After the Whitesnake shows in Copenhagen (Denmark) and Stockholm (Sweden) I felt that I just had to see them again. I haven't been to any concert the past few years that gave me this kind of feeling, a feeling of ultimate, concentrated happiness. A real adrenaline-kick, to say the least!
So I decided to use my last savings (bye bye Christmas-presents!) and go to England to see two more Whitesnake-gigs.
For four days I hardly ate (too expensive) or slept (waiting at backstage-areas and hotels takes time) and I was constantly on something that was moving! Ferries, planes, trains, undergrounds/subways, taxis, tramways, buses - you name it! In a way it is exhausting, but the energy that I experienced from seeing the Whitesnake concerts gave me all the strength I needed to follow it through!
I arrived in London on November 28th, went to my friend "Miss B" in Rochester, and the next morning we were both on a bus to Manchester!
I still hadn't decided what I thought was most important: To stand in the front row or meet the band. I had to choose, and it was a difficult choice.
But trying to find the band in Manchester was like looking for a needle in a haystack, so I decided that I wanted to stand in the front row. At least that was POSSIBLE! So at 4 PM we arrived at the Apollo, and there were only three other people there. Great! We got our tickets and went to check out the backstage area.
Miss B volunteered to cover the backstage-door just in case they showed up (if they did, she'd run to get me, cause there was a guy there with a whole bag full of vinyls, so it would take some time to sign all those!). In the meantime, I was standing in line, amazed by what people were wearing..! It was like Manchester was still stuck in the 80's. People in denim jackets covered with badges and studs, Steve Harris black/white spandex, Vixen-boots... You name it. I haven't seen that in Sweden for a while, so it was like stepping into a time-machine..! :-)
After many hours, they finally opened the doors, and I ran like hell to get a spot right there in the front! I hadn't flown in from Sweden to stand way in the BACK somewhere! Suddenly I felt how somebody grabbed my sweater and I just fell backwards.
I turned around and saw some blonde, ugly, fat bitch with a "Security" t-shirt. She was so furious that I thought she was on drugs.
- I said W-A-L-K!!!!!!! she roared.
- What? (I was like, "what's the problem?!")
- Now you go all the way back up there and WALK down!
- What for?!
- WAAAAALK!!! she screamed (man!)
So I went back not to waste any more time (it was filling up quickly down at the front row) and walked the power-walk walk down to my original spot. I've never seen anything like it! Talk about kindergarten behaviour!
They had an opening act, some guys called Deadline. Nothing too original, and it must be tough to open for Whitesnake anyway!
When the Snakes finally walked up on stage I just felt how my body was flowing with energy, and a smile was glued to my face all through the show. I couldn't stop smiling, I was enjoying myself so much it should be illegal!
It didn't take long before David recognized me! First he looked surprised and lifted his eyebrows, but then he just smiled and nodded. Tony Franklin was smiling and nodding. Derek waved and it was fun to see that they all have a good memory!
After the show, we ran to the backstage area, but we weren't the only ones who had come up with that idea..! The place was packed!
But one never knows... I know from experience that there are usually only very FEW people who have enough patience to wait long for a band. Most people leave because they get bored, they have buses or trains to catch. And that's exactly what happened. After 45 minutes, the amount of people had been reduced by half! But there was something weird going on. There were TWO tour buses, one at the car park, and one further down the street. I thought that they'd have to reverse the bus to the back door, so I didn't even bother to go over there and check things out. Beatrice told me we should go over there, but I, being the smartass that I am, thought that they couldn't leave without anyone noticing..!
Well, I was wrong! One of the roadies walked over to us and said:
- They left a minute ago, so you can go home and go to bed!
We looked down the street and the bus WAS gone! There was another exit, which they had used... Bad luck! But that only made me VERY determined to meet them in Southampton!!
[Picture: In the taxi on the way to the venue, dead tired. Sleep? What is THAT?]
