Blog | Rock Meets Classic 2024 – The inside story

by Dutch bassist Alex Jansen

April 2024. That means it is time again for writing a blog. This time I am traveling with the great Rock Meets Classic. Preparations have started already in 2023. Gathering the artists and the whole planning. We knew already at the last show of 2023 that we would be hitting the road in 2024 and that it was going to be in April again. The program wasn’t ready yet as the negotiations were still going in April.


During the last months we have been planning the songs and due to Michael Ehré getting sick and having an operation after we got back from Japan, he knew unfortunately that he wasn’t going to be able to join this tour. So the search for a drummer was on too during this time. We found a great drummer, Ralf Gustke. He plays and played with many big names, Söhne Mannheims, Tarja to name a few.

The conductor Mario Gebert and Lisa Müller handled the contacts with the artists and took care of the arrangements and set list. This takes a long time as the orchestra is big so writing the parts for them all is quite a job. We have some more changes in the team. Gio is not with us as she is expecting a baby, which can make its first appearance at any moment. (By the time you read this she will be a mother for sure), Sascha stepped down last year as he doesn’t have the time to do it next to his other projects.

So we welcomed back Alessandro del Vecchio to the team and we have a new master of ceremonies in Peter Keller. Peter plays with Peter Maffay normally and he is the choir leader. Those two fellas are joined by Sarah Fox and Gabriela Gun. Pretty impressive choir as I can say. On guitar we have Tom Naumann and Alexander Beyrodt, the best guitar tandem you can find. Lisa Müller on keys and musical director.


As I said before the work for a production like this starts way before you can imagine. We travel with a production of 100 people. 3 trucks and trailer, 3 buses and we have hotels for the band and choir and guests, hotels for the orchestra and the crew travels by night liner and sleeps in the night liner. We have our own catering with us as 100 persons get hungry every now and then.

I started my journey Wednesday by picking up a rental van. Loaded my gear and traveled to Stuttgart. Collected Tom and we loaded the gear from the Primal Fear storage into the van. Then it was time to hit the road to Wurzburg. We had a smooth ride to get there. We rehearse in a hall and we went there to unload and set up. Done at 9 pm and before hitting the hotel.


Thursday we were driven to the rehearsal by Joe our shuttle driver and longtime partner of Rock Meets Classic. We did a short sound check the evening before, nothing fancy just a short play through to see if everything works.

Thursday morning we started for real. We started going over the songs and of course there are always spots where we hear something different as what other people hear. After all it was a productive day as we went over 60% of the set. We rehearsed Thursday and Friday without the choir. They work on their parts in the hotel because we are too noisy.


We did a few tracks with them to see for the arrangements and to have a guide for us during the rehearsals. It is not always easy to play songs without vocals. So any vocal line is helpfully welcomed.

Saturday we had the first rehearsal with the whole band and choir. The guests are still not there; they start to arrive during the weekend. We went over the set and still have some spots where we are not happy. I am struggling with some things, but we are getting there more and more.

After the rehearsal the crew arrived, Cedric who we already know from the Primal Fear adventures in Germany and South America is with us on this run. We have Tommy who is taking care of the drums and we have James from the UK as guitar and keyboard tech. We packed everything in and then left for the hotel and the crew started doing their thing. They went to the other hall to set up the gear.

We are switching halls and are merging into the orchestra. The hall is bigger and the stage is set. So basically it is the live setting as we will have it during the shows. We the band, well most of the band went for diner in the city and had a great time before walking back to the hotel.

Today is Sunday and it will be the first day of the rehearsal with the orchestra. We only have one day to get this. Monday and Tuesday are going to be for the rehearsals with our guests. We went through most of the songs and we rearranged some stuff.


Tom Naumann and Sir Midge Ure Photo by Frank Witzelmaier

Monday was the first day with our guests and we started with Sir Midge Ure. Imagine being a teenager and watching the only pop program on tv (once a week as we had no MTV) and seeing ,,Vienna’’ on tv… Imagine how it feels when the same guy you saw in that video stands next to you and sings the first lines. Goosebumps and I have had many over the rehearsals. After Midge Ure it was Russ Ballard’s turn and we went through his hits. Massive and with Russ his dear friend Robert Hart came to finish up the rehearsals for that day.

Supertramp Photo by Frank Witzelmaier

We had a great diner in the evening and then it was time to get ready for the Tuesday. I mean I can write all details about the rehearsals but it is mainly a lot of repeating and going over certain parts. On Tuesday we started with Supertramp and we went over the songs, imagine playing those hits and seeing Tarja waiting for her turn singing along the hits. It was Tarja’s turn afterwards, wow very impressive and an absolute pleasure to meet her. Last but not least Paul Shortino came and we went over those songs and then it was time to pack.

