Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The making of the Athens banner

This video shows how the banner at the Athens shows was made.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Roger speaking Greek to the audience after the last show in Athens--the last show of the European tour.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Athens days 3, 4, and 5

I couldn't believe all the donations I received through PayPal. There was nearly $550 in total! It was enough to get Kevin a flight, hotel, and ticket with some money left over to feed him for a couple of nights. I sent Kevin a text straight away. It was 9 A.M in Germany, and his birthday celebration was the night before, so I didn't expect to hear back from him until later in the day. 
We had three days and two nights. That was definitely a novelty!
I hung out at the pool most of the time, nodding off on the sun lounger. Kami had a lie in the first day, and I think it was around 2:00 when she made her way up to the pool--it may have been a bit earlier. I told her about the donations for Kevin, and said I was waiting for him to call.
When he finally called later in the day, he was nearly in tears. He couldn't believe that he could go to the show after he had determined it was impossible. We discussed details such as where the best place to fly from was, where he wanted to fly back to, and when he wanted to fly. I then logged onto Expedia and booked him a flight and hotel package and sent him confirmation. He would fly in tomorrow, stay thee nights, then fly back to Frankfurt.
Pigs over the Acropolis!
Day 4
Kevin was due to arrive about 6 P.M. Kami and I hung out by the pool most of the day and arranged to meet with Monika on the hotel roof at 8:30. Phil and Laila spent the day sightseeing on one of the islands, but we arranged to meet them at a restaurant as soon as Kevin arrived. I could have sat on that rooftop all day and night--the view was amazing, and the temperature from 8 P.M. onwards was just right with gentle breezes. Then the sun starts going down, and the lights come up on the Acropolis a half hour later.
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After Monika and Kevin arrived, we enjoyed a bottle of wine, then headed out to the metro. Three stops later, we got off at Monastiraki Street and met up with Phil and Laila just around 9:45P.M.
Monika, Kevin and Kami           Sunset from the rooftop
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We picked a bar to sit at for a couple of drinks. Kami, Phil, Laila, and I had such a good meal the night before that we all decided to go back to the same restaurant. It was after 10:30 before we ordered food. Kami and I had the exact same starter and entree from the night before, as did Laila. It was a touch cooler tonight, but sitting out in the relatively warm Athens air was great. I couldn't think of a better place to be and nicer people to spend it with! We finished eating at midnight, just as it turned Kevin's birthday. I took a picture of him at 11:59 and one of him at 00:01 just to see if there were any changes.
Kevin at 59 years old                     Kevin at 60 years old                     Kami gives Kevin a birthday hug
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We sat outside people watching, then one of the street vendors came up to us with a toy loud haler like Roger's from Waiting for the Worms. We didn't expect it to be a fully working device that not only made your voice louder but also recorded about 5 seconds of sound. Phil started the bargaining from 15 Euros and Laila ended it at 7 Euros after the guy had already said no to 8 Euros! Phil proceeded to perform Roger's part for Waiting for the Worms and recorded it to the unit. He played it back, but pressed a wrong button. It was only then that we found out that it actually some preset recorded sounds included. Imagine our faces when we heard “Ole, Ole, Ole” come shouting out of the front of it! We were in hysterics.
Phil and his new toy.                          Kami and I                                        Kevin, Laila, Phil, Monika and I.
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Phils loud haler

