:: Amaranthe Tour Pt.2 ::
This is the continuation of the ”Amaranthe” tour debriefing that started in the last blog entry. So if you want the full story; you’ll have to go back! Also if you want to read up on the current Roger & Sonic Syndicate situation you can find a link here.
Woke up and the Spinal Tap factor was present again. I eventually found my way into the venue after testing the construction systematically for weaknesses. I never attack the same place twice. I remember. Eerie, isn't it? Well inside the place, I found it pretty cool! The venue had a big stage and also a spacey backstage / catering area. It also served food that was well above tour standard. The only setback today was electricity. On the entire backstage / catering floor there was only one power socket and multiple power blocks connected to it going out to ~20 laptops overburdening and tripping that one poor, overworked fuse constantly. I lost count on how many times I reset flipped that fuse that day and I’m surprised the whole building didn’t burn down.
What did that Apache cheif yell when he jumped off the cliff? Boogaloo!!!
Backstage or IKEA!?
Guys, I really don’t want to know.
I spent a lot of time here.
The other con of the place was that rats and pigeons infested the showers. I don’t know about you but I tend to think twice about showering with animals, which are leading the bracket of the most disease spreading creatures on the planet. So I let that one pass. Instead, Olof had a friend / tour guide type of person in this city, who kindly took Olof and Morten and me on some sightseeing around the city of Zagreb.
Harbinger Vs. Deathwing
The Brown House
Inspecting my fiancées interests.
It was a nice atmosphere seeing the Xmas decorations in the city. I just about missed the whole Xmas hysteria in Sweden, so this kind of made up for it. I have to admit I’m kind of fond of Xmas, and everything that goes with it. We also checked out the Zagreb Cathedral and St. Mark's Church on our sightseeing spree. The cathedral was a majestic sight indeed, and was very similar in structure to the Dome of Cologne if I’m not fatality mistaken. Olof also spent some time in Bethlehem before we made our way back to soundcheck via some kind of duck serving pizzeria.
Bugger, I left my Konsumcard in Sweden.
"You shall not pass!!!"
Oh, I know this one! Paladin, Rogue, Priest right!?
Some kind of alien inscription.
Olof Christ Superstar
I wouldn’t look all too happy either, pouring water from my mouth day in and day out.
Minced Donald on a slice!?
Back at the venue, I once again warmed up my vocals while Death Destruction played their set. There was a convenient balcony tied to the backstage area so you got an awesome overview of the stage. Their set was massive. If you get an opportunity to the check them out, DO IT!
Our set went fine. Everything was feeling more and more natural. There wasn’t much to talk about after the set. We just hung out after. Later on Jake E and I checked out the "LEMMY: 49% Motherf**ker, 51% Son of a Bitch" movie. If you missed that one, check it out. Fucking genius! When the others continued to party into the night, I retired to my bunk, as a boring, old, quiet and exhausted trooper (there were some shady rumors about an Xmas tree on the bus, which I completely missed?) Anyways, only 140 km to Ljubljana in Slovenia, ride on!
Amaranthe - Zagreb
Meanwhile in the coffin
Same old! Wake up, find catering and kill time. This day didn’t really leave any lasting impressions on me. Not because there was something wrong with the location or anything, it was just a rainy, pretty average day. Sitting around all day backstage and trying to keep up to date with what was going on with the “Hell Frost” release back in Sweden. I remember I spent a significant amount of time on Skype with Ella that day as well, which was nice for a change.
Another backstage area
Drum & Guitar
We ran into some “problems” during sound check this day. Some weird feedback was pestering us and we couldn’t seem to find the source. Frankly, we had no idea where it came from and tried hard to stamp out the problem but even when we shut down all the electronics on stage, the signal still randomly appeared. Then all of a sudden Anders from Hammerfall pops up from nowhere with a harmonica, playing a melody and ending it with the very same “feedback” tone we thought was a gear related issue. Got us good! Haha.
Where did the people go?
Working on the feedback issue.
Smoking on the cigarette like a deutsche leute.
I was out in the crowd filming Death Destruction during their set and right after the gig we had a table booked at a nearby restaurant. Johan impressed me with his appetite!
