Sunday, 23 September 2018

A Summary - Part 1 - Me

This will be a fun, happy and a sad post to write, but mostly the first two.

I am currently sitting at The Parcel Yard at King's Cross Station in London, UK, about to have a full English breakfast, minus the black pudding and the mushroom. It is 11-12 am, Sunday morning and I am going home. I can't wait to cuddle up in bed with my kitties and my Sweetie, and give my son a hug. I am missing them all like crazy.

This morning I said goodbye to my wonderful baby sister, one of my absolute favourite people in the world, whom I love so incredibly much and I don't know how long it will be until I get to see her again. It feels extra hard this time since we have seen each other so much over so many times over the last 5 months. But the upside is that we have had so much fun together and we have made so many wonderful memories we will remember with love for the rest of our lives. Thank you for everything, lil' sis! You are truly amazing, and my life is better because of you. I am a better person because of you!

This morning I also said goodbye to our room mates, the amazing H and E. I love both of you! You are both such amazing women and great friends and thank you for sharing this past month's joy and fun and rooms with me.

Yesterday, after a nice breakfast together, I said goodbye to some other people I have come to love and cherish; you know who you are, ladies - Thank you so much for being exactly who you are, for bringing diversity and more love into my life. Thank you for everything and I'll see you soon, somewhere in the world!

All these women are my sisters, and I have more of them - sisters, I mean, Fry sisters - and you know who you are - I am so glad I got to meet most of you during this tour. To those I didn't have the chance to see this time around, there's always next tour! I love all of you and you are all forever in my heart! Thank you for all the laughs!

These ladies, my Fry sisters in crime, are from all over Europe and we were all brought together by the mutual love for Home Free and their music, and thanks to this tour we also share the love for Jeffrey East and his music. Thank you to all of you for giving us this! For sharing so much love and joy with the world, so much that we can spread it with more people.

I started this tour when the guys of Home Free and Jeffrey East started theirs, in Oslo, Norway on August 30th, a little over 3 weeks ago. The guys went on to do 16 more shows in 11 more countries, and I was there for 5 more shows in 4 more countries; Sweden, Czech Republic, Germany and 2 shows here in the UK. Seated shows and standing shows have been a hot discussion during these past few weeks and I will write more about my different experiences with that in my next post. I've been on 7 flights, and a number of trains and buses to get to where I needed to go. I've stood outside in the rain and the cold, I've walked bear armed in the sunshine. I slept in bunk beds, double beds, sofa beds, in teeny tiny rooms and big rooms.

I've laughed and I've cried. I've danced and I sang. I've clapped and I've cheered. I've started a fan group for a new favourite artist. I've written 9 blog posts so far. I've had early mornings, and late nights. I have had nice food and just food. I've had coffee; some days later than wanted, some days too much and some too little. I have walked. A. LOT. I've seen new places and old places.

I have had an absolute blast from beginning to end! And I can't wait to do it all over again in the future.

To my readers; thank you! Thank you for reading, thank you for engaging in discussions, thank you for coming back and thank you for sharing. While I don't write FOR you, knowing that you are reading what I write inspires me. I write from my heart and I hope you will keep coming back for more.

To everyone I've met during these weeks; it was lovely meeting you all! If I missed you, I am so sorry, it's been crazy, it's been fun, and there's been a lot of people around! Next time, if you want to say hello, come and say hello!

Lastly, for this post, I want to say a big thank you to the man in my life, the love of my life, my Sweetie; you are the best, the most loving and amazing man I have ever known. Thank you for supporting me in my life dreams, for being my safe haven to come home to. Not just from these trips, but every day. I love you with all my heart and soul and I can't wait to be back in your arms tonight!

Thank you for reading, this is me signing out from London, UK. Keep your eyes open for part 2 of this summary, but until then remember to live life to the fullest. Smile and dance, and sing. And keep spreading the word to the world about Home Free and Jeffrey East!


Saturday, 22 September 2018

Home Free and Jeffrey East in London, UK

Last night's show at Union Chapel, London, UK was the last show of the European part pf the Home Free Timeless World Tour and it was simply amazing, of course. What else could it be with these guys?!