After we all pretended to be Roger, passing the loud haler around, we made our way back to the hotel. Since we had missed the last metro, we walked the 30 minute trek back. Monika peeled off to her hotel while Phil, Laila, and Kevin went to a bar for a couple of drinks. Kami and I walked back to the hotel to get to bed around 2:30 A.M.
Day 5
I woke about 8 A.M. at first. Kami and I arranged to meet up with Phil and Laila at 9 A.M. for sightseeing, but when I logged online and saw Phil posted a picture to Facebook four hours ago. That meant he was still awake at 4 A.M., so I guessed he wasn't up for sightseeing at 9:00. I fell back to sleep and woke again around 10 A.M.
We were all planning to meet up at the Hard Rock at about 3 P.M., so Kami and I hung out at the pool until we headed into the centre of Athens around 2 P.M. to get some more postcards for Kami before going up to the Hard Rock. Phil and Laila were already there with Monika. Matt from Guildford sent us a message earlier--he flew back to the UK the day after the 2nd show with no intention of coming out for the 3rd show. However, he sorted things out with his boss (whom I'm meant to thank here for letting him come out--I know she reads this blog!) and was flying in for the gig. Kevin messaged earlier to say he was running a bit late. Matt and James arrived, then Analie, who flew in the night before from Portugal to meet up with everyone. James from the USA also flew home after the first show and was due back today (the perks of working for an airline!)
The birthday boy arrived wearing a T-shirt that several of our friends made to give him at his birthday party a couple of nights ago in Germany. It was clever. On the front it said, “I've been mad for F_cking 60 years,” and on the back it looked like a list of tour dates, but it was in fact birthdays, countries, and names of all the people had the shirt made.
The front                                 The back                                Pre show meet up at the Hard Rock                
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Kami and I gave Kevin a card, James had brought him a bottle of wine, and Phil and Laila gave him a CD. He was so pleased to be in Athens with us. Two days ago it was only a dream, and today that dream had come true.
We had lots of fun playing like little kids with the loud haler in the Hard Rock. Phil wanted to take it into the show to start the "Ole, Ole, Ole" chant after Outside the Wall.
Kami getting into the mood for the show      James and his worms!
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My friend Nick and his wife Celise were due to arrive between 5:00 and 6:00. However, we left at 5:30, so I messaged them to meet up with us at the venue. Anelie called in at her hotel, saying she'd meet us at the venue later. As we walked to the metro, we saw a few TV vans gathering in the square where the riots had taken place as well as some riot police and shields!
Riot bus                             Riot police                          James excited for the show!  Phil and Kevin in the Metro
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We arrived at the venue around 7:00. I waited for Anelie while Kami picked up our tickets. Kevin went with James to help him search for floor tickets. We all met inside the venue in our usual place around half an hour later.
Date of the last show as seen on the Metro train                Bar named Echoes on the way to the Venue
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Roger's Athens intro video

Athens 2011

Translation below thanks to Eddie Loukopoulos

Good evening Greece, welcome! ,

(then saying it louder after the "he'll edit all that crap out (lol)"

we came here..

"what's that..?"

we came here to build.. THE WALL!

we want to make a film with you, and us. But I need your help. As it's written in your ticket.. no mobile phones or cameras. Please..!

Please, if you have a mobile phone or a camera with you, turn it off and leave it in your pockets.. (it's the part that he says with a "god this is fucking hard" voice, it's hilarious!)


It is hard! Yeah, it is! (hahahaha!)

I remember the Dark Side of the Moon (he means the concert) in 2007..

I remember what a great audience you were..

For that, we wanted to return to Athens!

So, have a great time. Let's go! (raises fist)

Also, when you see flowers on the track Empty Spaces, please put on your masks.. alright?

