We love guitars, but also violins, cellos and flutes! On our tours we have met many cool bands, nice people and talented musicians. But the opportunity to play together is much too rare when you are spread over half the continent. In addition, we would like to share these bands with our Leipzig homebase. And that’s why we founded this indoor festival, which is dedicated to the combination of classical/traditional instruments and rock music in the field of symphonic metal, folk metal, gothic metal and related styles.
The first edition will take place on 30.11.2019 in Halle 5 / Werk 2. You can buy tickets for it in our shop. We are looking forward to your visit!
Wir lieben Gitarren, doch genauso auch Violinen, Celli und Flöten! Auf unseren Touren haben wir viele coole Bands, nette Leute und begabte Musiker getroffen. Doch die Gelegenheit, zusammen zu spielen ist viel zu selten, wenn man über den halben Kontinent verteilt ist. Dazu kommt, dass wir unsere Homebase in Leipzig gern an diesen Bands teilhaben lassen würden. Und daher haben wir dieses Indoor-Festival aus der Taufe gehoben, welches unter dem Zeichen der Kombination von klassischen/traditionellen Instrumenten und Rockmusik im Bereich Symphonic Metal, Folk Metal, Gothic Metal und Artverwandtem.
Die erste Ausgabe wird am 30.11.2019 in der Halle 5 / Werk 2 stattfinden. Karten dafür könnt ihr in unserem Shop erwerben. Wir freuen uns auf euren Besuch!
After we had the pleasure to support Visions of Atlantis in Siegburg on 31.08.2019, we could finally play in our hometown Leipzig again on 07.09.2019. And then for no less an occasion than the sold-out record release show of our friends from Disillusion, with whom we have an immense connection. Mastermind Andy Schmidt has recorded and produced all our albums released so far, we share the rehearsal room with them and Frank is helping them out on the bass guitar this year. And yes, that meant 3 hours on stage for the old man, which he handled with ease. It was an unforgettable experience and a wonderful evening for everyone!
Nachdem wir am 31.08.2019 die Freude hatten, Visions of Atlantis in Siegburg zu supporten, konnten wir am 07.09.2019 endlich wieder in unserer Heimatstadt Leipzig spielen. Und dann zu keinem geringerem Anlass als der ausverkauften Record-Release-Show unserer Freunde von Disillusion, mit denen uns unheimlich viel verbindet. Mastermind Andy Schmidt hat all unsere bisher erschienen Alben aufgenommen und produziert, wir teilen uns den Proberaum mit ihnen und Frank hilft ihnen in diesem Jahr am Bass aus. Und ja, das bedeutete 3 Stunden Bühne für den alten Mann, was er aber mit Leichtigkeit meisterte. Es war für alle ein unvergessliches Erlebnis und ein gelungener Abend!
It was a big pleasure and a huge honor to play our first show at Wacken Open Air. For us a childhood dream came true. Thank you Wacken for this intense 3 days and this amazing audience. See you all soon!
(Pics by Adrian Mönnich alias MetalSpy, Frank Helbig, Jörg Schnebele)
We have incredibly good news! For years, we dreamed of that moment, now it is finally there – we can announce that we will play at this year’s Wacken Open Air. We are absolutely stoked to perform there and can’t wait for August!
What a great time with Imperial Age! We played a whole 10 concerts together with them on all kinds of stages in Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and Poland. We take a lot of thrilling memories of this exciting time with us. Be it Frank’s bleeding but mild head wound in Berlin, which was treated by Jane without hesitation, an exuberant Imperial Age show party with the girls and boys from Sechem in Hamburg, a merciless wheel clamp in Wrotslav, a family breakfast at Janika’s parents with Sabri or a sightseeing tour of Vienna the day after the show. We could go on for pages here, but we would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone involved in making this tour possible, especially Sabri from Asgaardian Events and Imperial Age who invited us, Frank Renner who provided our sound, the crews of the venues we played in and many many many more …
Was für eine großartige Zeit mit Imperial Age! Ganze 10 Konzerte spielten wir zusammen mit ihnen auf allen möglichen Bühnen in Deutschland, Österreich, Tschechien und Polen. Wir nehmen viele aufregende Erinnerungen mit uns an diese tolle Zeit. Sei es nun Franks blutende aber glimpflich verlaufende Kopfwunde in Berlin, die ohne zu zögern von Jane behandelt wurde, eine ausgelassene Imperial Age show party mit den Mädels und Jungs von Sechem in Hamburg, eine gnadenlose Parkkralle in Wrotslav, ein familiäres Frühstück bei Janikas Eltern mit Sabri oder eine Stadtbesichtigung von Wien am Tag nach der Show. Wir könnten hier noch seitenlang weitermachen, aber wir möchten die Gelegenheit nutzen, uns bei allen Beteiligten zu bedanken, die diese Tour ermöglicht haben, allen voran Sabri von Asgaardian Events und Imperial Age, die uns dazu eingeladen haben, Frank Renner, der für unseren Sound gesorgt hat, die Crews der Venues, in denen wir gespielt haben und viele viele weitere …
We’re back home! It was such an amazing time, touring with Imperial Age, Instorm and Cruadalach through Germany and Czech Republic. A huge thank you again to everybody who attended the shows! But there’s more: We’ll join forces with our russian friends again in February, touring once more through a couple of German citys. Hell yeah!
