Posted in hotel, music, travel

Expo Milan 2015 and Genoa

On the opening day of the Expo 2015 in Milan Nevio Passaro, my favorite singer/songwriter, had two concerts at the German pavilion. So we went to Milan and visited the Expo. A very big event, which we already noticed as we tried to book a hotel room. Hardly any rooms left and very expensive. We chose our favorite hotel chain NH, the nhow to be exact. A theme-hotel, very modern. In Berlin the nhow theme is music and the hotel color pink. In Milan the theme is fashion and the hotel color orange. We just had to see it. It felt like home.

We took a taxi to the Expo. Remember, it was only the first day, so our cabdriver didn’t have a clue where to drop us of. Very funny, we had to ask policemen and everything went the italian way. Piano, piano (slow and relaxed).

At the Expo we were overwhelmed. All kind of countries from all over the world, had their own little area. So just walking on one of the main roads, you went from Europa to Asia to South America. Really cool. And all the countries had their own kind of food. So knowing that, what do you want to eat? 🙂

The concerts were at the German pavilion, a real stage at a square. Just sitting there, you felt it was very international. Just looking around the people walking by had as many cultures as the countries displayed. Very impressing. Having a concert of your favorite musician in an environment like that, is really special. I enjoyed it very much, even though it rained a little bit. Extra surprise was a guest appearance of Domenico Peronace. He and Nevio sang their song ‘Piccolo re (Make love not war)‘ together.


We wanted to stay in Italy a few more days, but because Milan was so busy, we took the train to Genoa. A smaller city at the coast. The train ride was amazing and Genoa absolutely beautiful. With the mountains on one side and the ocean at the other, Genoa has it all. Our NH Collection hotel was at the water, next to a pirate ship. Genoa is a good city to just walk around, pretty sights all around and not too big. Colorful and beautiful. Great few days there.

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Posted in groupie, music, travel

Two in a row, isn’t that boring?

Artist: Gregor Meyle
Where: Waldbad Dünnwald Köln & Kloster Schiffenberg Giessen
When: September 3 & 4, 2016

Have you ever tried it? Two concerts of the same musician in two days? I did. Actually, I did more than that 🙂 I’ve been on tour. But let’s just keep with the two concerts in a row. Recently I went to two summer concerts of Gregor Meyle. Isn’t that boring?

Noooooo. Every concert is different. It’s live, anything can happen. And music hits you differently every time. It all depends on your mood, your thoughts and how deep you get pulled into the concert. Let’s take these two concerts. The first one, in Cologne, was in the middle of a forest. Very relaxed, parking close to the concert, a small restaurant where we could sit and have a drink, waiting for the entrance to open. The audience was happy to sing along. Or better said: every now and then they just started singing spontaneously. With a good band on stage, that’s not a problem. They played along with everything, having fun. It was just a very happy concert, everybody went home feeling good. Perfect.

The next day, in Giessen, the concert was at the garden of a monastery. Parking was far away, you had to drive up with shuttle busses. And right when we got out of the bus, walking to the entrance, it started raining. Really hard. For about half an hour. It was really raining cats and dogs. Fortunately it stopped before the concert started, so we could just enjoy the music. The audience was cool, but more reluctant. And I, personally, was more focused on details. I was standing a bit higher, close to stage. Almost felt like being on stage with the band.

Musically the concerts might have sounded alike. Not really. Different band members on stage, slightly different set, in Giessen a musical guest. But even if the concerts were completely identical, it would have felt different. And good music never bores. Good musician never bore. And Gregor Meyle and his band definitely belong in that category.

So.. if you want to try for yourself, choose wisely 🙂 And have fun! You’ll see that it’s not boring at all. If I have the chance, I’ll do it again. And again. And again.

For a live video of the concert in Giessen, click here.

Posted in coco, column, groupie, music, travel

100

Even on the day where we all think about New York and all the people that died, in the towers, in the planes, in Washington, the brave firefighters, good things can happen. Happy memories can be made, even on September, 11th.