Very early the next morning we were on the road again, this time the destination was the Mayflower in Southampton...
After many hours we arrived in Southampton. We had no place to sleep, no tickets for the show, no idea where to find the band OR how to get around town. We barely even knew where Southampton WAS! It was one of those things, "let's just go and take it from there...".
The first thing we did was to visit the tourist-information desk. We needed a list of the finest hotels in town.
The Snakes had to be at one of them, and I had made up my mind that I was gonna find them!
We got a list and went to the first hotel they had recommended. We walked straight to the reception desk and I did my old trick (still my secret...!) to find out if this was the right or the wrong hotel. It was the right one! Bingo!
I asked for pen and paper and wrote a note to Derek, the keyboard player (why him? I don't know, I guess it was because he is my age and he could have been a friend of mine. Now he happens to be in a world-famous band, but that's not the point. Anyway!) and threw in the story that I have here on my page, about how I met them in Copenhagen and Stockholm (I printed it out). I said that I wasn't sure I'd see them play, cause I didn't have a ticket and it was sold out. Dispite what people think, I did NOT say that to make them give me a ticket! I was sure I WOULD get a ticket outside the venue. I might have to pay more for it, but that was okay - whatever it takes, it's WHITESNAKE!
I handed the message over to the receptionist and went back to the leather couch. Miss B went to the bar and got us Cokes (the typical "sit and wait for a band"-drink!) and we waited. In the meantime, Miss B phoned a few bed and breakfasts to get us somewhere to sleep. After a few minutes she came back and said that she had taken care of it. We could just relax and wait for the band to show up. It was an hour till the doors to the Mayflower would open...
But for some reason I thought that they had left already, and it was getting late. We didn't even have tickets for the concert, didn't know how far away the Mayflower was from the hotel, or anything...! We got our stuff and walked out. But WHAT did we see THERE?!
Their tourbus (which I recognize very well by now!) with the engine running, and the driver sitting there playing with a pair of drumsticks..! Maybe we weren't in such a hurry after all... But it would look strange to go back to the lobby, so we went behind the bus, to be as discreet as possible!
While we were standing there, a guy with a Whitesnake-LP walked over to us. He wanted to know if we had seen anything yet. We hadn't.
So we waited, talked a bit, he turned out to be a very nice guy and a big Whitesnake fan. He was 33 and had seen them at the Reading-festival and the early Donington-gigs.
As we were talking, I just took a quick look through the glass-door and...
- Oh my God!! It's David! Ohmigod, oh-my-g-o-d..!! I started to hyperventilate and felt like I just got a shock or something. And all I had seen was his leather jacket which I recognized from miles away.
He was just walking around there, probably waiting for the others. Miss B told me to hurry, so I could run back in there and get my photo signed. I wanted to, but I couldn't...! I was trembling like a leaf and once again I experienced the total inability to speak!
I went over to the entrance though, slowly. Before I knew it, David opened the door and came out, followed by the tour manager, Denny Carmassi, Derek, Adrian and Tony.
But I didn't really "see" anybody in that moment, only David Coverdale. I don't know if I was whispering or if I managed to speak in a normal voice, but I tried to get eye-contact with him, and when I did (he smiled as if he recognized me and went: "Hello luv!")
- David... Could you sign this for me?
He took the marker and the photo.
- Could you write "For Daniela"..?
He did, and while he was doing that I heard Derek say:
- You still don't have a ticket?
- No, I don't.
- Well, we'll put you on the guestlist, he said.
I was surprised, cause I got the impression from previous shows that they didn't HAVE a guestlist, and the ones who DID come in on the list were only like, three or four people.
Then Tony came back, he had just walked a few steps towards the bus, and said:
- Just write your name on a piece of paper for me, and I'll put you on the list. Sure, no problem!
I couldn't BELIEVE it! I was so overwhelmed by everything that I dropped the marker-cap and started to crawl around on the ground, trying to pick it up... I guess they wondered what the hell I was doing.
