Exclusive | U.D.O. – Primal Fear – Touchdown & Code Red 2024 Tour

A report by Dutch bassist Alex Jansen

Normally this story would start on a Friday, though not this time. I wrote you all last time that we came back from Japan. The adventures of Japan ended with Michael [Ehré] ending up in hospital and being operated. This all went well but the recovery from Michael takes a bit longer than expected. When Michael told us this, we had to go for a plan B. We teamed up with André Hilgers 12 days before the U.D.O. – Primal Fear tour start. Thursday 22.02.2024 we gathered in Stuttgart for rehearsals. This went smooth, some small dings and dongs but quickly we were ready to go. After the rehearsal we went for a dinner. At 2 o’clock it was time to hit the hotel and bed.


Again, we gathered in Stuttgart at the storage. The nightliner was already there and load in started. The loading took a good hour and then we were ready to sail. The ride to Regensburg was a good 4-hour slide. Obertraubling was cold. In the end it is still winter of course. The U.D.O.’s were already there and getting ready to soundcheck. We greeted everyone and as we all know each other it was nice to see everyone after some time. The set up for Primal Fear was done and we had a short soundcheck. Soon it was time for the show, and we were greeted by a great audience. The set went by in the blink of an eye. Some small things we need to adjust, but for a first with André it went great. We had great fun.

After the show we had dinner and at midnight it was time to hit the road. The trip was 8 hours and now we are in Berlin. Writing this in the lounge of our nice bus. It is still morning, and we are waiting for the club to open so we can take our showers and have a bit of catering. After that the daily routine will start again.


I spend the day in Berlin doing some shopping and relaxed until it was time to go to soundcheck. This went smoothly and we went over some stuff we wanted to check from the night before. Catering was served but as we are done late with soundcheck I always eat after the show. Going on stage with a full stomach isn’t the best idea. Berlin was a sold-out show and as soon as the intro started, we were in show mood. Of course, it went by in a blink of an eye. I had a blast performing for the Berlin audience and we all had the feeling they were a bit harder to get. This is not in a negative way, but some audiences are harder to get.


After the show we had a great time with each other dishing up stories and remembering other tours and people. We had the bus call at 2 pm. Right at 11 pm we got the famous Berliner Currywurst delivered in the dressing room. Our tourmanager Mark Nowak knows how to run a show. I have known him for, I guess, almost 30 years. Although this is the fourth tour we do together. I think the man is busy. We left Berlin at 2 am and I went to bed at 3 am.

After 30 minutes in my bunk, I went to the front of the bus again. There was so much noise coming from the back of the bus. I thought we had a flat tire. The driver stopped and he checked but it is the trailer that bounces a bit. Should be taking care of tonight with reloading the trailer.


We are now in Magdeburg, eastern Germany. I got up at 8 this morning and as I am driving home for two days off while the rest travels to Hamburg, I had to pick up a rental car. The weather was a bit cold but sunny, so I decided to walk the 3 miles. Yesterday, Feb 24th, my favourite soccer team got beaten by Magdeburg. So, to be here a day after was a bit strange. As I walk through the city center, I see a bus parked in front of a hotel. There I saw Olaf Thon, he is from my team, and next to him were all the bosses of Schalke 04. I thought of walking to them to express my concern and dissatisfaction but walked past and went to pick up the car.


Now I am sitting in the dressing room waiting for soundcheck. I had some lunch, a shower and before all that I rehearsed with Tom and Alex for Rock Meets Classic. After that I slept one hour. Now it is waiting for soundcheck and then showtime. Followed by the travel home. 5-hour ride and Tuesday night 6 hours by train.

Showtime was a bit later today and we hit the stage at 7:30 pm. The audience was great, and we hit it off right away. We had some small bumps on our way, but we had a great time. We didn’t do the encore tonight, instead we decided to play the whole show at once.

I had 1,5 days off. After the show in Magdeburg, I got in the car 30 minutes after the show together with Markus Herzog. We had a 5-hour ride in front of us, but it didn’t feel like that at all. Not too much traffic and not too many construction zones on the Autobahn. We just had to fill up a bit on the highway and those gas prices woke me up again… dropped off the rental at 2:30 am and went home with my own car. First thing I did was a very good sleep, although I missed the roaring of the engine of the tour bus.


Now it is Tuesday, and it is like 7:30 pm and I am writing this sitting in an ICE train from Deutsche Bahn. Thank you for traveling with Deutsche Bahn. The train is not as fast as the bullet train in Japan but still it has a good speed. So, we are traveling to Hamburg Hauptbahnhoff tonight. The rest is still there and most of them got a hotel and spend the day being tourist or sleep or doing some other work.

Markus Lemsch is preparing a tour for Beast In Black and Aaron is doing his work for the Venue he is working for in Zurich Switzerland. Martin is designing cases for Arch Enemy. Ralf went for lunch with an old friend and Tom and Alex rehearsed for Rock Meets Classic. That tour is coming up in a few weeks and preparations have been going on for a while now.


