Don't I recognize you from somewhere? Haven't I seen you before? Didn't you play here yesterday? Those were the questions I was asked by the Night of the Prog crew, when I entered the backstage area of the Loreley amphitheatre the second day in a row. As I'd got there 2 hours before the rest of TFK (except for Felix, who later on proved to be there already), I guess the question was in order when I showed up for the second time with my guitars and pedalboard in hand. In fact my weekend of "prog overkill" started a week earlier, when Tomas Bodin and me started our 700 km journey to Klågerup to once again rehearse with TFK. This time the task was to make a proper version of the new epic "Numbers" and of course make and play through a setlist, suitable for Night of the Prog. I spent the whole week playing TFK songs until thursday the 5th, when I was picked up by the lads in The Musical Companion, to start our trip to Helmond in Holland.
After waking up at a hotel next to Autobahn, outside Hamburg, we started driving towards Helmond, which is placed close to Eindhoven. After traffic jams because of either construction or accidents, we checked in at our hotel room in Helmond over an hour delayed and made our way to the venue quicker than the speed of light. Thanks to the effective crew of the house, we managed to be ready in time for both interviews and dinner. There were also time enough for the nice guys in Modest Midget to make a soundcheck (which felt good for all of us). To start with, my impression of Helmond (an extremely short visit), is that it's a nice and quiet little town, very cozy and with very friendly people. That includes Wim, Frans and all the rest of De Lakei guys, the hotel staff (they were very helpsome and even made us breakfast bags bacause of our early departure...THANK YOU!) as well as the locals we met during our few ours there. Anyway, de Lakei proved to be a good and loud rock club with quite a big stage, pa and light system and as I just told you, Wim and Frans and the rest of the crew did an outstanding job throughout the evening and everything worked out, even though our late arrival. However, the thing I remember the most from this friday night in Helmond, was meeting all the friends, both old and new and of course signing an old Spellbound vinyl. To say that's rare nowadays would be an understatement.
The "sleep account" (mine that is) was bad as it was and it didn't become much better after the 3 hours of sleep we managed to get, before we had to leave for Loreley and our gig that would start at noon. By the time we entered the festival area (at 10 o clock), we were still mesmerized by the beautiful landscape and villages of the Rhone valley, that are truly breathtaking! Anyway, when Saga had finished their sound check we rolled the risers with our backline on to the stage. After a 20 minute linecheck we left the it, just to get introduced and hit it again for a 45 minute set of rocking prog - to start the 2012 version of Night of the Prog. The biggest challenge for us was to make our close to 2 hour sets we've done throughout the "Powerplay tour", into 45 minutes. In fact we had a setlist that we threw in the bin just before we hit the stage and we ended up doing 4 songs in 45 minutes in a true Progressive Rock fashion. I'm not sure we did the right thing? but the audience were applauding each and every section of the songs and they actually seemed to love every minute of it. With this in mind, at least we didn't make the wrong decision? A good thing with opening a festival, is that you'll be able to watch all the other bands afterwards. Believe me...I saw ALL of them from the best spot in "the house" - my merch spot. That's another story, also with a very happy ending! For me personally this was only halftime, as I had the pleasure to once again hit the beautiful stage of Loreley with TFK - YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE!!!
On saturday August 11th, I'll enter the stage for the last time in a while with The Musical Companion. That will take place at the annual "Uppsala Progressive Rock Festival" - BE THERE!!! After that it'll be TFK all over for a while. Ladies and Gentlemen...don't relax just yet. I've had offers lately concerning HFMC, so we might be back before you know it. In the meantime, take care out there.