Sunday, October 27, 2013

Dusseldorf day 1….

We had a 10am train to Dusseldorf booked for this morning, we were all up and out of the hotel at just after 9am and took the train over to the main train station. Wendy and Chris were on the same train as us, we were due to arrive in Dusseldorf around 3pm.

There was lots of sleep going on on the train during the journey, i watched a couple of films on my laptop and wrote a couple older blog entries.

Kami and Wendy resting her foot,           Chris was in awe of the Berlin station!    Kami and Chris            Guess who!

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Stuart and Ole were on the train an hour behind us and had text to say they were on their way, Frank was also on the train with them. I'd found out hotel a few months ago right in the centre of Dusseldorf and mark had booked it for Him and Beth, Kim and Jo and Kami and i. frank had booked the same hotel, Wendy and Chris were in a hotel a stones through away and Stuart and Ole were in other place close by.

The first thing we noticed when we came up from the underground train station was how warm and humid it was here! It was pretty cold in Berlin when we left and it was nice to feel the warmth for a change! Of course the second we came out of the station there was a huge sign in front of a store with a picture of a smashed iphone screen! How did they know Wendy was here! It took us a while to get our bearings, my Google maps was messing up on my phone and i had Beth in one ear, Kami in the other and everyone else standing around waiting for me to show them the way!   After walking for 50 yards one way, we turned around and started walking the correct way! Took us a while to get on the right track but we got the eventually and walked through the shopping area of Dusseldorf with our suitcases in tow, i looked like the Pied Piper with a line of rats following me! Kami took over the directions and became the Pied piper for a while while i dropped back and became a rat!

Five minutes later we could see the hotel and everyone relaxed a little. After checking in the hotel Mark buzzed through to our room and asked if we all wanted to do a boat tour. Sure, we said, i checked into it online and tried calling the number on the website but there was no reply. Kami and i took a walk up by the river where the sight seeing boat went from and found the last one left at 6:30 and there were plenty of places available and we didn't need to book. We let Ole and Stuart know and message Chris and Wendy to tell them we would meet in the lobby of our hotel at 6pm. it was now around five and Kami went off to the store to pick up a few snacks and drinks for the boat ride while i went back and took a shower.

The river walk                                                               Twisted spire on the church

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Wendy text me to say her foot was pretty painful after being on it all day and the walk from the station so she was going to sit out of the boat ride but Chris was going to go. Myself, Kami, Kim, Joe, Mark, Beth, Chris, Ole and Stuart all met up in the lobby and walked down to the boar. It was  abeutiful sunny evening, the temperature had dropped a little and was just right, the breeze while out on the boat and the company made it the perfect 90 minute trip, well apart from Wendy not being there.

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While the 9 of us sat on the boat, eating fresh bread, Salami and cheese and drinking wine and beer while watching the world go by, i text Wendy to tell her how what an awful time we were having and how everyone was sea sick and not enjoying it at all! It took her a while to realize that i was only trying to make her feel  better but hey, she had just had her blonde highlights done before coming on the trip!

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It was so relaxing that after a day of travelling there was a little more sleeping going on the boat after the food and drink!

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There were some amazing building  along the side of the river/

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We found a bar along the riverside that did some fantastic cocktails, we sat there and watched the sun go down and even though we had all been together for a few days now, it was nice to actually sit down without having a show that night and have some quality time to relax and talk together. Wendy was on her way to join us, earlier in the day after arriving in Dusseldorf, Chris had found a place that sold crutches to help Wendy out. 10 minutes later she came hobbling up the river walk waving her crutches in air!! Of course we all had to have a go on the crutches and it was the second we saw Wendy that she got her nickname for the rest of the trip, Tiny Tim!

Tiny Tim arrives!                                         Watching the sunset from the bar drinking Long Island Iced tea!

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Of course, EVERYONE had to have a go on the crutches and a couple of cocktails it was amazing how Wendy could walk without them! Its funny, you can take Roger away from us all for one night but you cant take the Roger out of the geeks! No Wendy, its a crutch not Rogers machine gun!

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None of us had had lunch, just a few Harribo gummy bears on the train and the snacks on the boat. it was gone 9pm now and we were all hungry so made our way up to the old town to find somewhere to eat for dinner. A couple of weeks before the trip, Kami had been to see Jimmy Buffet with her mom and dad and for whatever reason she had fallen into the grill and burnt the side of her leg! she had been changing the bandage a few times during the trip and her wound was healing and getting better but imagine our surprise when walking up towards old town when we saw this graffiti on the side of a wall!! it was identical to her burn mark!