We hope you had a wonderful New Year’s Eve and a good start into the New Year. I’m sure we’re off to a great start: We are very happy to announce that we are going on tour with Imperial Age! So check out the dates and cities where we will be playing. We would be very happy to meet you at a concert in your area!
Wir hoffen, ihr hattet einen wunderbaren Sylvesterabend und einen guten Start ins neue Jahr. Für uns wird es mit Sicherheit großartig anfangen: Wir freuen uns sehr verkünden zu können, dass wir mit Imperial Age auf Tournee gehen werden! Also schaut euch die Termine und Städte an, in denen wir spielen werden. Wir würden uns sehr freuen, euch auf einem Konzert in eurer Nähe zu treffen!
25.01.19 – Erfurt (DE) // Club From Hell 26.01.19 – Prague (CZ) // Rock Klub Nová Chmelnice 27.01.19 – Munich (DE) // Backstage München 23.02.19 – Wroclaw (PL) // Stara Piwnica 24.02.19 – Lübbenau (DE) // Kulturhof Lübbenau e.V. 28.02.19 – Berlin (DE) // Blackland – Berlin Rock & Metal Bar 01.03.19 – Mörlenbach (DE) // LIVE MUSIC HALL Weiher 02.03.19 – Oberhausen (DE) // Helvete Pub – Club – Live Stage 03.03.19 – Hamburg (DE) // Logo Hamburg 06.03.19 – Vienna (AU) // Escape
2015 comes almost to an end and everything slows down between Christmas and New Year. The perfect moment to sort out photos, videos and memories and to look back on an eventful year.
First half of the year was mainly filled with the mix and mastering of “In Deep Waters”. We carefully listened to dozens of versions and continuously developed the perfect sound. From time to time, we escaped the studio routine for some concerts. Main theme of summer was to develop our acoustic set. Finally, in autumn, two great events happened at the same time: The release of “In Deep Waters” and our first big tour! I didn’t manage to write a lot here about it, but on Facebook one could follow our posts from all the different places all over Europe. So it’s the time now to present you a more detailed report of our journey.
Although the official tour start was on September 25th in Pratteln, it started earlier for us. After we were busy for weeks and months to rehearse the new acoustic set, to prepare and setup our new backing system, to order and register new merch, to prepare the simultaneous release of the new album and to count the days backwards in a sense of overwhelming anticipation, we entered the Nightliner on September 23rd in Hannover late at night. It should become our rolling home for the next month. I couldn’t decide which emotion was the strongest at that moment: My anticipation, my fear that I forgot something important or my need to sleep, as the last nights were all really short due to the preparations. But I was much too excited to rest. Finally, a dream turned to reality: Our first big molllust-tour! At first, we had to check out the double-decker bus in detail. In addition, the Stimmgewalt-choir arrived and we got to know each other a bit better when we slowly started to head south. At 5am exhaustion was stronger than my excitement and I finally tried to sleep in my rocking bunk. I needed some nights to get used to it, but then I managed to sleep as deeply as at home.
The next day started at a motorway station. We turned it into our personal bathroom. And it should happen more often on tour that we went out somewhere at a resting place with toothbrush and pyjamas to get ready for the day. We were happy about any shower or sink we could find. While we continued our ride, Frank and I took the time to finish last corrections on our backing tracks and to put our music and artwork on our new USB sticks. They should be available from now on as merchandise. In addition, we chatted with the Stimmgewalt-girls and guys. We arrived in Switzerland in the evening to pick up Orphaned Land at the airport. It was great to meet them again! Half a year passed since we met the last time. We exchanged some news and were surprised how late it was afterwards. Time to sleep!
The first concert was in Pratteln, in the fabulous Z7. We checked out the area and visited a bit or the contemplative town while we were searching for some colourful tape to mark our equipment. The idyllic view over the Alps felt more like a holiday than a tour. In addition, the legendary catering of Z7 definitely had the level of a hotel buffet. But when we started to build up on that huge stage, concert feeling finally awoke. And after a really great release show we headed west: To Lille.
