The Life Of Agony Experience
Hamburg Travel Blog› entry 6 of 17 › view all entries
A cheerful HI! to everyone out there!
I´m back from my personal little Life Of Agony experience! In the "Whom I´d like to meet" section here on MySpace the last two names left were Life Of Agony and Gary Oldman. So, here we go. I DID meet Life Of Agony! And not just once. I spend three awsome days with them!
Here´s what happened:
As some of you know already, I´m a lucky bastard, and I am NOT sorry about it, ok?! Certain things that I wish for just happen...
I´m a Life Of Agony fan since 1996, that is 11 years ago and I was 17 back then. LOA were there for me and saved my life at least once. They mean a lot to me!
So, my biggest dream was to meet them all once to see how they are (which is always a risk, I´m aware of that). I had met Keith Caputo (singer) before and know, that he is a great guy, though physically small... but a band is not just the singer.
So, here I go with the right contacts, the right questions and the right answers and suddenly there I am joining Life Of Agony on the three last shows of there 2007 Europe tour.
A dream comes true!
21/06/2007 - Hamburg, Germany
I left the house in the early morning and met Anna in the city. The last days were full of anticipation and I hade given Anna "Life Of Agony lessons" to prepare her for everything and make her understand, why I was going crazy.
We took the bus to the airport and started into our adventure.
After we arrived in Hamburg/Lübeck, I got my rental car from Hertz (which really have nice offers in combination with Ryanair flights, by the way) and we drove to Hamburg. On the way I got a message that a parking spot was reserved for me next to the nightliner. (I looooove nightliners - and this one was LOA´s).
So we drove to the venue Markthalle directly and I parked the car close to the black bus. I met my friend Dan who made all this possible and we were allowed to set foot on the holy ground of Life Of Agony´s nightliner.
Then Dan gave us our AAA tickets and took us backstage. There they were. Keith met us first in the stairway but was in a hurry. Then Dan introduced us to the rest of the band and the crew. Finally I shook hands with Joey (guitar), Alan (bass) and Sal (drums). We saw the whole venue and got introduced to some of the other musicians and crew of the tour (Spoiler NYC, Devil Driver, Drowning Pool and In This Moment).
And then I had to ask for a rest. That was too much input. So we sat down and waited a while. Doors opened and people started coming into the venue.
Dan wanted to do something instead of waiting, so I showed him and Anna the famous Hamburg train station and after that we took a taxi to the "Hamburger Michel", a church, where you can go up to the tower and see over the city. Unfortunately the weather was shit, so it wasn´t impressive at all. Why did I even bother to buy summer clothes for Germany?
Back at the venue, my friends started to arrive. It was wonderful to meet them all here.
Then Spoiler NYC were about to play. Spoiler is the side project of Alan, the bass player of LOA. Dan organized a box at the side of the stage where Anna and I could sit to watch the show.
After this show, they changed sets a little and Life Of Agony came on stage. I still had my wonderful seat at the side of the stage, while crazy Anna took her place in the pit. Wow! It´s been many years ago that I did a stage dive (twice!) from this very stage during a Die Toten Hosen concert. Today I´d rather stay out of the crowd. I´m too old for that, you know...
I had only seen LOA twice so far: on there re-union tour in 2003 in Hamburg and in 2005 in London. And here I was, sitting on stage and seeing them closer then I ever thought I would. I sang along and was just very very happy!
The concert was over far too quickly. But the crowd was happy to have seen LOA and the band was happy that the crowd was good.
I farewelled my friends and went backstage with Anna. No real conversations came up, but Anna got her photo with Keith...
22/06/2007 - Serengeti-Festival, Germany
We stayed at my ex-boyfriend´s place in Hamburg and I left Anna to the city at 11am, when I continued my journey. Anna was grateful for the experience and was now looking forward to spend some more time in this wonderful city of Hamburg (my birth town, by the way).
I drove about 90 minutes and met my dad and my best friend Sandmann on a Autobahn stop near Hannover for lunch.
It was great to see them both in the middle of this all.
We had typical German meal and I told them about everything as fast as I could. After one hour I said goodbye and hit the road again - in a roaring thunderstorm! The motorway was swimming and I could only drive with 60km/h. I didn´t mind, turned up LOA in the car and sang along as loud as I could.
At some point (after about 2 hours) I arrived in this weird village of Schloss Holte-Stukenbrock near Bielefeld, where the Serengeti festival was taking place. What a strange event this was.
On my way there I heard Spoiler NYC playing. I missed them.
Dan had told me to park next to the bus again, but this time there were securities and I had to talk my way through with my All Access pass. The car was parked and I had to get into the backstage entrance somehow. Luckily there was Luke (man, was I Lucky Luke was there...), the singer of Panic Cell who was so kind to let me in. And there was Dan already giving me my pass.
I said hello to Keith, had a little chat with Joey and relaxed a while.
Spoiler NYC, Dan and I walked a little over the festival ground. Alan had to give some autographs, Chris and Alan had Döner and we watched Drowning Pool play.
Backstage they had their own tatoo guy, named Jango. He was busy inking Sal and Keith today. Keith got another butterfly on his arm. He loves those animals and this is the fifth butterfly on his arm, I think.
I spent the rest of the day hanging out with Jango´s friend Mareen. From time to time it rained awfully and the festival ground became a mud hole.
That´s something I always love about festival crowds. They just don´t care and go on rocking! And so they did to Devil Driver.
In the evening we saw the German band The Bosshoss, which were quite fun and THEN finally LOA were playing as headliner of this day. I got a nice seat on stage again.
Then something strange happened. A huge butterfly appeared on stage just when Keith sang about his late father in "The day he died". The butterfly flew over the whole stage bumping into everything and finally landed on the floor. We drew Keith´s attention to it and he just asked in wonder "Is it real?". He picked it up and it accompanied him for a few minutes of the show.
After the gig we spent time in the backstage room witht he band and then they partied on in front of the bus.
I planned to sleep in my car and luckily I managed to crawl into it and my sleeping bag on the back bench without anybody noticing. My intention to catch up with some sleep failed though, when I heard my favourite band partying in front of my car with fellow musicians. In the end I fell asleep.
23/06/2007 - Graspop-Festival, Belgium
Two hours later I woke up in shock and sweat. Where was I? I looked up and saw the nightliner was gone. They wanted to leave at 4am. It was a few minutes before 6am and I definitely couldn´t sleep anymore. I opened a door to get some air and changed my clothes in front of the car. I didn´t care, if whatever band was in the other nightliner would watch me at this early hour.
I got some breakfast and fuelled my car and then hit the motorway again at 7.30 towards Belgium via Holland.
For mysterious reasons I arrived at the artists entrance of the festival at 10am even before the band was there.
When they arrived just a few minutes after I got onto the festival ground but this time I had to stay on the VIP parking. I took a nice shower (it really was nice) on the camping ground and headed for the Spoiler Show at 1pm.
After a little while Joey joined me. Then Keith, and a little after Alan and Sal.
Dan was there as well and so he could capture this moment, when I had brunch with my favourite band!
The weather was getting worse and the sky was falling down on the poor festival visitors.
When LOA had their show at 4.45pm the weather got a little better and a big crowd was waiting for them.
Anyway, it was nice seeing another band I once really liked (I don´t like anything before the album Wildhoney and after the Deeper Kind Of Slumber...lol).
So I went on stage and saw Korn for a bit.
Suddenly everybody wanted to go up there and we picked up Sal on the way.
I realised that I still had to take photos with everybody and started running around like a photo-maniac. But except Chris (guitarist Spoiler NYC) I got everybody.
I said goodbye to everyone and went to the hotel! A REAL bed!!!
24/06/2007 - back home
The next morning we went back to the festival. And for a little while I was allowed to stand with my little rented car in between about 10 nighliners behind the main stage. I was in awe and only left the ground again with mourning and complaining after a security asked me to leave. Dan had left me there because Devil Driver just entered the stage and he had to be there.
I parked the car outside and went up to the stage. It was 11.30am.
During this gig we walked to the next tent stage where In This Moment were about to play. They were so happy to see "Papa Dan".
This is a really interesting band and I bet they will be huge when everything goes right! Check them out!
And with this gig my visit ended.
I had lunch with some members of Devil Driver and In This Moment, said goodbye to Dan and left for my trip home.
I made my way home after about 1000km on the road and don´t know how many with the plane. Travelling through 5 countries on ONE day: Belgium, Holland, Germany, England (changing planes) and Ireland.
I was dead when I was home, my head buzzing with pictures and memories nad it still is...
This was one of the best times in my life. I´m glad I was able too meet all these wonderful people, hoping it wasn´t the last time.
P.S.: If you find pictures or videos anywhere where you see me standing in the background on stage, please let me know. Would be fun to see myself there!
Originally I was planning just to fly over to Germany to see the Cologne gig from Keith Caputo´s solo tour, but it went different ways. Out of this plan grew an imposing 11-day holiday, which was a real adventure! I really have to recover from that now!
28/04/2006 - off to Germany...again
The plan to fly over directly on the 2nd went wrong because I wouldn´t have got someone to cover for me (because of sunday and holiday). So, I had to take holidays from today on. And after the alternatives New York, Amsterdam and the rest of the world disappeared mysteriously, I decided to fly to Hanover again. After change-over with the 60-year-old Doreen I took the bus to Bromsgrove at 10.30. Martin let me drive for free and so I could spend the 1£ for the next bus to Birmingham.
After the 60 minutes drive I waited 90 minutes for the National Express bus. I used the time to play with my laptop outside the house for the first time. I visited the probably most disgusting toilet existing in England (and had to pay 20 pence for it), bought some food and drinks for the way and entered the bus.
It was already 30 minutes late but therefore it looked like a nightliner what pleased me.
During the journey I went on enjoying the pleasure of being online on the road. Shortly after B´ham I noticed a couple which was having a pick nick on a cemetery and gazing speechless on the motorway and the dirty suburbs. Well, ...English romatic?
I nibbled my Chicken Salad Sandwich from a plastic box and was quite happy with it.
After too many traffic jams we arrived at Manchester Airport at 5pm. I still had a bit time to sit with my toys (laptop, new photo camera and Blackberry) in a Café and have a cappuccino. That was a mistake as I should have known... I simply can´t drink coffee...with painful cramps I went to the check-in desk and after another long period of waiting in the lounge I stepped on the HLX flight to Hanover.
At 11pm I put my feet on German ground again and in the arrival hall I missed my dad and he missed me. When we finally found each other and drove to his flat, we enjoyed the rest of the evening with beer and crisps.
29/04/2006 - Hildesheim
I stayed in bed a bit longer and then nearly missed the train again (I´m really losing my planning abilities). I arrived 15 minutes late in Hildesheim, where my mum was already waiting for me. She drove the 90 minutes from Goslar just to spend 2 hours with me. After a few swirls and knots and there and backs, mum´s driving finally brought us to Café Cappo, where Phil is working.
Here we sat and chatted until mum had to leave again at 5pm. Saying good-bye wasn´t easy and not without wet eyes, because we didn´t know, when we will meet again...
Phil only had 10 minutes for me after work and so I went tourist-like to the famous market-place...
...and then to my second home for several years, the Irish Pub "Wild Geese".
I bought a Strongbow and felt barely at home, there weren´t any known faces.
But soon Saskia arrived and we were chatting about nearly everything we missed from each other during the last years. Before the live music started (it´s always too loud) we went back to Café Cappo, which was still empty on a Saturday night. We had crepes and fried ice-cream and drank beer with it... yes, we are real gourmets...
I had to take the last train back to Hanover at 11.15pm and I had so say good-bye to the next person I miss.
In Hanover I was waiting for 30 minutes for the 700 to Seelze... and wasn´t that just snow falling from the sky? It was really cold.
30/04/2006 - friends and Mesh
I shovelled myself out of bed at 8.30, did some yoga and sport and had a shower. I took the bus to Hanover/Linden. Because of a shortage of time, I had told all my friends, that they could find me in the Café Notre Dame, where I will have my lunch. Christian came and later Patrick as well.
At 2pm Sandmann accompanied me down the street to Lars´ place, with whom I talked for 2 hours about his and my last adventures. We watched photos and videos and around 4pm I popped in Patrick and Jan´s flat. I could only stay shortly and found myself again running after a bus.
I could take daddy´s car for tonight and I fetched Sandmann from his parents. We drove to the Musikzentrum to see Mesh. Good that we bought tickets beforehand, it was sold out.
After this great gig we went to the Booster (which was torn down end 2006 *** note from the author... ) for a beer and talked for a while.
At 3am I fell on my sofa and fast asleep.
01/05/2006 - Herrenhausen, Faust & Bad
Although I lived all my life near Hanover and even nearly 2 years in the city itself, I had never seen the famous Herrenhäuser gardens. My dad and I went around midday to do this. The gardens are beautiful. I guess because of strong wind the fountains weren´t switched on, which probably would have added the final spice to it.
Soon we said goodbye to this show and Milena and dad brought Sandmann and me to the Bad, where there is a festival every 1st May as well. Here we met Alex, Christoph and several other friends from old times. Then Frauke and co arrived and we sat all together on the grass and drank beer.
Then the band Promises! Promises! entered the stage, in which Fraukes boyfriend Christian plays the guitar. We went in front of the stage to support them.
Probably because the sun was shining permanently on my head, I was wasted after 2 beers and laid on the grass again with a spinning head.
We said goodbye to everyone, what nearly ended in tears. Sandmann would emigrate to Ireland on Wednesday and I would leave back to England next week.
Dad fetched us and we fare welled Sandmann at Steintor. And after he disappeared in the sunset I decided to ruin my stomach with a Subway sandwich with too much Tabasco, apparently.
02/05/2006 - Osnabrück
I got up quite early, got ready and packed all my things. Dad and I got on our way to Osnabrück. We stopped at McDonald´s and at Bianca and Jan´s place, then we were lead directly into a park house by irritating street planning in "Osnabrooklyn". Luckily it was near were Tobi lived, so he fetched us and we spend a bit time in his flat until I was dressed up for the first Keith Caputo gig.
The Rosenhof is a really nice venue, was once a cinema, apparently. The support band Kain was OK, but because of never changing rhythm and very negative lyrics quite tiring after a while.
Finally Keith and his band entered the stage. So far I had only seen Life Of Agony but never a solo gig from Keith.
He even played 3 LOA songs and was in a good mood. The set was about two and a half hours long and Keith emptied a whole bottle of red wine. Unfortunately he played a lot songs from the new album, which no-one could know and obviously people preferred songs to sing along. So it was a nice gig but a bit too soft for the audience.
After the concert we had a small chat with Keith at his autograph session, then we went back to the flat, talked very long, listened to music and watched videos. I always like to call Tobi my other little brother. So, we had a lot to talk about and the rest of this evening wasn´t long enough to catch up with everything.
03/05/2006 Münster & Cologne
I had barely slept and had strange dreams. We had breakfast together and then Tobi showed me around in Osnabrück.
I took the train at 1.15 to Münster. I wanted to buy the ticket on the train, because I didn´t have time. The nice woman of Deutsche Bahn told me, that this would be 40€ penalty now. Luckily I could make her understand that I live in England and I didn´t know these rules and so I only had to pay the normal price of 9€.
On the journey I noticed how beautiful Germany can be! I enjoyed the sight of the nice panorama with fields, green and a hell lot of farms.
Anja fetched me from the Münster train station and we went to have a coke in a café. We talked a lot and went to her flat. I dressed up for my second Keith gig in Cologne.
We ate Chinese food and then started the 90 minutes drive.
The Cologne Underground was completely full. The concert was less enthusiastic than yesterday.
After the concert I collected some bottles and exchanged them into Euros at the bar. So I could afford a copy of Keith´s CD. I let him sign one CD for Tobi and one for me.
We said goodbye to really weird groupie scenes and drove back to Münster. At 2am I fell asleep.
04/05/2006 - Münster
Keith had his free day today and so did I. I had planned to stay in Münster with Anja today ...and as I learned later, Keith spent this day in Münster as well to give a radio concert... what a coincidence!
I slept long, we had breakfast and Anja and her flatmate Katja showed me Münster.
We sat in a Café for a while and then I tried to finish my essay in the flat, but I wasn´t successful... a lack of concentration was the cause. Luckily my tutor is a wonderful man and said, I can send it to him on Wednesday. Anja came back from the theatre, we talked a bit and went to bed.
