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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

What I did on Monday 

Early in the afternoon on Monday, I stepped outside of my flat, locked the door and wandered out into the street to catch a tram. The sunlight was heavily filtered through rather thick, but white clouds. I moved fairly quickly so I could make my train, and at the intersection right outside my flat I was nearly run down by a man in a black BMW. He even had the gall to glare at me, as if my walking in the crosswalk when the light was green was a personal affront to his entire existence. I politely smirked at him, in a not-really-condescending way.

Once at the train station, I picked up a magazine, as something to keep me occupied for an hour was required. The bakery was kind enough to have chilled iced tea on sale, so I picked up a meekly lemon flavored beverage and made my way to the platform. Perfect timing - I had 4 minutes to hop on the train and find a seat. And when I sat down, it hit me. Ticket. Me. Damnit. Not a massive problem, but I knew it would cost me twice as much to buy a ticket on the train. Ahh well, I had a magazine, a window seat in a mostly empty car, an ice-cold iced tea, and an hour to kill before arriving in Krems an der Donau.

I knew I had about a 15 minute walk from the train station to the church. All in all, it took about 25 minutes because I couldn't help myself but wander through the park in the downtown area. The air was crisp, with a slight autumnal chill, and the sun dropped angled shadows across the tree laden park. Almost entirely out of character, I stopped and watched a handful of children giggling and laughing and playing with the fallen leaves with a smile on my face.

Nearly a block away from the church, I was reminded of Salzburg a little bit, but mostly of Innsbruck. I half expected each of the dwarfed doors to open, displaying typically tourist attraction gifts and wares. But there was no lederhosen being hawked, not a one. No colorful gifts for people to take home and give to their loved ones. Just a sweet, little old lady hanging out her street level window, watching the passersby with a smile in her eye and a flattened smile on her face.

Once in the church, I tucked myself away from the hustle and bustle of preparations being made for the concert. I rested against a pillar and watched as the band did some sound checks and repositioned some of their instruments. Rehearsal began, but it wasn't rehearsal. It was a spontaneous splash of lyrics, basslines, guitar riffs here and there, sheet metal gonging, jet engine humming, pvc pipe hissing and video cameras recording. It was a concert before the audience arrived. And I was there. It was in a word super-duper-cool.

At the scheduled break, a few of the volunteers, my friends and I went to a nearby locale for some dinner before going back to the venue for the official concert. After translating the menu for my friends and then ordering for them and myself, I ran outside to make a phone call. Upon my return, I had to laugh to myself, silently thanking one of my companions for choosing the largest table in the place. The band had come to join us for dinner. We drank various beverages - coffee, wine, mineral water, almdudler, red wine spritzers, beer, tea, a little more wine and cola - awaiting our dinner orders. We talked about all kinds of things - the rehearsal, the sound in the church, the tour, the states, the odd difference between vegetable names in german and austrian-german, the not-yet-agreed-upon set list for the night, films, etc. etc. - and the highlight of my dinner... I was complimented by one of the guys on my German. I couldn't help but blush.

Shockingly, when we returned to the venue, I spotted one of my co-workers, went to greet him and introduce my friends and then ventured backstage for a rum and coke before my friends were off to working their cameras. The entire show was great. All in all it was about two and a half hours of solid music. I found it endearing during the encore when Blixa - lead singer - stopped the band mid-song and told the audience that he just couldn't remember the lyrics and would somebody please lend him a cd so he could read lyrics from the sleeve. They invited some of their supporters - see the website to get a definition of supporter - onstage during the show to sing backup for them on two songs.

Once the show was over, I met my friends backstage and made plans for the evening. We had a beer with the band, talked with some people on the crew, broke down the equipment and packed it up so they would be ready to get into the bus the next morning to drive to Italy.

The rest of the evening was filled with beer, rum and coke, long talks with old friends and laughs. After very little sleep, Tuesday morning, I made my way to the train station and an hour later found myself back in Vienna.

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