It’s hard to imagine a bigger contrast then between those two places: Everything that was huge in Z7, was tiny in La Peniche and instead of being in the mountains, we were now under water. Well, you read correctly: The location was a boat and we played on a deck below the water surface. First insight of the day: If we didn’t want to risk holes in the ceiling or broken bows, our violins had to play on the stairs in front of the stage. Second insight: To get our instruments up and down the narrow stairs from bus to boat and back was quite challenging. We didn’t want to risk a swimming test for the piano. Third insight: There was only one small backstage room. Therefore the Orphaned Land guys inevitably learned what we girls wear or not wear under our dresses since we had to change our clothes somewhere. And to use the stage for it was definitely no option. For the show, I searched for my knowledge of the French language in areas of my brain that were abandoned for a long time. Occasionally searching for words, I managed to guide us through the evening, while Luisa and Sandrine tried not to stab our audience. As a reward, we got an aftershow party for free: Next to the venue was a fair. So we had beautiful fireworks in the sky and the tunes of carousels in our ears while we tried to get our equipment without a bath to the bus again. Well, such a colourful sky painting would be great every night, it was a worthy final!
Unfortunately, there wasn’t any time left to try out the rollercoaster, we had to leave to get to Nantes in time. We enjoyed some hours in the sun with a marvelous view on the Loire and ate Crêpes until the venue opened its doors for us. In addition, a strange visitor appeared: A giant mechanical elephant splashing water around. One really got respect in front of this creature in steampunk-style! It was really relaxing! And, finally, our show in front of a very enthusiastic audience was a great climax for a nice day.
Next stop was Bilbao – or at least a garage in the area. The air condition of our bus was broken. Therefore we spend our day off somewhere in the middle of nowhere. In the evening we finally drove to a parking lot at the outskirts of Bilbao. At first sight, the place looked absolutely boring. But soon, our Israelian colleagues unveiled the secret magic of it: The Holy Wall of WIFI. You have to know, a musician on tour doesn’t have many needs. Besides something to eat and to drink and a bathroom there’s only one thing, everyone is longing for: a powerful and working internet connection backstage. Unfortunately, this was rare on our tour. Therefore the Wall was so special: It was the back wall of another club where Orphaned Land already played a show some months ago. Directly at the wall, you reached the last glimpse of connection of their backstage WLAN. The phones of our Israeli friends still remembered the password. As a result, most of us were sticking on the wall and the WIFI was totally overloaded.
After a while, hunger was beating the need of internet. Therefore we asked around and found our way via subway to the historic center of the city. We walked a bit around, had a great Spanish dinner and enjoyed Bilbao at night. The picturesque narrow streets and the traditional Spanish street musicians gave us a taste of holiday once more. We went back to the bus with the last subway as we could sleep quite long the next day.
When we reached the venue at noon to prepare ourselves for the show, we realized this would be a special challenge: There was a lot of space backstage, but unfortunately, there was only dark blue light on the toilettes. And these were the only rooms with mirrors to prepare my makeup. How should we deal with it? My solution was simple: I recalled we had some music stand lights with us for our merch. Therefore I took one, clamped it on the hood of my hoodie and illuminated my face this way. As a result, I looked a bit like a frogfish, but at least I could see what I was doing with my makeup. And my surrounding had fun as well!
Finally, we entered stage in a great mood. But it seemed that Frank had too much of the Spanish sun: with a hazardous jump our king of the world left the relatively high stage to flaunt through the audience. But he obviously didn’t think about how to return beforehand. As a result, he stood in front of the stage like a duck in a thunderstorm. Luckily, Jan from Stimmgewalt lifted him up and I pulled him from above to get him out of his misery and back on stage again. The audience was pretty amused.
Afterwards, we were heading to Madrid. At first, we took another band member on board: Simon had already spent a holiday there and joined us now to travel with us for a week to take care of photos and videos. As Carsten unfortunately had to work instead of playing doublebass with us on stage, a seat was free for Simon. We jealously looked at the beautiful pictures he took of Madrid while we didn’t have the time to see much of this beautiful city. But the warm hearted and spirited audience was the perfect compensation!
Thanks to our pedantic labeling of each little cable we took with us, we luckily didn’t forget anything in a venue until now. In this manner, Madrid also became one bad memory: well-hidden between other stands, we oversaw Frank’s microphone stand and it was left in the club. We realized it the next day in Lisbon while setting up the stage. It was the start of an adventurous journey of the stand: It was shipped via express postage to Paris, where the local crew didn’t fetch it from the post office in time, so they had to ship it back home to us. Due to a very creative way of packing it, only half of it arrived at our place in the end.
