Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Finland tour: Helsinki & Tampere

Once again it's been a while since I updated but I thought I would wait until I returned from Finland to update.  Should I give a "Warning Long Blog!" message? Hmm guess I just did

Currently sat on the plane after take off from Helsinki writing this with a stuffy nose (thanks Marco!). I'm trying to think what to actually write but no formation is coming to mind so I think I'll just blabber on for a bit. Due to time I am now finishing this as I have returned home.
So Thursday evening I drove from my place to Alex's in Glasgow (UK fan club admin), which took about 3 hours. I arrived about midnight and was greeted by Alex and the Moomin mascot of the fan club.
After a quick hi and picture we called it a night.

We boarded our flight to Amsterdam which we then needed to change aircraft and fly onto Helsinki, it was the cheaper option but took longer so by time we got there it was midnight local time.
We met up with Miren ( TH.com translator) and Linza (TH.com IRC mod) at the airport and returned to Linza's apartment to sleep. Miren joined us for the first night as her friend was not arriving till the next day for the gig. The 4 of us squeezed into Linza's room using 2 inflatable mattresses, a sofa and Linza's hammock. After a hefty discussion on politics we all fell asleep. However being the light sleeper I am, I was soon woken by the unsoothing 'song' made by Alex. I actually recorded his snoring as proof to him the next day...typically he just laughed and said he sounded like a pregnant cow.

I managed to fall back asleep but only for another hour or so then I woke feeling really ill, typical. We noticed Alex had lost his wallet so after a frantic search we decided to go into town and meet up with those we planned to and go to the police and report it stolen.....silly Alex! We met up with Jake and Sarah then did a few things while we waited for Tarja and Natalia to arrive. We went to this gorgeous Chinese restaurant with the most hyper and happy waitress ever. I was so gutted I didn't feel well as the food looked lovely. I did manage some soup though which was absolutely gorgeous. I think the next time I'm in Helsinki I'll have to go back.

Then we just walked around the city waiting for Miren and Natalia to be able to check into their room at 4pm. I was so glad when we cold as it meant I could try and have a short nap before the gig. Unknown to me though, this happened:

They are so cruel to me!

We then finally headed down to the Icehall to collect our tickets and passes at about 6.
The show was excellent and everyone really enjoyed it, only problem was we were all split up as some had seated tickets and some standing. Alex and Miren were opposite where I was sitting and at the beginning we tried taking pictures across the distance for fun:

We found some TH.com members who had came to the gig too and they said hi. It's lovely meeting and talking to members of the site.
After the show we went backstage and saw the guys. Jukka commented it was the best show so far and how happy he was.

We greeted most of the band. Emppu and Anette looked busy so we didn't bother them however. I waved to Tuomas who pointed and shouted "where did you come from?" then he practically pounced on me which gave the guys a laugh. I introduced everyone and he practically force fed them some of this Salmiakki shot stuff. Alex really liked it and decided to buy a bottle on the way home. I took some pictures of the guys with the band and they took a picture with me and Tuomas...a drunk Tuomas. But it was funny. However not too long after Troy came over to me and asked had I seen his Salmiakki. After I told him Tuomas had it he called him a thief and went to retrieve it

Troy was an absolute hoot. I was standing with him and Stobe talking about the movie and Troy started rambling on about how Stobe was telling him how to perform on camera. For the risk of offending people I won't say what was said, but just imagine us nearly on the floor with laughter.

Of course we have to have some amusing images to share so here is mine:

Don't ask me what I'm doing as I have no idea.
We said our goodbyes and went for a bus back to the apartment. I said goodbye to Tarja which was sad as was nice to finally meet her. It's the crazy thing about working online with people, never/rarely meeting them.
Back at the apartment it was a quick look through the photos of the night and then straight to bed.

The next morning I woke and I felt healthy, thank goodness for that. Me and Alex had to pack our cases and get to the train station to head to Tampere to check into our hotel before we were due to interview Tuomas.
When we arrived we were too early to check in so used that time to finish the report at the police station about Alex's wallet. It took about an hour in total and we decided to return to the hotel anyway and freshen up in the toilet if needed. Luckily when we got there a room had become free so we could go upstairs and shower etc ready for the interview and evening.
I invited Alex, Miren and Natalia along to the interview and we met in the lobby of the hotel before Tuomas was due. As always, like clockwork Tuomas came downstairs dead on the arranged time. We sat and had a coffee and just had a casual chat about different things. Miren gave Tuomas some wine and Alex presented him with some whisky on behalf of the UK fan club and some books from himself, which Tuomas seemed genuinely interested to read.
We cracked on with the interview and Tuomas adored the questions. So much so we're arranging a little something for a few weeks time. ;)
Images of the interview:

During the interview the other band members were arriving, the loudest being Marco who made his presence well known whilst filming the interview. (See last image above of Tuomas waving to Marco when he came in.) He hung around and chatted with us after which was really cool of him, we even persuaded him to pose for a few pictures:

Then we got Tuomas to do the same and I finally got a decent photo with him. It's only took me a year and a half to get it after multiple attempts in the past:

So after the interview they guys headed to the venue for sound check etc. I saw Anette coming out the lift and think I scared her half to death by saying hi and good luck. She pretty much ran away thinking I was some crazy stalker I think just sat in hotel lobby :)

So then it was time for a couple of hours down time before having to head off to the gig. I decided I would go for a lie down to relax a bit and try and get at least part of the interview sorted out. Thank god for Alex bringing his iPad, it was a very handy thing to have with us.
It was close to 7 when me and Alex decided to go grab some food then head to the venue. Easier said than done as we had to find somewhere to eat first and this meant walking on the sheet ice which was on our route into the centre. We stumbled upon a subway then jumped in a taxi to the venue and grabbed our tickets. When inside I had to try and find Joonas to get some CD's from him that Plamen gave. We walked around and could not see his Nightwish Art Calendar stand anywhere so I asked one of the EMP guys and he said he just walked past me. To be honest I was sure that it was him but I was stupid and didn't say anything so I had to wait for him to return.
I glanced and saw him walking back down but then got the shock of my life when I realised Katharina was with him, I had no idea she was coming and it was a lovely surprise. 

She had some gifts for the band and told me I had one too which was very sweet of her. 
Me and Alex then walked into the hall and wondered the floor trying to decide where to stand. Since I got decent photos from the right of the stage the night before, we decided to go to the left and try and get some better pictures of Tuomas.
We were surprised we just walked to the front and it was pretty quiet at the edges of the floor. Which was handy for taking pictures without anyone knocking my hands etc. Next thing we knew Johanna came and stood next to us so we chatted for a while with her before she left the floor and then we noticed Troy. We went over to see him and boy did he look rough, Alex told me I actually said to him 'Darling you look like shit', he had the hangover from hell. We stood talking to him for about half an hour then he had to go as the band were due on stage. We went back to where we were stood before and watched the show. It was a lot better on the floor than the seats of the previous night, you get more energy from the crowd when you are 'in the thick of it' but I must say Finns are a completly different audience than the UK Nightwish gig. In UK they push, punch and do about everything they can to get that extra inch forward and have the floor totally covered (well in the gig I was at anyway). Here it was polite, space for people to dance in and was a much nicer environment in my opinion.
This made it easier to take (what I consider for an amateur) decent images:

After the show ended, we waiting to meet up with Miren and Natalia again who came to the venue on their own. We all walked to find Katharina and Joonas to get sorted to go backstage, but first we had to say goodbye to Miren which was sad. It was so nice to meet her and so much fun.

We went to the backstage area though security were a bit unsure of us and we had to get Ewo to confirm we were guests before we were allowed back. The backstage are was tiny compared to Helsinki and pitch black. You cannot see from the pictures but it was so dark in the room it was crazy. Katharina gave out the gifts to the band and me which was this beautiful print of her latest Nightwish Pirate work. Huge thanks for this, I'll have to get a really nice frame for it. Then we just went around the room saying hi to everyone else and I was taking pictures for people.

Troy again made us laugh, thankfully he picked up after the gig. He was saying how he loved my accent and then proceeded to tell Geordie jokes. But he was still a bit on the tired and hungover side as can be seen in this fab image:

But he is an absolute charmer. Another who made us laugh was Jukka who was obsessed with Alex's Islander Tshirt and demanded one for himself. Of course we will oblige and I'll take one to Paris for him, but he just kept on mentioning how cool it was.
We were all ready to go back to the hotel pretty early and Me, Alex, Troy, Jukka, Marco, Tuomas all climbed into the mini bus to go back. Whilst on the bus Marco came up with this riddle to work out, we all sat there in silence trying to work it out but nope. It was decided we would try and work it out when back in the hotel.

Back in the lobby there were some fans waiting who Jukka went to see. By time he finished I grabbed a quick photo with him then we all got in the lift to get to our rooms. We chatted to Jukka for a while in the lift, holding it on one floor. He mentioned again to remember the T-shirt in Paris, so it's on the "to do list"

So all in all it was very successful. I'm sure I have more to write about but this has gone on for long enough. 
So until next time. Kumbaya! 

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