I will arrive at midnight at the train station in Hamburg and then it is a short walk to the bus. It has been parked at the venue we will play tomorrow. The show is sold out, so I am really looking forward to that. First time I will play Hamburg if I remember it well. I have been to some shows in Markthalle, but it has been years since I have been there.

Before I will be there, I will enjoy writing a bit and watch some series and play some games. The other fellas are having dinner with Hasche who was one of the bosses of the Rockfabrik Ludwigsburg. I have played there a lot and the parties I survived there are legendary. Hasche went to live and work in Thailand for a few years and came back to Germany when we were touring Japan. So, the possibility that the guys will still be up when we arrive is quite high.


We arrived in the bus at midnight and Martin and Aaron were still up while the rest was still on route in the city. We had a quick drink and then André came with his girl and Chiara. Chiara is doing the merchandise for Primal Fear on this leg of the tour. Wednesday, we spent the day showering, relaxing and then it was time for soundcheck. We only have a short time to do soundcheck, but we don’t even need that’s much time.

We know what to do, the crew is fast with setting up, play two songs and then we hit the dressing room again. Showtime comes and we have fun from the first second we hit the stage. The show went by so fast it felt like we only played two songs and then it was over. The audience was great, and we had a great response.

After the show we met with a few friends and had some great laughs. I also met Harrie Smits after a long time. Harrie used to be manager for Helloween and many more. I hadn’t seen him since Wacken 2008 or 2010 so although we only spoke for a few minutes it was great to see him. At 1 am the bus got rolling again and we had a long drive to Oberhausen. That is where we are now. I just had breakfast, and now I will start a bit of rehearsing for Rock Meets Classic in the back lounge.


After a great rehearsal for Rock Meets Classic, I had a short sleep before I had dinner. Then it was time to get dressed and in shape for the show. The audience in Oberhausen was absolutely great and we delivered a great show. Too bad the shows are done in a blink of an eye. After the show we hung around with some old friends and around midnight I went to the bus. We had a long drive this night, 8 hours and we left but in some kind of way the road was bumpy this night.

A lot of noise coming from the street and the last part of the journey was on smaller streets with sharp turns. Not too comfy to sleep. I got up at 11 and went for breakfast. Said hi to the U.D.O. guys. We have known each other for a long time so it is always good to see each other and especially now while we are touring together. This afternoon we rehearsed again for Rock Meets Classic and after that I went to sleep a bit again.


I set my alarm so I would be right in time for sound check. I just took a shower before sound check and now I am writing the blog in the back lounge of the bus again. The dressing room is good but a bit too crowded, so I went here. I am watching tv at the same time. Formula one season started, nowadays it is so easy with the streaming services. I watch it on my iPad. I remember the old days where we brought our own vcr and a tv to be able to watch a movie.

Sometimes things change for the better. I mean the buses are so luxurious these days. We have a shower (that we don’t use), we have PlayStation, satellite tv, movies on hard drives. A small kitchen with a coffee machine and a microwave. It makes sure you travel in style. The negative part of this bus is that the bunk is smaller than I am used to. I am not complaining but in the other bunks from other buses I could sleep a bit better and had slightly more space.

I will get back tomorrow to you and tell about today’s show.


Markneukirchen was a blast, I had such a great time on stage. It was again a sold-out show, and the audience was spectacular from the first note we played. As on the other days the set went by so fast. We delivered a great performance and were thanked with a massive applause. After the show we hung around a bit and late at night we had a nice chat with Peter Baltes. Man, those stories… many of them history and so awesome to hear. When I went to the bus I have a chat with Sven and Andrey. Then it was time to go. Bumpy ride at the beginning due to the roads and curves and all.


As soon as we reached the highway I went to bed. I slept like a baby and woke up in Leipzig. The club is called Hellraiser. The area around is apocalyptic and is more a lost place than anything else. It is sold out tonight again and I decided to stay on the bus.


We didn’t know what to expect after seeing the area. What can I say, we had a killer show. The audience was so amazing, many voices singing along all the tunes and smiles all over. After the show it was the usual thing, getting some cold drinks, alcoholic or non-alcoholic. Hangs with our fabulous crew and after U.D.O.’s show the U.D.O. guys.


Then 8-hour drive to Munich where we are now. We have been here in September in the other club. This time we play the big hall, and I am looking forward to that. After the show I will hit home for two days before we do the last run of this tour. Time flies when you are having a great time and great times we have here.


Munich was insane, it was hot, and the audience was on fire. We had tons of fun and the show went flawless. After the show I packed my stuff together and I went home. Tom and Markus came along and in the middle of the night I was there. Two days off also went by in a minute. Last night I got back on the bus and watched soccer with Ralf. Then I went for a good sleep. Tonight, we play Capitol in Mannheim, and I will get to meet Sascha Krebs again for the first time after Rock Meets Classic last year. Besides the phone calls and messages, we do during the year.


Mannheim was killer, the audience was with us from the first second we hit the intro. We made our way through the set. I always think after the first two songs that we still have a lot of time. Well, it isn’t like that, before we know it, we are at “the end is near” and then there is only a few more. Last night was the same. The stage was hot and although I had some trouble with the monitors, I still had a good sound.

