We had a really amazing time discovering Brazil and Argentina for the first time and playing there. Here is our tour report written bij Koen Romeijn:
In the early evening Rowan, Joost, Kevin and myself (Koen) got dropped off at Schiphol Airport. The usual shitload of guitars, racks, bags and cases were loaded out of the van and stacked high on baggage carts. As is tradition. Jacco and Lars were already there, waiting for us. The past year and a half, ever since I joined Heidevolk, it’s become a familiar sight. Flying across the world to do shows. Always special, but part of the routine. It makes sense. As with everything you do: the more you do it, the more you get used to it. Doesn’t make it less interesting, it just makes it easier. However, this time was different. We were about to travel towards new grounds. Expand our territory. This time our destination was going to be South America. A continent where no Heidevolk show had taken place before. A continent where most members have never even set foot on in their lives, but where people have been asking for Heidevolk for many years. It was about time we went there.
We landed in Madrid, and took the transferring flight to Sao Paulo. The flight took over 10 hours, and covered most of the night. As the morning sun welcomed us in the distance, we descended into Brazilian airspace. The massiveness of the city of Sao Paulo came into view. Overwhelming, to say the least. As a band we’ve been to many places, seen many countries and many cities, but realizing we were now visiting a metropolitan area with more people than the entire population of our own country, was quite shocking to us.
By the time the plane touched ground it was already Thursday morning. We had been travelling over 17 hours straight, and exhaustion got the better of us. Another part of the tradition I spoke of earlier. Luckily, nothing a couple of drinks usually couldn’t fix. There wasn’t a show scheduled this first day, only some interviews and a dinner with fans. Time to relax and do some sightseeing, and claim those well deserved drinks.
After we grabbed our gear from the luggage belt we were welcomed by Leandro and Rodriquez, the local promoters, who would accompany us the following days. Great guys! We checked into our hotel and walked the streets of Sao Paulo for the first time. A couple blocks down the road we entered a nice restaurant to have lunch. About two hours later, we had devoured more meat than we usually eat in a week. Wow! A very nice introduction to the Brazilian cuisine, and a great way to get this tour started.
We returned to the hotel to relax a little before heading out to another part of town. Here we visited a shopping center (or simply a ‘shopping’, as they call it) where several levels consisted of metal stores and tattoo shops. A real nice surprise! As we walked around, more and more fans showed up and took the opportunity to meet us and take some pictures. By now, we slowly started to get an idea how well-known Heidevolk exactly is in Brasil, but we had no clue how crazy it would get in the days to come.
Later that evening, after enjoying a few drinks on a very nice outside terrace with the promoters and some fans, we were escorted to yet another part of Sao Paulo, where our arranged dinner with fans was set to take place. The restaurant, Taberna Medieval, was nothing short of awesome, and our viking-ship table even more so! The perfect location for a great evening with fans. In true Heidevolk fashion, the beer flowed from traditional beer mugs, while food was served on stone plates. To show our gratitude, we sang ‘Hulde aan de Kastelein’, and ‘Het Bier zal weer vloeien’, accompanied by our fists and mugs slamming onto the table. (My sincere apologies to the owner, I broke mine in the process) All in all, a great night with great people.
We returned to the hotel to get a miserable 3 hours of sleep, before heading out to the airport again early Friday morning. Rock and roll. After all, we had shows to do, and Curitiba was first on the list. To say we were excited at this point is quite an understatement.
After a smooth flight we dropped off our luggage at the hotel, and headed out to the Jokers Club to prepare for soundcheck. Initially, we encountered some problems with the power supply/conversion of our European gear, but eventually we figured it out and managed to get a pretty decent sound out of the PA system. By that time, the first groups of fans were already outside the venue waiting for the show to start. From what we’d heard, the show was sold out, which meant about 500 people were about to be packed into this (not so big) place, a venue with a capacity that would normally be limited to around 2/3 of that amount in our country. Promising indeed!
