Counting down

As they say, third time’s a charm. I bloody well hope so.

In other news, it looks like I might have internet at home tomorrow. This is the cue for the technical support team to go into hiding: I got your number, and I’m not afraid to use it.

So, I’ve been to Budapest

Long story short, I had a great time in Budapest. And that shouldn’t surprise anyone, since I always seem to have a great time when I’m on some sort of holiday.

But anyway, in the long version I arrived in Budapest early in the afternoon of June 26, 2007. After dropping my luggage at the apartment, I started to walk around in Pest. First to the theater, then to the cathedral, and over the Chain Bridge into Buda. After a climb to the top of Castle Hill, I cam to the conclusion that already liked Buda a lot better then Pest. Walked around some more, had some dinner and called it a day.

The next day started out clouded, with a light drizzle. Considering I had planned to climb to the top of Gellért Hill, that wasn’t to bad. It’s a pretty steep climb, but the view from the top is totally worth it. Then I went on to Castle Hill again, where I visited the castle and the Hungarian National Gallery. Some pretty paintings, and a very impressive little statue, which wast called something along the lines of “The Genius of Death” by someone with an unpronounceable name, and Google isn’t really helping me finding out more about it. After the visit I descended Castle Hill via the Fisherman’s Bastion, and crossed the Chain Bridge to Pest again. While I was chilling out on the square at the foot of the bridge, Dave called, saying that there would be a meet-up near the theater, where we could stalk the premiere. After a quick trip I met up with Dave and Julie, Ann and Judy. Since there was nothing yet to see near the theater except some of the set near the side-entrance, we went for dinner first. While waiting for the pizza, we were joined by Will. (Somehow, the Hungarian radio managed to play “Anything for Love” as well as Bonnie Tyler’s “If You Were a Woman (And I was a Man)” while we were there.) When we arrived back at the theater there were quite some people, but no recognizable ones. Except for mr. Steven Rinkoff, Jim Steinman’s long time co-producer/engineer, that is. After the show started, we hung around, listening to the sounds leaking through from inside. Somewhere through act one, Brian joined us. After the show, Mr. Rinkoff more or less ordered us to crash the after party in the New York Palace Hotel. Pretty posh party in a pretty posh hotel. Very nice indeed. There, Rink introduced us to Gernot Kranner, the original Vienna Professor Abronsius, and shared quite a few interesting bits of information (The Dream Engine not being dead, Tanz going to South Korea, Belgium and quite possibly The Netherlands, etc.) We left the party around midnight.

Sunday morning I spent mostly visiting the Palace of Fine Art on Heroes’ Square, and the early afternoon I spent strolling through and reading in the city park. At four o’clock the group gathered in front of the theater to pick up our tickets, and we went out for dinner. Now, the group had grown to 10 people, as we were joined by Mr. and Mrs. Laci and Hennie (also from The Netherlands). Back to the theater, and show time. One word would be enough to descibe Vámpírok Bálja: Sweet. You can throw in all kinds of modifiers, like very, totally or fucking, but with just the right intonation, sweet will cover the sheer awesomeness of the show. The cast was great, very good singers all over the board, the sets were fantastic (false perspective on the exterior of the castle, the inn rotated around, very good use of the limited space), the orchestra was fine, the sound was good: all was sweet. After the show, we met up with mr. Rinkoff again, who once again managed to get us into the afterparty. Spend some time talking with mr. Kentaur, the set designer, and met some cast members, as well as the director of the show. Rink provided us with some goodies (cast photos, posters, flyers), drinks and some more stories/info. Very nice guy. When the party started to slow down around half past one, we all went back to our respective hotels.

On monday morning, those who hadn’t gone home already met up for a boattrip on die nicht so Schöne, nicht so Blaue Donau. After that and lunch it was time for me to go back to the airport.

Once again I had a great time. I guess that is what these Steintrips are about: meeting up with some great people to listen to some great music, and have a great time. I guess someone must have blessed us when he gave us those songs. More pictures can be found in the usual place.

Back from Budapest

And it looks like I’ve got to wait another couple of days before I have an internet connection at home. They’ve upgraded my order to a “spoed bestelling”, but I guess when they are in a hurry, you’d still have to wait up to ten days for delivery.

Anyway, Budapest was nice, Vámpírok Bálja was very sweet, and the company was once again fantastic. More later.

Meat Loaf in Amsterdam

The short: much better then Cologne.

Mr Loaf’s voice was in a better shape then it was two weeks ago, but that was hardly surprising. The sound was very good, the band and the show still rocked, the edit of Anything for Love still doesn’t make sense, the banter throughout Paradise seemed to have no end and I strongly suspect that Mr Loaf mimed at least the last part of Land of the Pig. What I saw just didn’t match up to what I heard. Ah, well, still had a great night with what will probably be my last Meat Loaf gig.

