vrijdag 27 december 2013

6 dec pt 2: St Louis-Columbia: reunited & we made it!

I thought I would be happy to be in Saint Louis again, after dreaming about it for years (yeah, some people dream about going to Saint Louis!) but now I was double happy, after a ride like we just experienced.
Entering Saint Louis from the bridge, with that view, just like I hoped we would, it was awesome. It was also the way I left Saint Louis 12 years ago, in a Greyhound bus :-)
We passed the Busch/Cardinals stadium, it wasnt very easy to find the right way but hey we're together and we did.

I tried to send some messages to people to let them know we were doing ok and heading for Columbia, but my phone didnt feel using *new* American contacts. By the time I was finally able to send one from Roberts phone, we were almost there already (and it turned out we sent it to someone who cant receive textmessages)

Anyway, relieved that we were now REALLY on our way, that we were out of the ice, that we just passed Saint Louis and that we WERE going to make it, our level dropped to "extremely SILLY"
To entertain Robert I sang the whole Sgt Peppers album for him (dont ask why) some Bottle Rockets songs, and made up nice new songs blending them all together.
And you all know I really, really, really cant sing! Poor Robert!

there was not much to see in the dark on the way to Columbia. Lots of shops that sell fireworks (no one them said Bottle Rockets for sale, unfortunately) and a town called Mexico! and a lot of signs for motels.
We found our motel, and were excited because we knew the band was here too. Got a heart attack when we saw a white "band van" but closer inspection told it wasnt theirs, and we assumed they were in the club already.

Then, just after we walked out the office...walked to our car... there was this white van slowly pulling up on the street...
within seconds, we recognized Brian and Keith.
This was it. This was the moment I even lost faith in that it would ever happen again: we were looking at the Bottle Rockets, in real life, after 4 years, after giving up hope once, after deciding to come to the States for over 2 years.
We started waving like crazy and they stopped so we ran there.
It was totally weird. They laughed, shook hands and said "see you in the club!" and they drove off. It maybe took one minute, it was way too short to realise what had happened!!
At our room, I felt like I just dreamed it!

We didnt have much time, still had to eat but decided to go to the club in time. As by a miracle, someone just left with the car and we found a parkingspot right next to the door.
It was COLD!! it was freezing cold, 15°F/-10°C!
the club looked like a nice place and we got in, to walk into the band again. Now there was time for hugs and a talk, but I still felt weird! But on the other hand, it just felt the same as when we left them in Spain.
At a certain moment I realised that pretty red Rickenbacker guitar onstage was one and only RIKKI, I've longed to see her in real life for so long, but everything was just so WEIRD that I just didnt get it. (for the non-Bottle Rockets fans who read this: the guitar is famous in Bottle Rockets circles because her owner can't shut up about her :-)

One big bummer: One and only Otis Gibbs was supposed to open for them.... but... just like us he left from Nashville this morning... but a bit later... got caught in the same ice.... and when he left the highway for gas, he couldnt get back on it anymore because the police closed it!! what!!! made us realise once more how lucky we've been!
(small note for those who've never been on American highways: unlike in Europe, you have to really leave the highway and drive a bit, for a gasstation)

The club had a small pizza corner, yay, so we could have a bite, and we sat down near the window. I was enjoying ever second and everything that I saw. The view on dark Columbia, the American neonsigns, the whole American club experience, the Bottle Rockets on our right mingling with the crowd. This guy approached me and asked "are you Petra?" yes! It was long time BR fan Tom and and his wife Phoebe, who I've been in contact with for years on facebook and before that on the messageboard. It was so great meeting them, and also the first time ever that I met other die hard fans!

Robert grabbed a beer coaster from the bar and showed it to me. It said "Rolle Bolle New Belgium"
Wait, waaaaa? this was our introduction to the Belgian Style Beer phenomenon. I dont know why we never noticed before, that "Belgian Style" beer is everywhere.... for now we just laughed, but in the days to follow, we couldnt set one foot in a restaurant, club or supermarket without being buried in the Belgian Styles.
What is it? Well, we're still not sure. I tried to look it up, its American brewed beer, "brewed in old Belgian tradition" or something. There are at least 500 different beers in Belgium so I'm not sure. The next day we wanted to try one and asked "one of those Belgian Style beers" and got... a "Bavarian Style beer" :-D what's going on here?!

We were standing right in front of the stage and it was a great show, but... it just didnt get  through to me, I was way to emotional. The Bottle Rockets! There! Playing music! In front of ME! After all those years and times I thought I'd never see them again! After realising I had to go to them, because I'm not going to wait forever untill they ever come to Europe again. After getting really obsessed with finding a way to see them again. Sometimes, if you wanna have it, just come and get it when possible. Since januari of this year I started working extra hours, and it wasnt always fun, but I kept on thinking "its for the Bottle Rockets" and wow, now I was here, looking at them.

So it took at least untill the encore to get myself together again. I just stood there looking silly. Looked at Robert every now and then, who later said I had a bright smile on my face the whole time.
There were quite some songs I didnt know or only heard on youtube, like Big Lots and Monday but I liked them.
they came back and either asked for requests, or we just starting yelling them. I yelled for Alone in Bad Company, they noticed I was yelling something and came over to hear <3 arent they the best! With that song came the story that we came all the way from Belgium...

Great to hear the song. The story behind it AND the song would turn out to be a big part of the days to follow, mostly summarized, but this is the whole story:
fourteen years ago, I went to see the Bottle Rockets in Amsterdam to check them out, I've never seen or heard them before. The moment they walked onstage I smiled and the moment they started playing I thought "not bad".
That was the era that I've seen a lot of "americana" bands that turned out to be so boring.... but the Bottle Rockets werent one of them. In fact, they were ok and I decided to go and see them a few days later in The Hague, at the big Queensday festival.
It was there, the second time I saw them, the second time I heard Alone in Bad Company, I realised they were not just ok, but more than that.... this was it, I felt in love! It had been a while, but I found a band again that I  really, really liked. (I went to see two more shows that tour!)

After the show we talked with the band and fans a bit more, we stayed with Tom and Phoebe who proved to be excellent merch-salesmen! People were leaving early (doh!) and it was time to go. we allready talked about our ice adventure in Kentucky and Keith and John jumped in our car to show us where the windscreen defroster was (note: there isnt any! :-P ) I just stood there looking at them fooling around in our car. Men!! :-)

The club closed and we stood outside waiting, the van was parked next to our car. I didnt realise where we were waiting for and thought we were waiting on eachother first. We discussed the cold (it was COLD!!) and the ice in Kentucky etc. We werent sure why we were waiting there :-D ("oh we're just standing here because the Bottle Rockets are standing here!") but finally everyone was there and we said goodbye, and followed them to the motel.
It has been a weird day... lots of emotions... both good and bad, and now there was just only thing left to do: SLEEP!!

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