Last New Year's Eve, whilst the festivities were going on all around us, I remember thinking, just before the clock struck midnight: “I wonder what this approaching 2012 will have in store... hmmm..?" I secretly hoped in the back of my mind, it would be somewhat that extra special, and it was. This year Vienna In Love played EXIT Festival in Novi Sad, Serbia. It was a wish come true!
However, during the tour, some of the the basics of rock and roll were an absolute nightmare in moments... Like for example, when we turned up at Wizz Airlines, and they made us purchase extra plane tickets for each of our guitars. Our friends from Wizz Airlines didn't understand what Rock and Roll is.
Then the stewardess told us we couldn’t keep our guitars next to us and had to store them all the way at the very back of the plane, even though we had purchased them a seat! A couple of‘Jim Morrison moments later, and we were cleared for take off, as we began our ascent towards Serbia.
In Belgrade, we were trapped inside a lift, in a futuristic post apocalyptic building called BIGZ, which can only be imagined as something from a science fiction novel. An old neglected, gigantuous pre World War II concrete block from Yugoslavia’s former golden age of Socialism.
It being unlike any place we’d ever been to, we instantly fell for it. It was unique, full of character, floor after floor of long corridors full of graffiti everywhere. It looked really punk. We imagined it as something from the movie Fight Club. It was such a creative place.
We were on our way to a rehearsal with our Serbian bass player, Predrag. It was in this building that our lives flashed in front of our very eyes when the lift broke down between floors carrying all of us and our equipment. It was 45c inside and the alarm was broken.
To make matters even worse, there was nobody nearby to hear us call for help. It really was beginning to feel like a movie now, hopefully it had a happy ending too.We stood there banging on the lift door, shouting away.
“Hello people, anybody there?” but there was no one, only silence. We waited patiently hoping that it would all soon come to an end so we can go rehearse.
Eventually a girl answered saying, “I just don’t know how to help you.”
Great. “Please, can you just go tell the porter or at least somebody that we’re here?”
“I’ll tell somebody at the entrance that you’ve gotten stuck, ok?”
Just as she says that, much to everyone’s surprise, the lift started moving taking us up to the next level. We watch wondering what’s on earth is going on.
Not sure what quite just happened, we get outside the 2nd floor and decide to finish the journey by foot with our equipment in our hands in 40 degrees heat. Turns out the place we were looking for was on the 13th floor!
At midnight, after we finished band practice, we went to the top of the building and overlooked BelgradeCity by night. It was beautiful. High in the sky beneath the moon and the stars, at the very top of Bigz was a roof garden terrace playing live jazz music. It was such a gorgeous moment, really emotional, and truly romantic.
I looked across and smiled. Suddenly, the needle on the record screeched to a stop. We had a phone call reminding us that we wouldn’t be getting much sleep as we had to be up really early in order to be on live television and radio on ‘Radio Television Serbia (RTS1)’ which was being watched by lots of people across the country.
We had to go home and get some rest. As soon as the alarms went off that morning, we sprung to our feet, had breakfast, and were out the door! We had so much fun that morning, it was truly awesome. Later that day, some passers by in Belgrade and Novi Sad, called out to us. We looked at each other thinking who they were. And then it dawned on us… they had seen us on television that morning and had recognized us haha.
Some of them even said they’d come see us play, which was real nice :-) Our hotel in Novi Sad was great. That didn’t last long though. After we checked in, Victor and James somehow managed to destroy their hotel bedroom and cause a flood in the bathroom in the first 20 minutes. It was a bombsite when Predrag and I walked in.
Luckily tho, the two of us were staying in another room down the corridor on another floor haha.On the day of EXIT, there was a lot commotion at the hotel with friends, family members, incoming calls, press, and photographers coming to meet us in preparation for the evening’s concert, as it was soon approaching.
On the day of EXIT, there was a lot commotion at the hotel with friends, family members, incoming calls, press, and photographers coming to meet us ahead of the evening’s concert.
It was an amazing experience for us. Our slot was between 8-9pm. The atmosphere was great. We had our own backstage with refreshments and food. After our show we made towards the press photo call centre were we were interviewed live for Novi Sad Radio. Gossip put on a great performance, and finally Duran Duran who performed all their awesome 80’s hits. The following day, our beloved New Order took to the stage with a really emotive performance, including some of the best songs ever written such as “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and “Transmission” from Joy Division. Novi Sad is a beautiful city with warm friendly people. The vibe in general was just so awesome.
In all, the response, hospitality, and warmth shown to us in Serbia was amazing. We also played other concerts in Belgrade, and in my family’s hometown in Pozarevac, which was a very special touch for me. I’m glad that they and their friend’s were able to come and see Vienna In Love in their own city. It was emotional. The venue was packed, and the audience amazing.On SAT Television, we prepared to play one song, and instead they let us play seven. They even did a special program feature on the band called ‘Nights in White Satin’. We are really grateful. Thank you ever so much to everyone!!!
Serbia, we absolutely loved you,See you again soon!