In other news: still no internet at home, and tomorrow I’m off to Budapest in order to meet up with some people and see Vámpírok Bálja. See ya next tuesday.

Them’s fighting words

A week ago today, I went all the way to Cologne, Germany, to see Meat Loaf perform live at the Kölnarena.

And to but it bluntly, he sucked ass. His voice was terrible. During his very first song — yes, that one — it struck me that if he would sing any slower, he’d be singing backwards. From there on it did improve, but not much. It was hit and mostly miss throughout the show. The “new” edited live version of Anything for Love was ridiculous: intro, jump cut to the first verse, and then straight onto the end. Mr. Loaf may claim that he never liked the song, but that ain’t no way to treat your biggest hit. Objects was bad, Frying Pan wasn’t all that hot either, and the encores (three covers: Black Betty, Mercury Blues and Gimme Shelter) left me totally indifferent.

But you know what: it wasn’t all bad. Musically it was great. The band was top notch all around (mad props to mr. Dave Luther on saxophone), and there were some nice visual effects (flamethrowers, fireworks, video, inflatable dolls, the works). Land of the Pig (my favorite from the album by far) rocked my ass off. In fact, the whole show rocked my ass off (well, apart from that song and the fake duet version of It’s All Coming Back To Me Now). All Steinman for the main set (as he dropped Blind as a Bat), and well, I’m a Jimmy fan boy.
And, despite his voice being terrible, you can’t fault Meat for trying. I go to concerts to be entertained, not to hear album-like renditions. And luckily, mr. Loaf is still one hell of an entertainer. He gives it all he’s got, but sometimes, giving it all you got doesn’t quite cut it.

Ah well. Next week I’ll be seeing him again in Amsterdam, and we’ll see what he makes of that.

On to the next point: Fields of Rock. My first two-day festival, which we extended to a three-night camping trip. The weather forecast promised lots of rain, but all in all, it wasn’t too bad. The crowd was mild, too. Not too busy.

All in all, there were three bands I had to see (Heaven and Hell, Iron Maiden and Dream Theater), and some bands I wouldn’t mind seeing (again).

The first band I saw on saturday I saw After Forever. The missing second guitar was quite noticeable during the older songs, but George (formerly of Orphanage) made up a lot. Then we lounged on the grass during Dublin Death Patrol, waiting for Heaven and Hell. And they were the shit. Dio >> Ozzy. Past sixty, and still hitting the (right) notes. Eat that, mr. Loaf. And the rest of the band, as well as the material, wasn’t too shabby either. Heaven and Hell were simply the shit. Slayer isn’t my thing, so I walked around a bit, only to find that Kamelot isn’t quite my thing either. Tight trouser metal indeed.After some more Slayer, it was time for Maiden on the main stage. And they rocked. The new shit didn’t go down that well, but the old shit… wow. Wrathchild, Children of the Damned, Number of the Beast, Run to the Hills, Hallowed Be Thy Name, Two Minutes To Midnight, The Evil That Men Do, Fear of the Dark… wow. Very metal. It isn’t that the new stuff is bad, as I quite like the album. But personally, and I guess it goes for most of the crowd, I was waiting for the classics. Imagine the reaction when they announced to be back next year with the second part of their “Early Years” tour. With pyramids, albatrosses and more old shit. Count me in already. But I digress. Great show, all in all.

Sunday started of with Delain, which made a very nice wake-up call with their dime-a-dozen Efteling-metal. From there on, I sampled a lot of different bands: Megadeth was boring as hell. To me, they sound like a mediocre Metallica cover band that hasn’t go the memo that they did anything past “Kill ‘Em All” yet. Amon Amarth makes kick-ass “we have come to eat your puppies” Viking metal, and I need to check out some of their stuff. Motörhead was Motörhead, Life of Agony was interesting but not quite for me and if you ask me, Type O Negative’s puppies got eaten, and they were really not happy ’bout that. Then, the highlight of the festival: Dream Theater.
If Heaven and Hell was the shit, DT were the muthafuckin puppy eatin shit. Crap be damned, they were tight and heavy, all of that and several bags of chips. If their set would be any heavier, it should be outlawed. Socks can only be rocked that far, and they were bordering on unacceptable levels of kickassness. See? I made a word up to convey how freakin awesome they were. Concert of the year material. I can’t recall when I’ve last been this psyched about a concert. Holy Sweet Mother of All that is Bright and Shiny, if they’re only half as awesome when they come back in October, it would still be more than mindblowing.
After that I saw some songs by Ozzy, and I expected that it could only suck. Which it did. Sucky songs (no No More Tears), sucky lame-ass overlong guitar solo, and a voice that was on par with mr. Loaf’s in Cologne. And no, I do not mean that as a compliment.

It was a great weekend, and my socks were thoroughly rocked.