We just came back from the 70000 Tons of Metal cruise and all I can say about it is that it has been the best festival I have ever been to! When we got the offer to headline this cruise it sounded very special of course, never before a metal festival took place on a cruiseship, going through the Caribbean, but I also had some doubts. I have never been to a cruise before, I had no idea if I would not be seasick all day long, I was wondering if there would be some peace for us in our cabins or if we would be hearing all the bands playing on the various stages 24/7. I was also not sure if the whole trip would turn into a 5 days autograph session with some die hard fans stalking all their fave bands all the time, or if the pool would be used to keep the cans of beer cold, but well, all of those worries were wiped away immediately. The festival reminded me a lot of the Dynamo Open Air back in 1987, when it was still for free and taking place on Eindhovens market square, the whole cruiseship was just filled with metalheads that wanted to have a good time, everybody was in a good mood and we all enjoyed some of the best shows that I have seen in years together, there was no real difference between musicians and fans, everybody was just hanging out together, enjoying something very special. We met a lot of old friends there, the guys from Iced Earth, Saxon, Nevermore, Sodom, Gamma Ray... we met a lot of new friends and I can't remember watching so many gigs in such a short time ever before. Some of the gigs were so incredibly good, it was awesome to see Sanctuary perform again after all those years, Forbidden, Dark Tranquility and Nevermore were awesome, Testament rocked big time, the same goes for most of the other bands that I watched, but my personal highlight was the Death Angel set at the poolstage. The last time I saw them was when they toured for Act III, and since then I didn't really have them on my map anymore, but they blew away everything, what a killer show!!! It was great to be part of something so special and I would definitely do another round on that ship whenever we get the chance to play there again.
But not only the cruise, also our North American tour has been a blast, special thanks to our friends Seven Kingdoms and Holy Grail for being great guys to tour with. From all the shows we did the ones in Toronto and Los Angeles were my faves (and I am not saying the other ones didn't rock ;-) ), on both days I had the chance to be a tourist again and spent hours walking around, taking pics and enjoying my time. Next time we should try to come to North America in summer though, specially the day in Toronto was so fucking freezing... I had the great idea to walk to the local Hard Rock Cafe and I guess I only survived because I stopped at EVERY Starbucks on the way to get another hot coffee... it was still fun though ;-)
Next on our schedule is a break for 10 weeks which will be very nice too, sleeping in your own bed can be somehing very precious when you didn't see home for months.