Union Chapel is an active church, but it also serves as a concert hall and there is a bar connected to it that serves hot food and beverages of all kinds. You are however not allowed to bring hot food and alcoholic drinks into the chapel itself. The venue was really gorgeous with wooden pews and a high ceiling and balconies.

I didn't have VIP for this show, but we decided to go stand in line for good seats, as it was general admission, about 2 hours ahead of doors opening and I am glad we did because by the time the doors open the line was long. Very long. Very, very long. And it was cold, not as cold as in the rain in Birmingham, but it was cold. Let's just say I am to go back to warmer weather tomorrow. Monday I will go to the beach, to warm up from the outside and in.

This show was emotional because it was the last one for this tour, meaning we don't get to see the guys again in a long time, and because it was the last show the guys gave us all they had left to give. so it was bittersweet.

Jeffrey got everyone going, he is really good at that which I think has been a big reason why the energy has been so high on this tour. His songs are, as he says, very easy to sing-along to because the melodies in the choruses are very sing-along-friendly and catchy (I swear I have at least one of his songs playing in my head at all times these days), and he has a natural way of encouraging the crowd to engage. Jeffrey got us laughing, singing, clapping and he got us so quiet you could have heard a pin drop in the pews. It's unfortunate that his attempt to live stream the whole show fell through due to technical problems because it was good. Really good.

After his part of the show there was a break before Home Free came on and I saw Jeffrey at the merchandise table selling CDs, signing things and having his picture taken with fans. I expect you US Fries will pick things up over there. We will be waiting for his return to Europe, but you can have him for now. Make him feel loved back home too, will you!

And then we have Home Free. The band that changed the way I listen to music, the band that added so much joy and love on top of my already love-filled and joyful life. The band that brings people from all over the world together. They gave it their all. They gave everything they had left to give us right now, there was no holding back. They beamed from beginning to end and the audience picked up on it. I saw old men getting so excited they couldn't wait to stand up and dance. I saw young kids dancing in the aisle. I saw people of all ages and both sexes laughing, singing, dancing, clapping their way through the show. I saw a whole church filled with love and joy coming together thanks to these guys.

Finally for today, I would like to thank the staff at Union Chapel for being amazingly friendly and helpful. Every single one of you was a part of making last night a night to remember, with love and gratitude. Thank you so much for adding joy to our lives!

Within the next few days I will write a summary, my thoughts and feelings about the whole tour, and what it's meant to me. I hope you come back here for that.

But, for now, I am going to rest for a while before it's time for our last dinner in London for this time. See you soon!


Friday, 21 September 2018

Home Free and Jeffrey East in Birmingham, UK

The second to last concert of the European leg of the Home Free Timeless World Tour took place last night at the O2 Institute in Birmingham, UK and I want to start with that part to get the only negative part of the show over and done with. The venue itself was beautiful, but the rudeness and lack of basic people skills of most of the staff left a lot to wish for and we left there with a bit of a cloud hanging over us, not just the cloud that had been pouring down with rain on us before the show, but a cloud within. This was after a show that was absolutely through the roof amazing.

While we were waiting for the doors to open for us with regular tickets it started to rain, and it was windy. I had an umbrella and was standing next to the wall and still got quite wet. Those in wheelchairs had their own little area where they were supposed to wait, I say supposed because nobody let them in there, so they were waiting at a corner which I'm sure was even more rainy and windy. I don't mind the security staff going through everyone's bags before entering, but I do mind that they went through the bags of the people in wheelchairs outside in the pouring rain before allowing them inside. Not OK.

Also not OK was the general way they spoke to people, for no reason whatsoever. With one or two exceptions they were rude, harsh and unnecessarily unpleasant. I do not care what experiences they have, if you want people to behave at their best you treat them with kindness and respect. Period. Shame on you, O2 Institute. Shame on you for putting a damper over an otherwise amazing evening.

