Review time again - this time for Strasbourg, France. (My apologies again for any random thoughts or maybe being overly critical - I managed to catch some sort of evil flu/cold in France and it hit me hard today.)
I was in MUCH better shape for Strasbourg, there was a day off in between Reims and Strasbourg, giving me a chance to catch up on some much needed rest. I spent the concert day exploring the city, taking a really boring boat ride and putting my feet up when I could.
I have to say that angels were watching over me that day as well, except for being hit on the head, but more on that later.
Delphine and I were scheduled to meet up at the show somehow. She was getting into town in the afternoon and we were to wait outside together. There were a few other folks there too that I knew were going that I could probably of hung out with. Anyways after I heard from Delphine that she was about to arrive at the venue, I called a taxi (haha I learned from my mistake in Reims - I wasn't taking chances this time - expensive but at least I got there). Funny thing was - the taxi driver dropped me off in back of the arena instead of the front (hey maybe I looked important or that I worked there? heh). I didn't really notice the location until I got out of the taxi and he drove off. In about 60 seconds I saw Ben's truck (I remember it from Russia) and saw someone get out of the driver's side. I walked over there and yup it was the one and only Ben! He waved me over and after some little problems with the security not letting me in, I found myself escorted inside in front of the stage. I just kept on saying Thank You. I'll say it again - Thank you dearest Ben for the help. It was great meeting you again and I'm still buying you drinks in Munich whether you like it or not.
So here I was inside the venue (I can't remember the time, just that it was early) just hanging out in front of the stage. The Electric Ducks were doing their sound check - the naked angel fella was actually pretty cool (naked angel fella? Yeah he gets completely naked during the show and puts on angel wings - talk about a fallen angel *cough*) There was absolutely no phone signal, I could only text Delphine to let her know my whereabouts.
Then I saw 2 people who looked a bit lost and in awe - Italians they were (though living in Germany I believe) and one of them was on my facebook - and they will be at the Munich gathering. How fun is that? Seriously, all these random people that I know but haven't really met is absolutely FUN! We chatted and they shared their photos they wanted to get signed. It was eerily quiet, just the background music playing. I personally love the feeling and watching the roadies do their thing. Before I knew it the doors were about to open and Delphine was there and I had to make the decision of where to stand. (Yeah I should of thought of that before.) Unfortunately the barrier was far from the stage, so it was not an easy decision. In the front with my Italian friends or up closer to the stage with Delphine. Gah! In the end, Delphine pouted and convinced me to be up near the stage with her. It's a great spot to be but both spots are good I think.
What was great was that Delphine introduced me to her friends and suddenly we were a new family crowded together at the barrier. I'm glad I was AT the barrier because dang there were some tall guys behind me. David Cz was there and we had a discussion about how he needs to protect me from bad people trying to get items. More on this later.
Funny enough - right across from me on the other corner of the stage I saw someone else I knew - that I met when I was in Russia (actually we were next to each other at the show) was there. I didn't think she saw me, but apparently she did. I tried waving a few times but she was looking off into the distance I think!
The Strasbourg show had the energy that was missing in Reims. (At least for most of it.) The guys seemed to be enjoying themselves a lot more. Klaus' voice was spot on - I don't know how he does it, always gives me chills. The set list - was the same set list. Nothing to be surprised about. But I still think they have a good set list and if I hadn't seen it so many times, I wouldn't ask for different songs. But you know I always hope for a surprise. It happens sometimes!
The Kottak Attack was more on track and just as Delphine tells me "Wow, James seems in great shape tonight" that's when he almost forgot to do the whole Rock and Roll Forever thing. It was pretty funny. I still wish I knew why they changed the video - it just doesn't have the right momentum anymore. I loved that video but not in bits in pieces. But hey I'm not the one banging those drums, so it's not my choice to make.
Matthias did his solo - woot! He seemed to be full of life and energy, laughing quite a bit with Pawel.
I didn't see Rudolf too much on the right side of the stage. But he still seemed a bit "stiff" - I so enjoy copying his side to side (tm) motions during the show, but they were mini side to sides so I figure he is fighting soreness or an injury.
I'm still impressed by Pawel. The last couple of US concerts I saw him at - he had that generic "rock star" posing kind of stance - which just seems so fake. But these last 2 shows in France, he really seemed to connect with the crowd and have a lot of fun - probably laughing at us which is okay with me.