We expected things to get a bit crazy, and crazy it was! We had to walk through the crowd to reach the stage from the backstage area, and that set the tone immediately. The intro started, and when we stormed the stage with ‘Winterwoede’ (from our last album Velua) the place basically exploded. We had a long and diverse set prepared, just for this tour. 1 hour and 40 minutes, consisting of songs from every single album. A really nice collection of classics and newer material. It all went by in a flash. The energy and enthusiasm of the crowd was nothing less than amazing, from start to finish. A great show, and an absolutely overwhelming experience for us. Why again didn’t we tour here before? 😉
We closed the set with ‘Nehallenia’, ‘Beest bij Nacht’ en finished with ‘Vulgaris Magistralis’, which left the crowd completely ecstatic. There was no way we could simply walk to our backstage area and relax for a moment, since people were not going to let us pass that easily. And honestly, we didn’t mind. We enjoyed every second of it. A couple hours later, we were still walking in and outside the venue taking pictures with fans, signing stuff for them, or having a chat. Simply put, it was tremendous.
Back at the hotel, a couple hours later as planned, we realized we had a maximum of 4 hours of sleep ahead of us before going to the airport again to fly back to Sao Paulo for the 2nd show. But who needs sleep anyway, right?
Back in Sao Paulo, exhausted but still pumped with adrenalin form the previous night, the van dropped us straight at the venue to soundcheck. No time to rest! The Odin Krieger Fest was about to take place in this big venue, named Tropical Butanta. Outside, already a couple hundred people were patiently waiting in line. Joost and I decided to take a quick look, and immediately people were asking us for pictures and autographs. We still had a soundcheck to finish, so after a while we actually had to promise people we would be back after the show. Crazy, but there was no other way.
The lunch we had around the corner of the venue was no different. Fans followed us and joined us in the restaurant, but were very patient until we finished our meal. For us, it was a strange but very humble experience. We heard good stories from friends in other bands, who had toured here before, but never did we expect to find these kind of circumstances in South America for ourselves. It was only our third day here, but thanks to the enthusiasm and kindness of the fans it almost felt like coming home.
And then we still had to do the show. What can I say about it, other than that it was one of the most awesome shows we’ve ever done. I can’t honestly tell you if we were any good, since we were all hallucinating by the sheer awesomeness of the crowd. 1600 people, and boy they were loud! We played the same set as the day before in Curitiba, but since this stage was a lot bigger, we were able to move around a lot more and give the crowd an even more energetic show. Again, the almost 2-hour timespan on stage went by as if it were minutes.
Afterwards, we had a similar situation as the night before. Many fans were awaiting us outside, and we took our time to meet up with them. A great night, and a wonderful atmosphere on this Saturday night in Sao Paulo.
The night was still young, but at a certain point we had to leave to the hotel. Joost checked his watch and realized we had 7 hours left before doing soundcheck in Buenos Aires. That’s Buenos Aires, Argentina, and we were still in Brasil. Right. We basically slept for 2 or 3 hours at the hotel, before taking our flight to Argentina.
Our first time in Buenos Aires left a great impression. The city looked great, the people really nice, as was the weather. Almost 30 degrees Celsius. (Boiling hot, compared to the -5 degrees below Celsius that awaited us home the next day)
Downtown, we enjoyed the afternoon on an outside terrace. Eating burgers, drinking beer, with live music on the background, and a soothing Argentine sun above us. Life could be worse!
The show in the Uniclub was going to be the last show of this tour. Already. The days went by in a flash, but we were going to enjoy our stay until the very last minute.
The venue was small, as was the stage, but it was big enough to hold a couple hundred people. Right before showtime, the place was already nicely packed and the crowd welcomed us when we walked on stage. No room for running this time, but it was of no importance. These people came to see Heidevolk, and were ready to enjoy the show no matter what. What a great crowd! We had an amazing show, and an wonderful night once again. People were signing along, headbanging, moshing, just having a good time. An amazing sight from where we stood on stage.
Afterwards we finally had a good night’s rest at the hotel, before starting our journey homeward again.
Brasil, Argentina, you were absolutely wonderful! We thank you from the bottom of our humble Dutch hearts for your kindness, your spirit, your passion and energy. We had a great time. Rest assure, Heidevolk will return to South America as soon as the opportunity presents itself, and when we do it will definitely be for more than just 3 shows in 2 countries. And that’s a promise. Until next time!
Heidevolk – Rowan, Joost, Lars, Jacco, Kevin and Koen.