Right, let's get to the fun stuff!! And boy, this was a fun concert. Leaving the staff's behavior behind this was one to remember. As the tradition now is there was a sing-along to Take Me Home, Country Roads (John Denver) leading up to Jeffrey East's entrance. 6 of us had put on caps or hats and ginger fake beards and he loved it! We had our picture taken with him after the show, by Chance, and it was a blast!

Jeffrey was amazing as always and the audience seemed to love him, as always. I really hope you get the chance to see him live in the States. Ask for it! Demand it! He is so worth it and worthy of it!

Jeffrey asked us to help him out with something for tonight's show in London; if you are there he wants us to sing-along to his song Roller Rink, a song that is a bonus track on Rascal Flatts latest album, as he wants to live stream his part of the show on his Instagram. So start playing it on repeat! You can find it on both Spotify and YouTube. I recommend listening to Jeffrey's own version as the Flatts has changed a word or two in their rendition.

After a break it was time for Home Free and if you have watched Jeffrey's Insta Story from last night you'll hear the noise from the crowd as they are about to enter the stage (and you'll see us in our hats and beards as well). It was loud! But hurry, it'll only be there for a few more hours.

After a few songs Tim urged those who wanted to stand up and dance to do so, he said something like; "sit if you want, but whatever you choose to do, please sing-along, we love it when you do that". And wow! The audience obeyed and WOW!, the guys absolutely loved it, and so did the audience!

Sometimes it was dancing time, sometimes it was quiet time, sometimes it was loud sing-along time. It was a fantastic mix of everything of the best. At one point during Castle of the Hill the audience sang so loud that we couldn't hear the guys. And it was amazing! It was glorious. Everybody had a fantastic time, it was a party where everyone was engaged. I looked around the room and there were huge smiles on all the faces I saw. Standing or seated, singing or not. Huge smiles. The response during the show was amazing. People were allowed to sit or stand, nobody complained, everybody had the time of their lives, or very likely very close to it, and it was absolutely perfect. Well done, guys, and well done crowd. It's also nice when the guys thank you for helping them out to get the crowd going, because they love it just as much as we do. At least. Probably even more. And we love it a lot.

The comments after the show were those of joy, love, amazement and satisfaction. Perfection!

I am hoping we can beat it tonight, so if you're coming to the show in London, please join in. The guys will very likely ask you to, so don't hesitate. Join the party! It is worth it!

If you are at the London show tonight, please come and find us before it starts and say hello, we'll be wearing name badges and we'd love to have a chat with you.

And tomorrow I'll tell you all about the last concert for this time. I hope I get to tell you they ended it with a bang. No, I am sure I will tell you we all ended it with a big bang of fun, love, joy, dancing, singing and laughing. All mixed up in a couple of amazing hours. Bring it on! We are so ready!


Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Last leg of my tour

It's another early morning at the airport, slightly later than previous trips started and quite a lot busier.

I just had breakfast, aka carrot cake, and are now waiting for my coffee to cool for a bit so I can drink it without burning my mouth.

This trip is taking to me to one of my favourite places in the world, London, UK. I love the pulse and the atmosphere there and I can't wait to stroll around and soak it all in again.

2 of my travelling partners in crime are already there and the 3d will arrive this afternoon/evening.

This trip isn't only about seeing Home Free, and Jeffrey East, it's also about London and friends, and other fun things. When in London ALWAYS go see a musical. There are so many good ones to choose from, and this time we have tickets to go see Wicked. I'm really excited because I've wanted to see it for years now. Maybe I'll blog about it, maybe I won't. This trip is about recreation and wellness, laughter, love, music, hugs (I'm expecting lots of hugs). It's about old friends and new friends, and my sisters; my blood sister and my Fry sisters, and my new found East Buddies, of course.

Thursday is the second to last show of this glorious, and very successful, tour, at the O2 Institute in Birmingham, and Friday is the last, at Union Chapel, London. I have regular tickets for both. The one thing I regret when planning this whole tour is that we didn't opt for VIP in London, but it is what it is. Next time we'll know better!

I will, of course, blog about both and I will do a little summary after I'm back at home, and the promised interview with Jeffrey is coming as well.

