GAMMA RAY / MANOWAR TOUR
February - March 1994
Written by Joerg Schroer, translated by Bobo, grammar cleaned up by Insanity & Genius
Every tour starts with two unpleasant things to be done:
1) To put all the instruments, amps, drumparts etc. needed into giant, damn-heavy cases in the repetition room! We were so smart to accomplish this on Wednesday, so what remains is part
2) To drag all the cases described in 1) from the bunker to the bus. Not everyone's job is with monsters like Dirk's amp tower... After only 5 hours and various cases pushed back into the bunker because of space shortage we could start at last our 20 hours long trip to Budapest.
Friday 02/18/94 - Budapest, Petöfi Hall
We arrive at the hall short before 12 o'clock . Light and P.A. are already in place and the Manowar backline is just being built up. This means first having breakfast, taking a shower, loading out the bus, taking the amps out, putting new strings on all 9 guitars and 2 bass guitars, and after that starting to wait for Joey DeMaio. The other Warriors are already there, the stage has been ready for over 2 hours, and the bum is not coming for the soundcheck which would never begin without him. At 6 pm he comes at last, says a stupid politeness about "make some noise tonight" and walks on without waiting for an answer. After an endless soundcheck we (A.C. - Drumtech, Jörg Zaske - Frontsound & Tourmanager, Olaf Broders - bass & Kai's guitars and me - keyboards and Dirk's guitars) have enough time to build up the Gamma Ray set. The band even manages to play 2 minutes from a song before the first of 2000 fans are being admitted into the sold-out Petöfi Hall. The show goes without any problems, eventhough there is almost no space on stage, because Thomas' drumset reaches to the edge of the stage. 30 minutes after the last Gamma Ray tone, Manowar has to start with the set building, so there is a little bit of hurry in our work. The local stage hands were almost a bit too quick, so the equipment is standing quite uncoordinated behind the stage. This makes A.C. suffer - he had explained the plan to the hands in all known languages (except Hungarian) - but without any result. After that there was a tasty meal from the fantastic catering-crew that stayed with us for the whole tour, a quick uploading of the bus, a little bit Manowar-seeing, and we are on the road again at midnight, and without a party in bed.
Saturday, 02/19/94 - Vienna, BA Zelt (Bank Austria Tent)
A giant tent the size of a concert hall, outside snow, respectively cold in the "hall". WC's (bathrooms) and showers in a container, warm but dirty and stinking - best conditions. As every night there is a Warrior (mostly Dave & Rhino) during the soundcheck and/or the gig - Joey stays at the Gamma Ray start of the show directly behind me and looks at me with his gray, friendly pupils. Manowar start their set twice tonight, because the stage is so foggy during the first song that nobody can see a thing. Joey apologizes for this "bullshit" and everything starts again including the intro. In the set Joey holds a 10 minutes long speech about a friend who has cancer and his attitude to True Metal and everybody is touched... By the way Manowar are "Austrians" tonight, for the coming shows they will be "Germans", they used to be "Englishmen", but they are actually Americans. Who can understand this?
Sunday 02/20/94 - Ludwigshafen , Day off
Arrival at the hotel at about 2 pm. Taking shower, relaxing, watching TV, repairing Dirk's Explorer, having Chinese food, Beavis & Butt-Head, Headbangers Ball, Olaf is not snoring, thank God.
Monday 02/21/94 - Ludwigshafen, Eberthalle (Ebert hall)
Looks as if I have managed to get a grip on the sound of Dirk's ESP Explorer. On the last tour I had permanent troubles with this damned thing, we'll see what happens. Together with Olaf I have acquired some things we have missed before, during and after the show; A.C has got even a drink-holder for Thomas! Gamma Ray plays a slightly different set tonight, "Insanity..." and "Dream Healer" are thrown away, "Last before..." and half (!) of "Changes" are coming in. In the opinion of the whole crew not quite a witty action, but the band is happier with it. From tonight on I have to play a bit keyboards on "Last before..." in addition to "Gamma Ray" and "Heading..." - of course without a test and directly on stage (the hall was boiling...). Manowar play their, in our opinion a little bit sleepy, set as usual. Joey chooses his aftershow-chick right on stage this time (on "Kings of Metal" they always get 5-6 fans onto the stage for headbanging). Joey puts his tongue in every woman's throat, this time he looks so excited that he pushes her in Pauli's, his bass-roadie, direction and gives him a clear sign that she has to wait there. Pauli is of course not very happy to have her in the way during the whole show. After the show a gal appears backstage that has totally fell in love with Dave and is so excited that almost cannot move. She wants only to "be there" and nothing more. Strange! At the end of the tour she is already a Gamma Ray fan and is not so keen on Manowar anymore.