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We didn't realise that of course it was going to be as bury as it was in the old town and trying to find a restaurant that would seat nine of us, outside was near on impossible! The girls waited at one end of the street while, myself, Chris, mark Joe and Stuart walked the whole length trying to find a restaurant, we turned right and saw a great place with a table for four free and a table for two free, it had a nice big outdoor covered patio and was just what we wanted. The waiter made a few changes to the tables and told us a table nearby were ready for leaving and he would let us know when it was ready. Mark, Chris and I headed back to get the girls, it was then we saw Stuart and Joe were missing! there's a surprise!! We got the girls and by the time we walked back to the restaurant the tables were all arranged for us but we still hadn't found Joe and Stuart. A few phones calls and 25 minutes later they came wondering up to take their places at the table after letting us know they had been back to use the bathroom at the hotel!

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We had a fantastic meal, the food was great, the company was unbeatable and the laughs and jokes we had at Tiny Tims expense were priceless!

Beth and i passed on the dessert as we had spotted a Gelato place on the corner just before we got to the restaurant, however it was gone midnight before we all got up and left the restaurant and the place was closed for the night! we took a walk round to try find a bar or somewhere but gave up and all headed back to our hotels and on the way passed some great bronze statues of Roger and Dave!:) Of course the biggest geek on the trip was all over the Roger one!

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Album below with pictures from day 1 in Dusseldorf

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Berlin, show day…

One thing i love about the shows and the tour is not just the show itself, not just seeing the people at the gig but arranging a pre show meet up bar for everyone to sit and have drinks and eat and catch up for a couple of hours before the show. Today was no different, a few weeks ago I’d booked a table for 8 people at the hard rock Cafe in Berlin. Ole had booked a table too for 8 too and there were a few others that were just going to turn up on the day. The table was booked for 3pm and we were all going to leave the hotel at 1:30 and head out to the Hard Rock together.

We had the morning free today and no one had any set plans. Beth had gone out to see a few more museums, Ole was out with his mum sightseeing, we bumped into Kim and Joe in the store across from the hotel and they were going to see the cathedral down the street.

Kami and i headed down the street where Kami bought a couple of  T Shirts and some postcards. A couple of blocks further down was the Radisson Blue hotel which i had read about on a few websites and in a few guides. It has one of the largest indoor aquariums in the world and definitely the largest in a hotel lobby.

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The aquarium was huge! it also had an elevator that went up the middle of it so you could see all the fish all the way up. It looked like there was a kid school day out as the elevator was full of school kids all jumping and running about inside with excitement.

After sitting in the hotel lobby for 20 minutes and watching the fish we headed outside and started walking towards the Brandenburg Gate. i called Kim and Joe and they were having a look around the cathedral just down the street. They were then going to head to the Holocaust memorial. Kami and i walked down past the cathedral to see if we could see them, we couldn't so we then decided to take one of the rickshaw cycle taxis down to the memorial to meet up with them.

 

We called Kim again when we arrived but they were at the Brandenburg Gate and didn't know if they would make it to the memorial, they were literally just around the corner form us! ah well. The memorial is a fascinating maze of huge dark grey concrete blocks, all different heights and sizes, the paths that go through the blocks both east to west and north to south get lower and higher as you walk along them, its a very eerie feeling walking around which i guess is what they wanted to create and they did a good job.

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Ole was wandering around too and told us that the anti graffiti coating that was put on the concrete blocks was actually made by the same company that made the gas that was used ….. well i don't have to go into it, you know what it was used for but what a strange fact!

Kami and i walked back to the train station down past Brandenburg gate and took the train back to the hotel, chilled out for a while before going down to the lobby at around 1:15 to meet everyone else to head out to the pre show meet up.

Wendy was late again! however this time she had an excuse, she had been to the bank across the street and tried to use her ATM card to take out some Euros, unfortunately she hadn't let her bank in the US know she was in Germany and the ATM had eaten her card! (this was the second thing of three to go wrong after smashing her iphone glass last night) We all suggested she went back to the bank to explain and tried to get them to retrieve her card from the machine. The rest of us headed out to take the train.

30 minutes later i had a text from Wendy to say she had no luck getting her card and they had taken a taxi to the Hard Rock and had just arrived. Ole had booked a table for 8 people and i had done the same online a few weeks ago. Frank, Wendy, Anneli, and a few others were already there when we got there and they were a lot more to come! Id been e mailing a reader of  my blog called Raphael over the last couple of months, he was due to attend the show with his father, however he wasn't able to make it so had come alone. I’d given him a little information on how and where to meet Roger and the band and he was staying in the same hotel. I was looking forward to meeting him face to face for the first time.

 

Jens, Tina, Phil, Laila, Kevin, Philippe, George, Elzira Nick Waterfall and his dad, and lots of others all knew about the meet up, some of the people hadn't seen each other for over ten years! Emil hadn't seen Joe since 2002 and didn't even recognize him when he first saw him!

After eating some lunch and drinking a couple of bottles of wine between us it must have been around 4:30 when the doors opened and everyone else flooded in. They had all been at Roger hotel and got things signed and pictures take.

