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Sunday, June 28, 2009

I met Wayne Coyne in Finland

(Wayne Coyne -publicity photo)

By all counts, my European Rock 'n Roll tour 2009 is off to a Flamingly great start. Leaving Minneapolis Friday evening June 26th with a short stop in Amsterdam (long enough to check in on Foursquare and get my "Newbie" badge) I arrived in Helsinki, Finland early Saturday evening. There's a 8 hour time difference which really ate up a lot of my Saturday.

Fortunately, it's midsummer and I am as far north as Stockholm and Oslo (Helsinki is at 61°15'N and 28°15'E) and it's light out pretty much 24 hours a day (sunset 10:49 p.m., sunrise 3:58 a.m.) so I was able to drag myself out to wander a bit. Without even trying, just on the other side of the train station from me, I immediately stumbled onto The Tuska Open Air Metal Fest. Outside the gates, hundreds of punters in black t-shirts and long coats were swilling bottles of Koff beer. There was one band to go when I arrived, Suicidal Tendencies were closing out the night. I opted to skip the 43 Euro entry fee to see only one band and moved along.

tuska fest 2

Checking Twitter from my hotel, my friend Dahli informed me Atmosphere was in town. Their website told me a festival I didn't even know about, Pitkä kuuma kesä 2009 was in full swing and the lineup also included The Flaming Lips and Mogwai so I resolved to try and find if tickets were still available, where it was, etc.

As luck would have it, no more than 45 minutes later while wandering the City Centre, I ran smack dab into someone who would know stepping out of an ice cream shop, Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne himself. Far too jet-lagged to even be nervous, I introduced myself and said I had just arrived in town from Minneapolis, had heard The Flaming Lips were playing in town and asked if he could tell me where the concert was and how to get there.

We chatted for 5 minutes or so about the various European festivals at which I've seen the Flaming Lips in the past, including my top show of all time, the Lips at the then Witness Festival in Dublin (reviewed on HowWasTheShow here.) The biggest joy was to actually get to tell Wayne face to face in casual conversation that the Dublin show had be my show of a lifetime so far. (It was a memorable one where The Lips replaced the White Stripes as headliner after Jack White of the White Stripes had hurt his hand in a car accident in Detroit a few days before.)

Unsure himself if the festival Sunday in Helsinki was sold out, Wayne offered to put me on the guest list, took my business card for HowWasTheShow with my UK mobile number on it so his wife could text me the deets.

Looks like my Sunday evening plans are set.


TeriAnn said...

Super awesome! Sounds like you were pretty synced in, my friend!!!

mark said...

What a fantastic story. thanks for sharing