…The Blaydon races

Day 10 – Schweizerhoff, Lucerne

It was time to get out of my little cosy Pickwicks , Lucerne hotel room and head off to another hotel which was about 10mins walk. I headed to the Hotel Schweizerhoff which is right on the main drag of Lucerne. Its a 5 star beautiful hotel and the Schweizerhof is backed by five generations of family tradition and has been standing in the centre of Lucerne for over 170 years. Each of their amazing new award-winning rooms tells a story featuring some of the musical guests which have performed or stayed there and We Steal Flyers were performing and staying for the last two nights of the tour here.

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Hotel Schweizerhoff in Lucerne

Its always exciting when we arrive at the hotel and I’m always excited to see what my room theme is too. This time I arrived in the Keb’ Mo’ room. On the glass writing desk there is a book which has all the descriptions of each artist and then there is a small glass case lit up with some items the artist left behind! Keb’ Mo’s cool spirally hat, some photos of himself and a signed piece of paper saying he enjoyed his stay. He also signed the bathroom wall. Hahahha….

The first thing I did when I got to my room was throw my stuff in, got out my laptop and put on some of Keb’ Mo’ on spotify while I slipped into the huge bath tub to relax with some lurrverly blues guitar and vocals. The muckle bath-tub is definitely one of my favourite ‘looking forward to moments’ of the Switzerland tours and I was in there for a good couple of hours pretending to be a dolphin and drinking coffee.

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The Keb’ Mo’ Room

The gig tonight was in the hotel bar area. We have played here many times before on previous tours and its always nice to be looked after before, during and after the show. The room has a big kind of ballroom feel too it with a big grand piano standing in the corner and we have lots of room to move about and shake our little legs about.

We headed down for a brilliant feast in the restaurant with Mark before gig time and I still have no idea what I was eating. We had some kind of soup for starter, then some kind of meat that seemed to be wrapped in omelette and weird floury, potato little things with herbs and some amazing apple pie for pudding. We pretty much had the place to ourselves and the date went well! Aha.

Mark was doing his Whisky tasting alongside the show and we were doing three sets tonight. There was lots of our buddy’s and fans turned up again for the gig and we had a bunch of English people sitting right in front of us who at one point was shouting out “singggg the Blaydon Races” and before we knew it Mr. Bill Wier was up and took over the sing along for us while we fumbled our way through it. Bill was right up for it and the lads out front loved the little on the spot rendition.

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Bill joining us for his rendition of The Blaydon Races

The rest of the gig was finished off and I sneaked another quick whisky in! As you doooo! A few of us headed out for a couple of cheeky beers after the gig and ended up in down-town. A great little rock venue hidden around the cobbled streets of the old town. After that it was back to my lovely 5 star bed to sleep like a log and get up for an amazing full on breakfast from the restaurant in the morning and one more gig to go.

Jason – Amazing Adventures Always

www.westealflyers.co.uk

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..cliff hanging Schumacker

Day 5 – Lucerne to Grindelwald in 50 seconds, Switzerland

It was time to head up to one of our regular Switzerland gigs. Espresso Bar up in the Grindelwald, a village in Switzerland’s Bernese Alps, popular for its Jungfrau region skiing in winter and hiking in summer. Climbers also use it as a home base for ascents up the iconic and stunning Eiger mountain. We have stayed up at Grindelwald in the Switzerland in winter and summer in past tours and both times of the year the views and surroundings are an amazing thing to behold.

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Our stop off on the way up the mountain pass

This time we had Formula 1 driver and Mr. Rock n Roll himself Patrick Archer from San Francisco taking us up in the tour bus as Mark was at home watching ‘Transylvania 2’ with the family. Somehow the Mercedes Van turned into some kind of magical rocket ship when Patrick is in the driver seat. Travelling over the mountain passes can be scary enough but when your zooming around corners and have someone else in control its a little bit of an uneasy feeling to say the least. We managed to stop off for a few quick photos from a look out point on the way up one of the passes and then before we knew it, we were off in warp speed mode again with Patrick’s ‘Beatles – Number ones’ CD playing away in the background of the race.

It doesn’t matter how many times I have been up to Grindelwald, it’s like my noodle has always forgotten how astounding it is as you drive up and you see the views of the Eiger and mountains surrounding this beautiful little place in Switzerland.

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Grindelwald main street with a view of the Eiger

We turned up to Espresso Bar and loaded in what we needed for the gig. We all grabbed a coffee then Patrick Schumacher dissapeared off into the distance and was coming back to pick us up the next day. We quickly set up our gear and sound checked nice and early. The PA system is an in-house system again and you just link into they’re system with your mixer then we pretty much cant move a millimetre with no space to move once we start playing which restricts your playing and being able to interact easily. It’s not so bad when you know what to expect though as we have played here lots of times before. The Espresso Bar gig was originally going to be a week later but there was a mix up of dates somewhere and we were flying back on that original date so they managed to swap our dates around. This also meant that the hotel rooms weren’t available and we ended up in two single staff rooms. I thought mine was tiny but when I saw Derek sitting on his bed behind the door it reminded me of Bilbo Baggins sitting in a hobbit hole. Hahahahha.

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Dereks Hobbit Hole in Grindelwald

Tonight was three full sets, starting at 10pm and as usual there was plenty of friends and fans from past gigs that turned up to see us play, even with the late date change. It’s always a bit of a loud and wild crowd in Espresso and they’re always up for a good sing-along when we start to get to that point of the sets. Jens was working behind the bar tonight and kept the Apenseller coming through out the gig to keep me alive and kicking.