Fuck Yeah Hellfire!
I had a bad day at the job today unfortunately. The crowd was cool and the rest of the band rocked to the core, but I just couldn’t get in the mood that day. I felt like I was standing in my own living room rather than being at a metal concert. I didn’t get the needed adrenaline boost. It was unfortunate, and I was very disappointed with myself walking off stage. Oh well, everyday isn’t always the best. 403 km to Passau in Germany!
Amaranthe - Ljubljana
Amaranthe - Hunger (Ljubljana)
if they make it through the barricade, there’s no way they’ll pass the umbrella.
Passau, Part X:
There’s always something with coming back to Germany. We toured there so much with Sonic Syndicate it does feel like a second home to me. You kind of know your way around there and everything feels more familiar somehow. I’ve never been in this particular city, but still; just wanted to point that fact out.
Today’s schedule, no surprises there.
This was the biggest venue of the part of the tour I participated in. It was more like a convention hall. It was very spacious and had a nice backstage area as well, with extraordinary good catering! Good food is the case touring Germany most of the time. However, today I was busy doing a lot of “Hell Frost” interviews and didn’t set my foot outside the venue at all. Even though there was a rumored McDonalds outside, I held my ground. Sound check was coming up and I found myself a place to do my vocal warm-ups without annoying too many people.
"Hi, I'm Brian."
Vicious Sound Check
Olof's so br00tal he's flipping fans.
There was not really much to word about today either. I was busy working with The Unguided matters the entire day since the WiFi was pretty solid. Work, eat, getting ready for show pretty much.
Haven’t seen this shirt in ages!
I’m sure the insurance company would be interested in this picture.
The gig was really good! I enjoyed it a lot. The German crowd does not disappoint, ever! Once again I dressed myself up in another trinket of luck, the “Betrayer of the code” shirt, hehe. I’d consider this date another one of my favorite shows from the tour. Actually, all shows after the Passau one were really awesome.
Amaranthe - Passau
Straight after the show, we mingled with the fans. We bumped into a cool talkative American guy, who worked at some military outpost close to Passau. Hardcore Amaranthe fan, and really appreciated the show, and that he got to meet the band. It’s easy to spot honest and true luck from the fans when you see it. I also kept myself busy with writing some more The Unguided interviews. Frankly, I was kind of getting on top of that, which was a nice stress-decreasing factor. I also checked out HammerFall’s gig that night as well!
We had 1,541 km to Barcelona, which was the next show, including an evening stop in Lyon, France. So the coming day would be filled with a lot of traveling.
My bunk buddy Brian stocked up on sausages.
And this was the schedule for the travel day. Apparently I’m suppose to go postal and strangle everyone…
When I was sleeping I woke up from a weird noise. Behold what my eyes got tainted with when I pulled up the curtain…
Travel Day - Lyon, Part XI:
On this day off, we got to park our bus outside a venue in Lyon that held a show with Swedish singer-songwriter; Lisa Ekdahl. This appeared a bit odd, seeing I thought she only wrote songs in Swedish and had no idea how that would appeal to a French audience. But apparently she has songs in English as well, which still doesn’t say much about why it would be attractive to French people, seeing most of them refuse to talk in English anyway, hehe (no racism intended!) Yes, I had my fair share of being denied of buying subway tickets in Paris, since I couldn’t speak French. I also had numerous ticket receptionists pull down the window on me, upon discovering my foreign language. HOW RUDE!
Anyways, the Lisa Ekdahl show looked sold out and I saw a couple of songs before I got bored and took on a journey to Lyon city to find something to eat with Jake E. Really beautiful city, I have to give them that! Old buildings illuminated by colorful modern lighting, such a paradox but still a spectacular sight. We also walked through Cité internationale. This was really mind-blowing as well! Went through all this splendid sightseeing just to end up at a McDonalds. After, we returned to the bus and then called it a day, hehe.
Nice Parking Asshole!
Still 639 km left to Barcelona! No time to spill. Apparently the temperature was around 15 Celsius degrees, which would make it, well… 15 Celsius over Passau’s climate. HURRAY! I readied my summer shorts.