Like for 5 years. In Dresden, Germany. A big tour. Nevio Passaro toured with his new album ‘Berlino’, 16 concerts all through Germany and Austria. And I was at 15 of those concerts. Unfortunately I had to skip the one in Vienna, because after 3 weeks I had to report back to work. That tour was a big adventure. On the road for so many days, so many concerts… absolutely fantastic! (more about that in future posts)

September 11, 2011 was a day like any other in the tour. We all got to Dresden okay, 3rd concert of the tour. Funny location name: Tante Ju (Aunt Ju). My best friend and I knew it wasn’t just another day. We had been following Nevio to his concerts for several years now and by coincidence we got to count the times we saw him live. It turned out, even though we didn’t always travel together in the first 2 years, we had the same amount. So together we did a countdown to number 100. And in Dresden the day had come.

The concert was a dream! Right before the concert we said to each other: ‘Let’s party! This is our concert, our 100th. Today is the day.’ And we did. We went all out. We partied as if there was no tomorrow. And so did Nevio. He didn’t have a clue what day it was, that we were celebrating, but he partied with us. All the way through to the last song, ’50 special’, a party to end the concert and everybody went all out. Until he said ‘I can’t do more’. He was at his end and so were we. This concert shouldn’t have last one song longer. We gave all.

Afterwards we went backstage, we owed him an explanation 🙂 And we just wanted to celebrate with him. Because 100 is not just a number. In every concert, in every time we met, there are memories. Memories of fun times, memories of good music, memories of traveling where the music send us, memories of friendships, memories of love. Just thinking about all the places we travelled to, all the miles we drove, all the times we laughed till we cried, all the times we actually cried because a (new) song touched us straight in the heart, all the people we met and all the emotions that came our way (really good ones, mostly). But also getting to know the man behind the music. The person with all his dreams, his talent, his drive, but also his imperfections and emotions. The guy with the voice that just touches me, time and time again. It didn’t feel like 100 and at the same time it felt like way more than that. So we toasted on our  milestone. Con amore.

That was 2011 and today I’m remembering this day and smile. I will never forget this concert, this day, but we shouldn’t live in the past. And we don’t. It went on and on and on. More memories were added, more emotions were felt, more music was shared. And even though it’s not always a world filled with roses, we keep growing. And someday we’ll celebrate another milestone and another one after that. I’m looking forward to it.

Posted in music, travel

Hard Rock Cafe

If you like music and you want to go out for food, where do you go? Hard Rock Cafe has it all. Loud music (don’t expect to have a silent conversation), music memorabilia and good food. With restaurants all over the world, I love finding this restaurant during one of my city trips.

There’s always something to see and lots of people around, happy waiters and a good atmosphere. For Europe it’s a very American restaurant. Big Burgers, Ribs, a lot of food and free refills. Yep. European are not used to free refills. We pay for every drink we order 🙂

The very best thing to Hard Rock Cafe, wherever in the world you go, is the Hot Fudge Brownie for dessert. Okay, admitting, you better share it with somebody, because it’s big. But it’s worth the eventual pain afterwards. The warm brownie, the cold ice, the sweet whipped cream, chocolate sauce and don’t forget: the cherry on top. Just what a girl needs!

These pictures are from a recent visit in Cologne, Germany.

Posted in groupie, hotel, music, travel

Going on tour…

Musicians going on tour prepare for months. So do their fans. Well, they should, anyway. Obvious preparations for fans are of course buying tickets, looking for hotels and make sure you have enough battery for your camera. I know now that preparing for a tour takes more than that, but back in 1997, on my first concert tour, I was young and unexperienced. It was fun though 🙂

Bobbie Eakes and Jeff Trachta went on tour in Holland during the christmas period. Holland is not that big, so  everything could be done from home. Pretty easy. Only the second concert was in Switzerland, so we had to travel for that one. No problem. We wanted to do all the concerts, so no question about if we were going to Geneva. After the first concert in Holland, we got in the car and started driving. Musicians were flying, but we took the car down there. In the middle of the night, from Amsterdam to Geneva. I drove the first hour, getting to Belgium, so my friend could sleep. Then we would switch for an hour and after that sleeping was no longer allowed. We had to keep each other awake. Young and unexperienced, but it worked fine. At a gas station we bought something for breakfast and we drove through France. That was the best way, because we didn’t want to buy the vignette you need to drive on the highways in Switzerland. Geneva is right at the border of France, we would be fine. (young and unexperienced)