Tuesday 02/22/94 - Fürth, Stadthalle (City hall)
The Explorer drives me crazy, this means tremolo off, a new one on, and again a little peace. Gamma Ray gets no soundcheck, this becomes almost normal until the end of the tour. Manowar have stress with their Drum-trigger sound (all drums sounds have been sampled), and do a neverending soundcheck. Many things do not work today: Jan's emitter stops working again, Dirk's sound is somehow not good anymore (my fault), I give him sleeply a D-tuned guitar for "Heading..." (Gamma Ray have some songs where the low E-string is set down a whole tone at D.), Ralf gets a chewing gum in his hair and Kai cuts a string every two songs. Only Thomas drums without any obstacles and error-free as ever and is the only who feels good after the show. During the last regular Manowar song the main fuse burns out, and it takes 30 minutes until they can go on. Joey licks a blonde chick backstage while Eric plays with the dog of the local crew (of course in a bath towel) - Strange!!!
The heater in our bus is not working, and I am the only one that doesn't care about this fact - the others are crying and are feeling cold, or are trying to warm themselves from inside.
Wednesday 02/23/94 - Freiburg, Novotel (Day off)
I am getting acquainted with the similar looking Novotel hotels today. On the next day-offs you just come into the room, wonder whether it is a mirrored version, and feel at home. Jan, Thomas, Olaf and I are running through Freiburg-City on the afternoon, which has a strangely above ground sewage system (about 12 inches wide and 6 inches deep rainwater channels). Deepest Medieval times, directly before Karstadt. Unexpectedly I didn't fall in one of these. Some of us walk on the evening in Freiburg, it has sucked they say.
Thursday 02/24/94 - Freiburg, Stadthalle (City hall)
Gamma Ray sign authographs at WOM, the roadcrew sits in the hall and waits for the right to push the amps onto the stage: A.C. is sleeping sitting, Olaf is repairing a bass, lightman Jerry is trying to learn the songs from a Diskman, Jörg Zaske adjusts the backdrop that will be used for the first time today, driver Volker is in the car service with the bus, merchandiser Wanda is counting T-shirts, and I am trying to reconstruct the last 3 days. Everybody is somehow nervous! Although there would be enough space we are not getting a ramp and have to carry everything over narrow stairs onto the stage. But then the gig: everything works, monitor sound is good, the audience feels great and afterwards everyone can smile again. The program was changed again and "Gamma Ray" has been put as an opener. A good decision, some seconds later a total excitement reigns and lots of raised, clapping hands can be seen. It is slowly spreading! I don't have to get Mannomore today, the only thing that Olaf and I see is Joey's love action. Funny as usual. Hard to believe how many brainless women are ready to be used out. Ah, yes, nobody was allowed to get near the Manowar - Theater tonight, since it wasn't the fuse in Fürth the day before yesterday - some joker had turned the main switch off. Nobody has been directly suspected, but new sabotages had to be avoided. I can't repeat what Rhino said in the dressing room today. Too sad!!!
Friday 02/25/94 - Offenbach, Stadthalle (City hall)
I am on my feet since 10 am and am running around Oldenburg together with Thomas. Very nice "bummel"-zone, but nothing really exciting. I, the idiot didn't get the Hendrix-Live USA Double-CD... As we are back on 2:30 pm everything is already being loaded out. I feel bad about this, for the others it is not a problem. Usually we never load out before 3 pm! Everything goes really good today, a high-class show - no nerves, although from now on we may go on stage only 15 minutes before the start of the show to put towels and drinks on position and tune the guitars. Manowar do again a long soundcheck today, because we informed Rhino that his drums are not being heard well. He ran to betray us straight to the soundman Jeff , who was then pissed at us, etc. etc. Like in a kindergarten. To make this kindergarten perfect, Andre and Hansi from Blind Guardian are coming to visit us today, and the all-around happiness is being celebrated with a taxi-trip through Offenbach and Frankfurt. There is a band playing in F63, but nobody is in the mood for a death-dance, so we drive on to Frankfurt into Speak Easy. As the store closes at 2 am we all run into Erdbeermund, until we arrive with 90 minutes delaying for the bus departure (which was announced for 3 o'clock). We almost have to push the bus because the energy cables have been disconnected from the hall and there were still many consuming units in the bus. Volker manages to turn it on after some tries. Lucky again!
Mail to: Joerg@megace.de
Copyright © 1996 Jörg Schrör