Derek stuck his hand in his pocket, picked out my business-card which I had included in the envelope that I had sent up to him.
- I've got her business card here! he said and handed it over to Tony.
- Daniela P. Alright!
- Thank you SO very much! I said.
- You came all this way, of course we'll take care of you!
David, who must have heard the whole conversation (I hadn't even seen that he was standing there) said in a very convincing voice:
- We'll get you in, don't worry about it! and jumped into the blue cab.
I couldn't believe that "mr Whitesnake" himself would give a damn about some Swedish fan - it was my own fault that I came to Southampton without having a ticket..!
Half way up on the bus, Tony leaned out and asked:
- Is it only you, or..?
I had totally forgotten about Miss B ... Good thing he asked!
I just pointed at Miss B and said that she was with me too. Tony looked at the guy and asked "what about him?"
- Do you have a ticket? I asked him.
He didn't have one.
- Okay, so it's you plus two? Tony asked.
- Alright, no problem! he said with a smile.
- Tony, you're an ANGEL!! I exclaimed, and he just smiled.
"The guy" (never asked for his name, and if we did, I forgot..!) gave us a lift down to the Mayflower. We were supposed to meet there 30 minutes later.
- But if I don't show up, don't wait for me. I've seen them before, so it's no big deal, he said when he dropped us off.
When the guestlist came, we went straight to the box office to get the tickets. The tourmanager was in there too, talking to some people.
- My name should be on the guestlist... Daniela.
The lady checked her computer and an envelope she had in there and said:
- Oh yes, Daniela P?
I was STILL surprised that I actually WAS on the guestlist! I've experienced it before - that people say that you´re on the list, and then when you show up, your name is not there, for whatever reason. You can NEVER be sure until you have the tickets in your hand!
She gave me the tickets, and it's such a "trophy" to have a WHITESNAKE ticket that says "Price: £00.00"......
The tourmanager stood behind us, and apparently he had stayed a few minutes just to make sure we got our tickets.
- Everything alright? he said.
- Yes, thank you so very much! I said with a big smile.
- They might be on the floor... he said, as if he wanted to make sure we were happy about where we ended up in the theatre.
- Oh, but that's just exactly where we wanna be! Right there in the front! I said.
He just nodded and smiled, happy to see that things were under control.
.We got balcony-seats, and I'm not really used to that (can't jump around or get eye-contact with the people on stage) but it didn't matter cause we got the tickets for FREE, we got them from the BAND, and there was no reason in the world to complain! I had been in the front row on every other show so far anyway, so why not try this for a change.
After the show, we got ready to get a cab straight back to the hotel, as that would be THE absolutely LAST chance to meet them, for a long time. But there were no taxi's outside the venue. There were hardly any taxis in Southampton at all..! So Miss B called one from the phone booth outside, and we stood there and waited.
Then, out of the blue, some guy with a laminate walks over to us. He was working for the opening-act, and said that the singer wanted to meet us. Or, the way he put it was something like, do WE want to meet HIM... We didn't even know the name of the band! I thought the guy was a roadie, but it turned out he was their tour manager. We told him that we were waiting for a cab.
- Where do you wanna go?
- We're going to the hotel.
- Oh, we'll drive you! Which hotel do you wanna go to?
Then he just smiled and went:
- Aaaah! ... as if he knew exactly what we wanted to do there (whatever he thought, it was probably NOT what we intended to do!)
As we were talking, not particularly keen on meeting the Deadline-singer, the singer came over to us (probably wondering what was taking so long) and introduced himself. Once again, we told him that we were on our way to Whitesnake's hotel, and he said we could just come with them on the bus.
- Are you staying there too?? I asked, surprised that they could afford such an expensive hotel.
- No, but we can drop you off there, he answered.
Well, taxis are expensive in Southampton, so we might as well go...
