It’s Monday, and weekend is over. But this weekend was not like any other – actually, it has to be one of the best of my life! I mean – you can always go to concerts, you can always travel for fun, and you can always meet up with friends.
But doing these things at the same time? That was what I did this weekend, all three activities. And it was not “just friends” or “just a concert” or “just a weekend trip” It was the meeting of a bunch of really close cyber-friends, who have this in common, that they love a very special artist. The name of that artist is: Roger Hodgson.
And what can one do, when these friends goes to Nurnberg, Germany, to meet up, and experience yet another wonderful concert with Roger Hodgson? The answer is obvious: buy a ticket, and GO!
And so I did. I travelled by ship from the Faroe Islands a week before, to make sure that bad weather wouldn’t keep me stucked in the Faroes – but there were no need to worry. Weather was fantastic all the way, and after two days I found myself in Denmark. And when Thursday evening arrived, I hopped on a train to Nurnberg – and soon I found myself in Nurnberg on a sunny, beautiful Friday morning. I could finally relax and enjoy the thought of what was about to happen.
We planned meeting up at the restaurant “Sausalitos” at 1 pm, and one by one, people arrived, and we all recognised each other instantly, even though this was our first time together in “real life.”
You can probably imagine all the hugs, handshakes, smiles, hugs again and laughs that were shared that moment, and when all had arrived, we had dinner and raised our glasses for loud cheers! – lifting glass with one hand, photographing with the other. Even our meals – pretty generous potions we all agreed – were photographed.
Time was flying, and we were about to leave at 4pm for another special event: we had been invited to sound check. And so we stood there all of us – some of Roger’s biggest fans from all corners of Europe. Mick from Ireland, Sabine and George from Malta, Christine from Austria, Sylvia from Switzerland, myself from the Faroe Islands, and not to forget all the German fans who had travelled from their corners of Germany.
Christine had made a banner showing a big “Happy Birthday Roger!”, that we all signed while waiting for Roger to arrive for sound check – more about that banner later!
When Roger arrived we went to the hall, and there we sat comfortably, excited and happy – we had been asked if we had any special requests for a song during sound check, and Claudia and I asked for “The Awakening” – and he played it. I love that song – I was hoping he would play it in concert, knowing he probably wouldn’t, so this was a special bonus. He also played a new song “Teach Me to Love Again” – and Roger, if you ever read this: Thanks for playing the Awakening for us, and your new song is so beautiful!
Or maybe I should rather write thanks again, as we had the opportunity to thank Roger personally, which we all did. He asked us if we liked the new song – and I remember myself saying that I loved this song, especially the piano playing/sax combination. I stood there thinking that I was going to hear it again later – and felt very lucky to be part of this very special, International meet’n greet. Thank you, Linda and Roger, from the bottom of my heart, to make this possible!
At this special meeting, we also had the opportunity to hand him a very special birthday card. It had been circulating the world, all the way from Malta, cross Europe, to the USA. Canada/New Foundland – and back to Germany, so we could give him the card with all these greetings. This too was a special moment.
And all too soon the sound check was over, and we all went to the nearby hotel’s lounge enjoying a drink or two, before the show would begin.
“When you’re up on stage it’s so unbelievable!”
I have already spent many words on describing the trip to Nurnberg – and I could spend even more on the concert itself. It was….FAN-tastic!¨
From beginning to the end – it was magical. One thing is that I never, ever will grow tired of these songs that have been with me since childhood, another is hearing them live, and a third thing is that Roger’s voice seems to be better than ever – and Aaron impressed us all by playing/multitasking even more instruments than usual! I know – you can read that in so many reviews that Roger’s voice is as good as always, maybe even stronger. But it IS true! I have attended several concerts since 2006, and they were always great – but this concert is without a doubt the best of all of those I’ve attended.
