|Thursday, July 1, 2010
I always thought I’m more the writer than the speaker and probably I am … most of the time … right now I have serious problems to find the right written words to express what it all means to me to have experienced most wonderful hours with some of the most wonderful people in this world …so please forgive me, if the following sounds kind of bubbly, crazy or even incomplete … I try to make the best of it!
Roger in Vienna … again !!! What a beautiful chance to see that amazing artist so near my hometown at a free festival, together with band, it was even more exciting for I never saw Roger performing with band before. Claudia, my lovely soulsister from Germany came to join me and it was clear we should have an outstanding time!
We didn’t know how outstanding that time would finally turn out to be…
A few days before Claudia started her journey to Austria we have been informed by Linda T. that it would be possible for us to join Roger’s Soundcheck in Vienna, at about 1.30 p.m. we should come to the venue… the fact that Claudia’s train was scheduled to arrive at 1.20 in Vienna made us seriously worrying about us getting there in time.
When Claudia arrived in Vienna on Saturday I picked her up at the station and after a ‘hugful’ welcome we both immediately headed to the underground that seemed to offer the fastest way to get to the "Donauinsel” where Roger already started the Soundcheck. I think it’s not really necessary to mention we two were pretty excited and couldn’t wait to reach our ‘final destination’, one of the main stages on the Danube Island in Vienna, located at the biggest Open Air Festival all over Europe, the so-called "Donauinselfest”. That festival is held every year and lasts over three days, heaps of people, stages, artists, stalls, performers, …. I have never attended that fest before, it didn’t attract me to get into such a huge crowd of people - imagine there actually have been over a million people altogether on Saturday, the second day of the festival ! Anyway, we ran almost the whole distance from the underground-station to the stage where Roger did Soundcheck and arrived with red-hot faces (at least mine was ;) around 2 p.m. - and were overhappy to see and hear the master already playing there. :-)
Oh, it felt sooo good to see the ‘reality version’ of Roger on stage again … this is so incomparable to me .. something like a ‘homecoming’ ..
Claudia and me listened to a few tunes of "School” and were already thrilled about the powerful band-sound .. it definitely rocked!
A few camera shots later Linda Tyler came to welcome us … oh, how lovely she always is, our dearest Linda, she already waved when she discovered us two in our "Gang-Dress”, we hurried to give her a big welcoming hug, had a nice talk and Linda was also thrilled about our pretty Gang-Shirts and then she handed us two very precious pieces .. the backstage-passes!!! Linda told us Roger will do some interviews after soundcheck and then we’ll probably have a chance for a short meet & photo … and further she ‘prepared’ us that we will also have a ‘date’ with the Austrian TV for they wanted some fans to say a few words about Roger … so much exciting news for that moment .. I nearly couldn’t believe I’m NOT dreaming ;)))
Linda went back and soon the soundcheck was almost done, so Claudia and me looked for the side-entrance of the stage to see if we were really allowed to enter the backstage area. Well, it worked and we went in as if everyone has already been waiting for us .. the looks at us and our shirts were a mixture of curiosity, surprise and maybe a bit of appreciation, too. Someone said "So, this is Claudia and Christine”, first I thought "Why the hell do they know who we are” until it slowly dripped back into my mind we were wearing our names on the backside ;))
We spent some time in the backstage area where we were also allowed to just take a seat and have free drinks (we felt so VIP-like ;)) A bit later we saw Roger doing some interviews and from time to time Linda got by and ‘told’ us so lovely by show of hands the ‘Status Quo’. Suddenly we discovered Aaron and because Claudia had a nice photograph of Aaron from the last show in Vienna with her, she wanted to ask him for an autograph and so we did. Aaron is a real Sunnyboy, he seemed happy to see us and he just took seat at one of the tables with us, wrote carefully the autograph onto the photo, joking about the "shaggy guy on that pic” and paying tribute to our nice T-Shirts, of course we asked him if he ever wore his, he said yes, he did, he wore it on stage one day, I think he said during a soundcheck. It’s really funny and easy to talk to Aaron, we took pics and when he left we wished him a great show.
We went a bit around the area and then we met some people from the Austrian TV, they asked us if we would agree to do a short interview in the evening, they need some fans’ words about Roger and his music and we with our wonderful T-Shirts on will be doing perfectly. We shall come next to the stage in the evening where they will wait for us with their camera and microphone …Oh wow, now we really felt like some very important persons ;))) Of course, we agreed …It seems the Garden Gate Gang Shirts are doing a real good job ;)))
And the ultimate highlight was already waiting for us .. a few minutes later we saw Roger, Linda and Shakti coming our way …. Roger’s amazing smile and warmhearted welcome for us was breathtaking (as always) and we started to say thank you for all he does for us fans and he replied he has to thank us for everything we’re doing .. Linda explicitly mentioned that every time she asks for a bit help we are ready to do so - it’s a pleasure for us, we replied … Claudia gave Roger a beautiful T-Shirt she had created by herself and Roger was really delighted about it, we all found it will suit him well … when Linda and Shakti suggested to take a photo, Roger told me he uses the same camera as mine ..*wow* now knowing that, I’ll never give that piece away for sure ;)) Shakti welcomed us so warmhearted, too, it was wonderful to have a chance to see her also that day … then we took the photos, and finally I gave Roger my small present, chocolate ‘something sweet from the heart’, Roger was again delighted and he said he will enjoy it after the show J Then it was time for Roger to leave and we wished him a fantastic concert, he wished us too and then we all went together to the car waiting for Roger, Linda and Shakti – a last waving goodbye and then we left the scene ….. do I need to say we were HAPPY after all these amazing moments we just experienced !?? A few hours before we weren’t really sure about getting in time to the venue, not exactly aware of what will be waiting for us … and then we have been overwhelmed by all these amazing happenings .. awwww, we were floating back to the underground station and took our way home, it was much time left, the concert was planned to start at 10.30 p.m.
