“Are you with the band?” – is a question I’ve never been asked before, until this Friday.. Where I was asked said question maybe 7 or 8 times.. “Whose band,” you may ask? Oh, no-one major.. Just a certain Mr. Michael Lee Aday, aka Meat Loaf, who happened to be in town.
By now, you may be a little confused as to how I came to be associated with one of the major players in the field of classic rock and frankly, my dears, I was too.. But it’s a long, strange story that somehow makes sense in the end. See, it all started on Wednesday when I received a message on Facebook from my buddy Jimmi who asked if I’d be interested in investing a few hours Friday in setting up lights, sound and various other things for that night’s Meat Loaf show in Kolding – in exchange for a free ticket and a few free beers.. Umm, well, me having been somewhat of an admirer of Meat Loaf for the past.. Uhh.. 20 year or so, this seemed like more than a decent deal to me.
After asking permission from Louise, who has been reluctant to allow me to attend more shows after my complete and utter destruction of myself at last month’s Iron Maiden show and getting the thumbs up from her, I accepted Jimmi’s terms and started randomly jumping for joy around my apartment again.. Yea, I’m a pretty lucky bitch these days. I made pretty good use of my Thursday in the company of Dunkel and Louise, watching movies at Dunkel’s, sipping some premium whiskys and drinking a few beers, relaxing and having fun.. It was good times, and I ended up getting a great night’s sleep, despite having to get up at fuck AM the next morning.
Friday morning eventually rolled around and despite me being more than a little upset about having to get up at the un-godly hour of 8 AM, I actually woke three minutes before the alarm went off, and silently cursing those who got to sleep in, I put some clothes on, grabbed a Pepsi and headed out the door towards the concert ground at the stadium.. By way of a baker downtown, of course.. I don’t function too well in the AM – and especially not on an empty stomach. I arrived at the stadium at around 8:55 and pretty quickly located Jimmi and the other boys from the Uboat who were up on the stage, pretending to be working on rigging the lights. I asked Jimmi about our obligations for the day and he informed me that we were pretty much just to stand around and wait for someone to tell us to do some five minute chore, then repeat said pattern.. Which I thought was a pretty good idea, so I jumped right into it.
For the first hour or so, nothing much happened, we helped rig, angle, raise and break a few lights, we also dragged a few boxes back and forth, shot a few photos and then went and ate breakfast which was apparently included in the whole deal.. Oh well, there’s always room for another roll or two, right?
As we returned to the stage after breakfast, I first noticed that for once I wasn’t feeling too out of place what with most of the stage hands walking around sporting either long hair or a shaved head plus some sort of a band t-shirt and blue jeans. As a matter of fact, I was pretty amused to see people shoot the Uboat guys more than a couple of weird looks because of their Lacoste polos, Superdry jeans and what have you.. Ah yes, stereotypes are such fun! Things took a turn for the even better when Meat Loaf’s own crew arrived, most of them sporting either band shirts and/or crew/driver shirts, thus scoring me even more points for the washed up and sleep deprived roadie look I had going for me that day.. And essentially allowing me to twist things to my advantage. You see, there seemed to be some confusion amongst the people present as to whether or not I was a mere volunteer or a member of Meat’s crew which kinda rocked because while volunteers had to do anything that anyone said, people naturally assumed that crew members knew what they were doing and wouldn’t dream of bossing them around.
Alas, I’m not really one to take advantage, so I kept providing honest answers to questions such as “are you with the band?” “haven’t I seen you on some other build?” and “don’t you work for Cat?” – It was probably for the better anyways as Meat brought a lot of shit to the table and thus busied all of us for the next three hours hauling monitors, instruments, stage props, costumes, risers, and what the fuck have you. It was hard, tiring work, but also quite fun for a rock geek such as myself, well, the bruises and blisters aside anyways. Besides, it’s kinda fun to say that you’ve helped set up the stage, instruments and stage show for f’ing Meat Loaf.. Even if some of the tasks were tedious or downright dangerous. For example balancing behind the back drop and the back of the stage (which are like 20 cms a part, by the way) with a bunch of steel beams seemed more than a little wobbly and dangerous at the time, whereas mounting huge inflatable dolls to a bunch of fans seemed downright silly (but looked pretty cool during the encores that evening).
