Iced Earth's Freddie Vidales Issues Festival Recap
Band Photo: Iced Earth (?)
Iced Earth bassist Freddie Vidales has checked in with the following recap of the band's summer festival appearances:
"Hey all - I know it’s been over a month since our last show, but I’ve been quite busy and trying to find time to put this together. Here’s a summary of how I spent my summer with Iced Earth. As best as I can remember that is. I’ll be posting some pictures on Facebook soon that go along with these accounts.
"Sweden Rock: I arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark the day before our show. Usually when we get to Europe, we all arrive at different times of the day and in various states of tiredness from the travel. It’s not uncommon to not see one another the entire first day of our trip. I did meet up with Matt that night down in the lobby and we had something to eat and a beer before heading back up to our rooms. On the day of the show we met down in the lobby for our two-hour ride to the festival. We arrived around noon and headed to our dressing room/modular steel container to drop off our stuff. I roamed around some and got to watch a little bit of Agent Steel and Mr. Big before it was soon time for us to go on.
"We blazed through the set, then hung around for a couple more hours running into friends from other bands that we always see doing the festival circuit. I watched Down, some of Rob Zombie and Helloween before it was time to head back. I did notice that the sun didn’t feel like going down without a fight being that we were pretty far north on the globe. We got back to the hotel and were on a flight the next morning for Germany.
"Rock Hard: After checking in to the hotel me, Matt and our sound guy wandered around town to get some food. We had a hell of a time trying to find an ATM. We did manage to find two in a row that were out of order though. After using my last bit of Euro cash to buy us some kebabs, we did find a working ATM. We headed back to the hotel to get ready to leave for the venue. Having played this festival three years prior (my first ever trip to Europe) we knew the layout and the people running it. It had been raining on and off that day, and unfortunately it did rain a bit during our set. The crowd toughed it out though and we had yet another great time at Rock Hard. After the show we went back to the hotel bar where most every band was there partying. It was quite a late night. Matt left in the wee hours of the morning to go home for two weeks while the rest of us left in the morning for a town nearby where we would spend the next two weeks working on the new album. Shortly after arriving at our hotel in the next town, we got a ride back to Rock Hard to hang out and watch some of the bands. I watched most of Overkill’s set, then Brent and I headed down to the front of the stage where the security guards stay to watch Down. Two days prior at Sweden Rock, Brent and I met the guys in Down and had a beer or two. They were all really nice. While Phil was announcing the last song at Rock Hard I heard him ask me if I was going to go up on stage and jam. That was completely unexpected, but hell yes. About halfway through the song the stage was filled with smoke from the fog machine, I got up and Pat handed me his bass and pointed out which notes to play. I know I failed miserably, but it was such a blast. I made it towards the middle of the stage and suddenly saw our manager playing guitar. This was a very fun experience that I’ll never forget. I got off stage, we hung around for an hour or so more, headed back to the hotel with no further incidents and were ready the next morning to get to work.
"Rehearsals for Dystopia: For the next ten days or so, me, Troy, Brent and Jon settled into a rehearsal room somewhere near Dusseldorf, Germany and worked on the songs for the next album. I won’t get into too much detail about the songs or the rehearsals because you’ll be hearing the results soon enough. So our schedule for the rehearsal was we’d leave the hotel around 11am and for the next 8 hours or so play the new material over and over and over again until it just flowed out of us without having to think about it. It was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. There wasn’t much to do at the hotel afterwards since it was in the middle of nowhere, but we managed to have our moments. Me, Troy and Jon played a little basketball. Jon’s actually pretty good. I got pissed off at one point and kicked the ball over the fence, unfortunately it was into the middle of a thicket of thorny bushes. A half-hour later I emerged with the ball from the brush looking like I tried to give a jaguar a bath. After days and days of practicing, we were feeling great about the new stuff, and it was time to head to another festival.
"Graspop: We arrived in Belgium to once again play the Graspop festival. This is a huge event with tons of bands. As soon as I got off the bus, I headed straight to the crowd to catch the Dio Disciples, Journey, Foreigner, Sepultura, Corrosion of Conformity and Volbeat before it was time for us to go on. After another successful Graspop performance we hung around talking to familiar faces and listening to more bands. The Scorpions closed the night. We chatted a bit with our friends in Volbeat before hitting the road back to Germany for the next fest.
"Rock am Hartsfeldsee: This festival was held next to a small lake in the rolling green hills. We walked around the grounds for a while and ran into a fan who traveled all the way from South America just to see us. Wow – 6,000 miles, now that’s what it’s all about folks. We played to a great and energetic crowd. After us was the mighty Kreator. This was the first time I’d ever seen them live after being a fan for so many years - f’ing amazing! Sabaton closed out the night and put on a great show as well. After the usual hanging about throwing back a beer or two, we boarded the bus for the ride to the airport the next morning. It was time to go home for a while after more than two weeks away.
"It was nice be home again so I could enjoy the New England summer. A few days after returning, I bought my first surfboard. It’s funny to think that I grew up in Hawaii but never tried surfing until moving to New Hampshire. After splashing around like an idiot for two weeks, it was nearing time to head back to Europe for more shows, but not without seeing Kiss the night before I was to leave. It was the perfect night before a long flight. So back I went, headed for Germany."
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