"That's it"!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Athens 2nd show

Kami, Matt, Phil, and Laila headed out to the venue early today. They left the hotel around 3:30 to go see if they could meet Roger when he entered the venue. I stayed at the hotel pool and chilled out, sunbathing and dipping in the pool for a couple more hours. Kami and the others did see Roger going into the venue. However, he and the band arrived an hour late, so he didn't stop. He waved apologetically to everyone from his car and immediately went in to sound check.
Dave K. kept promising to give me a tour of the stage over the past few weeks, but due to both our schedules, we kept missing opportunities. Today he sent me a text to say he was free to take Kami and me around tonight. I headed out on the 7 P.M. metro to the venue and arrived around 7:30, met up with Kami, and headed into the venue. I received a few more texts from Dave to say he was due out of his massage at 8 P.M., then that the massage lady was running late, and we should meet him at hospitality about 8:20.
At last night's show, there was a banner hung up just below the balcony at the rear of the venue about 80 feet long belonging to the Greek Pink Floyd fan club. Tonight, however, it was hung below the balcony along the side of the venue. Security were in the process of removing it when we arrived--they tried to explain to the Greeks that because they were filming each night and using clips from all three shows, this could really mess up the continuity of the DVD!!
We met up with Dave around 8:30 and headed up towards the stage. Just as we were walking up the steps, Khuna, the stage manager, asked Dave to make his tour quick, since the camera crew were preparing to film a few things onstage before the show! We had five minutes to look around Dave and Snowy's “rig.” The first thing I noticed was just how small the stage was and how small the audience looked! It was now about 8:40, 50 minutes till show time, so the venue was pretty full. Even then, the audience just looked ever so small from the stage. The area where Dave plays looked so compact--it really surprised me, because when you're watching the show from the arena floor, it looks huge!
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Dave’s Rig                                                                                               Are all these your guitars ?
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Snowy's rig                                           Me and Rose           Kami and Rose             A deflated “Mother”
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We headed below the stage to have a look around and passed “Pink” along the way, who looked tired and glad it was the next to last show! It's actually bigger below the stage than it is above! We had a quick chat with Robbie who was lurking under there doing his vocal exercises--I thanked him for the tour. We wandered around for five minutes just taking it all in.
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As we made our way towards the other end of the under-stage area, we saw a small production area where the DVD staff had set up to monitor to watch the filming out  front of the stage and around the arena. It was then we saw what they were actually filming from the stage. We watched on the monitors as a local female staff member onstage instructed the crowd how to use the masks. She first asked them to hold the masks in front of their faces and raise them up and down slowly. This looked fantastic on the monitors we were watching. She then asked everyone to hold their masks and move them around in a circle from side to side. At that point, we followed Dave out to the front of the stage to watch the filming, and I took a few pictures of the crowd pre-show with their masks on. Dave was really surprised by the effect, and took a few pictures of his own!
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We stood with Dave for five minutes watching the above before he made his move back to wardrobe to get ready for the show. Kami and I stayed at the front to watch them complete the filming, and then made our way over to Mat, who came in early to find a great place on the rail right in front of Dave and Snowy.
The crowd were really psyched up after the pre-show filming, and even though Kami and I didn't get to take part in it, if it makes the DVD, at least we know we were backstage watching it being filmed :)
Roger came on to a rapturous applause at about 9:15 P.M. I didn't notice any mistakes during the first half of the show at all--no feedback or missing notes like the previous night. Roger spoke to the crowd a little in Greek before Mother, then carried on in English with his normal, "Miserable, fucked up little Roger," speech.
One thing I didn't mention about the first night was the crowd after the line “No Fucking Way” comes up, on the wall. Tonight was just the same as last night, and on the left side of the stage it said “Fuck The Government” in Greek. The crowd went absolutely wild--I mean WILD! I've never heard a crowd like it at that point during the show. Obviously it worked a lot better in the non-English speaking countries when they used the local language, but due to the current state of the Greek economy and government, the line hit home a lot more than it did in any other country!
The film cameras were all in different places tonight. Gone was the large camera on a boom at the mixing desk, as was the huge area on the arena floor that was cordoned off for it. This also had the effect of leaving people on the arena floor much more space. We were stood on the rail, front row, and there was at least a five foot gap behind us! It was a odd, but great! There were two guys dressed in black on the stage holding cameras--the camera on the floor in front of the stage had gone for tonight's show, but there were a couple of cameras either side of the arena about half way back, plus a couple running along rails. The behind the wall camera on a boom that came over the top had moved to the right side tonight, too. I counted eight or nine in total.
Kami went back to hospitality at intermission while I stayed at the front with Mat. Phil and Laila were in seats on the lower tier towards the back.
I’d received a message from Kevin earlier in the day to say he was in Germany with Jens and Rainer and others for his birthday in 3 days time, and he was really sorry, but he wouldn't be making it to the last show-- it would be his 60th show on his 60th birthday! I was really disappointed--Kevin and I have toured Europe, shared hotel rooms, and seen Rogers shows together since 2002, and I knew how much he had been looking forward to seeing the last show on his birthday. Before the show I had the idea to put a message on my blog asking for a small donation from people to try get a flight, hotel, and ticket for Kevin to come to Athens. All through the first half of the show, I heard my Blackberry in my pocket vibrating, and kept glancing now and then--$20 donated, $10 donated, $100 donated--donations were flooding in, and I couldn't believe how quickly the money was raised. I was a touch skeptical when I made the initial post, but thought if I don't ask, I don't know. As Kami put it, Kevin's a great guy and has always been the first to step in and help others without asking for a thing. Tonight, hopefully, Kevin would have all his favours returned!!
Kami came back just before Hey You with a couple of bottles of water from hospitality, and I downed these in seconds. The venue was air conditioned, but it was still hot--not as hot as the first night, but the outside temperature in Athens hasn't dropped below 35` (95`) since we arrived, and I'm not used to this sort of heat at all!
We were unable to see Dave K. during Comfy Numb because we were on the rail, but we heard him, and that was enough! The crowd went wild at the end--I can only imagine what it must feel like to hear that applause and know that it's all your doing! Must be an amazing feeling. Half way through the track, though, the confetti started to come down from the ceiling! At first I thought it was on purpose, but the look on Roger's face said not. I looked over at Liam (front of House security), and he had his head in his hand and was shaking it. Word had obviously passed backstage pretty quick as a couple of crew members came out through the black curtains and see what was happening with their own eyes. Chris Khansy (Production manager) came running out 2 minutes later just as the last few confetti shapes were hitting the floor, he held his hands in the air,looked at Liam and i saw him mouth, “what the fuck happened” Liam then made hand gestures  showing him that the whole of confetti had just come down. Chris looked up and i could see he just couldn't believe it had happened. He quickly disappeared back behind the curtain and i can only imagine what words were had with whoever's job it was to look after “the button”!
The whole of the stage was covered in confetti, if they thought they had a problem with one large banner messing up their continuity in filming then they had a whole new problem with this!!
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The stage opened up and the instruments rose out for the penultimate time, the band walked out kicking the confetti as it was the first time they had seen confetti on the stage at this point of the show too, having being playing backstage and coming out they just looked at each other in a confused state!
I LOVE the second In The Flesh however after hearing and seeing the crowd reaction to Run Like Hell the previous night i was just wishing ITF to be over and hear those words “are there any paranoids in Athens tonight” sure enough Roger shouted into the crowd and Dave started to play the opening note of the track. Roger held his hands outstretched waiting for the beat to start his clapping but the crowd had started before him, i looked around and everyone was clapping but all at different times. Roger kept his hands outstretched and shouted” together” and then moved his hands together, within a single second the whole audience were clapping in unison, it was an amazing sight. Everyone in the lower and top tier were standing up and due to the lights in the arena being a lot brighter than normal it lit up the faces and white palms of everyone and it was just a sea of clapping hands!
Even though Jon, pat, Marky and Kipp had their sunglasses on i could see  by their smiles that they were as amazed at the sight of the fans clapping as i was, i couldn't help but keep looking back thinking everyone must have stopped by now but they hadn't!
The crowd were still buzzing for the rest of the show! as were the band, it was a faultless performance of the remaining tracks. After Roger shouted “tear down the fuckin wall” he stood there for what seemed like several minutes, he normally walks down the steps when the aeroplane onscreen comes with its machine guns blaring, Pompey turns on his flashlight for Roger to see the steps and he walks down, however tonight he just wanted to stay there, walking back over towards the middle of the stage before realising he had only a few seconds left to get off the stage before the wall came down and come down it did!!
The first 3 rows at the top of the wall came down as normal, there was then a delay, the rest of the wall then teetered backwards looking like it was going to fall behind, however it then started to move forwards, when i say the whole of the wall i mean like 9 rows high and about 30 bricks long, the largest single fall I've ever seen then occurred, people looked at each other in disbelief and scrambled back from the rail to avoid getting hit, i could see crew behind the wall trying to stop it falling forward but the wieght was just too much, it was already past the point of no return and momentum just took its cause. Liam was stood right infront of us and got totally covered in bricks, he was NOT happy. Several bricks  fell into the crowd and not just onto the front row but well onto the 4th 5th and even 6 rows back. Liam scrambled over to try get the bricks back, beckoning the Greek fans to give them back, they were having non of it and a few seconds later he gave up and let them have them. They were ripped to shreds, people pulling large chuckns off and throwing them into the air, passing what was left of the brick further back and the whole thing happeneing again till the two bricks were just destroyed and all you could see was a mass of fans holding small bit of brick in the air waving them about in triumphant fashion!
Roger came out onstage and looked at the crowd ”where have they gone” he said jokingly.
The band had to do their best to walk onstage and stand around bricks that were still hanging over the edge of the stage, the crew had cleared a path along the front the best they could but certainly weren't expecting to have to work this hard to clear all the bricks. Roger thanked the crowd again in Greek and introduced the band as they all left the stage with hug smiles on their faces, GE Smith looking the happiest ive ever seen him and doing a full 360` twirl upon hearing himself being introduced by Roger.
Its hard to decide which was the best show, the previous night or tonight, last night i think the crowd were just a touch more into it but tonight's mistakes and the wall fall made it that bit more special, if i could see either show again i think id opt for tonight.
Stage totally covered in bricks even after they had started re building i
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We al headed out of the venue unable to believe what we had just seen and looking forward to doing it all again for the last show in 3 days time!
kami in her mask             Some of the Greek fans                            Shame the front row didn't have these hats!!
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Album of pics below:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