But let’s go back to Portugal. Already the view from the bus window was awesome. The city was so beautiful! In addition, the venue for this night’s show looked stunning: More like a theater than a concert hall, the floor covered with elegant carpets. For the audience, there were stairs similar to an amphitheater, so everyone had a good view on the stage. But at first, we had dinner in a cozy little restaurant, about 500 meters away from the venue. On this short way, Sandrine and Luisa somehow lost track of the group while chatting with the girls of our Spanish support band Leaves. We managed to find them with calls and waving on the street. Meanwhile, Simon tested the good local red wine.
The evening was a blast: One cannot imagine a better way to play a show than in front of a sold out venue with a cheerful and absolutely enthusiastic crowd! In addition, we probably had the youngest spectator of the tour in the audience: a little girl obviously enjoyed the concert in the first row. Our short visit to Portugal definitely was way too short!
The next day, we played in Sevilla and Simon got a special job: I somehow destroyed the heels of my shoes. Therefore, he was searching for a shoemaker, while I was doing the soundcheck on socks. It was just today, when Oded, the brilliant sound guy of this tour, decided to play some oriental party hits during setup time. While the Israeli musicians rolled their eyes because of the cheesy texts, we made fun of dancing to it. And when doors opened for the audience, Simon appeared just in time with my repaired shoes. In addition, our catering rider was fulfilled in detail. As Lisa likes to eat crisps, we mentioned them in our sweets-section. As a result, there was a giant crisps-bag on the table. It was so big one could eat a month out of it! Lisa had to take a picture with it, of course!
And the food god traveled with us: We kept our next stop Granada in mind especially thanks to the incredibly delicious catering. We could taste highlights of the Spanish cuisine. It was stunning!
Finding the time for a shower sometimes was a challenging task, when 32 people had to share one shower. So, from time to time, you have to wait for a quite long time until it is your turn. This also happened in Granada. Half of the show of Orphaned Land, Frank and me were waiting for the shower. We made the best of it: I took the crown and danced on the balcony backstage to the oriental rhythms and Frank took some pictures. Finally, I danced into the shower in a great mood! That was really a special aftershow party.
Speaking about a party… when the clock stroke midnight, Luisa’s birthday started. We couldn’t really celebrate it that evening as we had to load in the bus quickly. But after some hours of sleep, we did so in Barcelona. At first, we took Luisa for an hour to the beach and we enjoyed the sun and the waves. Meanwhile Simon went through the city in a secret mission: He organized a little variety of cakes for her. We hide them on stage until we finished “König der Welt” in that night’s show. Then, it was the time to crown her and to hand the cake over while the Spanish crowd sang spontaneously the Spanish version of “Happy birthday” for her. Completely surprised, Luisa smiled like a cheese shire cat and tried to thank everyone. Unfortunately, the crown was too big for her, so it slipped several times over her face. The hall was filled with the warm and cheerful laughter of more than 300 people. This day will last as a very special one in the memories of all of us!
And it wasn’t even over yet. At the same time, it was the last concert of Leaves on this tour. The sympathetic Spaniards also had a surprise for me. I offered them to use my stage piano for their show so they didn’t have to bring their own one. As a thank you I got a little traditional Spanish instrument. What a nice gesture! I had to try it out directly afterwards in the bus.
We said good bye to the Spanish sun and headed North. Our goal was Lynnes, a contemplative village close to Aix en Provence. A very warmhearted club owner welcomed us and we took the chance to go for a walk through the nature. As our tour bus had many little break-downs (we had just been several days without power, so all our supplies in the refrigerators were spoiled), our sound technician decided to redecorate the bus. He glued with neon green tape the word “NOT” in front of the sign “On Tour Service”. He almost had to pay a high price for his little prank, as the chair broke while he was standing on it for his redesign. But fortunately, he didn’t hurt himself.
Aix en Provence was also the hour of Nathalie: Our merchandise lady had found an ally with Frank for her passion for good cheese. So she disappeared for a short while to organize a gorgeous cheese dinner. We really enjoyed it and didn’t leave a single crumb on the plate.
After a concert with living room atmosphere we continued our way to Lyon. We already adapted to tour life: Frank got already used to shave himself at places built for dwarfs and we, the girls, got our crazy moments. This time, we enjoyed ourselves with funny selfies. Just watch some of the shots here. Therefore we almost didn’t get on stage in time! The audience in Lyon turned out to be great and the local crew totally spoiled us. We got a royal dinner full of treasures of the French cuisine. Self-made Crêpes with a huge variety of toppings, Quiche, cheese plate, grapes, Tarte – we almost couldn’t walk back into the bus afterwards because we definitely ate too much. It was so delicious! Perhaps this was the reason why Simon left us again in Lyon.