Barcelona, Part XII:
Forth time for me in this city and quite right, it was beautiful weather! After a couple of minutes in the dark venue I really wanted to spend some time with the sun. Brian, Johan, and I went out to the beach. I wasn’t supposed to be that far but I think we went in circles, and really never found anything save from a good walk. Oh well, Brian found a dead bird that he was eager to show us. Both Johan and I were shouting in unison: -“PUT THE BIRD DOWN!” Like he was holding a gun towards us. Whatever is more disease spreading than just a bird is probably a dead bird. Self-preservation and proximity awareness of the pandemic source engaged automatically in our reptile brains!
Meanwhile at the venue
-“Excuse me tall building, can you see the beach from there? La Playa!?”
Overcoming our ornithophobia we headed back to the venue like fallen soldiers, without as much as seeing a drop of salty water. The HammerFall sound check was going on upon our returning. The support bands plus crew all tried to squeeze ourselves into the tiny backstage area. The food wasn’t all too inspiring either, to be fair. The cheese and ham sandwich “surprise” all the way pretty much.
Bill & Bull
The show was pretty awesome as well. With two drum kits on a not very deep stage, there was limited space but the crowd rocked and was really into it! I was undeniably confident with the set now as well, which felt nice. They, however, kept swapping songs out (to rehearse them for the London headliner show.) So I was definitely more secure on the songs which were fixed in the set, for the last 6 shows, but still it wasn’t a disaster with the other tunes.
Amaranthe - Barlona!
Amaranthe - It's All About Me (Rain)
After the show we had our signing duties as well as I checked out Vicious Rumors a bit. We also celebrated with some wine for a successful gig, and left our mark in the backstage area with a spray can. This act and harsh smell wasn’t appreciated at all by HammerFall’s TM. With his discontent over the apparent trust breach from our side, it was necessary for a certain restraint to discipline the naughtiness of the act. We we’re not allowed to have our own dressing room for the rest of the tour. Still priceless footage and well worth the painful restriction!
Elize explains to Jake E how to drink water, if you happen to find yourself upside down.
628 km to Madrid! Let’s get going.
Madrid, Part XIII:
We arrived in Madrid. Not a cloud on the sky! Unfortunately Brian got the bird flu from playing with that bird in Barcelona. Well, probably not the avian influenza. But he was struggling hard with a bad cold. I felt for him a lot and tried to help him out as much as possible. We became to get pretty close in our late night bunk buddy discussions. Awesome dude! Anyways, instead of sitting in a dark venue with no WiFi, we decided to take the whole fellowship of the hammer to Starbucks! They have internet and… coffee.
Yet another dark venue.
Kirk & Robert
Larry the loud and Olof the destroyer BFFing it up at Starbucks.
This was the third time for me in Madrid from what I can remember. The venue was a rad place, called Sala Heineken, or at least it used to be called that. They renamed it to Sala Marco Aldany just recently, from what I understood. Heineken pulled back their endorsement of the place, or they cut their ties with the brand. Either way, the venue used to be stuffed with green lights. They were all replaced with blue lights now just to underline there wasn’t any partnership with the beer brand and the venue anymore. Apparently, under Heineken’s regime of the venue it wasn’t even cheaper to buy just a Heineken beer, which to me sounds like one bullshit deal to me. Cool place nonetheless, as said!
Stage, LED it up!
First band out was Death Destruction and this was their last show of the tour since Jimmie was obligated to do some Dead By April matters back in Sweden. Sheep and Johan saw the opportunity to say farewell to them in their own little manner. The gorilla costume was back in action, and so was Johan’s wrestling one-piece. Up they went on stage to dance with Death Destruction and hump everything they possibly could. The crowd was confused, Death Destruction was confused, I was standing on the balcony filming the entire thing; very amused!
They were not prepared!
The Gorilla & The Wrestler
Our gig was awesome! The crowd was crazy and the set was killer. Had a really good time! We played yet another new song in the set this night, which I had no idea about the lyrical content. Still I made it through to the end of it somehow.
Amaranthe - Madrid
Amaranthe - Hunger
Watched the entire HammerFall show today as well, the audience was really on fire as much as their hearts were.
