Thursday, March 19, 2009

Kamelot Euro Tour 2009 - And So It Begins...

Kamelot 2009 Euro Tour - March 17 and 18, 2009

And so it begins... or maybe it began 10 hours ago when my phone alarm woke me... wait a minute, the phone alarm didn't exactly wake me. I woke up a little earlier but the alarm DID go off exactly when I finished doing what I was doing and at the precise time I set it before I went to bed. But that's not important. You don't need to know what I was doing when it went off or why I woke up before the programmed time. Zoe knows but she can't talk. She's a dog and besides, it's none of your business, which makes no sense since, obviously, I didn't need to mention it here. Oh... forget it... on with the story...

I pried myself out of bed at 7:35 AM, (that would be 5 minutes after the alarm went off) took a bath, checked my pack job from the night before and was picked up by SuperShuttle promptly at 9:30. Two seconds after being dropped off at the airport I realized I had left my cell phone on the seat of the van and watched in horror as it drove away. Now, this is a really big deal... a damn big deal as I am a techno geek. I don't just have a “cell” phone. I own an EVERYTHING phone. My whole life, past, present and future is on my mobile phone. It's not a crummy iPhone either. No sir. They suck. I access email, Internet, program my contacts, driving directions (yeah, I actually have the whole of the world in GPS maps on there, including western Europe, where I'm headed right now), Bluetooth my laptop to it to get on line... I do indeed mean that everything that is me, is on that phone... the most technically advanced phone that exists. I CAN'T LOSE THAT PHONE and certainly not even before the adventure begins!!!

I did step into the road and wave, like “that guy”, you know, that guy who just lost his phone, at the van as it drove away. Damn. Like the dude driving would actually see me. Of course all the people around me saw. He didn't. It reminded me of the time Igor, Anthony and Emmanuel got out of the cab in Barcelona (if you don't know where that is I'm not going to tell you because you are laame and don't deserve to know) and 5 seconds later realized that we left the cam in the taxi. Anthony actually ran after it waving and yelling but that didn't help. 100's of wonderful photos were lost forever. Man, there were some great pics on that thing... me playing guitar on the plane that was diverted to Madrid when the Barcelona baggage handlers went on strike... all the pics of the beginning of our trip, Anthony and I at a locals cafe's posing and pretending to cut embaraco (I don't think I spelled that right but it's a leg of a certain breed of wild boar that is displayed and thinly sliced and very tasty. But yeah, I flashed back to then and I was really ready to kill myself for being so stupid.

So... I ran down to the SuperShuttle reservation desk, told them of my dilemma and thankfully they were able to call the driver who returned my phone to me within 10 minutes. I felt a little guilty about not tipping him again (I did give him $5 extra for the ride) but decided it would probably be better for his soul to have done a good deed for no reward (shut up... I would have been happy to do the same for him).

The flight to ATL was uneventful except for the fact that I ended up sitting next to a really big guy that was seriously in my space. We had a nice conversation and the flight to Atlanta was only an hour. No big deal.

I got off the plane, took a leak, walked to the “Gate E” terminal and started looking for a currency exchange booth and an ATM. I found both pretty quickly. For $215 and change I got $140 Euros and another $60 of US cash from an ATM. I found a nice quiet place and got on line (using this wonderful little computer) for a few minutes and very shortly after, got a call from Casey (Kamelot's drummer) who had also flown into ATL from Tampa. We met at a bar next to our gate and had a few beers and then boarded the plane... Delta Flight 24 to Dusseldorf, Germany.

About a month ago I selected my window, exit row seat for my flight to Dusseldorf and what the fuck... I get on the plane and there's another huge dude in my space. I give up. Fine, I moved. So he has the whole fucking leg room space to himself... lucky fuck. I personally have the middle front row section of the plane... the first row. That's pretty cool but the arm rests don't go up and I can't really stretch out but at least I'm alone so hell with it. I can't believe it though. The guy is still awake and playing card games on his MacBook. I will admit, I am impressed that his computer still works. If it were a PC there's no way his battery would still have power but I'm pretty sure my new little netbook could take his machine. I have a 9 hour battery life on this thing. Funny though... he has his screen dimmed just like me, to make the battery last longer. It's been about 5 hours into the flight so far. Hmm... my machine says 6:44 left. No way he has that much time left... silly card player. Why don't you just enjoy all that leg room... my leg room...

Back to the story... A few hours ago I had dinner... on the plane... “Chicken or pasta”? “Chicken please”. I just finished eating. DAMN!!! Someone just farted. It's times like these that I just wish they allowed smoking on the plane. Fuck. Fortunately most everyone around me is asleep or they'd think it was me but it wasn't. It was the elderly lady behind me. I know it is because it happened several hours ago and she jumped up to use the rest room and stayed in there way too long to just be taking a piss. I digress...

There's a movie playing. I think it's called, “The Secret Life Of Bees”. Fine. Whatever. I'm flying to Europe and I don't have my own little TV in front of me? What the fuck is up? All I know is, it's obvious that the actresses in this movie are famous, black pop stars... female but the sound doesn't work in my seating row so I can't watch the movie. I put my complimentary earbuds on my food tray which was picked up by the airplane waitress for disposal. The cool thing is, I

actually have the front row seat and the video display is right in front of me. But, I can't hear it,

of course so it's pointless and serves only as a blazing light to disturb me in the darkness of this overnight flight to Germany. I do wonder if this is a good movie I'm missing. I have my own entertainment so I watch last week's Battlestar Galactica... again.

I can't sleep on this flight. At about 1:30AM Eastern time we land in Dusseldorf. It's 6:30AM there. Casey and I (and everyone else who was on the plane) wait for just over an hour before the luggage finally starts to trickle in on the conveyor in the baggage claim. Yeah... over an hour, for real!!! Once the first pieces come out, it takes an additional 30 minutes before we have all our bags. Jeroen Brom, the tour manager, calls Casey and tells him he's waiting outside. Fortunately

he was an hour late arriving to pick us up. Eventually, long after everything else, my guitar tech box finally appears which greatly relieved me. Jeroen comes in, and I find he and Casey grabbing a TON of luggage from the belt. It turns out that we had to pick up Thomas's guitars, an amp and whatever. Unfortunately Jeroen has a typical little Euro car so guess who is sitting at the airport with a stack of luggage waiting (so far for an hour) to be picked up? Me, of course. I was

told it would take about an hour and a half so here I am. I'm really tired, hungry, very thirsty and would like to possibly take a leak. I could eat but I don't want to leave the stuff unattended to use the rest room. So... I'm just going to sit here and wait. It's been a really really long day so far, just over 26 hours. Another day at the office

I suppose... nah, I'm in Germany. This isn't another day at the office, so I push the gear over to Anadolu, a little deli cafe' and order a nice cucumber and tomato salad and a bagel with a slice of cheese and tomato on it and a bottle of water... with gas. I settle down at a little table in the middle of the walkway and eat my good lunch. I feel much better. An hour and a half has passed... and I wait...

And so begins day one of my life on the road... Kamelot 2009 Euro Tour... it gets better... I promise!

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