The next day, we had a déjà vue: We played on the boat in Lille once again. But this time, we also had a day off there. It was a good opportunity to visit the town and to do a little sightseeing tour. The city looked great indeed. Chen from Orphaned Land found the best words for it: “It seems as if the buildings are all made of ginger bread!” Sandrine felt almost home and showed us some French baking specials – the perfect breakfast! A bit later, we found an incredibly beautiful church. Next time we want to play our acoustic set there!
In addition, in Lille half of our tour was over. Therefore it was time to go to the laundry. We found one, decoded the French manual for the big industrial washing machines and put all our clothes in one of them. As we didn’t have a clothes-basket, we put ourselves in a line and handed over slip by slip and sock by sock to get everything in the dryer. None of us had a dryer at home, so we were not so sure about the right temperature. We started with a quite low one and had to repeat the drying three times until we achieved the planned result. To hang it everywhere in the bus for drying was no option, of course. We amused the rest of the bus anyway, when we were back and started to sort out our clothes again. We involuntary played the quiz: “Guess whose slip is this one?”
After the concert, we quickly departed again as we had to get the ferry to Great Britain. We all prepared for a night with few sleep. But more about it part two of my diary about the European tour.
Where did I stop? Ah, right, at the sleepless night on our way to Great Britain. We slept for about two hours until we had to go to the passport control. We were looking so happy that I seriously wonder why they let us pass the border. I guess we looked more like a bunch of robbers on their way to the next victim than musicians on their way to the next concert. Unfortunately, the situation didn’t improve: When we had just fallen asleep again, we arrived at the ferry. And due to the security terms on a ferry, we had to leave the bus and our bunks again. So we went on deck and tried to find a good place to rest. Temperature was cooled down to what seemed to be 10 degrees Celsius and we only found some benches as improvised beds. Which would have worked out if there didn’t hang a noisy TV in every corner… I desperately searched for a calm place and finally found it in the children’s playground. But after a while, the inevitable happened and some kids arrived and changed it to the noisiest place of the ship. In order to avoid a dead child, I went to Frank and Oded, who were doing some final corrections at our backings and tried to help with intelligent comments. Well, one shouldn’t expect intellectual highlights of me at 5 am in a deadly tired mood. When we finally arrived in Great-Britain, I straightly headed to my cabin and immediately fell asleep. Next thing I saw was the venue in Manchester.
We involuntary started with „morning sport“ (noon had already passed): the location was in second floor and there was no elevator. As a result, we had to carry everything up over the quirky, small stairs of the old building. The concert hall itself with its antique wallpapers and its quaint furniture seemed like a time machine to the past. Due to our long journey, we were behind the schedule. When we realized the British way of providing food was to give us some money for buying something on our own, we had to hurry even more. As the nearby pubs didn’t have fitting kitchen times to our soundcheck and concert schedule, we rushed to the next Subway and survived the day with Sandwiches. Frank almost ate the table because the amount of money wasn’t enough to fill his stomach.
After we enjoyed the cheerful and supporting British audience at our show, our departure was a nightmare. Directly after the show, there was a disco at the same place and our bus drivers had to stay for some more hours at their parking lot (which wasn’t next to the venue) to observe the resting rules. As a result, we had to carry all our stuff over narrow, even more quirky stairs to the backstage area. We tried to somehow grab some sleep there until we finally had to carry our stuff over all the stairs and through the party audience to the bus. I guess I don’t have to mention that we slept like mammoths until we arrived in London.
London – one of the metropoles where you immediately switch to tourist mode and you think about Big Ben, Madame Tussaud’s waxworks and so on. Unfortunately, we didn’t see anything despite the street of tonight’s venue. It was a beautiful, old church with a warm-hearted, unconventional priest and very friendly deaconesses. The only disadvantage of this place was the average temperature in October in a church in England and the not existing shower. Therefore I washed my hair shivering in a kitchen sink and wear a hood the rest of the day, hoping not to get a cold and to be completely dry again until the show. As we were already familiar with the strategy of “Chase your food on your own!” from Manchester, we got the crew and us fed with the food of the nearby kebab shop. We were all looking forward to the concert, because it was special: The tones of the classical instruments and the singing seemed to float on its own through the great acoustic of the church. We had prepared a special setlist with calmer songs for tonight’s show to take advantage of it. Therefore we briefly rehearsed backstage the songs we didn’t play on our tour until now. We fully enjoyed the concert and the audience carefully listened to each note. It was a great pleasure!
After the show, we realized that the good-humoured priest was selling beer at an improvised bar next to the church entry. He invited us to come back with our metal set. We’ll do so as soon as we find a good possibility to return to Great Britain again!