By the time we got close to Geneva, it was already the end of the morning and we still had to pick up our concert tickets somewhere in the city. And then we hit traffic. People going skiing holiday over the christmas holiday. On the highway we hardly got very far. So I got out the map and looked for a short cut. (yes, map… it was way before car navigation systems). No problem. I found one. Way shorter and away from this traffic jam. Did I already say it was late December and close to Switzerland? Yeah, so we took the shortcut, which took us over the mountain, instead of around it. My french was not that good, but the big warning signs with ‘dangereux’ were pretty clear. It started snowing and of course we didn’t have snow tires. With no time to get back in the traffic jam, we drove over the mountain. Very very slow.

We got to the hotel in one piece. Too late to pick up our tickets, but fortunately the tour manager told us to just come to the location, he would make sure we would get in. So we showered and went to the location, where we could just stay inside. Everything fine. Well, not everything, because we never had the chance to exchange money (yes, back then we didn’t have euros and even then: Switzerland still has its own currency). And in the location they didn’t take credit cards. Which meant: nothing to drink or eat. After having just a sandwich at breakfast and being up all night, that was not funny.

Again we were saved by the tour manager. Spaghetti and cola backstage. Felt like heaven. Till you take the first bite and Jeff appears next to you: ‘Hurry girls, the concert is about to start’. Spaghetti turned into fast food 🙂

The concert was great. Great duets, christmas spirit and great voices. Enjoyed every minute of it, but afterwards we were just happy to lay down in bed and sleep. It was a very eventful day. We wouldn’t have missed it for the world, but I’m sure glad I’m more experienced with going on tour now, so that things go a bit more smoothly (with of course some exceptions, but that’s what makes life so interesting) 🙂

 

Posted in groupie, music, travel

Nevio Passaro: Dresdner Stadtfest

Artist: Nevio Passaro
Where: Dresdner Stadtfest
When: August 20, 2016

This concert was not a coincidence. Nevio has a special thread to the beautiful Dresden. He’s had several concerts there in the last 10 years, but what’s even better: he’s a special ambassador for the HOPE Cape Town, with an annual charity gala in Dresden. After his trip to South Africa in May, this concert was also meant to raise attention to this good cause.

The annual Canaletto (the city festival of Dresden) was blessed with good weather, lots of people enjoyed the many performances all over the town. Nevio’s concert was at the Theaterplatz, saturday, late afternoon. A beautiful square, relaxed atmosphere, big stage and great music. Forget everything and just enjoy!

He started with ‘Sano Egoismo’. A beautiful song, that makes people listen and relax. After that the party started. A city festival needs uptempo songs. Singing along, dancing, having fun. And that’s exactly what Nevio delivered. With songs like ‘Bellissima’, ‘Giralo’, ’24 Reasons’, ‘Vedrai’ and ‘Amore per sempre’ he treated the audience with summer feeling and fun. The result: the people wanted more, much more! Unfortunately he only had limited stage time, but he was not in a hurry. Backstage he talked to all his (new and old) fans, signed autographs and took pictures. Very relaxed, just having fun.

During his concert Nevio also told about the projects he visited, while in Cape Town. Townships, schools, hospitals. All the places HOPE Cape Town helps people who are infected by HIV. And to bring Cape Town to Dresden, he brought along the song ‘Welcome to Cape Town’, which children over there had sang to him several times. Here is a small impression of that song, but be warned: it stays in your head the whole day 🙂

Rehearsal video ‘Welcome to Cape Town’ 

While I was to busy dancing and singing, I forgot to take pictures 🙂 So here’s a picture of Nevio and band, right before the concert. Thanks to Nevio for the picture!

Nevio and band Dresden 2016

Posted in groupie, music, travel

Hot ‘n cold

Every now and then you have one of those moments. You know what I mean, one of those moments where you realize that your thoughts are controlled by that what you’re used to, what you grew up with. Until something proves you wrong, in a very funny kind of way.

