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  • Martin Bullard

From Oktoberfest to October the First

It takes a little while to find your rhythm after a two month break. The German dates certainly got Smokie back to full speed and the latest three shows helped us sprinkle a bit of magic on our performance. Playing live is all about connecting with the audience and there was never a better connection than over the last three days. It’s been hectic on the one hand, with instruments lost in Amsterdam and still missing, but rewarding on the other hand, as shows came together that, on paper, looked hard to realise. We began by flying to Vienna then driving to Vosendorf, where the Brunner Wiesn Oktoberfest event was celebrating its tenth anniversary with appearances by ourselves and Suzi Quatro. It’s always good to catch up with old friends on the road and know that they are still enjoying playing as much as ourselves. From Austria we started the challenging part of the week, with a flight to Oslo, a drive to Lillehammer and barely enough time to put a show together. However, our excellent crew made it happen in a very short time and we soon found our energy at Maihaugsalen, as did the audience. The next day we drove back down to Oslo to fly to Orsta on the west coast before driving to Ulsteinvik, arriving once more with little time to prepare for the show. With borrowed instruments once more we put on a show to be proud of, performing to an audience that had rarely seen musical performances at the new Ulstein Arena. With our accolade of having the best selling album of all time, Smokie’s Greatest Hits, we could hardly fail to make an impression with our set list. The excitement of the audience was palpable and they surely left the building with smiles on their faces, as we witnessed when trying to return to our hotel. I expect they partied until the small hours whereas we had to get up early to start the long journey home. For me it’s a fourteen hour journey and worth every bit of it just to be in such a beautiful place as Ulsteinvik. In the 1980’s we laid the groundwork for our success in Norway and we are still reaping the benefits as we can go literally anywhere in this fine country and find an audience. We now go home for just one day then return to Norway on Tuesday. That means two nights in my own bed, and that’s worth the homeward journey.

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