As we knew the next night would be a short one as well, we quickly packed and departed as soon as possible. We had to catch the ferry again. We just drifted off when the British border control entered the bus, keeping the formalities as low as possible. We were thankful, but all stood up as we knew the ferry was close now. An hour later, we got informed we had to wait for two more hours for the ship. So we entered our beds and stood up again. Once more, we tried to get some sleep in a noisy fridge. We knew we had to play two shows and it would be a very stressful next day, so we really looked grumpy. I wonder how I managed not to smash a TV.
Back in France, we deeply slept while we drove to Paris. I awoke when our bus driver somehow managed to manoeuvre us through much too narrow streets. As there was no parking space, he had to stop on a cross road and completely blocked it. Therefore we rushed to unload the bus as fast as possible. Due to the ferry and the early show, we were behind schedule again and somehow managed to squeeze the setup and soundcheck time to be ready for the show in the afternoon. I tried to reactivate my knowledge of the French language while running around and plugging cables. As a result, I mixed up two words in the first show: Instead of speaking about little fluffy chicks (poussins) I talked about whores (putains). I recognized my error immediately and corrected it after begging pardon to the crowd. They obviously felt more amused than offended. Anyway, they were in an incredibly great mood all the time.
In the short break between the shows, Idan, one of the Orphaned Land guitarists, spontaneously got a violin lesson from our girls. He did a great job! But soon it was showtime again. Afterwards I was good for nothing anymore, the mixture of a huge lack of sleep and two shows in a row left me in a totally exhausted condition. Once more, we had the problem that our bus driver had to stay some more hours on the far away parking lot to observe the rest rules and the venue was booked for another event afterwards, which meant that we were kicked out with all our equipment almost directly after the show. I was severely cold and deadly tired while we were standing on the sidewalk and waiting. After a while, we put all the equipment in some big taxis and went ourselves to the metro to go to a meeting point with our bus. With our last bits of strength, we loaded the stuff from the taxis into the trailer. Then we drove to the camping lot we would stay for the next two days and slept.
We left our bunks in the afternoon, realizing that we were in Paris and that we had time to explore the city! But Sandrine and I didn’t feel very adventurously. We were both weak and didn’t feel so well. We just went into the neighborhood to search for some food and to rest. Meanwhile Luisa left us for an involuntary tour break at her workplace. The next morning, we had one more chance: Sandrine stayed in her bunk, but I really wanted to go to the city. Well, I only made it to the metro station, then my ears were aching more and more and I had to change my plans. Lisa went alone to town while Frank escorted me to the doctor. Once more speaking French turned out to be very useful (otherwise I would have been totally lost in this situation). The doctor found a beginning inflammation of the middle ear and prescribed antibiotics and pain killers to me. The rest of the day, I returned to my bunk and simply suffered. I was really happy that the concert of this evening was canceled, I couldn’t imagine going on stage in this condition. In addition, Sandrine didn’t feel much better. The flue was already traveling with us for a while, but until now only members of the other bands got it. But after these sleepless nights, we were obviously weak enough to catch it as well.
Decimated and in really bad condition we continued our way to Aschaffenburg. Frank also started to snuffle more and more. We changed our setlist according to the situation: playable without Luisa and somehow singable while feeling so weak. We somehow survived the concert without disgracing ourselves although most of us were in zombie-mode and would fit better in a bed than on a stage. Luckily, the audience did its best to support us. Sandrine also started to get aching ears and we were suffering double thanks to the new opening band, which played full metal power as acoustic set – the worst thing ever for our damaged ears.
We continued our tour in Bochum, again in a church. After we unloaded the bus, I returned to my bunk while the other bands did their soundcheck. I woke up because I heard the sound of drops. I realized beforehand that it was a rainy day, but these drops didn’t sound like an outside noise. I had a closer look at my environment and found out that it was raining on the stairs inside the bus and in one of the bunks. Great. This was exactly what I needed now. Instead of my nap I went to the kitchen, took cans, buckets and cups, placed them at the critical positions and informed the others. As one of the bunks couldn’t be used anymore, I volunteered to move in the narrow bunk under the stairs. (We currently drove with only one of the two drivers and it was the second driver’s sleeping place.) This one had an advantage: One could not hear the others snoring because you had no direct neighbours. This helped me to get some rest the next days.
This evening, our constitution wasn’t much better. We did our best to play a good show, but it didn’t feel so perfect. The church somehow didn’t feel like a church as it was a modern one with a huge event stage. Our calm set somehow felt too calm there. But on the other hand, we didn’t have the power for a more energetic set.