And then it was over...........

Great show last night, ninety five shows, six months, hundreds of friends and thousands of memories. Thanks to everyone for making it a fantastic journey..

More Athens reviews soon.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Athens sight seeing day 3

So before getting back from the show last night we arranged with Phil and Laila to meet in the morning at 8:30am at the top of the Metro steps to go up to see the Acropolis early on before it got too hot in the day. We were in the lobby at 8:30 but it wasn't looking like Phil and Laila were awake as  a couple of messages and texts went unanswered. We headed out on our own a couple of Metro stops to the Acropolis station and stopped at a small cafe to get some breakfast. Like in most major cities there were pigeons all around coming up to us on the floor looking for scraps of break, i kept pushing my foot out and scaring them away. However there were also little sparrow type birds that were even braver than the pigeons, these would land on the table we were sat at and wait for scraps. Kami was all “oooohhs” and “awwwws” at the little birds and wanted to feed them, however she didn't have to they fed themselves! I was looking away at the time when i heard this almighty screech and looked up and saw Kami jumping back in her plastic lawn chair with huge shocked expression on her face. What happened i asked ? “didn't you see it she said”  See what ?  one of the birds had flow and landed on the table and then flown up right into her face as she was eating her cheese and ham pasty, landed on the pasty and tried to eat some!! i laughed as she  turned the pasty round and refused to eat that side!