But personally I don't like to go with a band on a tour bus. People (including the band) get all sorts of weird ideas. The bus consisted of a number of beds, and there was NO room to walk around. I really felt I was in the way. Then I saw a list that they had taped on a "wall" in the bus, a list of things that were banned from the bus. Number 14 said: "Women in clothing".
- Hm, I guess we have to leave this bus. We're banned! I said to one of the guys (the guitarist..?).
He looked embarrassed and said:
- I didn't write that! The other guys did!
In the meantime, the singer cleaned up a table in the front of the bus and asked us to take a seat. I was still wondering what the hell we were doing there. We didn't know the band, I didn't even think they were good, and the only reason we were there was because we needed to get to Whitesnake's hotel as soon as possible.
But it took forever. They kept running back and forth on the bus, and nothing happened. One of them grabbed my tour book and went:
- Oh yeah, David Airbrush... (he meant to say that the photo of David must have been retouched).
He came with a couple of more insults as he was looking through the tour book, and I got so pissed off that I decided to leave. What kind of guys are they - first they get a dream support slot with Whitesnake, and then they make fun of a man who got so much further in his life than they ever will! It was probably jealousy, but I had better things to do than waste my time on that bus.
I told Miss B we should get going. So she got up and walked towards the door. The singer was there, talking to somebody, I just passed him and went:
- We're leaving now! Thanks and good luck!
They just looked at us, as if they didn't really know what to think or what to say.
Who cares, I lost all respect for them in about two seconds.
We stopped a cab (since we had missed the one we had called for) and went back to the hotel.
The staff was really nice to us, asked if we wanted some coffee or tea while we were waiting.
One of them even asked:
- How was the show?
And I was surprised that he knew why we were there. We didn't look like rock-people, didn't have anything with us that would reveal our business there, just to make sure we wouldn't be thrown out (some hotels "remove" fans immediately).
- It was great! As always! I just came over from Sweden two days ago to see these shows. We saw one in Manchester last night, I told him.
He was a bit surprised to hear that somebody would come over from another country just to see two shows.
- I couldn't go, I had to work. I know that I know them, but I can't think of any songs they've made, he said.
- Is this love, Crying in the rain, Fool for your loving...? I said, trying to figure out what generation he was, and what songs he would recognize.
- Oh yes! Now that you say it, I recognize all those!
It was funny to see a hall porter, dressed in red and everything, recognize Whitesnake songs!
I went back to Miss B and we waited... She was tired, had a cold and probably wished she was in a nice warm bed instead of that hotel. She isn't even a big Whitsnake-fan, she went along for the adventure..!
The bar had closed for the public, but for some reason they were nice enough to let us buy two Cokes...
After an hour and a half, I see David coming in through the glass-door...
Beatrice was prepared, she knew that I needed time to catch my breath, so she flew up from the couch with the tour book. David saw us, said something to the tourmanager and walked over to Miss B and gave her a kiss on the cheek. She asked him to sign the tour book (it wasn't hers, it was for a guy I met in Copenhagen who asked me to get him one cause he forgot). He asked her what her name was, and she said "Miss B", and added, "but it's not for me, it's for a friend..."
- Oh, so I shouldn't write any "love"-stuff there then...
And then he did anyway..! Poor guy, his name is Miss B from now on..! :-)
Then he turned to me and looked at me as if he was gonna ask something.
- It's really bugging me, WHERE was it..? Was it Oslo or Helsinki..? (he wanted to know where exactly we had met)
- It was Copenhagen and Stockholm. I was in Manchester too, I said, surprised that I COULD speak!
- Yes, yes... So I thought, but I was told that wasn't the case, he said, still looking at me, as if was trying to create a picture of the exact situation in Stockholm.
"I was told..." That means he actually asked somebody about me. It was unbelievable....
- So what are you gonna do now that this is over? I asked.
He smiled, snatched his shoulders and went:
- Ah, who knows! I might just take a break.