Slightly depressed, we went on to Hamburg. While I was feeling better again and got more power day by day, Frank and Sandrine felt worse than ever. Lisa was the only healthy band member now – so she had to work double as the rest wasn’t able to do much. Hamburg was an improvised concert. At first, we should play at a church, but there were issues in the organization and the gig was canceled. Last minute, a new club was booked as a replacement. In addition, it simply didn’t stop raining. And the bus was getting more and more wet. And despite all my water-collection-supplies which got more and more add ons from the other musicians, the bus slowly transformed to a swimming pool. We URGENTLY had to do something. I desperately searched the bus driver in the venue and the club owner to beg for some materials to put at least some canvas covers on the bus. With all my efforts I also caught the attention of the nearby ship builder. So finally, the three men joined forces to seal up the roof.
I just wanted to take a seat for five minutes when my mobile rang – Luisa. She wanted to come by plane to join us at tonight’s show again. But unfortunately, her flight was late and in best case she would arrive the very last minute. We prepared everything backstage for her so she only had to pick up her violin and to run directly on stage. Sandrine played the soundcheck for her.
When we prepared ourselves backstage, we anxiously looked at my mobilephone and on the clock again and again. Would Luisa make it in time? We made sure not to start a minute earlier than necessary. But finally, we had to start without her. I found myself frequently looking to the backstage and the front door, searching for the well-known blond head of hair. And while we were playing the third song, she finally appeared! She just rushed on stage in her day clothes, stressed, but also relieved to be with us again. The happy sun beam in person helped us to ignore our bad condition and the lack of audience caused by the changed location. What an exciting day!
The roof problem seemed to be solved and after we dried several parts of the bus with the help of a hair-dryer, it felt much better inside. We proceeded to Munich. It was originally planned to play a show in Andernach the next evening, but due to the aforementioned organizational issues it was canceled as well. We reached the Camping lot of Dachau in the evening and walked to the only restaurant one could find in the area. The menu consisted of traditional Bavarian food. A paradise for vegetarians! If one did not want to eat just side dishes, one could choose exactly one meal. We were not so enthusiastic about it, but at least we got our stomach filled …
After we enjoyed the idyllic atmosphere of a camping lot in late autumn while freezing at the shower (we asked ourselves who stayed here by choice!) the next morning, we went to the venue. I felt quite well again and Frank was on the mend, but Lisa started to sniff now. We worried for Sandrine – she was almost deaf and took most of my pain killers. So we send her to the doctor. He cut her ears open to get the pus out of it and gave her antibiotics as well. As a result, she could at least hear a bit and was able to play the concert. While she was at the doctor, we already made worst case preparations: We prepared special backing tracks and Luisa prepared for some solo-parts of Sandrine. We were really relieved that all of this wasn’t necessary in the end and we were able to play the concert altogether.
Nevertheless, the atmosphere of the concert in Munich was kind of restrained. When I announced Number in a Cage, the room was suddenly filled with a deafening silence. With our restaurant-experience of the day before in mind, we guessed that animal rights were not the best topic in conservative Bavaria. In contrast, Berlin could only get better.
And it was indeed: The audience in Berlin cheerfully enjoyed the concert. Meanwhile communication in between us got complicated. Lisa almost completely lost her voice, she could only whisper. In addition, Sandrine heard much less than usual. Therefore they always needed someone to shout Lisa’s words at Sandrine. We felt like in an old people’s home. That’s presumably how our life will be like in 40-50 years …
The next day we had a day off. While Lisa und Luisa met some friends, Frank, Sandrine and I inspected the environment to find some food. At first, we went to the next supermarket coffee shop to get some hot chocolate. As the heating in the bus was turned off, we were all freezing. We wondered why one put colourful moving heads on the ceiling. What was this disco illumination good for? In daylight, the effect is close to zero. Afterwards, we looked for a good opportunity to fill our stomachs. We found a nice Indish restaurant and had a luxury dinner. We were not in the mood for a sightseeing trip: It was rainy and cold and we all already knew the city. The rest of the time, I experimented with updo technics, using the hair of my band mates (Frank looked totally enthusiastic about it).
During the night, we drove to Budapest. Once more, our concert should be on a ship. But in comparison to Lille, this one was about five times bigger. When we arrived, we were immediately welcomed by the cameras of a TV team. They filmed everything we did. At least they didn’t follow us into the shower. (Although we would have preferred to use them before facing a camera. But one cannot choose everything in life.)
Frank and I were asked for an interview and the rest took care of getting some food. We hurried to get something in the stomach before we entered the stage. And again, the cameras were with us. We finally got used to it. You can find the result of the filming here:
After the show we had some time to explore at least the nearby part of Budapest at night. What a beautiful city! We just got a first impression, but we were really amazed! In addition, a talented violinist who was playing beyond one of the bridges created the perfect atmosphere to enjoy the beauty.
