Sunday, January 10, 2010
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Today is technically our first and only “day off” on this tour. It’s the only day we aren’t playing a show or traveling. Our flight home leaves at 1am so it’s only “technically” a day off. We spent most of the day relaxing, buying “trinkets”, and catching up on sleep.
We left for the airport around 8:30 pm because we were warned and warned about the increased security. Fortunately and unfortunately the security was no problem at all. We were thankful that we didn’t spend hours standing in line and getting searched but at the same time its not surprising somebody could sneak a bomb on the plane when security was so relaxed. At our first checkpoint, the two “screeners” weren’t even paying attention; instead they were on the phone the whole time. As we all “beeped” without having to go back through the metal detector we were thrilled; only later did it dawn on us that if it was that easy for us to get on the plane it would probably be that easy for a terrorist to get on too. Not real comforting.
Our first flight was the brutal one. It was a 14-hour flight from Kuwait to Washington D.C. Unfortunately; our seats were in economy, definitely not as comfortable as our previous two first class flights. We arrived to D.C. around 6am on Saturday morning, had to go through customs and another couple of rounds of security and then boarded a 7:30am flight for Chicago. Our flight was late leaving the gate in D.C. so we got to Chicago late and had approx. 20 minutes to meet our connecting flight… Everybody got off the plane and sprinted to our next gate two terminals over… as we approached we saw the “delayed” sign and we all breathed a big sigh of relief. We ended up getting on the final flight about 11am.
So… after 9 countries (including airports), 12 shows, 14 flights, tons of new friends, and a million memories we are home safe. This was definitely a trip of a lifetime that none of us will ever forget. We want to thank AFE, all the “contacts” that escorted us around these foreign places, “you” for coming along with us on the trip, and especially all the Armed Forces stationed all over the world.
We are happy to be home for a bit but at the same time none of us were ready for the tour to end… we just had way too much fun.
Our first little dose of “reality” came as we were getting off the plane in Des Moines. Our stewardess got on the microphone and said; “If you have a jacket you might consider putting it on… it is currently -15 degrees outside”…. We'd like to think that this is just Iowa’s way of saying “Welcome Home”.
One last picture with our Security, Brad and Dave.
We have lots more pictures and videos that we will be posting in the next few days so check back soon!!!
Monday, January 4, 2010
Today is New Years Eve and we are playing a show at Camp Buehring, a base about 15 miles from the Iraqi boarder. This base is a base where everyone going into Iraq comes first. Most of the people here have been or will only be here for a few days at the most before they head north into Iraq.
Once we arrived to the base we had another Commander’s Call. Then we got a quick tour of the base before heading to sound check. We played on a huge outdoor stage in the middle of the base. During the afternoon it was beautiful out but at night in the desert it gets cold. We could definitely see our breath on stage but we are not complaining one bit because we know what the weather is like back home.
The show was one of the best of the whole tour. We worked up a cool “punk” version of Auld Lang Syne about 10 minutes before the show… That is one of the coolest things about being in the Blue Island Tribe; we can decide to play a song, spend 10-15 minutes figuring out everyone’s parts, and then play it during a show later that same night. It’s just those little things that make you feel real good and really enjoy doing what we are doing.
We did a countdown during the show and toasted our “near beer” (non-alcoholic beer). Since Kuwait is DRY we were given cases and cases of near beer. It is not good. This is unfortunately our last show of the tour... just when we were getting warmed up the tour ends... anyways all the shows were fun, some were just plain amazing, and we will never forget them.
After the show we took lots of pictures and signed lots of CDs. Each branch of the military has their own “call”, for example the Marines is “hoo-rah”. Blue Island Tribe’s has become “Rip-It”. Rip-it is an energy drink similar to RedBull or Monster but it has been given free to us most of the tour. We have all developed a "healthy" addiction to it and are definitely going to go through withdrawl when we return home.
For every picture we take, we take a nice one, and then a “Rip-It” one… early on in the tour the "Rip-It" photos were pretty tame but by this point in the tour we are full out jumping on and tackling each other...
When we got back to Camp Arifjan (where we stayed the whole time we were in Kuwait) it was about 11pm so our security, Dave and Brad, took us out on the base to celebrate the new year. We went to a "dance" that felt like a Jr. High dance but instead of the girls and guys being on different sides of the room, each girl had about 20 guys surrounding her. This was a very neat experience and we can't thank Brad and Dave enough for showing us a great time, the whole time we were in Kuwait!
Friday, January 1, 2010
We got to sleep in again today before we were picked up at 1pm for a 1 and a half drive to Camp Virginia. These drives are still awesome. We aren’t quite as on “edge” as we were for the first few so now they are just fun.
We got to the venue at Camp Virginia around 3:30pm and did a quick sound check. Following that we met with the Commanders, took a nice tour of the base, ate with the Troops, and then hung out before the show.
One amazing thing about this trip is that we’ve been given little “mementos” at pretty much every place we’ve been to. We’re not talking about the plaques and coins but rather people’s personal property like boots, patches, shirts, etc…. but here we might have gotten the coolest gift any of us could have ever received on this tour; we were all given “Army Blouses”. They are super cool and we’ll get pictures of them up in the next blog.
The show went great. That has been kind of a theme for the whole tour; all of the shows have just been amazing. Each show gets more fun.