After band and crew members flew and drove to Lutz’ studio from Lindon, Bergamo and Sheffield and a couple of rehearsals the time had come to set off for our first show with Liv Kristine in Pratteln, Switzerland. We left in good time, with full tummies and very excited to play an acoustic interlude for the first time in our existence as a band.
The first hour was fairly uneventful… When we approached Lahr, however, we suddenly heard a massive bang. Since nothing had fallen over and Matilda (our trusty 40-year old sleeper bus) still seemed to be running fine we assumed that the bang must have been caused by something on the road. Before we had time to decide whether or not to stop and check the bang came again, and again, and again. Matilda clearly wasn’t well. So the hi-vis vests and warning triangle came out and Lutz crawled under Matilda to have a look at her underbelly.
The news wasn’t good: after just 40 years and 320,000km her “Kardanwellen-Mittellager” had crumbled to dust. (No, I don’t know what a “Kardanwellen-Mittellager” is either, but it was pretty obvious that without one Matilda was’t going anywhere fast!)
Matilda was still moving at slow speed, so we carefully drove on the hard shoulder to the nearest exit and stopped at a service station. We managed to locate a nearby Mercedes centre that could get a replacement part by 8am the next morning and was able to loan us a van and car. They even pushed a semi-disembowelled 7.5t Matilda back out of the workshop at the end if the day so we could sleep in her after the show. A massive thanks to Hartmann Mercedes-Benz centre in Lahr and in particular to Mr Kellerer!
So I ended up driving a brand spanking new Mercedes Benz B-class which was likely more intelligent than myself, a fact it liked to rub into my face at every possible opportunity!
Things looked good, at leadt until we reached the Swiss border. Practised as we are we arrived fully armed with Merch and equipment lists for customs purposes. Unfortunately, what normally takes a maximum of 10 minutes turned into a wild goose chase, involving 2 buildings, 3 floors, 6 customs officers, 45 minutes and 500 Euro.
Slowly time was getting tight and my nerves frayed… Especially after another wild goose chase trying to find the venue. We had the right address but were unaware that the venue was inside a shopping centre, on the second floor. Mind you, a fair few Pratteln natives were also unaware of the fact!
Eventually we did find it and once we realised that we still had several hours before the show and a gorgeous dinner ready and waiting we started to relax…
The gig itself went brilliantly: the sound in the Galery was superb, the crowd fabulous and we loved playing the acoustic versions of Dying Inside, Sick and Tired and Cocoon. Naturally, in the spirit of the day, Chris broke a string during soundcheck and another during the show, but who needs 6 strings anyway, eh?
We met many old and new fans at the show and even got a Christmas gift of superb Lindt chocolate from Zym, our Swiss tattooist fan – thank you, Zym, there is hardly any left, it was that yummy!
By the way, on this tour we loan Lutz to Liv for a duet of Tanz der Schatten, one of Theatre of Tragedy’s greatest hits. The duet sounded amazing, a perfect example of beauty and the beast vocals, and will be a very special treat for Theatre of Tragedy fans, I am sure.
We’re halfway to Wuppertal now so I shall sign off for now. Photos are uploaded onto the Lahannya Web site Gallery.