What`s the limit for passion? A long, tiring journey by land and sea, sleepless nights, hours of waiting in queues.. Is such an effort worth all this just to see once again the performance of the band that has provided the soundtrack to our lives?
Tiara Calon, a Whitesnake follower since 1973 has faced a 35 hours trip on the road to Dublin and back, and tells in detail what this journey was like,with plenty of Love for Rock & Roll.
My travels started on Wednesday the 10th of June, taking a taxi to the ferryport, catching just in time! the (15 minute) catamaran to Portsmouth where I boarded the coach to London.
There waiting for the connecting coach/check in to Holyhead/Dublin.
It was a long journey..by the time the bus boarded the ferry to Dublin I was exhausted.
Snoozing on a bus is far from resting.And the very bright lights on the boat, certainly keep you “awake”
Surprisingly I felt not TOO awful,when I arrived at 6.30am in Dublin.
Although so early,our very kind GER(ard) came out to collect me, luggage in boot, Park car.
Then off to walk the streets of Dublin, as it was too early to get a cup of tea yet!
Our walks took us to a place I always wanted to see..GRAFTON STREET.
I was well aware of the fact that I was still wearing my travelclothing and looking tired..
From there we finally managed to find a cup of tea..
A little rested and refreshed we walked a bit more,Dublin is a big place but the citycenter is actually not too big a challenge to walk.
Ger surprised me with a little nice drive out of the city to the graveyard where Phil Lynott is buried.
I never thought I would have the privilege to see this
It is a real shrine of Love and respect to a great man.Those of you that do not know me much,may not realise that Thin Lizzy (with Phil) was/is, after Whitesnake, the other very much loved band in my life.
No one disturbs these gifts, or takes anything. There were fresh red roses too,we assume from Phil`s mother Philomena, who lives nearby.
A great experience,and a moving visit
Then it was time to get me to my hotel.
Aaah..shoes off…clothes off ooeerr..lol..ahem.. a shower..and then just lying on the bed..for some much needed rest!
Ger e eu marcamos de encontrarmo-nos na cidade, para jantar.
Ger and I arranged,to meet in town, for some dinner, so, brave old Tiara takes a bus from the nearby busstation to Trinity College,meeting Ger there at 7.30pm.
It was a Thursday, but Dublin was buzzing as any other city is, usually on a weekend.
Ger tells me,this is because people are being paid on a Thursday, and obviously, are keen to spend that money fast again.
A bit more walking, then we end up right in the thick of it all, where you find one of the most famous wateringholes the Temple Bar.
Then we decided we needed to walk the pizza/pasta off, and passed the 1/2 penny bridgeto to yet another part of Dublin, with quite a few pubs and bars, we checked a few, Ger, knowing exactly where he was!
We decided to have a drink or 3 and ended up in the very swanky cool hotelbar of the Morrison, a very attractive riverside boutique hotel.
As we only had a very short meeting the year before, in Manchester, this was a great opportunity to spend some time.
Ash,who was there as Def Leppard’s photographer, told us that the boys of Whitesnake were all staying here.
But were out rehearsing still. We were not there to “stalk” the band, so we did not interfere with their private time,when later on, Viv Campbell, Reb, Uriah sat at the Bar with a drink to relax.
It was bout 1am and who walks in as we leave? No other then our dearest Doug, absolutely wonderful to see him, a few warm hugs and words and assurance we`d meet tomorrow after the show.
Taxi back to hotel, for a good night’s sleep finally!
Next morning, the DAY OF THE WHITESNAKE GIG!! Up fairly early,getting ready to be picked up by Jackie for my next hotel,where we shared a room.
This place was in a good part of Dublin, not too far from the O2, and online offers enabled us to go there for a very good rate.
There, while Jackie changes, and gets ready(as girls do) we are interrupted by a PANIC text from our chum Ronnie, who stayed at same place, that he cannot use his shower, of course we offered him our shower!
Then finally ready,we met up with Tony,and we all shared taxi to O2.
Once we got there..about 30 ish people in front of us, there were barriers set up right by the street! And we could FEEL THE WIND BLOW, from the docks very unpleasant, one tends not to be dressed for such wind, when one is going to a Whitesnake gig in June!
While waiting, Dani and Fabrizio, who had flown in from Italy, and Ger and his girlfriend Chris, and also Gursharan joint our lil group, I find that this queueing is becoming more cruel by the year.
This was actually a short wait, 3.5 hrs, usually it’s 5 plus.
At five pm finally the DOORS opened..and the usual FRENZY starts..RRRRRRUNNNNN..NO DO NOT RUN..a well..everyone does… very hard to get to the front, as 3 doors open at same time.
We have the by now familiar setting of the “Def Leppard” stage, with the dart out into the audience. So,although we do not manage front/center we are very happy with a place by the barriers on the “Doug” side!
First Band on for this night were TESLA.They are an american band formed back in 1984 in California.Their current album is called “Forever More”.
For me personally, their 30 minute gig failed to impress me, or shall we say it, failed to get me either excited or into the mood for more.
They are certainly not a bad band, trying hard, and there were quite a few Tesla fans there that night.
Just not my thing,but good luck to them for all they do.
Next up, was Journey. Their “new” frontman Arnel Pineda is certainly a good vocalist.
Not surprised, Journey choose him to become the new vocalist in December 2007, he is also very… well.. energetic onstage.
To me, just a bit too.. sorry. It took Journey a few songs to get the crowds going, although they really hit us with all the great songs like “Wheel in the sky” reminding us of grand albums like “Revelation” and “Departure”.
When they opened “Don`t stop believin`”the O2 was finally won over!
