawl all over the place. But now it's no more Mr / Ms nice band. We have made a trap out of a bottle filled with strawberry jam and soda. So we managed to take out a few of them. But they are still around, and tomorrow we'll go shopping for better weapons.
After some driving and searching, we finally found the venue Wagenmeister. It was situated a bit of the beaten track, in an area which looked like a closed down industrial area. The people at the venue really put their effort in giving a warm hearted welcome. Our host for the day was Ibrahim; a guy with full control and made of gold. The food we were served was just fantastic, and we all agreed that the dinner was the best meal so far on the tour. Probaly on top of the all times high list as well.
We were to play on a scene rigged up outside the club this evening. The sun really fried us when we were putting up our gear. The instruments were boiling hot, and the cables went limp. We fantasized of jumping in The Rhein, and just float down to the sea. Unfortunally we didn't have the time to do that.
When the concert started, the sky was black, and stars were twinkling and the moon was shining. They had lit up a bonfire in front of the stage, and a gentle breeze caressed us as we stood there and played out into the Basel-night. All in all an incredible nice experience, which we will love to have again.
What we have learned about Switzerland, is that it is a country with approximately seven million inhabitants, that they have four different languages. It's not much, but it was more knowledge than we needed to have a very nice evening.
In the morning we had a very good breakfast, and a long cold shower. The trip to Freiburg isn't very long, and we hope they have snow there.
For all that we know, we suffer from sun- and heat-stroke, and nothing of this has actually happened....
As we have already mentioned, we are engaged to Erfurt, and we are not far from engaging us to Freiburg as well. The stay there was one of the best in all possible ways. Quite some surprise: it became a great concert, a lot of nice people came, we sold a lot of merch, it was a nice town and the local promotors were extraordinary suitable for their jobs. Café Atlantik which is the name of the venue, has a good reputation, and that's not hard to understand. Here, everything was in order, and the concert was good promoted. To be honest: We had no good feeling earlier that day; Monday, heatwave and holliday. We expected no people, and were afraid we were going to be emptied of energy because of the heat. It's when you least expect it, things really fall in to place. The funniest parties are the one you don't plan. To put it short: Great stay, hope we'll be back soon.
Tomorrow we have a day off. We hope to spend it by a lake nearby Freiburg. We have a relatively long way to Leipzig, and we'll drive tomorrow night: We do what we can to avoid staying in the bus at daytime - it feels like it's more a sauna than a vehicle right now.
Leipzig: Back to Eastern Germany
A day off with bathing and relaxation really did us good. We were ready to deliver in Leipzig. The place we were going to play this evening, UT Connewitz, used to be a cinema in the nineteen-twenties. Now it is a venue where they have concerts, plays and they also show movies. It was a really fascinating room with a high arced roof, with loose paint - which looked kind of frightening in a way. Behind the stage there was a movie screen framed with something that could look like Greece-inspired ornaments and pillars. Except from a gallery, the room was completely open. Because of that we had enough acoustics to go around for all of us; meaning the soundscape was a challenge for our sound-engineer, Tor. But without that being a surprise, he managed to do his things behind the mixing-table, and made the sound do mostly the right things.
Yellow lights and sparking sound
Another interesting thing was the light. What we request from promoters is static light, and mostly red light. We also told that to the guys who where fixing the light. But that didn't seem to have been understood completely. During the concert we were bathed in yellow and orange lights. They also turned up and down the light between every song, something which made a loud noisy sound. Even with a message from our sound-engineer during the concert to stop doing that, they kept on turning the lights up and down. It's not unusual with some sound when lights are changed like that, but this was a noise-o-rama which was a bit extreme.
There were quite a few people on the gig, though not over-crowded. And in spite of a bit problematic sound and lights, the atmosphere was good. We talked to a couple of people who had been to Schtimm-concerts before, and that is of course always nice.
