As a metal journalist, it was always a goal of mine to go on tour with a band, to fully understand what life on the road was really like... to see if it was really as substandard as it is often made out to be, to see the crowd reactions in different parts of the country, and to learn all of the ins and outs involved.
As a devoted metal enthusiast, it was always a dream of mine to go on tour, to be able to hear the bands whose music has affected me most, playing live every day for the duration of the tour, and finding out what the musicians are really like, even at their worst.
But moreso than I wanted to witness it, I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to contribute to the efficiency of a tour, to know that what I did counted for something, and also to become part of that tightly knit family, that lived together and took care of each other.
Upon being given the opportunity to accomplish this goal I was so passionate about, by selling merchandise for the In Flames/Nevermore tour, I dropped EVERYTHING on a day's notice, abandoned my job, packed my bags, left my car at a shopping center, and climbed into the tour bus, that which would be my home for 3 1/2 weeks. I hadn't a regret or a care in the world. Had I not had boots on, I may have floated away.
I enjoyed this job. Sure, it had it's downfalls, like being the last to be done working and get on the bus, by which time everyone was already on their 5th shot of Jaeger, and I was still sober... However, I enjoyed scanning through the crowds and seeing everyone wearing those fresh new shirts I had just sold them, and I enjoyed knowing that the profit was going towards keeping this above-excellent tour out on the road.
Though it took me a few days to get comfortable around everyone and drop my intimidations, after a while I did start to feel like part of their family. It was like nothing I've ever experienced, I no longer cared if I was wearing the same thing two days in a row, or if I woke up and looked half dead, or if I said the wrong things. Chances are, they didn't look much better that morning...!
One of the things I looked most forward to every day of this tour, was getting to watch the performances. Months of continuous performing have done Shadows Fall well, as they seemed much more comfortable on stage, and the crowd connection was evident. No matter how small the stage, or whose back line they were using, they managed to sound powerful each night, and win over the crowds.
I didn't know that I liked Nevermore until they released Dead Heart... I had seen them on both their Dreaming Neon Black tour and their Politics tour, and wasn't quite as moved. After seeing them for the first time on this tour, I was mesmerized, and hypnotized... It carried so much more force and severity, while still controlling me to sing along as loud as possible until I felt my voice getting hoarse... and still not stopping! And the River Dragon solo... I never got tired of watching that being executed. As performers, they all had that charisma capable of melting you, and the music had the rhythms that kept you energized. Even having seen the same set list 22 times, I was no less entranced the last time, and even felt tears swell up many times during the show, knowing I'd have to wait months until the next time I'd be able to hear them again.
My count for In Flames shows is now 33, so I'd say I went into this one knowing what to expect. And again, you'd think that by now I'd have gotten bored of the show, but every night I'd be sure to have someone cover the merch booth so that I could partake in a few songs of the set. "Clad in Shadows" "Pinball Map" and "Colony" were my usual picks, and I'd go wild to them, each night! In Flames doesn't get dull, it's not possible. They are visually energetic and fun to watch, and the music is so intense and dynamic that it causes my blood to stir, and an invincibility to form in my mind, and all control is lost. The New York shows were insane, as I knew everyone else near that stage was at that same level as I.
Despite a few things being improperly organized, a few less-than-elegant clubs and situations, and a shortage of money for an abundance of expenses, everything managed to hold together, and all the shows were successfully pulled off, even in the most unlikely of times. It wasn't the nightmare we all claimed it to be, because we never allowed it to be. We always held together, stuck it out, and made the best of things.
My touring companions were all fucking killer, the shows were all heartfelt, and I got the chance to see most of the country, and learn everything I wanted to know about life on the road. It's hard to say goodbye to this experience, that has changed the way I look at everything and everyone, and has changed me. This is why I've put up this site, as a reminder to myself and everyone else on the tour, of everything we've been through, and to everyone else as a small peak into the world I briefly knew.
I can't even begin to explain this one.
Put a shirt on, hippy!
Brian, again, bearing some skin... The last day of the tour was man-skirt appreciation day, dedicated to Van.
I can see this as a billboard for Sprint PCS.
Van talking to Björn's girl...
OK, so I like taking pictures of people using my phone.....
I guess Jesper's camera shy?
Be evil, Loomis...
Looks so natural, I wonder if he was björn blind...
Shotgunning... in action
Isn't manlove so cute??!!
Anders would probably be smiling too, if not for the tinsel in his mouth
They weren't even posing for this one... they're always like that.
The bottom bunk was that which I called home for over 3 weeks... [sniff... sniff]
The stuff in the hallway, that had been lying there the whole time.
This letter (blurred purposely) was written and taped to the bus wall
by our wonderful bus driver whom we all love dearly.
One the second to last day of the tour, we noticed evil designs in the marble table on the bus...
if you look closely, you can see the eye, the tail, the wings... etc. Use your imagination.