We drove to my hometown to attend another concert that day – my son Max plays trumpet with a youth-orchestra and they did their performance that evening, so Claudia and me joined in, too, the rest of my family was already there :-)
After a nice youth-orchestra concert we had still a bit time to take a rest at home and have a small dinner.
Then it was time to return to Vienna :-) Excitement grew and grew and as we stepped into the underground again the scenery had vastly changed … the train was brimful with a lot of people on their way to the festival – again we recognized people were looking at us with curiosity, on the one hand because of our shirts and on the other because of our backstage-passes we already wore ;)) A funny moment when one guy spoke to us "I’m eaten up with envy – how does someone get these ?” and he pointed at the passes. Then he asked if we are also true Roger Hodgson Fans like him, who absolutely dislike what Rick Davies currently does with Supertramp – certainly we fully agreed and wished each other a wonderful concert tonight. Great to know some people are aware of the fact that Rick Davies is on the wrong path by raising fans’ hopes with false information and advertising.
The venue was crowded with countless people, so good we already knew our way to the right stage and made it safe through the crowd. Another band was still performing (who, by the way, were absolutely boring and simply not worth to spend time with) and we had some minutes left for walking around and having a drink before it was "Roger-time”! While the stage was prepared for Roger’s show we managed to take place in the front row on the left side of Roger’s keyboard on stage – first we worried if this could be the perfect place but after recognizing how many people crowded together in the very central first row we were glad to stay a bit aside. Anyhow, the place WAS perfect ! The TV-Team arrived which wanted to take our interview, they suggested to try it now before the show, if it doesn’t work because of the huge noise of the crowd, we shall return to the backstage area after the show to do it again … well, finally we felt relieved the first try technically didn’t work and we could prepare ourselves better for the interview after the concert. Then they announced Roger on stage …. He entered the stage, followed by his band musicians including Aaron and the show started powerful with "Take the Long Way Home”. Roger performed most of his classic Supertramp-hits and they were highly appreciated by the crowd, the bombastic band sound created an absolutely brilliant concert feeling !! Claudia and me were almost blown away by the power of each song - it was a different, but wonderful experience to hear Roger with band, though he just played one song of his solo work. "Give a Little Bit”, "Hide in Your Shell”, "Lovers in the Wind”, "The Logical Song”, "Breakfast in America”, "Lady” (!), "Easy does it”, "Sister Moonshine”, "Lord is it mine”, "Don’t Leave me Now”, "Child of Vision”, all these hits, a stunning performance, the crowd was cheering, Roger and the band seemed to enjoy it as well ! Aaron’s saxophone talents were outstanding as always, I just love his "Logical”-Solo ! And then Roger announced another timeless masterpiece … "This is for all the dreamers of you and especially for Christine and Claudia”… I definitely missed the first tunes of "Dreamer”, for a few moments I wasn’t able to think .. and the very next second I fell into Claudia’s arms and we couldn’t believe what we had just heard, Roger dedicated "Dreamer” to us!!!! …. Just a note: … that venue holds about 50.000 people and I know Roger had a ‘full house’, so, just imagine there were thousands of people behind us, and at least many of them must have heard what Roger said … What an honour, what a blessing !!! I don’t know if I found the right words to describe my feelings, it’s still like a dream to me …
Roger gave the audience a most beautiful "Fool’s Overture” as a grand finale and continued with "School” and "It’s raining again” for the encore without even leaving the stage … the strict time schedule needed to be kept and Roger left out his break to delight the crowd with these two more songs.
A wonderful show ended, our hearts were filled with love and happiness, we smiled from ear to ear .. so we were in perfect mood for an Interview – to say how we feel about Roger’s music and what it means to us …The team from Austria’s TV was absolutely nice and friendly, and our interview went really well, it was broadcasted the next day together with some highlights of the festival, of course Roger’s concert was the highlight of the highlights ;))
The whole crowd was on their feet now to head out of the venue, therefore we decided to wait until the ‘rush-hour’ is over and use our passes again to go backstage :-) Claudia and me were just thrilled about what happened a few moments before … Roger’s dedication to us definitely was our personal Top-Highlight .. we needed to assure each other that it really happened and it IS true … When we got to see Linda again we shortly stepped over to her and thanked her once again for all she gave to us and after an emotional goodbye we started our way back home …
A fantastic, amazing, adventurous, long day full of wonderful surprises and moments ended. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart, Roger & Linda, for everything you gave to make our time in Vienna a most special and beautiful one :-) !
I am deeply grateful, happy and touched for all the wonderful moments I am able to experience and to share, for the precious friendships I have made, for all the love I receive and can give from myself - and for all this, Roger and his music are very good company and assistance :-)
**Comments published upon approval