After the show Morten, Johan, and I went out to find ourselves some food. The streets were crowded this Wednesday night in Spain. After trying to find some legitimate restaurant we just ended up more confused and eventually we found ourselves at Burger King. Well it wasn’t McDonalds so at least we got ourselves some variation right?...
Brian handing out the bird flu by the merch. Must save BG fan!
The bus was located in a parking house some kilometers away from the venue. Instead of waiting for it to pick everyone up by the venue at the curfew, some of us flanked it on foot and finished the night with a movie in the back longue. 532 km southwest to Sevilla!
Seville, Part XIV:
Seville is in the far south of Spain and almost as close you can be to Africa without actually being in Africa. When I woke up and checked the surrounding area, the bus was parked by what to me appeared as storehouse buildings. The venue was basically just one big room and it was quite early and there was pretty much nothing to do. Elize and I decided to see if we could find some kind of civilization, proper food, and coffee. It was a long walk but eventually we found some kind of stress causing restaurant and at least got ourselves some coffee. We also found a significant amount of oranges there, very exotic for Swedes like us!
So much work to be done, but no tools!
When we got back to the venue there was some food (read: cheese & ham sandwich) put on the table and I also found a familiar energy liquid in Monster, which I haven’t laid my eyes on at the entire tour, even less tasted. Much welcomed fuel for my northern little body indeed. There was a lot of activity going on in the room at this given time.
Wall of Fame
Seeing Death Destruction wasn’t on the bill anymore, we were out first. I have observed a significant amount of Manowar fans on the two previous shows in Spain. So I figured I’ll play the Manowar shirt card here in Seville as well! How right I was. So many people doing “sign of the hammer” during the show it was ridiculous. What a show as well! This was a really awesome gig.
Amaranthe - Seville
Amaranthe - Enter The Maze
After the gig, we got trampled by all the awesome Spainiacs wanting to get our autographs, touch our Scandinavian asses and take photos with us. “The Beatles” factor was kind of present to say the least. Jake E was like Paul McCartney and I was… well, I don’t know, Ringo Starr possibly, hehe. Some dude was really surprised that I was a big fan of Manowar with my given vocal style. Well, you shouldn’t always judge a book by its cover! There was also one guy coming up to me totally mind blown by the fact how similar my voice was to some “Richard Sjunnesson” in a band called “Sonic Syndicate.” Told him I never heard of him or the band…
I watched the entire show of HammerFall this night as well. Really good gig and awesome show as always! It’s impressive how many Swedish jokes Joacim can get into the lyrics without the audience noticing it, hehe. Brian was rocking out to the show as well!
Forever alone :,)
After the musical show was over the whole place transformed to a kind of rock bar-disco-weird go-go dance kind of deal. From where I was standing it looked like they were casting Jabba the Hut’s lost sisters to the go-go dance duty, which was both awkward and disgusting. I’ve never seen that much rattling bacon in my entire life, and I was forced to leave the premise to not throw up. I hurried back to the bus, and was excited for the fact that the next stop was Porto! My first gig in Portugal ever, and a 738 km trip a head of us.
Porto, Part XV:
When we arrived to the venue we were early for once, which came with the con that we weren’t allowed to park and unload our gear at all just yet. I guess this had something to do with the spray can mishap in Barcelona. So we had to circle around in this mountain slope city with the bus, which might have been the most inconvenient place on the planet to circle around with a full-sized tour bus.
Eventually a parking spot opened up for us down the road from the venue after a miserable attempt to get in on a parking slot. My eager inspection of the city through the bus window made me itching to check out the city, to say the least. This was a hell of a beautiful place to be this winter afternoon!
Another Angel Statue
We don't have those in Sweden.
Since it was a pretty late show today as well, a whole bunch of us decided to explore the city to my excitement. I’ll just let those pictures blow your mind! Porto is fantastic in every way possible. If you’ve never been there, you should follow my professional advice, take a leap of faith and book your next vacation to Porto immediately. I’ll swear on all that’s holy that you won’t be disappointed.
Now, that is old!
HammerFall stage props
Han Solo was sealed well long in that carbonite block
Rider of Rohan
In the belly of christ
Garden of Eden and Han Solo again
Walls, walls, walls
It's a trap!
