8/14 - Berlin
I didn't write anything on the actual trip out due to circumstances; jetzt, Nachfassung.
Around 7:45, Mitzi came by to pick up the Gwynbleidd shirt I'd been holding for her since Thursday. With this, it was all up; down to 5 Rampant Decay buttons out of about 35 buttons, 2 shirts, 90 CDs, and 150 or so stickers imported. I didn't think it'd all go, but it went; a light pack makes a light soul.
It's a bit disappointing to have only seen so few bands -- like 20 at Wacken, and about 10 here -- but I missed those bands having more fun, not sitting in a tent being miserable. In addition to keeping up with the two crews from last year, I hung out with a new huge bunch, and met or brought into the orbits of the above a bunch of other more tenuously-connected people, singletons like myself, going alone for that reason, to meet new folks, swap stories, and go halves on crates of 29. I've seen a lot of great music at festivals, but little that will be a stronger memory than Dennis literally falling over himself laughing as Müller attempts to push an unconscious Knut back into his tent by shoving him in the butt. Fucking balls-off hilarious.
All good things must end, though, and I had to drop my trash, hike to the bus, and then spend the better part of five hours getting back to Berlin. Decompression's hard when the train's overflowing and you're standing in the hall the whole way. Despite the Invalidenstrasse being completely dug up, the hotel was a little better in this regard: shower, shave, real Turkish food, a 6-pack, and Real v. Barca, and I'm almost acclimated to civilization.
8/15 - Berlin
All caught up; now I just need to catch a plane, and hope my pack makes it back ok.
445. Good news on the plane to Dublin. Aer Lingus is really good with legroom, but more is always better.
In Dublin I dropped exactly 10 euro on lunch (water, ploughman's, cookie, so not exactly 100% worth it but airport prices), cleared US customs, and got on the plane, all told, with a couple minutes ot spare despite like 3 security checks. The flight across the Atlantic was long enough to listen through the new Motörhead and Social Distortion records a couple times, write up some interview questions based on the experiences of the trip (there's that old-and-getting-consumed-by-work thing again from the first post), watch Jeremy Clarkson call God a loser (a redeeming feature at last, but he obviously isn't a Lordi fan), put together the thankslist before I forgot people, and observe, via the cute education-policy funcionary seated next to me, that it's not uncivilized, among Irish people, to put jam on butter on a scone. I was going to do it anyway, because you eat the calories the airline gives you for free, always, but you never know how embarrassed you're supposed to be. Land in Boston, strap up, negotiate the T, short hike through the rain, pick up the car, and somehow, home again.
Years have passed, closer to the grave; this may be the last such expedition, but this was a good one, and you never go out on a high, because you think "yes, I can do it again" straight on until the point where you fail, and can't. I will continue to go out and do adventurous things until my body breaks down, and Party.San was so good, in environment and music, that I still want to go back, likely pairing it with Summer Breeze rather than Wacken, but Amon Amarth and Forbidden and Scorpions and Henry Rollins have already announced for next year. We'll see how this shakes out: the struggle between Kommerz and DIY is an eternal, and perhaps, a political struggle, but hopefully one that the rebels will win. In the meantime, there's Party.San, our own fortress island hidden in the Thuringian heartland, where only "heavy metal is the law", and if you've got at least one in the set [beer,booze,bratwurst,craic], you'll get hooked up with the rest, from some of the coolest metalheads on the planet, in practically no time at all.
Final stats and points:
Wacken day 1: 5 bands, average 5.6/7
Wacken day 2: 8 bands, average 5.69/7
Wacken day 3: 8 bands, average 5.56/7
Wacken total: 21 bands, 118 points, average 5.62/7
Party.San day 2: 5 bands, average 6.1/7
Party.San day 3: 3 bands, average 5.83/7
Party.San total: 8 bands, 48 points, average 6/7
trip total: 29 bands, 166 points, average 5.72/7
Yes, Party.San was that good, and yes, Wacken was that good, even with the mainstream stuff playing boat anchor. That's an improvement of nearly 0.3 from last year, and even Party.San is up trivially over last year's wicked good results. Even if you're going for the first time, fucking go: the ancillary stuff only gets tiresome enough to weigh down the fucking awesome music when you've been a few times, and are in that demographic that will end up scoring free bratwurst and playing Dosenfußball while cranking Scaphism and Exhumed, which just makes the awesome experience more awesome.