Overnight, we continued our journey to Padova. As a result, we arrived at noon and explored the city to find a lunch. We were back in the sun and got in holiday mood again. The really beautiful historic centre was really inviting. By chance, we found a small ice cream parlor that sold ice with licorice flavor. We really had to try it! The last hour before the club opened its doors for us, we spend on a green meadow. I used the time to finish what I already started in the morning in my bunk: To arrange “Oh mio babbino caro” by Pucchini for strings and me. We wanted to surprise Orphaned Land singer Kobi with it as a farewell gift in the last show, as he revealed us some days before that he was a huge admirer of his music. I still had a piano and vocals-only score on my laptop from a solo performance in summer, so I just had to add the rest. While Orphaned Land was doing soundcheck, I organized a print for everyone and during their show, we rehearsed it backstage. When they finished, we quickly covered the tracks of our plan and went out to chat with the great audience. They had been so warm hearted and enthusiastic during our show!
It was time for the inevitable event now: The last stop on our journey, Rome, which also meant the last concert of the tour. The whole day, the atmosphere was somehow strange. On the one hand, there were always some musicians missing, as we were shuttled in small groups to an old city mansion to take showers. On the other hand, the farewell feeling started, when we for example counted the unsold merch. In addition, there was no real backstage room. So we were all hanging out in the space of the audience and felt a bit lost and melancholic.
Finally, it was showtime: an incredibly enthusiastic audience celebrated with us the end of the tour. For “Sternennacht”, we had a special guest on stage: Matan from Orphaned Land came with Shakers and Sticks on stage and took over the percussion for the song. The audience got crazy and also cheered as hell when we played our aria for Kobi. We couldn’t help but joining them to sing and to dance one last time to the oriental sounds of Orphaned Land at their concert. Some of the bands that were the opening acts on earlier parts of the tour were also there. So it was a welcome and a farewell at the same time. Tonight, none of us wanted to go to bed early. We took some souvenir photos and clinked glasses with sparkling wine and chocolate. We only returned to the bus when the club owners shut down the light. We went directly to the airport and said goodbye to the Israelis. Afterwards, the bus felt somehow abandoned.
To drive home was one of the longest rides of the tour. After we had some sleep, we chatted with the Stimmgewalt-girls and guys. They were the only ones left in the bus beside us. We divided the last supplies left in the bus (at least what we didn’t eat during the day) an arrived late in the evening at our rehearsal room. The least glorious part of the tour was now ours: To carry all the stuff back in the rehearsal room and to put the rest of the merch to my home so I could count it. I felt asleep with the great perspective to take care of five weeks of undone paper work in the office. It was great indeed, to have a room for myself and the space of a complete bed after all the time. Don’t understand me wrong, I really enjoyed being on the road for a month with all those crazy musicians. But sometimes it’s also time for a bit of privacy. You can imagine how I passed the next weeks: my laptop was my companion most of the time. And then there was the China-concert-trip with Haggard, a very special and ultra-exhausting experience. But that’s another story.
The Coda still was about to come: We arranged with Orphaned Land to play a concert together on December 21st in Nuremberg. Finally, it was time for the metal versions. Therefore we disappeared in the rehearsal room with our guys. On tour, we spoke with the Orphaned Land-guys to play the strings and piano live on their show instead of the playback the used. As a result, we decided to test it with their song “Brother” in Nuremberg on stage. This meant for us some more hours in the rehearsal room.
We headed to Nuremberg in a great mood: The last concert of the year before we would spread and reunite with our families for a week of Christmas holiday. About noon, the Orphaned Land guys welcomed us still a bit sleepy and we started the day in a relaxed way. It was great fun to play with distortion and metal drums again! In addition, the audience didn’t seem to be in contemplative Christmas mood, too. They cheered loudly. Yeah! Slightly nervous, we were awaiting our second time to enter stage for tonight’s show. And then, Kobi took a bit more time than usual to announce “Brother”, while we quickly brought our instruments back on stage and played the last tones together for this year. It was a great experience and we had a lot of fun, but one song is over so fast! That’s why we disappeared again to the backstage area to put everything in its cases. After we finally found the time to chat a bit with the fans and the Orphaned Land guys, we went back home.
The conclusion: This year was the time to fulfill some of our dreams. But we won’t rest now. In the contrary: We tasted blood and we want more! Although we didn’t find much time to take care of concerts in 2016 until now, we’ll work on it now with double effort. We are already looking forward to play concerts in as many different places in the world as possible and to see as many as possible of you again! Have a great year 2016, perhaps it’s the time to fulfill some more dreams. We’ll reach for the stars, let’s see if we catch one!