Last thing for now; we created a brand new fan group for Jeffrey East over on Facebook. We have, together with Jeffrey, decided that his fans should be called "East Buddies". If your a fan please come join us in the loving fun.  We have a special message from Jeffrey for his fans over there. Click here!

Have fun. Laugh a lot. Sing. Dance. Love every moment of your day. And smile. Smiles are physically, emotionally and mentally healing and a smile cam brighten up not only your own day, but the day of others. It's a nice and cheap way to spread love in the world.


Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Home Free in Cologne, Germany

Well, not just Home Free, Jeffrey East as well of course, because to me this tour has become as much about him as it is about Home Free. I find myself singing his songs as much as I sing Home Free's songs, but I think you already know this. I think Jeffrey himself is starting to understand the fact that he has gained some true fans in a lot of us Euro Fries. .

As you know the last 2 shows I've been to were standing shows, but the show in Cologne yesterday was seated. The guys of Home Free has clearly shown us during this tour that they love it when we dance, sing and clap along to their songs and we sure have done that at those standing shows, so it would be interesting to see if we could get the energy going for a seated show.

I didn't have VIP for this show, but some of my fellow Euro Fries did and they told me before the show started that the Guys had asked us to help them get the audience up on their feet - have them follow our lead - and who are we to disagree, right? There were 10 of us that have been traveling in different constellations to different shows and countries over Europe, meeting up before shows for dinners and some quality friends time, and we were seated on the first 2 rows on one side of stage with ail in the middle. When Take Me Home Country Roads started playing we picked up the sing along to it, as the traditions has become, and when Jeffrey came on at the end of the song we cheered him on. It was obvious from the beginning that we would have to work harder to get the audience going at this show than at the previous shows. My fellow concert goers felt reserved and we felt the looks in the back of our heads when we cheered, clapped, stood up and sang along to Jeffrey's songs. Who are those crazy and annoying people up front? While the audience certainly seemed to like Jeffrey and his music and jokes this crowd didn't show it as much as other audiences have during the shows I've been to previously this tour - reserved and held back was what the 10 of us taught they felt like. Having said that we did get support from a few other groups in the 400 people big crowd and at the end of Jeffrey's set he did get a lot of applause and cheers from all around the venue. Jeffrey is, after all, amazing at getting the crowd to like him and to sing along to his songs.

Then Home Free came on and we, the 10 of us and a few more, got up on our feet again to cheer them on. Just as we thought it did take some hard work to get the audience started, but with the encouragement from the band to follow our lead and dance and sing along more and more got up, and before the show ended most people were up dancing, singing and clapping and all the guys were beaming with joy.

Now, we didn't stand from beginning to end, for some songs we sat down - when it felt appropriate and the guys allowed us to. Yes, there were one or two occasions when we sat down and one of the guys questioned it, like for Adam's beat box solo; when the lights went out and the rest of the guys left stage we sat down, but as soon as Adam noticed it he asked us; "Why did you sit down?". When Adam speaks we listen. The rest of the audience followed our lead and got well into his number, cheering, hollering, clapping along, more than I've experienced at any of the other shows I've attended, and this was my lucky number 11.

I think this show was important because it was a seated show that turned into a mostly standing show, and because it did so the audience got more engaged, and an engaged audience creates better memories for both themselves and the artists.

Most people have experiences with memories being triggered by music. The reason those memories are triggered is because of the emotions connected to the music at the time the memory was created. When we add physical movement we also add muscle memory to the music and the emotion and it will make the memory even longer lasting. That is why being engaged by singing, clapping and dancing raise the energy and why it makes the standing concert a more memorable and more joyful event. This is how it gets deep into your heart and soul and into your bones. The adrenaline and the happy hormones produced when engaged both emotionally, physically, visually and auditory helps with saving the memory as well as creating it. This, I imagine, is what the band gets from the audience when they stand up during their shows rather than just sitting down in their seats. This is what you want to take with you from a concert.

I liked this show because the energy was higher than a full seated show, but my feet and body didn't get as tired as after a full standing show. It was, in a way, the best of two worlds combined. However, if I had to choose between a full seated or a full standing show I would without a doubt choose a full standing show. Memories, remember.

