Blog | Primal Fear at Koba, Bilbao [Spain]
by Dutch bassist Alex Jansen
So here I am again. I am writing this in a plane on my way to Spain. High up in the sky so to say. Due to the fact that my dear friend Mat Sinner is still on his way to recover I am stepping in for this show. I have done two shows with Primal Fear already last year. Summer Breeze Festival and Metal Hammer Paradise. So now I am sitting here on the plane typing to kill my time during the two hour flight.
The other fellas flew yesterday including the crew, some luggage got lost on the way. Besides clothing and toothbrushes one suitcase with the microphones won’t arrive until Sunday. Well, we will be back in Germany by that time so it is a pity. We live in 2023 and apparently it is still difficult for airlines to have their shit sorted out in and on time. Until now I never got in the situation that I lost basses. The airline forgot one bass 20 years ago but that was delivered a day later to the studio. We were going to record a new Mennen album during those days or did some shows in the USA, I forgot what we were doing exactly. I just remember that the feeling of not having your instrument pretty much sucks.
So what I always do when I do fly gigs (I did quite a few with Hardline and Doro), I make sure I am on time at the airport. I have a special case for the plane. It is light and two basses fit. Has wheels and some storage. It is oversized luggage but not so big that you have to pay. So I dropped that off this morning 3 hours before my flight. Got my receipt and went through the security, it only took like 2 minutes although it was very busy. Normal people are on their way to beaches and family. I am getting to work.
As I fly in a day later than the rest I will miss the soundcheck. This sucks as we didn’t play since November but it was not possible to fly in earlier for me. I will be picked up at the airport by a shuttle and then brought to the hotel. We will go over some stuff in the hotel and then I will have time to take a little rest. We do a headline show and we don’t start the show before 10:30 PM I will need to sleep as we have a lobby call tomorrow morning at 5 AM. The flight home will leave at 7 AM I could take another flight but that would leave 9 PM so I would have to stay in Bilbao all day with my gear. That’s why I opted for the early bird.
I arrived safely in Bilbao where a shuttle was waiting for me to pick me up to get to the hotel. Our tour manager Aaron arranged that the restaurant put aside a nice lunch, so after lunch I went to my room to relax a little. We hadn’t played with Primal Fear since November so at 5 o’clock I went to Tom and Alex to have a dry rehearsal, just so to see that we still know some smaller details and that we all play the same.
We managed to rehearse although it was sweaty as hell. Then we went to do some shopping. We always manage to forget some small stuff on short trips. Thank God a supermarket was pretty close. The temperature in Spain was high…very high. As soon as we arrived back at the hotel the crew was sitting outside and we joined them to have a drink. 30 minutes later lobby call to get to the festival.
Arriving at a festival always is a surprise. Like Forrest Gump said, you never know what you are going to get. Well, it was actually very nice. The festival wasn’t that big, also not the dimensions of the big German festivals, but still a great stage and container village. The crowd was growing and after some food I enjoyed and watched a band that played before us. Imagine it was very hot and the band played in full body suits and masks… they must have lost tons of weight by sweating.
START A FIGHT
We got dressed in our stage clothing while the crew prepared our gear. We used the back line provided by the festival and sometimes this can be a challenge, not this time. Like I said the festival was prepared. So after a small line check the intro started. To be honest, I think we were on fire. The crowd was going crazy and that gives energy and we gave it all. We had our fun and we could see the audience had fun too. We did a full power set so starting with ,,Final Embrace”, ,,Angel In Black” we worked our way up to a track from the last album ‘Metal Commando’ called ,,Hear Me Calling”. Great sound on stage and from what we heard from the audience we had a great sound there too.
Sad that during ,,Fighting The Darkness” some people decided to start a fight. It stopped quickly but I think it is sad that even when people push or I don’t know what, people get aggressive. It took them the pleasure of ,,Fighting The Darkness” so it is like 8 minutes not well spent on a festival where all people gather to watch some great rock and metal. We did the set and went off the stage, of course we came back for 2 songs in the encore. We took our bows and threw some guitar picks in the audience, unfortunately we can’t give them all away as every person likes to have one. There were 3.500 people there and I didn’t bring that many.
AFTER THE SHOW
After the show is after the show (haha, got you there, you probably thought I was going to write before the show). We had a drink and some small chats at the dressing room. We changed our stage clothes back to the normal ones. The crew packed our stuff and then we were ready to go to the hotel. We maybe stayed 1 hour after the show. We arrived at the hotel at 1:30 AM and went to sleep directly. Lobby call at 5 AM as we had early flights back to Germany. Yep touring is no luxury, so 3 hours sleep must do.
5 AM: we are all waiting for the shuttle which promptly arrived. 30 minute trip to the airport. When we got in… ouch…. Long lines everywhere… Alex Beyrodt’s and my flight were 6:50 and boarding at 6:20. So we didn’t have too much time. Of course we hit the jackpot by checking the luggage. The lady doesn’t know what to do with the guitar cases. She starts calling for assistance and I show her the law that Lufthansa has for oversized luggage. I always keep those prints on my phone to be prepared for situations like this.
Many times they want you to pay more and that is not necessary. So my case is checked in and on the belt. Alex takes a few minutes longer. We say goodbye to the guys of the band and crew (Alex and me were on the same flight, the rest not) and head to security. Despite being so crowded we passed that rather smoothly and we are at the gate at 6:10. I got a message in my app that my case is on the plane, that is a good feeling.
PRIMAL FEAR BACK HOME
Two hour flight to Frankfurt and after arrival I go directly to the luggage belt, that is 20 minute walk, and I meet up with Alex there. He got a message saying his gear is not on the plane. So he goes to the ‘lost and found’, fills out his papers where they have to send his stuff and heads home. I am still waiting at the oversized luggage. After 30 minutes more my case comes out. Surprisingly after checking my gear for damage I see Alex’ case rolling out. So his case eventually made it on the plane. Due to the fact that Alex was already gone, I called him but he was too far already to come back.
I go to my car and head home. Tired but satisfied and knowing that “metal is forever”.
Photos provided by Alex Jansen