Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Erlebnis Bergwerk Merkers - 500 metres underground

Sitting back stage at BURGLENGENFELD, Veranstaltungszentrum.

With the miniature bottle of Jack, and no pinball this time.

A new town for us here and nice to see some people have travelled up to 250kms to be here.

Last night was fun, Munich, last time we played the Circus Krone, which is an actual circus, hence the name.
This time further out of town in an ex potato factory.
Where we heard the news of the passing of Prince, only 57 and a great talent. I saw him at the 02 London a few years back.

A very responsive crowd and some old friends were here, Bernhard and Simone.
So I went for a rare after-show drink, but paid for it the next day.
Everyone smoked in the bar, amazing how soon we forget it used to be the norm to wake up stinking of smoke.

I just dived in bed and slept, that’s the trouble with flying out early the same day as the show, takes me a while to catch up on sleep.

Upon awakening from my esteemed repose, I couldn’t find the room key anywhere. So I had to shower in the dark.
I thought when in the shower that although I tore the room to pieces looking for the key I’ll find it in an obvious place just as I leave.
And lo and behold, the last thing I packed away was this very laptop upon which I now type, and under it the room key, and the key to the electricity.
Anyway, show time, tomorrow is the big one.
‘til then I wish you a fond  hors d'oeuvres. (Groucho)

I am writing to you from 500 metres under the Earth from a disused salt mine, and certainly the most unusual of venues.

You can't really miss the venue, you can see the mine shafts for miles.

The elevators drops into  a pitch black abyss, which only takes the traveller halfway. Then a drive through the tunnels, for a mile or so, in total darkness save for the glare of the trucks headlights.
We Then turn a corner and we are in a huge cavernous opening, with stage, light and PA, and a nice backstage area. Where I now sit, enjoying a cuppa Earl Gray.

Merkers was part of Eastern Germany, before the unification. But is best known for where the Nazis stashed their gold bullion, and art treasured, during WWII.
It was discovered by the United States Army in 1945. General Dwight D. Eisenhower himself went into the mine in April 1945 to examine the find.

It’s pretty much bomb proof down here.
So if WWIII kicks off and it’s the end of the world when we get back to the surface. It is down to us to repopulate the planet.

The acoustics here are amazing, and a good team working on the show.
Tonight, just like the last time, is Sold Out.

 Unlike last time tho’ we have changed hotel, last year it was like Fawlty Towers, where the manager was so drunk he kept falling asleep as we tried to check in.
We had to wake him, and he would have forgotten who we were
It went a bit like this

‘We have a reservation.. 5 rooms’
‘smoking or none smoking?’
‘none smoking’
‘I’m sorry we do not have any smoking rooms left’
‘Its ok we don’t smoke’
‘yes can I help you?
‘We have a reservation – 5 rooms’
‘smoking or none zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz’
‘Yes can I help you’
We have a reservation!!
‘Look we have a reservation for 5 rooms, none smoking, can we have the keys please’
‘Sorry we don’t have any smoking rooms left’
‘That’s ok, none smoking is fine’

He looked a bit like Basil Fawlty too.

Today is Saint Georges Day!
And sound check begins, the drums are thundering away into the distance, the gong sounds apocalyptic.

Once down here we are here for the duration, there is no nipping back to the hotel, it takes a full two hours to get the audience in, and another 2 hours to get them out.
And we will be the last to leave.
But there are bars and restaurants down here, like an underground city.
Certainly one of the most amazing venues I have performed at, and I have done a few!

Tomorrow, we fly back to the UK, and normality.

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