Kiev, Ukraine

It is not too often i am flying out to a PAIN show completely alone, without any of the other maniacs. First time i did this was at Metaltown in Gothenburg last year, second time was this weekend. Honestly i must say it's pretty nice :-)
But at Arlanda Airport i found some of the guys from TIAMAT who were also going to the same festival, so i was not entirely alone but had good travel companions. All other maniacs were flying in from other places for various reasons (like Sweden Rock Festival). After a short flight to Tallinn, we were heading for the connecting flight to Kiev. We had time for a few beers while we were waiting in Tallinn, and this is also were we should meet the rest of the gang, but no. Not until we sat in the plane in Tallinn and were about to close the doors, they all stepped in one by one in a line of guily late passengers. Now it felt like normal PAIN trip again...
We arrived in Kiev and went straight to our hotel, which was a floating boat-kinda thingy tied to the shore of one of the islands in Kiev. Cool place and a very nice atmosphere. As soon as i had left my bag in the room i went to the restaurant to get something to eat, and found our friends from Tiamat and Clawfinger there as well. After the dinner we (PAIN) were all picked up by a van and were supposed to go to the festival area. Well, supposed to. When we came to the other island where the festival was located, we were not allowed to pass throug hthe gates that were close to the stage... The strict guards didn't care at all that we were the band who were headlining the festival and just said to our driver that we have to take the same entrance as anyone else. Hehe, i thought this was really cool and we had to drive around the island through the deep forest until we finally hit the festival area. Of course it was impossible to drive through all people everywhere so our driver just opened the door and let us out. Surrounded by guards we had to squeeze ourselves through the crowd in the sand and finally arrived at the stage. Now, this was another really cool and unexpected sight, the stage was also (just as our hotel) a boat, tied to the beach with all 15.000 people standing by the beach with a few metres of water between them and the stage. I have never seen anything like it.
We were in Ukraine first time in May 2007 when we did a show in Kiev at CKM NAU. I think we have been there two more times so this must be the fourth time. You think you know what to expect in cases like this, but you don't. Really, and i mean that in a good way. Expect the unexpected, and i always do. The show was fantastic, one of our very best i must say. We had shitloads of fun on stage and i think we did a very good show, even though we hadn't played together for a few months now. The audience was totally crazy and probably one of the loudest ever in PAIN world. You never expect a living fish to come flying up on stage, and we had never expected that, but that also happened. Expect the unexpected. It is really priceless to be standing there in front of 15.000 screaming people on a beach, on a huge boat-stage, with the view of almost entire Kiev in the background and only a few metres of water between us and the audience in a nice evening in June. Okay, the sound on stage sucked bigtime as they didn't have any monitor console and we had some other minor issues, but that didn't matter at all when you are in a situation like that. If it sounded good out there in the audience, we are happy anyway.
After the show we were heading off to a signing session, again with about 10 bodyguards in a circle around us. It took almost 1,5 hours until every fan had got their autograph and we could jump into the van and go back to the hotel again. Me and Johan sat in the lobby bar with a few drinks and discussed music and then went to bed. I had a smile on my face when i fell asleep, as i had once again got myself a crazy experience. Expect the unexpected.
The next day i woke up by a sound like the whole hotel was falling apart. After a few minutes when i became a bit more clear the sound came again and i realised it was the flush from the toilets on the floors above me. We had our rooms on the bottom floor and i guess all pipes passed my room hence the noise. But it was fine, as i had slept for 7 hours which is luxury anyway. I had breakfast in the restaurant with Hede and the Clawfinger guys (Breakfastpoints: 5) and then got myself ready for the day. As our flight out of Ukraine was not until 8:20pm we had a full day to kill. We asked our promotor if we could go to Tjernobyl but were told it was too far and also not that easy to get in there with such short notice. Okay, so we asked if we could get a Kiev sightseeing and that was arranged for us with no hassle at all.
We got a van and a guide and we drove up the hills of Pechersk by the Dnieper river in Kiev. Here we spent many hours watching the wonderful view of the city of Kiev but also visiting the "Museum of the great patriotic war" that includes the amazing "Motherland monument" and the "Military Museum". The Motherland Sculpture monument is a 62m tall stainless steel statue (102m including the building it was built on) and is in fact the tallest in the world. The Military Museum is a memorial complex commemorating the German-Soviet war and was originally opened by Leonid Brezhnev on the "victory day" May 9th 1981. It was a fantastic experience (see the pictures) and a great day in 38 degrees as Kiev showed us its very best side of things. Unfortunately we almost got arrested when we had a cold beer in the sun which apparently was strictly forbidden... After our guide had been in a discussion with the law enforcement for a long time it was suggested that we had to go to the police station. But the guard suddenly got distracted and forgot about us when he saw someone who lighted up a cigarrette - that was also forbidden :-)
It all went fine in the end and after the experience on the hill we went downtown to have some local lunch from Ukraine, which was also very interesting. I cannot remember what it was called so i leave that part out, but we had a mixtire of soups (both warm and cold), bread and mixed dishes. We really got our share of Kiev and the Ukraine culture this day! This is a very cool city and by doing this sightseeing i know so much more about Ukraine and the history it holds. I like the fact that it resides a proud feeling amongst the citizens of Ukraine, and i believe they are happy people.
Thank you Kiev and Ukraine for having us as your guests once again, it was a pleasure as always. You always show us your very best side and we are treated better than we deserve. Looking forward to our next visit.
Packing my stuff the day before i went to Ukraine - took two RRX on this trip
With Lars from TIAMAT at the airport having a beer-break
Just arrived in Kiev Boryspil airport
The hotel where we stayed in Kiev - Bakkara Accord
Dinner before the show, with PAIN, TIAMAT & CLAWFINGER
The way to the festival area...
Very cool and different festival environment: boat-stage with audience on the beach
Priceless view from the backside of our stage: Kiev
Happy after a 1,5 hour signing session
Saying goodbye to TIAMAT when we went back home again
Another view of our hotel, from the bridge to the island
Me, David, Hede, Dennis & Emanuel in front of "Motherland Monument"
Watching the monuments of the great wars, huge and impressive statues
On the hill with the view of entire Kiev in the background
This was so cool - to sit in a MIG plane...
...and the view inside! :-)
In front of one of the tanks (it was military green on the other side)
Lunch in downtown Kiev
David was really tired on our way back home again and fell asleep sitting down...
My summary of the trip: "Basilur Cream Fantasy" sounds a bit odd...


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