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This was probably one of the largest meet ups of us all seeing each other again since the meet up at JJ Moons  at Wembley show in 2002!

 

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Raphael IS Spartacus!!                                    Was great to finally meet you!         Chris and Roger, or is it Roger and Chris!

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Beth and Jens                                            Beth, Jens, Tine,Kevin,Kami and her meddle!

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Around 5:00pm we all headed towards the subway to take the train to the venue, it was a 20 minute ride and as there were so many of us it was inevitable some of us would get split up, we “lost” Kim and Joe which was now a normal occurrence and after Mark and i walking the streets and platforms for 30 minutes we found out they were on a train to the venue ahead of us!

Tonight's venue was an outdoor stadium, but not just ANY outdoor stadium, it was the Berlin Olympic stadium built for the 1936 summer Olympics. During Rogers show when the 3D columns are projected during the second half of the show, this is the venue that those columns were copied from!

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The stadium was pretty impressive from the inside.

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Everyone was in different seats at tonight's show, however, Mark, Beth,Kim, Joe, Kami and myself were all in the 9th row dead centre on the aisle, Ole and Stuart were a couple of rows in front of us and Matt and Phil were a few rows behind.

I met up with a few friends inside the venue, Matt Johns and his friend had flown over from the UK to see the show, i also had a chat with my friend Thomas Mueller who i hadn't seen for a while. Its just shame we all don't get more time to chat before the shows! pat Lennon came out to see Mark and Beth as they hadn't met since the shows in Australia last year. Wendy and Chris had hospitality passes for tonight and Dave K was giving them a stage tour for the first time.

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Dave teaching Wendy how to play the guitar, she plays it about as well as she sings! NOT good!

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Wendy and Chris were sat in where Hitler sat! i kid you not! Although the stadium has had a new roof and being refurbished the exact same box and seats where Hitler sat in the stadium were now occupied by Wendy and Chris! They did have a great view of the venue and the gig but were not with any friends as they were elevated up off the floor to the left away from the floor area.

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The show itself while great was a little subdued, the crowd remained seated for most of the time, only standing during Run Like Hell, Comfy Numb and towards the end of the show. At intermission Kim,went to get some drinks and came back with some soda in a very substantial plastic cup! The cups had a return value of 2 Euros on them! i saw a couple on the floor and picked them up and put them under my seat, hey it was 4 Euros! I also got a text from Wendy at intermission telling me she had fallen and sprained her ankle, she had been so pre occupied with looking at the pig behind the stage while she was walking down the concrete steps that she had totally missed the last step and gone over on her ankle! Dave K tried to get her some ice backstage but apparently its not something they have there!

Good job she didn't miss ALL the steps!                                                                                       Wendy’s foot backstage!

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Second half of the show seemed to be over before it even began! This was the first time Kami, Mark, Beth, Joe and Kim had seen the show in Europe and they were more than impressed with the tweaks that Roger had done. Whilst it wasn't my best show, i enjoyed it because of the company i was in and the people around me. To be really honest i thought the performance was one of the worst ones I'd seen! the band just didn't seem together tonight, everyone seemed a little off and a bit looser than usual but that was just my opinion. I noticed it right form the opening of In The Flesh!

Ole, Kami and I                                        Kim, Stuart, Ole and Kami                        Kami, myself and Kim at the show

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We hung back in the venue a while to let the masses leave and it was then that i started to notice just how many of those 2 Euro plastic cups were lying around on the floor! they were everywhere,not one to miss the opportunity i started to get a stack of cups going in my hands, running along the aisles between the seats picking one up here, one up there. It wasn't long before i had over twenty in my arms and by the time i got back to the bar area to “cash them in” i had 27 cups, 54 Euros!!

me and my cups! i could see cups on the floor even when walking out of the venue

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As we exited the venue it was a lot clearer to see the columns around the venue and how they were indeed the ones that the graphics were taken from in the show.

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Everyone headed towards the train station while Kami and i headed over to another entrance where Wendy and Chris were sitting on a bench waiting for us. This was the first time i saw Wendy’s ankle, OUCH! it didn't look good at all. The of us hobbled to the train station to meet up with Mark and Beth, propping Wendy up on the way and then cooling her ankle with a cold bottle of coke as we waited for the train on the platform.

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We took the first train that came along, only to find that 20 minutes later it stopped abruptly at a station, the lights went out and there was an announcement over the loudspeaker, i guess it was the end of the line for this train We “hopped” off and waited another 25 minutes for the next train which took us right back to Alexanderplatz where we walked back to the hotel, had a couple of drinks in the bar and then all headed to our rooms.

The geek squad at it again!

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Berlin day 4 pictures album:

Berlin show and pre show pictures album:

 

Wendys backstage and show pictures album: