this is from my blogpost about Zurich, almost one week later
When I make it to Zurich…
Many years ago, my brother and I went with our parents to the airport to pick someone up.
It was the first time I was in an airport, I must have been 10 to 12 years old, and this was the first “contact” with the rest of the world out there. At the time I may have somewhat hoped to one day travel and see the world but the concerts around the world part, that one I did not see coming
So our parents left us to wait in front of the arrivals screen with all these letters and numbers rolling one after another. I remember the first announcement “flight from Zurich has now landed” in a perfect English accent and I was mesmerized.
Somehow, in that moment Zurich became the center of the world and I started to imagine how people traveling from Zurich must look like and I sort of made it the center of the world when it comes to flying. I started to believe and I kind of did ever since that “if I ever get to Zurich this means I would have made it”.
I have this joke with one of my friends who works for an airline company “did you fly to Zurich yet?” and she knows what I mean but she hasn’t yet.
So at the beginning of April, in my last 60 minutes in Australia before heading back home I stood there weighing whether I should buy those Lucky Dip tickets for Zurich as they were on sale or not, the main question was “is it now the moment when I get to Zurich”, I was already extremely over any reasonable budget but I pressed the button and decided I would figure out the rest of the details later.
What followed in the end of May was an incredible adventure, a series of 3 concerts in 3 countries I’d never visited before. Just as the lyrics go “if you start me up I’ll never stop” and “I’ll take you places that you’ve never ever seen“.
And it’s been an amazing time, flying to Oslo, getting to Portugal, great fun places festivals and gigs and to top it all up a very intense and complex finale.
I wanted to spend as much time as I could in Lisbon and I couldn’t manage to find any convenient flights to Zurich or Basel or other airports in proximity. I therefore decided to take a late flight to Milan, get there after midnight and take a very cheap and spectacular train ride through the Alps from Milano Centrale via Como & Lugano to the much anticipated Zurich.
Upon landing in Milan I met these two Italian girls who had also traveled to Lisbon for the Stones, they helped me with directions for the city. Got into Milan around 2 am and four hours later I was getting ready for the next stop.
Bright sunny morning in Italy, boarded the Eurocity that I like to call Silver Train 07:00 am and I was off. I couldn’t afford closing my eyes as the view was so unique, I didn’t want to miss a second of it. On the right side the magnificent Como with it’s beautiful lake and Italian mansions, waving to George Clooney.
Next we move into Switzerland and shortly arrive to Lugano. I once had an interview for a job in Lugano, thinking about it now it would have made a great HQ for a tour and it certainly looked beautiful.
Funny thing on the train, after getting into Switzerland the Swiss border police started checking travel documents and they were very thorough with their questions for all other passengers what they are carrying, where they are staying, the purpose of their visit and so on, however they didn’t ask me anything. The only one in my cart. I have two possible explanations: either they thought I was a kid or…they thought I was Swiss, I am happy with both of these.
From here on you could only see green mountains with tall white peaks, blue skies and every once in a while a little house. Heidi, Girl of the Alps scenery.
Beautiful and I do recommend it, you can get smart tickets via Trenitalia and get tickets as cheap as 25 euros. You can even catch a weekend offer with 2 tickets for the price of one for Zurich or Geneva, perhaps even other destinations.
I arrived in Zurich where there was a big sign saying “Rolling Stones”, indicating the bus stop for getting to the stadium.
I then met my friend from home who was also visiting Zurich, I accidentally found out the day before, so we spent a couple of hours walking around the city, admiring the Opera, the lake, the elephants taking a break at the circus, the bridges and all the other little and classic old buildings that form this little city handling the world’s money.
I found out about the gathering at the Stray Cat Bar and I went there to meet a few legendary members of IORR.org like crawdaddy, Cristiano Radke, mariannerl, a couple from Spain, some guys from the UK on yet another sunny pre-gig afternoon.
Cristiano who is from Brazil told me that he was in the picture I took from Lisbon with Stones fans walking on the street. I honestly don’t think these are coincidences anymore but I’m happy whenever we realize the connections.
I left with the Spanish couple towards the stadium to meet other Lucky Dip people and of course without setting a time or a place we simply met.
Wilfried marked this concert in his small notebook: no 250 Zurich Letzigrund Stadium. He was very excited about the concert being held in this stadium, where all the legendary athletes like Carl Lewis have run and where many records were broken.
We got into the Golden Circle Keith’s side. It was Ronnie’s birthday and 39 years since his first gig however I had seen the first two shows from Ronnie’s side so went for Keith’s this time.
I was in the front for both Bucharest and Hyde Park and now here I was in front again for a beautiful concert start within daylight. All shows were different but for this one, after Oslo and Lisbon I felt it was me and the stage, quite a special feeling and you notice things very differently from up-close, especially when it’s natural light outside.
I remember the footage from the 1982 Leeds concert (yes, from when I wasn’t even born)
) and I was thinking this is kind of the same light, the band is not as young, nor is the crowd but it’s still has some of that feeling and I think I am a fan of concerts starting in daylight:
Because I was so close I simply captivated by everything happening on stage, I wasn’t paying attention to details, I was just enjoying the moment and living in the music. I loved every second of it.
Right next to me was this mother with a very little kid, must have been 7 and when the band came on stage and started the show the kid began to scream with excitement, he looked totally surprised and amazed and I’m sure he’ll grow up to go to many many concerts.
“Start Me Up” started with an explosion of energy, “You Got Me Rocking” that I do like hearing live in spite of many other critics, again a lot of energy and Mick moving almost running and singing, Keith giving his “cool-shade” looks and Ronnie happy as a little kid on his birthday (obviously). During “Tumbling Dice” at one point Mick went to Keith joking about something and Keith while playing his riffs pushed him with his shoulder and Mick was suddenly in the air jumping to one side. It wasn’t at all aggressive rather a friendly gesture between to old friends. “Worried About You” was next and I think worked out a bit better than Oslo, and this time I could understand Mick’s lyrics when he got up from the piano.
Zurich’s song of choice was “Let’s Spend the Night Together” just as in Oslo and I think around this song the evening started to fall, to get with the lyrics right haha.
What followed was another spectacular performance of “Out of Control” only this time I got the perfect up-close view to see it. It’s definitely even more spectacular when you get to see it closer. I already loved it from farther away but this time I was blown away and I wanted to capture some of the energy, you can see a small filmed fragment at the end of this post. I could say I’m surprised but I’m actually not that these guys at their age perform this song with this energy but I think it’s just the simple explanation of why they can it’s because they love it and it’s natural and this gives them the energy. Therefore if you apply this approach in everything that you do (that you love to do) it’s gotta work.
From here on it was singing and dancing for me, Keith played “Can’t Be Seen” again and it was better. They did the “ending songs” but I could see a band that is tight and with the “on tour” attitude compared to “we haven’t done it in a while let’s get warmed up”, they are very much warmed-up and I think they could take this tour even longer than currently scheduled, and I also think this would be good for them.
So Letzigrund was conquered and Golden Circle was conquered, and everything was simply….perfect!
We walked back to the hostel on Langstrasse, the area in Zurich famous for the pubs and lively nightlife and enjoyed a few more drinks with Cristiano, crawdaddy and Gabor that I really hope I will meet again in the future.
Cristiano posted some of my photos on Stones Planet Brazil
. Full photo album available here
To conclude what I began writing at the start of the post: I have made it to Zurich but only halfway because I took the train in and out. When I get to fly to Zurich I will see if I feel I have made it. I am however happy with getting to visit 8 countries Stones bound during the first 6 months of 2014, attending a long dreamed series of Stones shows and meeting the band and doing the things that I love even almost without much money, I am happy to have walked out the door and into this amazing adventure.
Next day I was in four countries in one day with almost no money and it was awesome, details in the next blog post.
Meanwhile please be amazed by the beautiful train ride through the Alps and a few moments from the day spend in Zurich:
I make daily videos on the tour at [youtube.com
Going to: London - Manchester - Twickenham - Berlin - Marseille - Prague - Warsaw