We made our way up to the Acropolis and purchased a combination ticket Which allowed us to see all the sights around but didn't include the new museum. Its clever what the Greek have done, a lot of the things you see around the acropolis are re constructions and they've put the originals in the museum and then charge you extra to get into the museum.

Reconstructed statues, originals in the museum

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It was already getting hot even though it was early in the morning, we took the steepest and “worst” route to walk up to the top but it was worth it.

                                            Kami breaking the wall         Amphitheatre                          VIP seats!

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Took us about 45 minutes to get to the top of the hill, we Kept stopping on the way up to take pictures and also look at the hundreds of wild cats that roam in the grounds.

Full Album of pictures below:

After spending an hour or so up the top we made our way down to the bottom, we didn't take any water up with us and there were no refreshment areas on the way up or at the top, this was great in a way as the whole area is VERY clean and we didn't see a single plastic bottle or plastic wrapper. There were water fountains at the top with warm and not so nice tasting water coming out though! When you walk back down your taken a different route to when you walk up, as we got towards the bottom there was a sign that said “frozen lemonade” with an arrow pointing to the left. we (and almost everyone else) headed towards it and ordered one straight away. It was a little cabin that had probably 12 to 15 ice making machines with Strawberry, Orange and Lemonade frozen ice. We did as everyone else did and ordered one without even asking the price, 4.50 Euros was a bit expensive but nobody seemed to care, it was THE most refreshing drink i think I've ever had. In the time we sat outside to drink it i counted at least 30 people walking away with them in their hands, if they think Greece is broke and their economy is bad they should try asking the guy that owns that stand, he isn't doing too bad at all!

We headed towards the new museum they've had built and its a fantastic new building. As you walk towards the entrance there's huge areas of glass on the floor that you walk over and as you see though below you see all the ruins that they found as they were excavating to build the museum! Apparently they are hoping within 12 months time they will open it up and you’ll be able to walk around them underneath.

Glass floors at the Museum entrance   Ruins below the museum site             Should be able to walk round  soon

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We spent a good hour in the museum before meeting up with Phil and Laila who had got up late and made their way down to the museum. We were ready to head back to the hotel to chill out for a while as it was getting pretty hot, not before Kami getting some postcards and me having some ice cream though.

I lounged up on the rooftop pool for a few hours in the afternoon, Kami sat in the shade and wrote her post cards and we both just relaxed. Phil and Laila made their way over later on in the afternoon and we arrange to meet up to go out for dinner at 8pm

My view for the afternoon          Tanning my legs                     Kami writing postcards

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We met at the top of the metro steps, took the metro a couple of stops to a place where Phil and Laila had eaten earlier in the day. It was  just a long street full of restaurants and bars and we did a little bar hopping along the way before settling down to eat at one we thought looked ok (and it was) AT the second bar we stopped at within 5 minutes of sitting there we saw two of the waiters come rolling out of the door fighting with each other! other staff came out, broke it up and held the two guys back from each other. it was a lot more entertaining than the classical guitarist that was employed by the bar to serenade people outside. 2 minutes later the two guys came out again, one shirtless this time and trying to take swipes at each other while the others holding them back! we joked how tonight's entertainment should have been written on the chalk board outside where it said happy hour and had the drinks menu! The guitarist didn't see the entertainment side either and went into the bar on his knees pleading with them to stop! he was shown the door pretty quick as was one of the guys who had been fighting and from what we could tell he’d been either fired or asked to go home for the night!

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The food was fantastic but as with most Greek food, its served late and always lukewarm, never hot. They don't understand the concept of serving food so everyone can eat together or that people might like food hot when its arrived! they must either not cook it too long or it sits on the top waiting to be served a while before its actually brought to the table, I'm thinking the latter as the food is always cooked and does taste fantastic!

Kami and I                                                Laila and Kami                                         Our mixed grill

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We left the restaurant around 11:30 and walked back to the hotel, took us around 30 minutes to walk back, would have been longer if any of us dare have gone in the fountain that looked ever so refreshing to have gone in! Phil dunked his head in but that was as far as anyone was going.

Kami, Laila and Phil by the fountains

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