After the show I had the pleasure of having a chat with Jeffrey East again, there is a Facebook fan group for him in the makings and I will be interviewing him for the blog. I can not begin to tell you how much I like this guy, for his personality as well as for his musicianship and I am very excited to be able to give you a bit more of him soon, so stay tuned.

I also had the pleasure of meeting a fan of my blog after the show. Thank you, B, for telling me how much you like what I do here. It meant the world to me and your words made my already amazing day even more amazing.

When walking through the signing line I could sense the gratitude coming from the guys for the help with getting the crowd up on their feet. I also heard of other audience members thanking other Euro Fries from our little group for getting the energy up. Yes, both the guys and the crowd appreciate the energy, the greater memory that comes with engaging more fully.

If you ever wonder whether to do something, to go for something, that could make your heart jump of joy, that has the possibility to bring a smile to your and other people's faces, that has the possibility be full of love and joy stop wondering and just do it. Give it your best focus, pour your heart into it, love every moment of it - because those are the things that make you feel alive. Doing things like that is part of my everyday life, by choice and deliberation, and I truly believe it is what makes my life so amazing. These Home Free experiences with everything it involves, especially spending time with some of the most amazing people and friends I have made along the way, only adds great things to my daily life experiences, and it also creates all these amazing memories for my olden days. To me that is what life is all about. Have fun now, and enjoy the memory of it later.

So, don't let fear hold you back. Dare greatly. Step out of the normality and your comfort zone from time to time. Live. Love. Laugh. Smile. Sing and dance your way through life. Because you're worth it.


Sunday, 9 September 2018

Home Free in Prague, Czech Rupblic

Yesterday the Home Free family hit the beautiful city of Prague in Czech Republic and as you know I was there. This was the second standing Home Free concert I have attended and just as in Stockholm, Sweden it rocked. Home Free rocked, Jeffrey East rocked, the crowd rocked!

While waiting for the show to start there was music playing and it seems as if it has become a tradition for this tour that the audience has a sing-along to John Denver's Take Me Home, Country Roads and the Prague audience didn't disappoint. We were simply just standing there in front of the stage, or wherever you were standing, singing along with all that we had. And it was awesome. The feeling of it was that of expectation, because those who have been to one of the previous shows, or if you have seen Jeffrey East's live stream of his act earlier this week, know that it's the last song before Jeffrey comes on. And we were ready. We were so ready!

Just as in Stockholm I was second line up front right in the middle of the stage, but the stage in Prague was smaller and lower so we were very close to first Jeffrey, then Home Free, and it gave the concert a feeling of intimacy. Well deserved intimacy in an artist - fan kind of way. Why well deserved you might ask? Because any crowd that is so engaged as this crowd was from beginning to end deserves it. It is important to remember though that the relationship is that between an artist/s and their fans. They give us their all and we give them our all. They give us their skills and we give our skills. They give us their music and we give our joy of enjoying their music. That's what it's all about.

This was the 3d time seeing Jeffrey East and you all know I loved him from the get-go. It hasn't changed. At the first show in Oslo he didn't know what to expect and he was blown away by the response he got. In Stockholm he might have started to understand that we might actually really like him. Yesterday he knew, and it showed. The audience showed their love for him and he showed his love for us. One of Jeffrey's strong sides is to get the crowd to sing-along to his songs. He doesn't even have to ask us anymore, as he pointed out. Last night he played one of his songs he hadn't played before here in Europe, but we still knew it and could sing along to it. He loved it, and we loved giving it to him! I really hope those of you that are in the States get the chance to see him live, because he is already becoming the second music act I would travel Europe to see. I have already gone from going on a Home Free tour to going on a Home Free and Jeffrey East tour. So here's the opening act becoming just as important as the main act. Well done Home Free for picking Jeffrey East to support you on this tour, and in case any of you read this; you guys are a perfect fit! A match made in heaven. Thank you! And I'm looking forward to any type of collaboration between you, and I really hope that Tim was telling us the future last night when he said there will be a Jeffrey East song on the next Home Free album. Can't wait!

