Where to start… It feels almost unreal thinking back of the weekend when we went to Chile and Santiago to play our benefit gig. All the things surrounding our trip, everyone working so hard to make it come true and all the fantastic people we met down in Chile!
There is so much to tell about this trip! I could make this a really long story , but I’ll try to cut it down a bit
A few surprises turned up before leaving home:
A week before the benefit concert we got some really good news from the Dutch artist organisation Sena. They wanted to help us by sponsoring 5000 Euros for our flights (it is quite expensive going to Chile from Holland, so this helped a lot!!).
Just after this, Hans got a really bad ear-infection (he was almost deaf on his right ear!) and had to go to the emergency hospital for treatment and I got a soar throat. At the same time we were all still very busy getting things ready. A bit hectic and stressful, but we had good spirits and looked forward to the trip a lot!
Since I live in Norway I went down to Holland a bit earlier to do a few rehearsals before going West. Marjolein, Frank and me prepared for our acoustic show at Radio Futuro in Chile (check out our little clip here). The day after we did a full band rehearsal and packed all our stuff for the next day. Friday morning we all met up at Franks place together with our super cool sound engineer Wouter and off we went to Düsseldorf. Only René wasn’t with us, because he was leaving with another flight as he would stay longer in Chile with his girlfriend Gema, who was already in Chile preparing for the show.
In Paris we had a flight transfer and there we met some TG fans who were also going to Chile (hi Rodrigo, hope you made it to the show!). The flight went pretty good, although it was 14 hours. Some of us where lucky to get some sleep in the plane, but some didn’t at all.
Down on the ground, we met René and Gema again and also our friend Fran. The Dutch Embassy in Chile was so kind to sponsor us with a van and driver for the weekend (it was a lot to do in short time, so this was fantastic help to get, driving back and forth to venue several times, radio station, interviews etc). The driver picked us up at the airport and took us to the hotel for a quick shower and to get some food. Then we went off to the studio in Radio Futuro.
We met a group of really nice TG fans outside the radio station who welcomed us with open arms and lots of smiles. They came with us in to the studio to have a little meet&greet and listen to us playing. Frank, Marjolein and me did acoustic versions of Treasure and No One Spoke plus our cover of Daniel (by Bat for Lashes). The guys at Radio Futuro were really cool, and made us feel very welcome. Thanks a lot for a superb time!
After finishing, we had a few hours to walk about in the city. We decided to hit for San Cristóbal, one of the few mountains in the city. It was a beautiful day, sunny and we all got the feeling of being little bit on holiday: eating empanadas, sightseeing a bit of the city and relax for a few hours. On top of this mountain we had some food and shared half of it to the stray dogs coming over with really sad and hungry eyes…
Being on this top, watching the sun go down in the massive city, just below the huge statue of virgin Mary gave us time to take everything in a bit. For me it had been such a few hectic weeks (even months) and now I was really feeling the beauty of it all, actually making it to Chile with the guys doing a benefit concert, and be able to help some people in need!
The guys went out for dinner in the evening, but I had a soar throat and went to bed early to get as much rest as much as possible before the show. After all we had been travelling for almost 24 hours! The reception woke me up twice though, once with flowers for Marjolein to be delivered and once with some other request. Later on I wake up around 6:30 of my bed shaking.. another aftershock..quite weird to feel, lying on 8th floor… but it was just a small one, and I was so spaced out of tiredness, I managed to fall back to sleep again.
Next morning we had a great breakfast together, got a little cup of Chilean honey from the breakfast buffet and got some Strepsils for my throat (thanks Fran!!). Some went off to the venue for prepare for sound check, some stayed at the hotel. At the venue we got to meet the guys of Crisalida and Paula Barouh (the support bands) and the amazing crew of Teatro Caupolican! They were all super helpful and so nice to us!
There have been a lot of activities going on before and around this concert. One thing was family and friends of The Gathering also supported with money and Radio Futuro gave away 65 tickets to a school in Chile. It was also organized for people to donate food and water by the door that would be distributed to people in need by Hogar de Cristo foundation. The Gathering also gave away CD’s, merch and other goodies for people to get as well as doing a big meet & greet after the show with the winners. All this was arranged by volunteers, the crew at Teatro Capolican, the Gathering community in Chile and our fantastic Gema who did an amazing job getting it all together!
For me this whole concert was extra exciting, knowing that around 3500 people were waiting just downstairs to see The Gathering and they had never seen me before. I remember my third gig with the Gathering in June at Graspop/Belgium in front of ca 4-5000 people, I really enjoyed it. So I crossed my fingers it would be just as fun here. I have to say, it was so cool playing Graspop, but doing this was…absolutely wonderful! You could almost touch the atmosphere; it was magic from first note! The people at Teatro Caupolican blew me away with their warm welcome, their beautiful presence and fantastic support! I hoped for a nice response, but we got something better. I will never forget it!
This night we all raised USD 25.000 for the Red Cross in Chile in co-operation with Chile Ayuda. They will do some really good work with the money. The lottery (with number one prize René’s Eastwood guitar!) raised another USD 2.500 especially for the fishermen in Pichilemu. And also the Hogar de Cristo foundation will take care of distributing over 90 boxes with food and water that was given by the door. Amazing! Thank you so much!!
After the show we felt the need to sit down a bit and just let it all sink in, so we went to a nice bar with the promoter and some friends to have a proper pisco sour and talk about the night, celebrating it went so well!
During our short stay in Chile we got to meet so many beautiful people and talked to some telling us we actually made a difference coming over. One sweet girl met us at the airport in Santiago. She told me she lost her aunt in the earthquake and also her family experienced a lot of other damages. Really heavy things… She was standing there, smiling, and she told me how happy she was to meet us and that she truly enjoyed the concert the night before… Then I just have no words anymore…
The day after the concert we already had to go back to Holland. It was a crazy trip, many hours of travelling, little sleep, some pain killers, one lost voice, one eye infection, one deaf ear, but sooo many many happy memories that will stay with us forever! J
Chi chi chi le le le viva Chileeeeeee!!