When Klaus dedicated Send Me An Angel to his Mom, that went straight to my heart because the next song was Holiday and that was the song that we played at my Mom's funeral as they took her casket out the doors. Always a sensitive moment for me and that song. Yes, if the moment strikes me, I'll be crying during that. So I can only imagine how Klaus feels. My heart went out to him and what he must be going through as I know it all too well, it's a pain that doesn't really go away, just grows a bit numb after awhile.
So onward to the throwing and catching of items (once again). Because I was with the diehard fans that the band knows pretty much (I guess I might fit right in there!), they were throwing things our way of course (love them for that!). Pawel threw me his towel but somehow it ended up going to Delphine. We both looked at each other like, "Wait, what?" But all is fair in love and towels right? I'm glad a friend caught things at least. Everyone was catching things around me and at one point James was throwing drumsticks in succession which I think was to finally get me to grab one - which didn't happen. But the girl next to me (Brigette I think?) gave me one she caught - it's nice to see that someone shares! Funny how things even out from one show to the next.
Well - I can't remember who was throwing what except I remember it was a drumstick from Klaus thrown in my general direction - I don't know who it was but whoever it was behind me that wasn't part of the family tried to grab it over my head (possibly they got it too I don't know) and before I knew it I had a very sharp elbow to the side of my head. I won't lie, that hurt like a bugger and I couldn't see straight for a few minutes. I kept on checking to see if I was bleeding, but luckily I wasn't. I don't know why I have had such bad luck lately but I'm now officially scared of trying to catch anything. I really hope that for Oberhausen and Munich the barrier will be closer and one of the guys finds a way to hand me something because I'm ducking from now on.
Well one can dream that they will hand me something at a future show anyways.
A whopping headache later but always happy to see the show and I didn't need stitches so hey all is good.
After the show, in a funny set of unplanned circumstances I ended up in the line to go backstage. And who do I find? Yet another friend who is from Germany but I had met in Reno and San Francisco. This world, can it get any smaller or what? So funny that I am bumping into people left and right that I have met or at least know through Facebook. I can only imagine what Munich will be like, the whole front 3 rows will all be someone I know hahaha.
Headed backstage while Delphine was getting kicked out - I felt so guilty but she kept on pushing me to go and that she would wait for me. I hate making those decisions but in the end I really wanted a chance to invite the guys to the Munich meeting in person if I could. So I pushed onward to the backstage world.
We were maybe a dozen or so folks all herded into Klaus' dressing room, but he had already left. Rudolf and Matthias had gone bye bye too. What a pity! James and Pawel remained. I got to meet the both of them and invite them personally to the Munich event so for that I am very happy. James was not having the most social of nights and left in his bath robe pretty quickly, but to his credit he did stop to say hello to me and 2 other people. (most others had left) Strange story there, there were a couple of people there that had the self righteous attitude of they deserved time with the band members or something (no not everyone just a couple of bad apples). It was downright rude. If the guys don't want to meet with us, that is their right. They don't owe us any of their time if they don't want to give it to us. This frustrates me, I know the guys are wise that not all fans are like that. I sit there humbled that I get to see them up close for a few minutes and don't expect anymore. But I guess that's me, I just try to treat them with the most respect as I can.
Now Pawel surprised me that night. I've only met him briefly in the past and when I did, he was very quiet and he seemed difficult to engage in a conversation. I always figured it might of been a language barrier. But it turns out his English is great - thankfully because I can't speak a word of his language.
He was a blast to hang around with, we talked music and the guys from the Electric Ducks kept popping in too. I'm not sure how long we hung out but Delphine was still waiting for me (Merci mon ami!) and at one point I had to head out, the guilty feeling that someone was waiting for me finally got my butt in gear. But wow that was fun, I love talking music and just hanging out like that.
Pawel's driver helped me find the exit, I was completely lost at that point and the arena looked like there hadn't been a show that night at all. It was kind of strange!
Okay that was a lot of typing and the medicine is kicking in, so I'm loopy from this very aggressive cold/flu I managed to get. Not sure what this is, but it hit me like a 10 ton truck and it better go away fast - there is too much to do!