Monday, 23 April 2012

Partying in Paris

Oh my where to start.

So one day I decided I would like to go to more Nightwish shows than just the Finland ones, so had to think where. Then it became obvious that it should be Paris as we had team members living there.
Liz jumped on the idea to come with me and then a little while after that Sari decided to come to. It was shaping out to be a proper girls holiday.

I met Liz at my local train station and we then drove to the Doubletree hotel next to the airport. I was going to initially drive down to pick Liz up and bring her back to the hotel, but in the end the train would be cheaper and no 5 hour drive for me at stupid o'clock in the morning. The room was lovely even if we did end up sharing a bed, it was huge so it didn't matter. We have a meal in this fancy restaurant attached to the hotel which cost more than our room for the night and we called it a night.
In the airport we were on a mission to get Troy's present.We had made message books for the rest of the band and we obviously could not leave Troy out so a nice single malt was on the cards. Job done, we headed to the gate and then off to France.
We had a bit of trouble with the ticket machines for the train into the city and ended up calling Alex and then having to pluck the courage up to talk to one of the cashiers and hoped they spoke English. We did manage to find one and got on the train for Paris then the tram to our hotel. It was very handy that the tram station was right outside our hotel, it meant no crazy searching around.
Once more the room was lovely in this swanky 4 star hotel and this time we had separate beds. After unpacking it was time to hunt for food. Liz just cannot function on a slightly hungry stomach so it was priority. We did consider just ordering room service but I'm really glad we went out as we found the most beautiful little place 2 doors away from our hotel. The waiter was really friendly and kept coming over to speak to us, but even better was the food. It was honestly the nicest tomato soup I have ever had. We wanted to visit again before we left but sadly didn't get the chance. We tried to not keep awake too late as we were meeting Alex early in the morning for our Disney adventure.
We checked on google maps where the Metro was to our hotel and it looked really close. So we went walking the direction google told us and found squat. It completely baffled us as it looked so close on the map. We admitted defeat and asked in our hotel where the receptionist smiled and pointed the opposite way to what we walked. When we went outside and looked, it was honestly about 10 meters from the door, and worse was we walked past it to get food the night before! We arrived at Concorde where we were due to meet Alex, who herself was running late. When we left the hotel the sun was shining and it was nice and warm, at Cocorde it was bloody freezing and I had not brought my coat. I wasn't impressed. We stood around about 10/15 minutes waiting for Alex to arrive and took some random pictures of our surroundings:

So Alex turned up and it was the first time we had met her so we played a game of "find the birdie" with the public around to see if we could spot her. After some hugs we set off to get to the train station to go to Disney. Liz was making comments about Alex's jewellery and about how she had a ring on nearly every finger. At this point I put my hand out and made a gesture with my hand mimicking having lots of rings on and showing them off. At this point a bus went past us brushing against my fingers.. at this point the phrase "Carol poked a bus" was born.
We got to Disney and made a B-line to go buy some hoodies to try and warm up. I'm still kicking myself that I didn't take my coat.
(Liz and Alex)
We ended up not going on as many rides as we originally wanted. We couldn't believe how busy it was considering it was a Monday and not great weather. All the best rides like the roller coasters and Haunted Mansion had over an hour wait, so we mostly walked around and talked and went on a few of the shorter queues. It still was a really nice day out, we had 2 free tickets and if we had to buy 3 full price ones we probably would of waited in the queues. It was also a disappointment that Pirates was closed.
The 20th Birthday parade started and we got a position where we could pretty much see. They played the same song again and again and again, I think we were about to go insane. It didn't help that Alex would randomly start singing the chorus again. One thing that stood out was a pretty messed up float to Alice In Wonderland. Don't know why but it was kinda disturbing. I got the best picture I could from the angle I was standing:
So we had one more look around the park at the waiting times, then decided to call it a day and go back to the hotel.

