This sort of goes with my music post. Once I discovered different bands and songs overseas, I put two and two together and realized that there are concert tours overseas as well! When I was really into music in college, I tried to incorporate going to concerts into my travels or vice versa.
I’ll admit it here, Hanson was my favorite band for a long time. In fact, I still go up to SF for their shows, partly because my sister lives there and it’s a good excuse to combine a visit but also since I have been to nearly every show they do in SF, I have loads of “Hanson friends” that live there and the only time I see them is at the shows! But I have also flown to Phoenix (great story there, as the time change happened the weekend of the show and I had to be in class on Monday morning at 8am, I left AZ at 7am and arrived back in Burbank at 7:20am and made it to class on time!) and a few shows in the New York area. I had a (yes, Hanson) friend who was in school at the U of Rochester and I flew there and we drove up to Toronto to see them. I was there for less then 48 hours and most of that was spent in the car. I also “arranged” it on my way to Iceland to “stop” in NJ to see them with the same friend who was back home by then. Yeah, my parents think I am pretty nuts, but hell, I won’t drive to Orange County to see them, so I am not that crazy! (Yeah right).
U2 is my other “local”-ish band. I see them when they play in the LA area and then fly up to SF to see them with my sister for usually one show. And I always get great tickets for SF shows as the demand is usually a lot lower then the LA show(s). Like for this up coming leg that was pushed off a year, I didn’t even bother for LA tickets because the concert is in Orange County (eww) and GA tickets are super hard to comb by but I have no problem flying up to see them in Oakland for which I got GA tickets, no problem! Hell, it’ll take me the same amount of time to fly to Oakland that it would to drive to Orange County. Plus, great, easy tickets!
My first time to London in 2002 (funny enough with said Hanson friend in New York/Jersey, but we went because neither of us had ever been before) I looked up shows that were taking place in London the week that we were going to be there and a favorite of mine, Pete Yorn was playing, so I bought us cheap (like £7!) tickets. I was really excited to see a concert in another country and what happens when we show up? Both of us are under 21, so we can drink (yay!) but the show is FILLED with American college students all on their study abroad. Guess Pete hadn’t translated overseas at that point.
Then, the following summer (2003) I was back, hanging out in London, not really doing much when I found out that Maroon 5 was doing a show. They were sort of starting to blow up in the US and I immediately tried to find out how to buy tickets online. I couldn’t figure it out and freaked out that the show was going to sell out so I got to the venue wicked early for the show. Yeah, the place was dead and when they finally went on at this tiny bar-like club, there couldn’t have been more then 20 people in the room, including this American guy who was doing some research in London all summer who I talked to at the show.
Later that summer, Robbie Williams was doing some huge stadium shows all over Europe and I really wanted to go. My timing didn’t match up for his show in London (which ended up being a good thing, as the show was at Twickenham, this huuuuge pitch outside of town) but when looking at a map, I was going to be in France or The Netherlands when he was doing is show in Belgium. Perfect! So I got off the train in Antwerpen for one night for the show and it was fantastic!! It was held at a Staples Center-like place, all indoors and not too overwhelming. He was promoting his Escapology cdand the show was amazing! I love that cd and have some of his old stuff and I recognized almost every single song, except for maybe 2, which is really good for an artist who most Americans aren’t familiar with. Since he is English most of his audience banter was in English, but he said a few words in Flemish (?) which everyone laughed at but I had no idea what he said. The show was great and even to this day, I love telling people I have seen Robbie Williams in concert, in Belgium! If they even know what I am talking about, snaps!
The south pacific is pretty dead for concerts. Some go to Australia, but up until recently, when Auckland built Vector Arena, very few made it to New Zealand. One thing I do love about concerts in NZ, since very few make it there, when they do, they take over the country and everyone knows about it. Take Justin Timberlake for example. In August 2007, it was announced that he was going to be touring in NZ in October. The country went hog wild. Even though I got GA tickets (! Can’t do that in the US!) the show sold out within 10 minutes and two more shows were added immediately. I nerded it up and bought another GA ticket to the 3rd show. The funny thing was on the Ticketmaster website when the tickets went on sale, in bold letters it said DO NOT BUY PLANE TICKETS FOR THESE DATES! DATES NOT CONFIRMED because I learned with almost every concert in NZ, the dates change. Essentially, these are holding places for future dates. And within 2 weeks, the dates for the shows had changed and were confirmed. And great for me, the shows were rescheduled for Thanksgiving weekend! No longer would I be home-sick, I was going to celebrate with a fellow countryman! Good times:-) The concerts were awesome by the way (duh). And it was funny when people would ask, what am I doing this weekend, I was all like, going to see Justin and EVERYONE knew what I was talking about. Loved it.
*Sorry about the lack of pictures. I am not really a picture person at concerts as I would much rather experience the show and people around me then take crappy pictures. But we all know what these people look like anyway*
Moral: I love incorporating concerts into travel. You might get a better deal on an artist you love outside the US, plus you get to experience a new place! Win-win for all.