‘No Secret’ from our first We Steal Flyers album is one the crowds favourite songs here in Grindelwald and everyone sings along with us. The highlight of the show had to be the last song. Jens asked us to play “One of Us” by Joan Osbourne to finish off and I asked him to come and sing it with Derek. This meant I pretty much had to stand in the middle of the bar, playing guitar, so that Jens could replace my spot on the microphone. It went from Derek singing and then both of them together, then Jens seemed to be singing some in German or Swiss-German and then to Derek singing and Jens beat-boxing! Hahahhahaha. It was hilarious and the whole bar was singing along with them.

We got packed up and Jens asked us if we could sing an unplugged versions of Hallelujah while there was just a few people in the bar. Derek flipped up the lyrics on his phone and I fumbled through some chords and the next thing was Jens is crying at the bar. Its his favourite song of all and he ended up a little emotional by it all, so … he had another drink and then got some pizzas out for us all on the bar to nom-nom up before we headed off to bed in our tinchy Hobbit holes.

We then headed back to Lucerne in the morning and have two days off to catch up and rejuvenate our body’s and voices ready for the next four gigs. I will continue with the diary after our time off and hopefully you are all still enjoying the stories of our tour. See you after the break.

Jason. Amazing Adventures Always

Here is the next half of the tour dates.

24th Shamrock Pub Luzern,
25th Spreu & Weizen Immensee

26th Schweizerhof Luzern
27th Shamrock Pub Luzern

28th BACK TO UK!

….chandelier swingers!

Day 4 – Pickwicks Bar – Baden, Switzerland

I woke up on day four of the tour to my usual routine of this trip. I checked my phone for anything of importance,  messages or new ladsbible videos, made a cup of coffee and opened up the curtains and shutters of room 101 to the view of Lucerne lake. It looked very different this morning however. There was millions of little circles forming all over the surface from the heavy rain pour that was happening. The promenade outside where people are usually sitting drinking coffee and beers was completely empty and there was no one around, just the swans and ducks bobbing up and down on the lake with the odd character all wrapped up, wandering across the wooden bridge.

There was no point in heading out anywhere in the crazy weather outside, but it was still a nice view to watch rom inside. Even as a kid I’ve always enjoyed being indoors when the weather is bad and you can see outdoors or hear the wind howling away. I used to love sleeping over at my grandmas when she lived onto the back of Dr. Pit Park in Bedlington. The back bedroom window looked over the park and you could see it all light up when we had lightning storms, then sitting looking out the window and counting between the thunder and lightning so we could try and work out how close it was to us.

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Mark having a laugh with the Sat-Nav

I got caught up on the tour diary and before I knew it, it was time to meet Mark at 3.30pm to head to Baden for tonight’s show. Derek and I headed off with backpacks once again to the meet up point in the rain where we found Steffi. The four of us were heading to Pickwicks in Baden tonight. It was dark when we arrived there and Steffi saved the day being Navigator as Marks Sat-Nav was having none of it. I’m sure sometimes they just have bad days and think “that’s it!! I’m gonna take you everywhere but where you want to be today” but luckily we had Super Steffi-Nav and she got us into Baden and found our way to the back of Pickwicks ready to load in for the gig.

After we got set up and said our hello to some of our buddy’s we aint seen since October it was time for a little drink and some food! I had myself an awesome ‘Pickwicks Special bacon Salad’ but no… I aint trying to get rid of the churb! I can’t really eat much before a gig and sometimes I feel like not eating anything at all as it really can effect how I sing,  play and perform when I’m full to the beans! Hahah. The salad was awesome though and it was covered in yummy balsamic vinegar!

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Unrotunately these were Steffis and Marks Platefulls!

Tonight’s gig was two , one hour sets and Derek was still struggling with his ear since the flight. He battled on though through the sets like a champ as always. We really do go through lots of illness through out our gigs and shows. Pretty much everything can cause some kind of troubles when you are singing 3 or 4 times a week and a simple cold or sore throat can really make a gig a lot more hard work for us. That said, it has to be pretty bad for us to not play a show and of course we still enjoy it. It is just one of the challenges of a being a full time musician. The first set flew over and we always have a great crowd of nice people when we land at Pickwicks, Baden twice per year. Just before the end of the set we got a lovely Australian guy Ryan up to help us sing out the last song of the first set and got everyone singing along to finish up for our break.

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Before we went back on Ryan asked if he could play a song with me before the start of the next set. He had a great big warm voice on him, and was looking to head down a musical solo career. We jumped into Little Lion Man by Mumford & Sons which I’d never played before but I love the challenge of having to jump in, watch and listen to everything and add something to songs I’ve never performed live before. He went down brilliantly with everyone in the bar and I hope he really does give his music a go, it’s nice to see nice people do well with something they love.

Derek and I jumped straight in and raced through an hour long second set with a couple of encores for all the happy music loving folk that were wanting to hear more. The gig went down great and Steffi even ended up swinging off the chandeliers after a few beers because she loved it that much!

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Super Steffi-Nav hanging around after the gig!

After the gig I had another sneaky whisky and Mark did an awesome job of making the equipment dissapear into the van. We hit the road back to Lucerne with an awesome Burger King treat on the way back to make up for my salad earlier. We sat around a table talking about comics, marvel, DC comics and aqua-man for a good half an hour while Steffi just sat there drunk and yawning, confused at three grown men talking about cartoons, comics and movies.

We headed back to the hotel across our little wooden bridge once again and it was time to hit the snoozy pit for a kip. Tomorrow’s gig is up in Grindelwald, home of the 13,020 ft Eiger Mountain.

Thanks for reading! Jason

Amazing Adventures Always

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