One of those moments for me happened some years back. A friend and I drove from Los Angeles towards Las Vegas. We did have a stopover planned on the way. A concert. I don’t remember the exact city, but it was a Collin Raye concert. He had invited Bobbie Eakes for a guest appearance, because at that time they hat a duet together ‘Loving this way’. So we were really looking forward to it. We knew Bobbie for some years and it’s always great so see her perform.

A bit early we drove up on the parking space and realized the concert would be outdoors. My very first thought was to look up at the sky and hope that it wouldn’t rain that night. In my home country that’s always a concern when you go to an outdoor event. Hopefully it doesn’t rain. The foolishness of my thought hit me hard as I opened the door of my air-conditioned car… it was hot! Very very hot! It was so hot we couldn’t even stand being outside in the shadow for more than a few minutes. A new experience. And at night the temperatures don’t go down the way they do back home. So, at the concert I did look at the sky again. This time not scared that it would start raining, but actually hoping that it would. Definitely learned something: things are sometimes different as you expect them to be!! 🙂

Check out the video of ‘Loving this way’ here.

Posted in hotel, music, travel

Gregor Meyle: Sommerkonzert 2016

Artist: Gregor Meyle
Where: Flughafen Paderborn Lippstadt
When: July 30, 2016

Although Gregor Meyle is not new to music, he is new to me. I heard the song ‘Du bist das Licht’ and just had to go to one of his concerts. And this time the timing was right. On the way back from Berlin, we booked an arrangement to go to the concert in Paderborn. The Airport hotel sold us the tickets, together with a room in the hotel, dinner before the concert and brunch the day after. It turned out to be a perfect deal.

The hotel was just a few minutes walking away from the concert. We had dinner at the Quax Hangar. Barbecue with salads, more than we could eat. With a view of the concert area. Relaxed and easy. And good food!

The concert was relaxed as well. Although there were lots of people, it didn’t feel that way. I like that. That way you can just focus on the music and the artist. At 20.00h Gregor got on stage, with his band. And if I say band, I mean band. Besides himself, at least 9 other musicians. Violin, Flute, Saxophone, Drums, Keyboards, Bas, Guitar and other instruments. Great! It gave them a chance to play different styles. Where else do you dance the sirtaki, hear irish influences, country and all that to german lyrics? Very impressive!

Besides great musicians, I really liked Gregor’s voice. Dark, edgy. The song lyrics gave me goosebumps. And to top it of, he’s very funny. I laughed out loud a couple of times during the concert. Funny stories, funny dancing and funny entertainment. He had me in the concert all the way. The whole 2,5 hours. Great!

Afterwards we bought several of his albums. Next time we come prepared, because there will be a next time! He made it to my list of favorite musicians, ‘Keine ist wie du’ 🙂

Posted in groupie, music

Robbie Williams: Gelsenkirchen

Artist: Robbie Williams
Where: Veltins-Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
When: July 10, 2013

My very first Robbie Williams concert. What a day!
If you best friend is a longtime Robbie Williams fan, wants to go to this concert with you, but wishes desperately to stand near the front of the stage, so she can finally see Robbie up close (and not from a sitting spot in the back of a stadium), what can you do? Prepare! So, that’s what we did. And of course we were really looking forward to it.

At six o’clock in the morning we arrived at the stadium and as expected: we weren’t the first ones. No problem, we don’t have to be first row, we just want one of those wristbands, so we can go in the area close to stage. We were prepared: we brought one of those sport mats, food and drinks. We even brought magazines and a travel game. Of course all things we could leave behind, because our car was parked further away and we don’t know what will happen in the afternoon. The weather was fine and the people around us relaxed. So the first hours were pretty okay. And then you have to go for a bathroom break and you figure out how unprepared you really are. The mobile toilets were provided by the organization. The first time you go there it’s dirty and when you’re lucky there’s still toilet paper. But as the day goes by these toilets change in disgusting, stinking, unhygienic places. So we made a note to ourselves: if we ever were to do this again, you must bring toilet paper, hygiene towels and disinfecting lotion.