(A break?! No! I wanted to ask him something I had been thinking of for a long time, but once again, I forgot! I wanted to know if he had ever thought about writing a book, the story of his life. A biography in other words. The things I've read so far about his life are so interesting, and I would love to know what kind of life he's had. Ian Gillan wrote an auto-biography, and I think that David has at LEAST as much to tell, if not more...).
The tour manager came over, saw that Miss B had a camera in her hand, and asked if we wanted him to take a picture of us all together.
But Miss B , knowing what this whole thing was doing to me and what I was thinking in that very moment, said that she'd just like to take a picture of me and David alone, first.
The tour manager (a very nice man by the way!) said that was okay, and went somewhere.
Miss B asked me to move closer to David, and I took a step closer to him, civilized enough. I thought I was just gonna stand right next to him. I didn't dare to come any closer (I'd just lose my breath and possibly get a heart attack!).
But before I knew it, David just grabbed me, put both arms around me and pulled me as close to him as I could possibly get. He put his cheek on mine and waited for Miss B to take the photo.
In the meantime I was struggling not to reveal what I was thinking, but he must have felt my pulse! I thought my heart was gonna beat a hole in my body! That was too much for me. David was my first real teenage-crush, and now he was holding me like THAT...! He sure has his way with women, no matter how old he gets! That's the thing with him, people tell me that he looks old but I just don't see the wrinkles. I couldn't care less about them OR his age. He has such a strong personality that looks are totally irrelevant. Anyway, Beatrice was "having trouble" with the camera (sure, pal..! :-) ) so it took a few seconds extra, seconds that felt like an eternity. Not that I minded!
When he let go of me, I almost dropped down dead, but I managed to remain calm - in the eyes of the outside world... I had a chaos going on INSIDE of me! Wow...!!
I know that we talked some more, but as usual, he gave me a blackout, so I'll have to check with Miss B what was said after that photo had been taken, cause I really don't remember.
I remember he asked if I was gonna see the show in Plymouth, and I said that I wish I could but my boss only gave me ONE day off... He said something about the guestlist if we wanted to go. WANTED?! I couldn't think of anything in the WORLD I wanted MORE than go to that show, but I just couldn't... I had already called in "sick" a few times, lost quite an amount of money because of it, I had persuaded my boss to give me a day off in the middle of the winter, when he usually doesn't let people just take off like that. What would happen if I didn't come back to work when I was supposed to? I would get the Big Boot and without a job I can't earn money to see MORE Whitesnake shows later...! ("What shows?" you wonder? I'll tell you later, read on!)
We were talking some more, and then he had to go (I've always been told by other musicians that rest is important. I can imagine that it's especially important for David who needs all his energy for the shows).
He was standing pretty close to me, and suddenly he just came closer, and kissed my cheek. I kissed his other cheek and realized that this was it. Who knows when or IF I'll ever see him again. He said goodbye to Miss B too, then he took my both hands and slowly kissed them too, while he was looking at me, just to make sure he had REALLY made me lose my mind!! He must have known exactly what he was doing, and was probably pretty satisfied with himself when he left! He went to the elevator (I'm gonna have nightmares about elevators after this "Whitesnake-hunt-tour"!) and disappeared.
But the minute the elevator-doors closed, Tony, Adrian and Derek walked in. Denny Carmassi just proceeded straight to the elevators.
- Did you get in okay...? Derek asked.
- Yeah, thank you!
- It wasn't me! Tony put you on the list.
- Yeah, but YOU brought it up! Thanks a lot!
He didn't seem to think it was a big deal, and just listened to the conversation Miss B was having with Adrian.
Adrian was looking at her hair with great envy and then looked at his own with a disappointed face:
- You sure beat ME! I thought MY hair was long..!
They were talking about Miss B's profession (or rather, her soon-to-be profession. She's studying to become a "real" photographer, but she's very,very talented already!) and Adrian said something about working as an illustrator before he started playing full time. Music was never meant to be a full time job, he always thought it was a passing thing, and that he would go back to his profession after the music-career was over.