Eventually, at 1 PM, our shift was over and after a quick lunch, we all headed back to rest for a few hours and shower up (most of us being dirty as fuck all after crawling around on stage for about five hours) before rendez vouzing at the Uboat at 4 PM for a few warm up beers and some drunken fun. We sat around here for a few hours talking (remind me never to party with a crowd of devoted football fans ever again, I just don’t know what to say in conversation), playing drinking games and having fun. Until eventually, at around 7:30, we decided to head down and harvest the fruit of our labor, a free show and a fuck-load of free beers.
As we entered the concert grounds, we realized that we were maybe a little out of place.. Never in my life have I seen so many long-haired men over the age of 50, but it was pretty fun to witness such a spectacle, it was generally impressive though I was a little upset with a few things, namely the poor turn-out and the ridiculous prices. The latter might’ve played a vital role in me getting pretty wasted pretty quickly as food servings were ridiculously small and expensive and thus the only thing we had to lean on were the 65 or 70 free beers that we got to split between the ten of us or however many we were. Suffice to say that is no-one went home thirsty that night.. Or without an embarrassing shot of them winding up on Facebook the next day as there was a lot of meeting up with random crazy strangers, wearing weird wigs.. Or walking around without pants on for that matter.. People really should know better than to tell impatient Uboat regulars waiting in like to “keep their pants on” .. I’d expect nothing less that to see at least three of them take their pants of – which is exactly what happened that particular night. Luckily, I managed to get my pants back on before I ran into Lars Johnsen, a friendly middle-aged gentleman who’d been teaching web architecture and other subjects at uni and who seemed more than a little surprised to see me and hear that I’d helped set up the entire thing.. But that’s just the way I roll.
As for the show? Well, the warm up band seemed strangely out of place like someone had just gone “someone get us a popular local band within this particular price range”, I dunno.. It was just weird.. Some Danish pop band opening for Meat Loaf, I didn’t get it. Mr. Loaf himself took a ridiculous amount of time to get on stage, I thought, but once he did, I forgot all about bitching. None of the boys (or girls) felt like moving away from the beer tent so I led a solo charge to the front and ended up standing pretty far up front a long with a bunch of people who were visibly older than me but delighted to see a “youngster” up front as well, I got a lot of pats on the back that night for sure.
The first couple of songs, I didn’t know but I thought them to be pretty rocking and people were most certainly fired up and ready to go. Meat seemed a little limited by his recent voice issues but seemed to do whatever he could to deliver his best performance. It all seemed a little tame at first but once he kicked into “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” (yay!!) things got moving and his stage presence and show picked up quite a bit as well. “You Took The Words Right Out of my Mouth” followed and the crowd was sold, Johan included.. “Bat Out Of Hell” was just plain awesome and a song I’d always wanted to see in concert – whereas I found “I’d Do Anything For Love” a bit lacking despite my recent unexplainable fascination with classic love songs.. I dunno, I just wasn’t feeling it.
As for the encores, I knew I wouldn’t recognize them (having spotted the set list in advance), so I fell back and hung out with the boys at the beer tent for a while, shouting and yelling at various innocent passer-bys. I then, following some confusion, exited the stadium, picked up a cheap-ass souvenir shirt from questionable sources (mainly because the one I’d been wearing was drenched in sweat, some of which was probably not my own) and headed down to Louise’s to join the party she’d apparently ended up hosting that evening. It was all good fun but the beers must’ve gone to my head a bit because, well, once arriving and sitting down, having a few Leffes and a dram of whisky with Dunkel, I started feeling mighty tired and after fighting it for a while, decided to just curl up on Louise’s bed and let the rest of the party fend for themselves.
This proved a lot easier in theory as Dunkel and Penny had set out to be proper assholes and decided to hassle me by bombarding me with Louise’s army of stuffed animals.. So not fair, you guys! The party went on for a while till Louise, too, started to feel a little sleepy and the rest of the gang took a hint and started to leave.. Or well, some of them left and suddenly more people showed up as Svart suddenly made a surprise appearance at around 3 AM to pick up a jacket that he had forgotten weeks earlier. He seemed a little surprised to see only Louise and I around, but then again, he was so fucked up that something as trivial as a lady bug would’ve probably confused the fuck out of him.. We ended up hailing a cab for him and sending him home before eventually just crashing and burning.. ’twas a mighty fine day, but I wish I’d saved a little energy for the after party.. But apparently a seemingly unlimited supply of free beers does wear you out in the end.