Being so up close to a stage as low as it was last night brings, as mentioned, a very intimate feeling, and it also gives the opportunity to read the guys' facial expressions and looks in their eyes. In Stockholm they were surprised and amazed by the response they got from the crowd, in Prague they expected it, but they were still amazed. The joy and love they showed when looking out over the audience was so visible you could almost touch it. This show was my 10th Home Free concert and to me it has been obvious for a long time that even though the set list might be the same for every show, the expression from the guys are slightly different for each of them. I believe that the reason for that is that they feed off the energy of the audience. I haven't been to a show in the States, but for this tour in Europe we give them our all. We sing every word, we clap along and we dance. We engage fully and completely from beginning to end and we feed the guys a whole lot of energy to give back to us. We give them all our heart and soul and we're all loving it! It's a win - win. Yes, our feet and our backs hurt afterwards and we might lose our voices, but I can't think of anything I would rather do in a concert than feeling all the love and joy and I have inside of coming out to be shared with everyone around me. This is why I travel all over Europe to see them. It makes me feel truly alive, it brings out the best feelings in me, it gives me inspiration to live my life to the fullest and it is making me amazing friends for life.

I understand that standing shows isn't for everyone, but I hope the rest of the world will get to experience them too if you choose to try it out. I can promise you that it is worth it for most people. Unless you are there only to hear beautiful harmonies. But if you're in it for the guys, then you are in for a treat, for sure.

What else can I say about last night's show? We surprised Adam by not shouting back 3, but doing the beat boxing part instead. That was fun! We waved flags from around the world during the encore Love Train, the bass literally moved back a step when Tim or Adam hit those lows and my chest rumbled more than ever before. It felt like an earth quake going on inside it! Amazing! Freaking amazing! It was hot, but not as hot as Stockholm.

I am currently 11 hours into a bus ride from Prague to Cologne, Germany for tomorrow's show. I'm looking forward to a day off from traveling tomorrow and a bit of a sleep-in before doing the touristy thing.

Look for my next post on Tuesday, where I will keep you updated on the the difference on going to a seated show after 2 standing shows.


Saturday, 8 September 2018

Trip 2 - Prague and Cologne

And it's tour time again!!

I am at the airport, killing time waiting for my flight to Prague, Czech Republic this evening. The time is 4:45 AM and my flight leaves at 7:00 AM. I'm sure I don't need to tell you how excited I am.

So far Home Free and Jeffrey East seem to be enjoying this tour a lot. In show after show both they and the audience are singing, dancing and clapping for all they are worth, and I am positive tonight's show will keep adding to the list of shows that are mind-blowing, heart warming and joyful. 

I will be meeting up with a lot of friends in Prague, lovely people I've gotten to know through Home Free. My sister I've known her whole life, another friend I've known close to 30 years, some I've met several times before in several countries over the past 2,5 years since the first time Home Free came to Europe, some I've shared a room with before, some I've met once and some I will meet for the first time. We come from all over Europe; Sweden, Finland, Poland, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic and of course Spain (that's me). 

This show is a standing show, just as Stockholm was last week and just as Vienna was last night. I know Stockholm was epic, and I have heard that Vienna was even better so there is no doubt in my mind that Prague will be even more epic and better than those shows. I know all of us will do our best to make it so.

Tomorrow morning I will get on a bus, together with another Swede and 2 Finns, from Prague to Cologne, Germany for the show on Monday. I am looking forward to seeing the scenery along the way, and to get some rest. I've had a busy week and so far I've only slept 45 minutes tonight. I'm not a great plane sleeper, but I will do my best to get at least an hour of it on my 3 hour flight. 

Some of us are landing at more or less the same time so we'll kick everything off at the airport already. I see a lot of laughter and hugs in my near future. 

On the bus tomorrow I will write a blog to tell you all about tonight's show, and of course there will be one about the Cologne show on Tuesday. I'm so excited to write them! 

But now I will have my airport breakfast of champions - a banana, salt and vinegar crisps (chips for you US folks out there), black coffee and water - and watch a film. I've got another hour to kill before my gate is announced.

I wish you a fantastic day, I know mine will be. Have fun, love a lot, laugh much!