Quite rightly so, Neil Schon is a true Rocklegend, Although I myself have never been a fan of Journey, I gladly acknowledge that they have created some amazing songs..and I’m very much a song person.They did not disappoint.Good very energetic gig!
Now! This is it boys an girls! This is really why I travelled all these hours and stood for all these hours (my back/leg/shoulder and head were hurting quite badly by now)
Then..the familiar sound of THE WHO`s “My Generation” fills the arena, and we all know that Whitesnake is just a minute away from entering the stage! Smiles growing bigger, hearts beating faster, This is OUR time!
Lights off, massive scream, and there they are; David leading the boys out onto the stage..to an amazing reception!!
HELL, that is always the moment of truth; after 31 years of “wightsnaking” my band still gives me goosebumps when they come out on that stage.
The sheer presence of all these guys can just not be put into words. I get the first smile from David of the evening! And then they “fly” into “Best Years”.
A at some venues I feel that the new songs do not go down as well, as the classics, but tonight, here in Dublin, the audience seems to know the new album “Good t Be Bad” very well. They sing along as any good Whitesnake Choir should. Very impressive.
David looks fabulous, in my personal opinion even better then in 2008! In fact they all look damned marvellous!I may be 54 but I am NOT dead yet…
David talks David talks to the audience quite early on, reminding us of another amazing anniversary.
Can one believe it that we been “slipping” and “sliding” for so long! David tells us, that as there is precious little time for them that night, he intends to get on with it and give us as much music as possible.
A bittersweet decision, as much as I appreciate “more music” I must say..David`s very own way of dealing with his people is now so precious to us, that we miss it immensely.
But he, as usual, owns that stage, holds the people in the palm of his hand. Truly, he winks, smiles and waves as ever making us all that came that night to “get it”, as if every song was especially for each and every one of us.
Doug is “smoking”, looking so comfortable and happy on that stage, it’s a joy to see.
Uriah also seemed to enjoy himself. The steps forward to the front of the stage a very nice addition.
Timothy is sounding fantastic.That man has such an amazing voice, what a rock to have as backing singer, and his smiles just light up the venue.
Reb looked very happy with himself too, sounding fantastic, the guitarduel was as always a highlight, it shows the style of both these gifted musicians off to perfection. Brilliant!
Chris had been given a short slot for his drum solo, which was a great desicion. Long enough to make us see his style and appreciate what he is adding to the Band and short enough, not to take away from the shorter set.
For me the highlights of the night were “Guilty of Love” and “Here I go again” both songs had the whole of the O2 arena singing along and I, for one, was as proud as a mother watching her babies doing well.
I was sorry that “Ain`t gonna cry no more” acoustic was taken out, but indeed we had a shorter gig that night, so,some things must give.
When the boys rolled into “Still of the Night”, we were all totally hyped, and maybe not quite ready to go.
No “Soldier of Fortune” guess due to time again.
When my boys bowed to “We Wish You Well”, I knew though, that this was a grand gig I had just seen.Very strong vocal performance by David Coverdale (don`t let anyone tell you otherwise) and, yes, more then worth my travels, my pains, my troubles…
Soooo, that was it! How fast can 75 minutes go when you are enjoying every second so much?
The After Show
Tony, Jackie, Chris, Ger, Ronnie and myself were fortunate enough to have been gifted some aftershow passes, and so, no disrespect to the Leppards, but to us the possibility of spending a lil` extra time offstage with the boys will always win.
After a little ordeal involving the security of the night and battling for near 20 minutes we were finally escorted to the lift that takes one to the “aftershow area”, at the club-bar of the venue.
We were lucky enough..to spend some time with Doug,Timothy, Uriah, and have a few words with Chris.
Even a few pics were taken. Although to me taking pics is just not “on the agenda” as it feels more like one is actually spending time with friends these days. that know us and seem more then comfortable in our company, that alone, to me, is amazing.
I may have lost out on photos..but aah I gained on kisses and hugs.
After a considerable time, we parted company and, of course, it being our luck, just left the bar when the sounds of “We`ll Meet Again” ring through the O2, meaning Def Leppard have finished their set.
That ment we were now stuck in thousands of moving bodies.
Finally out of the arena! Saying our goodbyes to some, we take a taxi back to our hotel. No food all day, so I’m starving.
But it’s too late to get anything, so take away greasy pizzas it was.the smell was so overwhelming, I could not eat a thing although hungry (lost another few grams)
Back in our rooms, some time until sleep would come to me. Too wound up and somehow this ONE GIG was just NOT ENOUGH!!!
It’s time to go home
The next day saw some of us meeting up wandering Dublin again, as my bus was not leaving before 8.15 pm, and others were staying on or catching very late (early!) planes.
Back to Grafton Street, and Phil`s grave so the rest of our group could see this.
We enjoyed a great lunch in Dublin citycenter.
My thanks once again to our more then generous friend Ger!
Later in the eve, we said our goodbyes by the Bus Station. We all had such an amazing time, we realised that we had made new friends and were promising each other to meet again asap.
My bus was on time, the even longer journey home, due to longer wait in London was tough maybe harder then coming in, as now I knew it was all over for a while.
After 18.30 hrs I touched down on “native soil” on the Isle of “Wightsnake”, tired as hell, but in the knowledge that this little much too short Irish adventure had been well worth my troubles.
And..even more so, in the knowledge that I would do it ALL AGAIN to have the chance to SEE MY BAND because It means the world to me.
Thank you Whitesnake for being so damned brilliant. I`m gonna hold on for the rest of my days, hopefully, I will be saying..these words again very soon: HERE I GO AGAIN!