The next day we were not in as much of a rush, we had to be at a hotel in Bercy to be interviewed about the work I do for the band. It went really well and Toni, the guy who was interviewing, was really nice. It's sounding quite exciting what he's writing up but might be a while before anything is published to read.
After the interview we went back to Bercy metro to meet Alex.. she was fashionably late again :) then we had to try and find Sari's hotel. Realising we had no clue where to go, we stood under Alex's umbrella in the pouring rain as I called Sari. Luckily she said she would come and meet us, which produced a fully quote of "Sari do you have an umbrella?" .. "No but I can swim".
So Sari arrived looking like a drowned rat as we did and we stood around trying to think what to do. We had about an hour to kill before we were due to go meet Ewo. We ended up in this little cafe for a coffee to wait out the rain, which never happened and it just got harder and harder. 4 o'clock arrived and it was time to locate the band's buses to go meet Ewo. We walked to Bercy Arena and I was attempting to walk in heels, something I do so rarely I'm useless at it. Lucky Alex linked arms with me the second I lost my balance, she must by psychic. 
After getting near the queue of fans we realised there were no buses, so we turned and walked the other way. Eventually we found the buses and French security were wanting to know what we were doing. They didn't seem to understand me when I said it's okay we are expected. I called Ewo who came out the venue to meet us and like a true gent he let us into sound check, thus getting us out the horrible rain.
Inside the girls were fascinated that the crew were playing badminton and that they were moving around on scooters. Of course we had to take some pictures inside, though Sari was obsessed with trying to whip Liz on multiple occasions (yes she brought a whip to Paris) I can't imagine what the bands and crew thought of us.

(My face on here was a joke but it doesn't look it)
After sound check we went to interview Tuomas. I sat this one out and let the girls do it as they had never met him before.

Everyone seemed to of had a good time then I asked Tuomas to take us to the others so the girls could give them all their gifts. The girls organised a book of fan messages and a DVD for the band to celebrate their largest show to date. Jukka was around first but he thought we planned to enter the dressing room so he went back inside to wait for us.
The books were handed out to Marco, Tuomas, Emppu and Anette and Troy got his whiskey and he was overjoyed at it. We were still waiting for Jukka to come back out, only to find out he had fallen asleep.
We hung around backstage with Liz complaining she was hungry once more :) It became a joke Liz and her affection with food. Tuomas popped out of the dressing room to let us sample some of his home-made Salmiakki, it was gorgeous but it ended up being my downfall later in the evening.

We dumped our bags in the crew room and went to the stage when Eklipse started their set. Bercy was filling up and the energy from the crowd far surpassed what I felt at the Finland shows.

I really enjoyed Eklipses set and up next were Battle Beast. They really got the crowd pumping and seemed to go down really well. I preferred these guys to Poisonblack in Finland.

Then it was the turn of Nightwish. The girls' first Imaginaerum show, and some of the girls first Nightwish show ever.We stayed to the side of the stage during the performance, it was just so much easier than squeezing through fans who now were in front of the backstage entrance in the barriers. The girls seemed to enjoy being at the stage side, it meant it was easier to chat, dance and acquire drinks or disappear to bathroom without and battles through crowds. Of course Ewo was playing barman and started me off on some whisky concoction. 
The gig itself was the best one I had seen so far. All the boys had smiles on their faces throughout and Anette had loads of energy and positive vibes. Her voice was even better than in Finland and I was really impressed by the whole evening. 

I failed to warn the girls about the pyros at the end of the show, so they were not amused with me when they all jumped out of their skin.
After the show we went backstage, we went to collect our belongings and the French security had a bit of a go at me when I walked Alex to the door as she had to leave early. After the look of  'you cannot be serious' to the security guy, Tuomas called me so it was easy to walk past the security guard who didn't look best pleased.
In the back, me and Tuomas made light weight of the Salmiakki. There was about 2/3 a bottle left and by the end of the night it was gone. The boys posed for the girls and I got some more as well, though I told Tuomas off for acting drunk on some pictures but he insisted he was completely sober, however I'm not so sure:
(This is the 'least' drunk looking one)

All in all it was a fantastic night and I think the girls were well looked after which was all that really mattered to me. Poor Sari ended up exhausted and had a little doze on the sofa in the boys dressing room, of course I had to get a picture of it.
At the end of the night Tuomas picked me up and squeezed me so tight I actually have a bruise on my ribs (cheers T), he left me with the remains of the salmiakki which I finished off. Although it wasn't the best idea as it seemed to be more potent and the bottom and it pretty much knocked me out.
I can't remember the taxi ride back to the hotel or much after that till I decided to go for a walk around Paris at 08:00 to try and clear my head. I returned to the hotel and managed to catch Anette as she was getting ready to leave in her cool looking camper van transport thing with Johan and Nemo. Nemo was so cute and was smiling when we showed him "baba" a picture of my son. 
I'm sure there are loads of funny stories I've missed out, simply because my memory of the night is not so clear any more.
1 week tomorrow and I do it all over again!