What makes a concert so wonderful anyway? Is it Roger’s wonderful voice, beautiful compositions, great lyrics? Is it the magic of two multi-talented guys playing together? Yes. That’s it! But there’s something more. You find great musicians everywhere, but nothing compares with Roger’s shows.
The answer is: Roger is a very ‘including’ artist, which means, he talks a lot to the audience, is joking, telling stories – and it is so clear that the audience love it, and Roger loves his fans and the audience.
And what makes this concert in Nurnberg, March 2009 so special, was also the presence of people from all over Europe, which he mentioned on stage. “Tonight we have guests all the way from Malta, Austria, Ireland.. even the Faroe Islands” that touched us all.. Especially one was touched, as the special guest that night was Sabine from Malta. “Sabine where are you?” Roger asked – “why don’t you stand up so the audience can applaud for you” – and I can only tell how happy I was, and only guess what she, and the other from our fan “fan-family” felt at that moment. It was so beautiful.
As I already mentioned, Roger had a new song on his repertoire. After opening the show with “Take the long way home”, “Give a Little Bit”, “Lovers in the Wind”, “Hide in your shell” – he played “Teach me to love again” He introduced the song, and said to the audience that this was a new song “and if you don’t clap, I won’t play it again next time…” and the audience started clapping instantly! “Sometimes I’m amazed about the things, that come out of my mouth. Okay this is the song – it’s called ‘Teach me to love again’.”
Of course, a new song is always welcome. And also after playing the song, the applause was overwhelming. It was clear – the audience truly loved it.
That new song is still – three days after – stuck in my head, and if I could only plug some sort of magic “head to stereo”-cable to my head, I’ll play it for all my friends and neighbours on my stereo. This is a song everyone just MUST hear. It’s heart touching and beautiful. He even played it twice, first on grand piano, then on keyboard.
There were many other surprises on the repertoire. One of them was that he played “A Soapbox Opera” – it made me incredibly happy to hear that song, and just as I thought nothing could surprise me anymore, he played Fool’s Overture! – now I couldn’t really ask for more.
But this great evening wasn’t over yet. Roger had surprised us with a new song, and an amazing show – now it was time for us to give back “a little bit.” It was time to get the Birthday-banner ready. At the encore, when Roger came back on stage, we had it ready – holding it and singing out loud “happy birthday!”
The banner was thrown up on stage, and so Roger held the it so everyone could see it, saying “you make me the happiest man alive!” – and with a big smile he placed it on the grand piano. “It’s my birthday in one and a half hour, this is my birthday party!” he said to the crowd.
With a very big smile, he asked: “So – what do you want to hear? School?” and the audience yelled out loud “yeaah!” – School is, among many other songs, an all time favourite. People were loudly singing along, clapping, whistling – and the applauses seemed they would never end. And it was a perfect end of the concert, when he played “It’s Raining Again”- people were literally dancing, jumping, singing, clapping – and even after he had left stage, the applauses went on and on and on.
And even when the song is over, where have I been – was it just a dream?
And so weekend is over, and I can’t believe all this really happened. It feels like I just woke up from a wonderful dream, but all the photos and messages circulating the Internet tells me: this really happened!
We all met up again the day after, on a sunny Saturday – and we agreed we could thank Roger for the fantastic weather: it was his birthday, and had obviously been a good boy 😉 On this sunny, beautiful Saturday, we went for some sightseeing in Nurnberg – and one thing we had to do before splitting up later that day, was to touch the Nurnberg ring, to have a wish free – and if our wishes come true, we can with peace in our hearts look forward to next year!
Our community is very special, we have laughs, experiences, moments, pictures and stories to share. And finally meeting some of them outside cyberspace, and realising that people really are the way you know from the Internet. No one hides behind masks, but are just as crazy, fun, wonderful, warm-hearted and beautiful in “real” life as in cyberspace.
Thanks everyone to make this happen, thank you so much, Linda for your incredible kindness and help, thank you Aaron, thank you Roger for being who you are and for all that you give – thank you all from the bottom of my heart!
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