The reason for the light-problems was probably partly because of language-misunderstanding. Our German is not very good, and maybe the people on the venue didn't understand our English that well. It seems to us that not everybody understands English so well in Germany. A couple of days ago we spoke to a woman who had an English-teacher who almost didn't speak English at all. We guess that was quite extreme and rare, but with most movies and foreign TV-shows being dubbed, it's not that strange at all. In Norway we are used to subtitles (which someone might find strange, of course!) and the original sound, which forces us to be surrounded with other languages more than down here. But we guess that Germany is miles ahead of us in so many other areas, so we should probably not brag to much, just because we know some English and a bit German. Also we have to say that many of the people we have talked to have been very easy to communicate with in English!
Last night with David
Tonight David, our driver, will drive us to Hamburg, before he leaves us to go on another tour. We will continue with a van and a new chauffeur. We have two more shows to do, and we hope that the temperatures in the Northern part are more sober. If not, we fear that we might melt away...
As usual we woke up on a service-station. It seems like we have been stopping on the same one every time, because they all look the same to us. The reason we couldn't drive to Hamburg was that there was no parking-possibilities near the venue, Schilleroper.
Since they hadn't fixed it before we arrived, we had to stop temporarily outside (and block the road), hastily empty the bus of all the stuff we had been putting into it during the tour, and stuff it in to an already overloaded room inside Schilleroper. We gave David our back-catalogue before we hugged goodbye, and whished each other good luck. We will miss his calm presence and help when our German wasn't enough to be understood. He was a lousy skijumper on Playstation, but drove safely and responsible. We have no doubt in our minds that we will miss him and the bus.
Hamburg by day
After loading our gear into the club, we were guided to our place for the night, a privat flat. Here we met Nils, who together with Chrissy runs Schilleroper. Both the flat and the venue are situated in the St. Pauli area, on each side of Reeperbahn. Chrissy left us, and Nils took over the responsibility of our wellbeing. He had several alternatives for killing time in Hamburg. Some of us chose the opportunity to go with him on a boat trip on the river Elbe, while the rest had a closer look on the city. This is the third time we were going to play in Hamburg, and we almost know St. Pauli as well as our own backyard. It's easy to see that Turbonegro has a strong position in this city; with a shop where they only sell Turbo-merch. We have also seen some people in "jugend-denim". Cool. Great music, buy their albums.
Schilleroper is a dark and nice little club, which has existed for about two years (they are celebrating two years on the 11th of July, if we're not mistaken. Be there, or be square, as they said in the 80's). What seems a bit typical to us, is that they don't care too much of the technical equipment on such places. But good people are helpful, and with a couple of phone calls, they managed to get a hold of some gear, so that we could manage quite alright. We had two previews of the concert in local Hamburg newspapers, and we also did an interview with a local radio station. There was also some talk about getting the IDIOTsong-video on some rotation on a local TV-station. We'll have to check that out closer...
Hamburg by night
After a nice, but a bit chaotic trip to a barbecue nearby, we were ready for tonight's show. The gig went all right, though it wasn't the best we have delivered, so far. But the crowd seemed satisfied, and bought cds and t-shirts - we choose to take that as a good sign. We had a couple of drinks, and talked with the nice people on the venue, got some historic information about the place (we were told that the place used to house a classy opera), and met our new driver Peter. Then most of us went to bed, except P and Tor, who went with Nils to experience some of St. Pauli's nightlife.
Now we sit outside Schilleroper waiting for the van which is going to take us to Rohrichmoor and finally Kiel for the boat trip home. It is still far too hot, and we are not looking forward to spending the next hours in a hot car...
Rohrichmoor: What a drag!
And then hell broke loose. The van we had rented was far too small... We had ordered a van with nine seats and a lot of storing capacity, but that was not what we got at all... The van had nine seats, but the boot is about big enough to put a suitcase in. We thought the drama in Berlin almost two weeks ago (when the start engine on the bus collapsed) was going to be our share of bad luck on this tour, but now it had really escalated. How in God's name were we going to pull this one of?
In addition we were late... If you have the right budgets problems like this are easily solvable - one solution is to rent another car, but there were no other rental cars to find this afternoon. We have to admit that we were pretty close to calling a doctor to get a sick note (we could probably have got one for heatstroke, anyway) and told the promotor in Rohrichmoor to call the concert off. But that would of course have been the sissy solution.
