April 13, 2000

Well, we just finished the hottest gig we ever did. I mean, the warmest indoor temperature in quite a while. No exaggeration, it was raining condensation from the ceiling, since it was not insulated and it was cool outside. This was in Thessalonika, Greece, and the audience was just incredibly into it. It helps to have members of the DP appreciation society in the radio and t.v. media, which helped the show sell out long ago. They put us on a t.v. show for an hour with a live audience, and that was a trip.

Russia was quite an experience, also. Absolutely unbridled passion for music. The people suffer in many ways, but are alive in so many ways. The shows did very well, also selling out, and we did quite a lot of t.v. there, too. The only bad thing was the way the security people around us would treat everyone they came in contact with. In St. Petersburg, my friend's family was coming to the show, but got separated from our caravan on the way in, and I never saw them after that. That really caused a problem for me since I was told they were going to be allowed to travel in one of the vans with us. On top of that, All our luggage didn't make the flight from Finland, so we didn't have stage clothes or toothbrushes even after our travel to the gig. After the gig, we just had to wear our wet everyday clothes that we had just played the gig in until we got to the hotel. It reminded us of how much security is wrapped up in those suitcases, even if it is just little things, it's like your home, I guess.

In Moscow, I met a Russian soldier who liked our music and had a grip like a hydraulic press. He had just come from Chechneya and was glad to hear some music. I walked around in Moscow near the hotel and everyone said I was lucky that I didn't get robbed or worse where I went. Didn't seem that bad to me, and I got a feeling once again of how everything is sold in little private kiosks there. The ruble was at the same level as when we played 2 years ago, within a few percentage points.

Coming out of Moscow was a nightmare, since our flight was delayed for 3 hours. Problem was, we missed our connection in Italy. So we had to stay overnight at this small town airport. They must have a nearby hotel, right? It was late night by the time we claimed our baggage and all the equipment with no place to put it. The airline had booked us in a hotel, so we stuffed it all in this bus that was going to the hotel and climbed aboard. 52 minutes later(!) we arrived at a nice hotel that we were going to have to leave by 7 am. This place looked like the hotel in the movie "The Shining". At least, the way it might have looked before it became a haunted hotel. They had a nice cold buffet waiting for the busload of passengers. There were no signs of any other people. The waiters and staff were friendly, and it helped us deal with the quaintness of the rooms that much better. Late the next day, we finally made our destination.

The tour has been very successful, and the response is gratifying. The band is playing great, and life in my profession is good.

stevemorse.com 2000