I don't remember if he said that he used to BE a fashion designer, or that he had a friend who was a fashion designer. Well, anyway, it was a very relaxed conversation (I could even speak, now that David wasn't around!).
Suddenly Derek said:
- Hey, what's the idea of putting pictures of me all over your site?!
Oh, God... He hit me right where it hurts..! I had given HIM the story, and I hadn't even thought about that he was the only one who we didn't have ONE single photo of! But that was simply because we had been talking up there in Stockholm, and he was more like everybody's pal, rather than a touring musician. So Bianca totally forgot to take a picture of him! She felt so bad about it afterwards, and NOW when he put it like THAT, even I felt guilty! But that was another reason why we were there with a bunch of cameras (=Miss B had her cameras with her).
- Oh, and another thing... David flew ME over to HIS house. He didn't show up on my doorstep! He's gonna wonder what I'm telling people when he reads that! Derek explained with a smile.
- But I understand if you heard me wrong, I mean, it was a noisy place! (he meant Cantina West)
- He's never gonna see that! That's just my personal homepage, it's not official or anything, I said.
- You never know. David knows a lot of people!
Whoops! Just the thought of having David Coverdale visiting my personal homepage would be an unbelievable honour!
I asked Beatrice to take a picture of Derek, and he wondered why I wasn't gonna be in it.
- You were in all the other pictures! So get over here!
I went over, and since Tony and Adrian were standing there too, we just decided to take a photo of everybody at the same time. We were moving around to fit in. Originally I was on Derek's left side, but then they thought I should be in the middle, so I walked over to the OTHER side...!
After a while, Derek decided he wanted to go to bed, so he said goodnight and left. I hope he wasn't pissed off because of the photos:-), but he doesn't strike me as a person who'd walk around being pissed off for anything for a long time. Maybe he is, but he just seems to be very relaxed and positive.
Tony and Adrian stayed for quite a long time after that - much to my surprise! We talked about all sorts of things, music, former Whitesnake-members, Tony Martin (Adrian and Tony have both worked with Tony Martin, on different occasions), concerts, a bit of this and that really!
But the coolest thing was to find out about possible plans for next year!!
- David wants to finish up this farewell tour at Donington, said Adrian.
- Aren't you going to the States? I asked.
- We're probably gonna try to do some festivals in Europe in the summer, cause we spent SO much time in the States... I didn't even see Holland for two years! Adrian explained.
He must have been pretty homesick, cause he didn't seem to eager to leave Europe for a WHILE..!
- So, are you coming to Plymouth tomorrow? they both asked.
I explained how I had to go back to Sweden, cause my boss only gave me one day off. I had to be on a plane back home tomorrow afternoon...
- Ah, tell your boss to screw himself! You're staying here to see some more shows! Adrian laughed.
It WAS tempting, but the thought of being unemployed was less tempting, so I had to say no! (Whatever happened to the rebel in me?!)
Anyway, Tony and Adrian had to get some sleep, it was pretty late. Miss B and I had to get some sleep too (three hours...!) so we said goodbye, the usual phrases of meeting again, wishing good luck and all that...
[PICTURE: "Bed&Breakfast-room right after the whole hotel-meeting had taken place. I was, as you can see, in seventh heaven!! "Oooiiih!! I can't BELIEVE this!!!"]
They went to the elevators and Miss B and I got a cab to the bed and breakfast. Needless to say, I didn't sleep much that night at ALL! It felt so FINAL, like everything was gonna go back to the way it used to be BEFORE I met David. I was gonna continue listening to Whitesnake, thinking "I met him once...!". But still, somehow, I'm certain that I'll bump into him again!
Who knows when, who knows where, but I know one thing for SURE, it's gonna be worth all the time and effort..! :-D
[Bye-bye from the ones who brought this story to you - Daniela (eh..?) and Miss B (photos)!!]