It’s almost inevitable that any tour of this size and length will include days where band or crew members aren’t in top form health-wise. No matter how fit you keep yourself, extraneous bacterias and bugs will at some point make themselves known, sometimes quite violently!
I woke with every intention of heading to the gym but after ordering room service breakfast, which was left untouched, I felt something wasn’t quite right. Without going into too much detail, the next 5 hours were no fun. Symptoms included, nausea, sweats, cramps and the inexorable diarrhoea. What I didn’t know was that I wasn’t the only one. By the time we arrived at show time, FIVE of the eight band members were down with it.
I left the hotel in Vienna for our day trip thinking it was going to be a tough day. When you’re feeling under the weather, the prospect of a show to a sold out crowd in Poland is daunting in the extreme, let alone when your internal organs (and contents) feel like they’re trying to escape. We pulled up at the beautiful, brand new Kraków arena and medical assistance was called for. Four of us headed off to the medical room at the front of the venue where three medics examined us carefully and gave us a mixture of medications. Sound check was cancelled and I sloped off to a quiet corner where I managed an hour’s sleep. In the dressing room an hour before show time, we were dropping like flies. The scene in the doctors waiting room with medics attending a band member.
Everyone in the band has a rough gig at some point in the past, never once has anyone ever let the side down…you just soldier on. You have to. After all, the show MUST go on. When we came off at the end of the set, pre-encores, the three medics were there checking in on us. I never got their names but I would like to say a huge thank you for their treatment and care throughout the evening. I’m not sure what might have happened without them. I’ve never wanted a show to end more than this one and by the time we were back on stage for the first of three encores, my stomach cramps were back and I could see by the grey faces of several band mates, I wasn’t alone.
Somehow, we made it through and I’m really hoping it wasn’t too obvious for the 13,500 fantastic Polish fans who had clearly been eagerly awaiting this night. They all payed a part in helping us through it, adrenaline being a magical tonic in these instances. Believe it or not, it was a great gig. Our journey back to Vienna seemed long and drawn out but of course it wasn’t. I’m sure I can speak for five eights of the band by saying I’ve never been quite so glad to see a bed.
Whilst I’ve been describing the events from the band perspective, I haven’t mentioned our amazing crew, some of whom were also suffering the effects of this bug. It’s bad enough for the band but for the crew it’s incredibly tough since they will spend the two and a half hours after the show, breaking down the gear and then travelling overnight on the bus. They won’t get the luxury of a hotel bed for the night. I really hope that the casualties were limited. These are the real heroes of the show, without whom it just wouldn’t happen.