Letting the people into the stadium was easy. Big thanks to the organization, because a horde of women, who all want to stand in front of stage, can be really scary, but they had everything under control. We walked into the stadium, got into the closed of area and set down again, about 4 rows from stage, also very very successful and happy. Another few hours of waiting and I already started to feel the first pains. Never knew sitting all day could hurt. I wanted to stand up, but knew that once I would do that, there would be no chance of sitting down again. A big dilemma.


At eight o’clock, everybody is already standing -so I wasn’t the only one with the sitting dilemma- it’s time for the supporting act: Olly Murs. Okay, I have to admit I had never heard of him. I was just hoping and praying he would be good enough to catch my attention. And he was! Oh yes, he was! Loved his songs, was wondering a bit about the tight trousers, but his energy was contagious. A woman who was standing beside me, had been complaining about why people need support acts, they would be so unnecessary. After Olly’s first song, she was in love and had completely changed her mind 🙂

At ten minutes to nine I hit bottom. Every muscle in my body was ready to go home, take a shower and lay down in bed. I couldn’t stand on my left foot, I couldn’t stand on my right foot. My neck and back were killing me and I just wanted to cry out to Robbie that he should have mercy and cancel the show. I was ready to go home.
At nine o’clock the first notes of ‘Let me entertain you’ start (thank you Robbie for being so punctual). I’m still hurting, but slowly my attention turns towards to show instead of my physical uncomfort. Just a very few moments later Robbie is on stage, starts to sing and encourages the public to ‘bounce’. And I am. Bouncing. Like a young girl I’m jumping and screaming. That is why Robbie is one of the best entertainers of this era. Apart from 2 or 3 songs I didn’t really care for, he had me in the concert, concentrating on everything else and not my pain. The show was incredible. Bigger than big. And yes, he might not be the best singer, but it just doesn’t matter. It’s Robbie Williams!


The last song, Angels, was the highlight. A sea, no an ocean of people singing the song for him, Robbie crying on stage. And we were all crying with him. It was a magical moment, one to remember.

And then he’s gone and people start to leave. I honestly don’t remember how I got back to my car, but I swore to myself that I would never do this again. It took me days to recover and then all there was were great memories. And two new tickets, for another Robbie concert, in Hannover, a few weeks later! Pain goes away, memories stay. One of the great aspects of life!

Posted in groupie, music, Uncategorized

Nevio Passaro: Slovakia return

Artist: Nevio Passaro
Where: Dom Matice slovenskej, Komárno, Slovakia
When: July 2, 2016

For the second year in a row, german/italian singer/songwriter Nevio Passaro went to Slovakia for a concert in Komárno. Last year we all had a blast, so the expectations for this year was very high.

After the girls of SleÄŤna Loreline entertained the audience with their wonderful song and dance, the stage was free for Nevio and his band. This time he just brought two musicians: Robert Kerner (guitars) & Jan Siekmann (drums, percussions). It was clear those three haven’t been playing together for that long, but with some charm nobody noticed the small mistakes.

Nevio started the concert of all by himself, at the piano, with one of his most beautiful songs ‘Sano Egoismo’. Immediately he had the audience in his hand. Listening quietly to his wonderful voice, but also singing along wherever he wanted it (and more). Besides his own songs, like ‘Sento’, ‘Lo dico a te’, ‘Amore per sempre’, ‘Vedrai’ and ‘Questo Sogno’, this time Nevio also sang some well known covers like ‘Yesterday’, ‘One’, ‘Hallelujah’, ‘Angels’, ‘Just the two of us’ and ‘Ain’t no sunshine’. Especially for the people who didn’t know Nevios songs so well, but also to great pleasure of his own fans, who travelled to Slovakia, especially to see this concert.

After a hot concert, which was not only due to the temperature in the room, Nevio came back on stage for two last songs. First he made the audience sweat with a very fast version of ’50 special’ and then he gave the people all goosebumps with a very acoustic version of ‘Nel blu dipinto di blu (Volare)’. A fantastic ending to a great show. Love the audience in Slovakia for their enthusiasm!

Grazie di cuore!