We hit the last note of ,,Running In The Dust” and then we did our waving at the audience. It is such a wonderful sight to see everyone doing the wave with us.  After the show we hung out a bit and had some cold drinks before it was time to hit the road again. It wasn’t such a long drive. We stopped a few times though, I guess to check if the trailer was still there and one time to fill up. The rest I didn’t notice as I slept.


Today the show is in Stuttgart, and it is like a hometown show for Primal Fear. The record label is situated here so there will be a lot of familiar faces. Currently I am waiting to get in the shower. So, I decided to write some lines for you.

What can I say, Stuttgart is as close to a hometown show as it can be for Primal Fear and that it is what it was! From the intro the crowd was insane, and the band was on fire. So many smiling faces, first time visitors and old friends. Before the show we met with Mat [Sinner], who looked great, and we had some nice talks. Of course, the show went by as fast as all the others. We had a great sound and atmosphere on stage. After the show we celebrated this and had some cold drinks and great talks.


We hit the road at 1:30 am and around 5 in the morning we arrived in Memmingen. That’s where I write these words. In the dressing room just after breakfast, after this the crew will set up and we will do our sound check. The club is again sold out and it is amazing to see the reactions of the people. It is such a strong package we have here. Three more shows to go, before we go home.


I left you before the show of Memmingen. We had a great time although it felt different on stage or from the audience. We still delivered the black and after the show I went directly to the bus. I played some games and had some talks with Ralf and Martin. Then I went to bed. I woke up like everyone on the bus from shaking. I don’t know what happened, but it felt like we had an accident. It was not, thank God, but the bus was shaking. I could sleep afterwards and went for catering at 1 pm. A quick shower and now I am writing these words just before soundcheck.

Every day at 4 pm we have this. The crew is fast, we do two or three songs, and we are done. Then some of us go back in the lounge or dressing room. Some play darts against the U.D.O. fellas. Tonight, we are in Nürnberg, and I am really looking forward for this. This night we will drive to Switzerland for the last show of this leg. Man, why is time always going so fast when we are having such a great time.


I had the pleasure of being asked to play for U.D.O. a few years back when Fitty [Wienhold] left. I couldn’t do it at the time, but still the guys in the band became buddies and we have great talks every day. Not to forget that Udo is a legend and now with Peter Baltes in the band… man it is such a pleasure to get to know him and share a stage every day. Accept… such a legendary band. Ah the perks of being a touring musician are countless. Of course, there are negative sides to it as well. Being away from home where we have the usual stuff like normal people. People are sick or animals to take care off, bills, appointments and stuff. It is not always easy, but we manage this.


So, we had a great time before the show, and we translated that to the show. The audience was insane, and I saw a lot of Primal Fear shirts. Fun thing there were a lot of young kids, which means heavy metal is not lost. There are new generations coming up. We threw picks to them or had them delivered by our guitar tech Markus or Tour manager Mark. And again, in the blink of an eye the show was over. I drank a bit and then went to the bus. I watched some sports and went back to have a chat with the U.D.O. fellas. Around midnight it was bedtime. I woke up at 5 am and discovered that we were on the Autobahn literally 3 miles from my home…

Then the driver had to take a break and he drove to the next parking lot which is like 500 yards from my house. I wish I would have known that so I could drop some stuff at home. Around 8 this morning we crossed the border to Switzerland where we play the legendary Z7 in Pratteln. I just had a shower and now the waiting game begins. I will drive home after the show tonight. The rest will travel back to Stuttgart to bring back the gear. I am already suffering from tour blues. It is not that I don’t want to go home but the atmosphere is so great, and the shows are running so great that I could go on for a few weeks more. But enough complaining. Tonight, we deliver the metal commando to Switzerland.


We did the soundcheck like any other day. This time it was a bit different though as after the soundcheck we did the obvious photoshoot. Band and crew all together on stage. Always one of the marks that a production is almost over. After the soundcheck we had dinner, and I had some good talks with ‘Dee’ Dammers [guitarist] although I always say Fabian and Andrey [Smirnov, guitarist] of U.D.O. and Peter too. We had nice talks with them almost every day and as we have known each other’s for years it is not only about music. Fabian asked me if I was writing a tour diary again this time, well here is the proof.


The show was energetic and fast, it was hot and intense. The audience was again great, we love playing Z7. After the first two songs I spotted Schmier, an old friend and bass player of Destruction and fellow Dean artist. Unfortunately, I only got to bump his fist as I was doing a show. After the show I hung out a bit and then had to leave home. So did Aaron and the rest went with the tour bus. That makes an ending of 3 weeks of absolute joy and happiness. I write these lines at home and while suffering from the tour blues I am gearing up for the next tour coming up in a little more than 3 weeks. Rock Meets Classic.


Thanks to the crew and Primals for an absolute joyful tour (again) for tuned basses and fun every day. Thanks to U.D.O. and crew for three great weeks. Let’s do this again! Thank you to all the fans who joined us for 3 weeks of metal commando on the road.

I guess I will talk to you again next month when I write my diary about Rock Meets Classic.

All photos provided by Alex Jansen



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