Nils, the promotor from last night, became the saviour. He has a Volkswagen station-wagen (not straight from the factory, but still). He suggested, as if this was the smallest issue in the world, that he could drive the things we couldn't fit into the rental car. For him, it meant almost 700 kilometres of driving, and fixing someone to step in for him at Schilleroper that night. If you want to find as helpful and warm hearted people like him nowdays, you would have to search for a veeeeeery long time.
Because of the skills of logistics-God Tor, we managed to get everything into the two cars. Then we had another problem to face: We were two hours behind schedule, and the gig was to take place in Rohrichmoore: A place in Ostfriesland, no one we had spoken with had ever heard about. We even spoke to a girl who was from the region, and even she hadn't heard about it. In addition to being very late, we had the challenge to find a place no one knew about. We started to wonder if the last date of this tour was a big joke from the booking agency, and that they had planned to kill us and dump us in the sea...
Since we have some experience with reading maps from other tours, we found the place without further problems - so yes, it exists. But speaking of nomansland; we all come from relatively small villages in Norway, so we know what we are talking about. In the middle of almost nowhere, we found the venue of the evening, Phönix. We were met by the people who ran the place, which is a Jugend Zentrum, and they were a nice group of people. Since we caught some of the Friday rush on our way there, we were even more behind schedule than when we started, and knew we had some hours of stress coming. We also had two support acts, and they had to have soundcheck after us. But the promotors were calm, considerate and in a good mood - and everything went ok.
For some unknown reason, quite a few people showed up, but where they came from we couldn't tell. The number of houses nearby could be counted on one hand (OK, maybe two). Since Phönix is a Jugend Zentrum, the average age was pretty low, most likely under 18.
The Final Show
This was the 14th and last show on this tour, and the final gig is always special. We went on stage with one goal: To squeeze the last drop of energy out of ourselves before returning to Norway. And it became a special concert, with several surprises. K and P had secretly planned to play a song we haven't played for at least two years. B and Æ became pissed off, and left the stage in a fury. Just kidding - they did of course try to do their best, and the result was a nice version of the track "Todey!" from "The Alcoholovefi Collection"-album.
After the gig, B even got a rose and a scarf from some of the nice representatives from the audience. Afterwards we hung out with the locals, and drank us some beer. Note: You people who tell jokes about the people in Ostfriesland can just stop it - they are very nice and up to speed.
And then it was just the trip home?
We had to get up early in the morning to get on the ferry from Kiel to Oslo. We had a four hours drive, and after the recent complications with the logistics we were looking forward to just get our tired touring-bodies on the ferry.
But of course: The times of misfortune hadn't passed completely. When we were going to load our equipment into the container, the rain started to pour down, and before we were done, both we and parts of the cargo were soaking wet. Then we thought we were finally safe - but not yet. The car that was going to pick us up in Oslo had been doublebooked. The rental firm had managed to get hold of a new car - but there was only one catch: It only had two seats. So tomorrow some of us have to drive to Trondheim, and others will try to get a plane.
Tonight there will be cocktails, cigars and total relaxation on the Loveboat between Kiel and Oslo; at least, that's what we hope. We have carried out a wonderful tour, played some quite good gigs (and maybe some bad?), met many exceptionally nice, interesting, strange, weird and different people. We have travelled over 10000 kilometres, eaten far too little yoghurt, been sweating too much, showered too little, and been swimming too little. But it was one hell of a time. It's almost a bit sad that it's over, but as it's written in the song: We'll meet again.
It is appropriate to thank everyone who has been involved, and who has made this tour possible and nice. Big thanks to Jörg, Dennis and the rest of the people at Make My Day Records, Alex and David at Polar Zoo and Mike at Encore Booking. Same sized thanks to David who has transported us safely on the Central European roads, Gøran Otto who has done the same in Norway, and Peter who drove us the last day. And of course to everyone who have come to see the gigs + the nice people who took the chance on booking us. The special thanks / man of the match price goes to Nils who made it possible for us to play the last gigs.
The World Champion Trophy goes to:
The human wolverin / soundking / slopebadger / logisticstitan / cosmopolitan Tor B (our sound-engineer)! Without him we would have had big problems carrying out all the gigs. And to you who have read this far: Thanks for following to the door. Hope we'll meet again some day.