05/05/2006 - Hamburg & Orson
I got up very early to catch the ICE to Hamburg at 9.50. Again I only got an IC and so my reservation wasn´t valid. I spent most of the 4 hour journey (yeah, and it was late because we stopped for ages in the middle of nowhere) on the floor and on the sink of the bord kitchen.
In Hamburg I went to get my 3€ for the reservation back , locked my backpack away and had lunch at the wonderful Alster in the sunshine.
I love Hamburg. Can it be that this is only because I was born here? Can´t be...
At 5.30 I met my ex boyfriend Burgi alias Henrik at Altona train station and we walked to his new own bought flat. I did speed-showering and we headed to St.Pauli. Burgi went to see the harbor festival and I went to see Orson in Molotov at Reeperbahn.
Orson are superstars in the UK and they produced my current favourite song "No Tommorow" which was even number one, but no-one seems to have heard of them in Germany. And so I was in the little hall with about 30 to 40 people and sang along the three songs I knew from the radio.
After the gig I enjoyed another bottle of my beloved Strongbow and had a short chat and a photo with the band... strange people (they are from Hollywood) but nice anyway.
While I was waiting in the "Meanie" Bar upstairs for Burgi to come back, I observed another interesting groupie game, cos the band showed up up here as well. I was asked to take pictures for Polish fans and I even got a kiss on the cheek from the singer Jason. Whoohoo...
With Burgi I was sitting outside the bar for a while and I really felt good! Then we went to the "Lunacy" which wasn´t my cup of tea really, cos it was too loud to chat and I´m not really into dancing. At least they played Life of Agony when I asked for it and I got unfamiliar attention every time Burgi went to the toilet. Men came up towards me and asked for cigarettes and/or a light... I never thought, this still would be a way to flirt...
We drove back to the flat and talked till 5am...
06/05/2006 - Hamburg & homesick
I stayed in bed till 2pm. Burgi and I chatted, listened to music and planned the day. We fetched his other ex Anja around 7pm and went to the harbour festival. It was way too crowded for me so we stayed out of reach of drunken fighters and pick-pockets.
We went back to the Meanie Bar because I got my Strongbow there...
...we met some of Burgis friends and spend the rest of the night/morning in a bar called "Bad Taste".
While we were sitting there, with people I knew more or less well, listening to good music (the played two LOA songs, when I asked...) and having nice conversations, I honestly got homesick. If Hamburg just wouldn´t be in Germany. *sigh*
We went back to the flat in Altona at 4.15 and talked till 6am.
07/05/2006 - third Keith gig and doped by the Vietnamese
I got up at 12, we had pizza, talked and got ready for the third and last Keith gig of my holiday. We left at 5.30 to St.Pauli again to fetch Anja.
We went to the Vietnamese restaurant Hanoi for dinner, where I ruined my stomach the big way, even my head was swirling. Anja was worried about my sugar levels and provided me with a pack of chocolates and sweets.
Burgi and I watched the gig in Grünspan from the bar, which was good enough.
The mood on stage wasn´t that good, the set was shortened about 60 minutes and Keith even ran off the stage once.
When giving autographs Keith told me, that he was sick, and that right in the beginning of the tour...
Burgi and I went to an English pub afterwards and I had a Strongbow, surprisingly. My stomach was stable again after two beers.
The weird mess of languages and cheep flirting attacks by Brits made us feel uncomfortable and after an unsuccessful search for night busses, we took a taxi home.
We talked some more and Burgi went to bed at 3am, I stayed up, threw my favourite LOA album "Ugly" in the player and started packing all my belongings in my backpack.
08/05/2006 - and back
I didn´t sleep, of course, and went to the Altona station at 5am. I took the bus 37 and passed a lot of Hamburg sights (Michel, Reeperbahn, Mönkebergstrasse...).
I had a small-talk with some Indian women from London and was amused by pigeons picking up puke of the night before.
For 8€ the Ryan-Air-Shuttle brought me to the Lübeck airport. The lounge looked like a beer tent and the security checks were ridiculously detailed. But therefore the flight was only 18€ to London Stansted.
I slept on the plane, which wasn´t enough of course. I took the National Express to Birmingham. The journey took 4 hours and so I could rest my eyes a bit more.
In between I worshiped the English landscape, which even in this hard rain always seems magical to me. After another odyssey with taxi, train and bus I arrived at 3.30 in Burcot.
What a blast!