We had a great diner last night with everyone. Agents, assistants, guests and band and choir. We had some great laughs and sharing of stories. Unbelievable being in a shuttle with so much rock n roll history.


I am writing this sitting on a tour bus. We only have short drive today, something like 1,5 hours. We are driving to the hotel and then to the venue for the first show. Everybody is all motivated and healthy nervous but most of all very happy to go on tour with this beautiful package.

Russ Ballard Photo by Frank Witzelmaier

After a short break in the hotel it was time to go the venue. Everything was nicely set up already and a quick coffee later we went on for sound check. It is always a different world, having the in ear system in a rehearsal or then in a live setting. So we all made some adjustments and then the guests came up on stage to do their sound check. They all did some great tunes and then it was time for catering. I got a new bass delivered during the diner.

7:45 pm it was time to go to the stage. We were all a bit nervous, first show and new guests. 8 pm we were on. I won’t tell you the set list yet but we have some real diamonds in the set. We had some struggles, some technical and some from a production side. We got through it good and we just did some talks in the bus to see what we can do better or different. It won’t always be things you see as an audience but you might feel it. After the show we hung out with some of our personal guests and then it was time already to hit the hotel. One drink and I went to bed. Now we are on our way to Kempten where we will play tonight.


Paul Shortino Photo by Frank Witzelmaier

First we arrived at the hotel where we had the famous Ronnie Romero rule last year. He showered so hot that the steam turned on the fire alarm. A short stop there and then we went to the venue for sound check. As we still had some stuff to work on for the show, stuff we didn’t feel right about, we went over a lot of stuff. We did a sound check for 2 hours and rehearsed the show start and change overs between the guests and songs.

A quick bite at the catering and then it was time to get ready for the show itself. Well what can I say. So much difference than the night before. It all went down smooth and those 2,5 hours were gone before we knew it. No technical problems and the atmosphere was so awesome. It was a sold out show and the love we got from the audience was awesome. Manfred came before the show to tell us great news, I am sure you will hear about this soon enough. I can’t tell now.


Robert Hart Photo by Frank Witzelmaier

After the show we had a nice drink at the hotel and then it was bedtime. No fire alarms this year so everyone had a great sleep. Again I am sitting on the bus just before we hit the road. Everyone is gathering and getting their stuff in the bus. It will be a 3,5-hour drive to Passau where we will play tonight.

Like every day we had a short stop at the hotel and then off to the venue. A bit of catering and sound check. The hotel is in the middle of Passau and it is amazing how our driver is managing the whole situation, driving through the small streets. Hats off!

Tarja and Alex Beyrodt Photo by Frank Witzelmaier

When we arrived at the venue we hit the stage right away for the sound check and we went through a few tracks but it all went down very smooth. Before we knew it we had show time again. The show gets better and better every day. Maybe the audience doesn’t notice this but we work hard to give you all the best! I had a funny moment on stage when Tarja came and held the mic in front of me. Haha I was too concentrated to sing along though.

After the show she asked me if I was afraid to sing while I was almost running away and had the biggest laugh. It shows the fun we have on and off stage. A beautiful tour and such a great bunch of warmhearted people. We are now slowly making our way to Regensburg. It will be show number 4 in a row.


Photo by Tine & Paul Bossemaier

We first arrived at the venue after we checked into the hotel first. It’s a beautiful hotel next to the dome of Regensburg. When we arrived at the venue, a nice ice hockey arena, we hit the stage for sound check. The sound checks are going faster and faster.

The show was such a great event, we had a great vibe and the show went by in the blink of an eye. The changes we added and made are working out very good. We all had a very good feeling about the show. We had a nice drink after the show and then we were off to the hotel. There we held a small party with a video crew and some of the guests and friends. We are on our way to Munich now where we will play the Olympia Halle. That is a big thing. I wrote some stuff about it last year in the diary, most of us will remember the Olympic Games of 1972 in Munich. It is all in that area so there is a lot of history there.


First we will hit the hotel for a short minute and then the same procedure as every day. Sound check, catering, show time. You cannot imagine how much I love these moments. It makes all the hard work we do worth it.

3 pm it was time to hit the short track to the venue again. It is so massive, imagine we are riding into the arena with the night liner and there already 3 trailers parked inside. The look you get by walking into the arena is amazing, it is so huge and impressive. We run the sound check like every day and we do the tour photo with everybody who is part of the production. I walked around a bit in the arena as it is so impressive. In the backstage area you feel like Spinal Tap, I get lost all the time even though there are a lot of signs for us.


Then it is show time and the start of the show was pretty stressful for me. My in ear monitor made strange noises all the time. We changed the belt packs 3 or 4 times before we had the situation under control. It happens but it is still a bit of stress as you can’t always hear what you or other people do and by that extra noise you get distracted. We had a great show though and the audience was wild. No better feeling than seeing so many people singing along with big smiles on their faces. After the show it was off to the hotel again and we had a nice little party at the hotel bar.

