2016 Vikings Meet Heidi Tour
Rock Bottom Blues Club
Travel dreams and nightmares
On the way to Europe, we set two new records: worst travel nightmare and most overpriced hotel. Six hours trapped on the tarmac on a United flight, with one small glass of water and a cookie (long gone are the days when airlines broke out free drinks in such situations), a 3am arrival in Newark, and no choice but to pay $300 for a dingy hotel deep in the industrial wasteland of New Jersey. But there was a silver lining: we got to make a quick day trip to Manhattan, and visited the World Trade Center Memorial, where we were reminded that our travel troubles weren't so bad.
Once we finally made it across the Atlantic, everything turned sunny. Had a wonderful side trip to Oslo, and a fantastic time on the Norwegian island of Smøla, followed by four great gigs in Switzerland.
This was one of the great tours. The first gig was a really fun festival on an exotic and beautiful island way up north in the Norwegian fjords. Markus and Ivan joined us from Switz, and Aurel Ouzoulias, who plays with Ivan in Mörglbl, flew up from Paris for the gig. The Vikings treated us great, and we had a blast.
The Skjærgårdsblues Festival took place in Veiholmen, a tiny fishing village on the island of Smøla. You take two car ferries to get there.
We played in a salty old building where (if I understood correctly) they used to boil down cod liver oil. We had an incredible crowd, and peeled the paint for 90 minutes. One of those gigs that really reminds you why you keep doing this!
The view from our band house
Norwegian breakfast: caviar and mayonnaise
Highlight of the trip: boat ride with Anton
The midnight sun
Heidi and Friends
Next we flew to Switzerland, to play at Festycharm, in the lovely Alpine village of Charmey. Sal Lombardo joined us on drums.
Everything was beautiful in Charmey - lovely old town square, nice stage. Just one little problem. I'm not talkin about a little bit of rain, I'm talkin about a downpour, all night. But we were dry enough, and we're pros, so we played our set (and so did two more bands!).
I think these cats have been playing together for a while.
Red Ivan, Blue Charlie.
Next we played at a beautiful campground in Rolle, on Lake Geneva. Here we had an extremely lively crowd, so we did what we do best.
Le Cintra in Fribourg is one of our home bases, a homey but lively club with old music gear and other classic junk stuffed into every corner. Owner Mickey rolls out the red carpet - playing here is like visiting an old friend. Longtime band member "Speedy" Jeanrenaud sat in on a couple of numbers (stay tuned).
The final gig of the tour was a private party for our old friend Fabienne, the proprietor of the Rock Bottom Blues Club in Yverdon. It took place at a luxurious lakefront house with a stunning view of the Alps. It was basically a house concert - a couple dozen folks sat and listened attentively, and we all had a great time.
The lakeshore is steep - we used a sort of funicular freight elevator contraption to load in our gear. Those clever Swiss!