Here's some water
Over the bridge and far away
Mr. Waiter, can we switch table please?
Some boat action
Moby dick in neon
So much sightseeing in that city, it’s ridiculous! We made it back just in time for dinner and also to do a short sound check. We were using HammerFall’s sound guy this night since our own got a pink eye... well, maybe not. But he got some kind of eye infection. Impaired vision makes it hard to turn those knobs! Anyways, just look how awfully happy tourists we were when we returned after our exciting day of tourist touring in Porto:
More happy tourists!
The dinner was pretty good! I even allowed myself some wine. Afterwards, I also made sure to check up on the stage. Apparently it was a busy day for the crew.
At least one PA speaker is up!
Show went well! No surprises there.
Amaranthe - Porto
At the signing after the show I found a vicious Mano-portuguese-warrior save from the usual riff-raff. I also got lectured in manners. Something I never paid too much attention to at all. I made sure to pay (if possible) even less attention this day since the lesson was held by someone with an overall impression of a goldfish on this particular teaching subject. Frustrating, yet entertaining at the same time. After the signing, I checked out HammerFall briefly and then returned backstage, where I tried to update myself on the current “Hell Frost” situation. That was, however, quite a mission with retarded Wi-Fi. Drive to Bilbao and the last show of the tour was 708km.
Hail & Kill!
Bilbao, Part XVI:
Finally we were back in Spain, and this venue was the completion of the entire tour. I remember Elize and I looking out of the window while we pulled up by the venue, and the surrounding area really looked like a refuse tip. She busted out that Simone from EPICA had described the venue as real rat hole as well, so our expectations were nullified. This was blatantly a pretty good mindset because, well, inside it wasn’t quite as bad as the rumors had told! Apparently they had renovated the whole venue. It was spacious and not too shabby.
Garbage disposal area?
That's not too bad :)
Another of them Wall of Fames.
It was a pretty relaxed day in general. The HammerFall sound guy was to do our sound today as well since our own had his eye infection to deal with. Most of the brain capacity was used to come up with “last day of the tour” pranks for the other bands.
On our show, most of the HammerFall crew and our own roadies came out on stage and “fell asleep” on the stage floor. Just to lie there for a couple of songs hehe. I took the opportunity to tame one of the beasts and sit on him while performing cowboy moves (in a non homoerotic way.. or well maybe just a bit.) It was hard to not try to put down ones feet on people while moving around on stage but I think we managed with out injuring too many crew workers.
Amaranthe - Bilbao
Amaranthe - Hunger
After the show, we were busy planning a dinner party—a dinner party hosted on stage during Vicious Rumors show without them knowing obviously. This was our little present from us to them and everyone was invited. We carried up tables, fruit baskets, and took orders from the TM. The TM was acting as the waiter and brought in pizza to everyone on stage later. Couldn’t tell if Brian was appreciating our prank, or it just made him annoyed. He kind of has that poker face going, so it was hard to tell. Afterwards, I asked and he was just joking around as well, acting all upset on stage. Check the whole happening out here on YouTube.
Dinner on stage!
During HammerFall’s show, Joacim asked us all to come up for “Hearts on Fire” and do the crowd singing parts. Here’s a YouTube video of that.
After HammerFall’s show, we kind of just had a goodbye party with everyone and also mingled with the fans. I also found one of the 616! RESPECT!!!
John, being Johan!
Elize teaching Jake E new stage moves!
One of the 616!
Our bus left pretty early that night as well, and the looooong road home began. It was pretty close to 2,354 km home to Falkenberg. Anyways, here I am writing this, so obviously I came home safe and sound! I’d like to thank Amaranthe, Death Destruction, Vicious Rumors, and HammerFall. And of course all their fans for treating me so well and giving me a kick ass time on tour! Hope to see you all soon, in whatever design our Gods see suitable. It was an honor to fill in for Andy. There’s no doubt there will be further success of those remarkably good bands. I wish them all the best! Bands with so much potential and humble personalities deserve only the best!
Bus after tour, or what's left of it ;)
Home to celebrate Xmas!