Today is a travel day and our day off. We have an 8,5 hour ride and we just made a stop for lunch. Now we have 4 more hours and then I will enjoy the rest of the day by laying in bed I guess and have some food.

Yesterday was a travel/off day, we had a 9 hour ride in the end. A small break for the driver in the middle. We arrived at the hotel and most of us decided we were going for Italian food. 8 pm we took a cab to the city and had a great diner. We grabbed a nice drink at the hotel bar afterwards. Then I went to bed and today we have a show day again. I am writing you these words waiting for the lobby call. Then it is back to the daily routine, sound check, diner, show. I can’t wait to be back on stage.


We had a few traffic jams on our way to the arena, we still made it in time. Sound check was a bit short as most of the guests are confident in what we do, so it is just about the monitor settings. After that a quick bite in the catering. Showtime and we had a blast again on stage. Today is all about traveling again, we are going from Oberhausen to Ingolstadt. We have the next show there tomorrow. I think I will get back to my bunk today.

I had a great day off in the hotel. It is a hotel with a great spa so I took advantage of that. Pool, steam bath and relaxing. Had a great diner and spent the evening talking to Jesse [Siebenberg] and have great chats. During the diner I was talking with Peter Keller and we discussed obscure bands that we know. Fun fact. I asked him if he knew a band from Germany I discovered in the early nineties: Douglaz A.M. Of course he knew the band as he has lived together with one of the band members, Peter Koobs. It was so awesome as he even called Peter during the diner and I was able to express my thanks to him. I still love that record. Awesome isn’t it and how small the world is sometimes.


Yesterday it was time to get into the show mode again. We hit the arena and as I had suffered technical difficulties the days before and we didn’t find what it was, my tech James did all he could, solder connections and went over all basses and gear I brought. During the show I experienced troubles again and we finally found what it was. The only piece of gear I didn’t bring myself was a wireless system and that was causing tons of trouble.

So bad that during ,,Cum On Feel The Noise’’ the bass went out and didn’t come back. I am sorry for that, James came to the rescue with a cable and during the audience part we managed to switch it all. Pretty stressful and I hope that audience didn’t notice it too much. Then it was time to hit the hotel again and had a nice chat with Jesse again, man the stories.


Naumann, Beyrodt, Jansen

We are on our way to Frankfurt now where we will play tonight. Hopefully without any troubles.

Frankfurt was such a blast, we had so many visitors showing up and the audience was absolutely fabulous. I got a new wireless system and it worked flawless. The show went by in a blink of an eye again. After the show we had a great party in the hotel and then it was time for bed. We are rolling to Nurnberg today and tonight and tomorrow are the last shows of the tour already. It’s kind of sad as we are so in the groove now and it is already getting to an end. But that is how the story goes.


After a short check in at the hotel, Tom and me had to pick up some rental cars. Then back to the hotel where we had 30 minutes to be ready for the bus ride to the venue. There we did a sound check again and after catering it was time to hit the dressing room to change. Showtime was around the corner and the show was an absolute blast. Audience great and we were on fire. After the show we went back to the hotel and we started a small birthday party for Alessandro. I was the first to give him a present and we all sung for him in the elevator on our way to the bar. I went to my room a little later and had some of the best dreams since a while.


The next morning, I drove the rental car to Wurzburg and was joined by Alessandro and we had a nice chat on our way. At the arena it was the same procedure as every day. Quick bite in the catering, sound check and then diner. The only thing that was different today was that everyone felt a bit down. Last show of the tour and although we all knew this day was coming we felt sad about it. We had such a great time and you never want things like that to stop.

The show went great again and we had such a great atmosphere on stage. When the show was over we packed our stuff and split it in the rentals and trucks. I loaded the car and said my goodbyes to everyone including lots of hugs and sad feelings. The overall feeling is pride and happiness though. I am sad the tour is over and I will miss my Rock Meets Classic family for a year.


Photo by Klaus Manns Rocks

We will be back! I am writing the last words of this blog suffering from the tour blues. I looked for catering, I wondered when it was time for sound check and what time the bus will leave. It is normal and after a few days that feeling will go away and makes space for an absolute love for what I am able to do. Thankful for the people I work with and the people I meet. Thankful for an amazing crew and the friends we make. The memories we made together and the journeys in front of us. The guests on this tour all wrote me some very sweet and nice comments in my tour book. I keep them for myself and might post some to show my pride to be able to work with absolute legends.

Next up… some shows with other bands and then June we start the summer season with Primal Fear, expect some more blogs over the summer. Until then stay healthy and keep flying the flag of rock and metal!

All photos provided by Alex Jansen



Logged in as