It was all planned for in the winter and spring time of 1995. According to the first tour lists, the Stones would finish the tour in Hockenheim, Germany. How could I get to as many concerts as possible, with a minimum of money? The European map was studied in great detail. It looked hopeless. This time the Stones played lots of Tuesdays, then only one concert on each site, meaning lots of expensive travel, and having to be away from work...
Then I noticed Basel had two concerts, and the week after another 3 concerts in Austria, Germany and Czech. Rep. It looked like 5 concerts in 8 days. Very efficient, except for travelling... Then, by twisting the map over and over, it comes clear to me, I can't leave out Montpellier, even if it is as far away as anywhere else in Europe... 6 concerts in a row...
Flying in to all these places would cost a fortune, but the train is surely a cheap option, as interrail tickets are available to anyone these days, even oldies! For a cost of almost nothing (less than one flight), I have my ticket for all these 5 great cities and 6 concerts.
Being a Stones fan since 1971, there is one thing I never regret; that's whenever I decide to travel to a concert. On the other hand, if I ever think of going, but don't go anyway, the "lost" concert is bugging me for as long as I can remember, i.e. always. That's why I never gave Portugal and Spain a thought. If I ever thought about these places, I would be lost.
But Montpellier, even how far away it seemed, was waiting. Just coming back from some fantastic days in England that finished with the Brixton club gig on July 19, I was on top of the world. Luckily summer time is hot hot hot and no business back home, so it took few days to clean the desk.
It's Tuesday evening, July 25. The time is 22:47, and the night train leaves Oslo for Copenhagen. I'm on my own, as normally I travel with friends to most concerts, but Montpellier seemed so far away for everyone. Still, plans are to meet friends from Finland and France once coming down there. But that will be two days away... Next morning, Copenhagen, changing train, then next stop Hamburg, in the afternoon. It's boiling hot, and I have to beat some hours before taking another train, without wasting money...
German beer and hot dogs are great, and soon I'm on my way to Paris, 3rd train so far. Thursday morning we arrive Paris. The weather is ok, not too hot. I'm heading for my last train so far, the fast train to Montpellier. It's air conditioned, very fast, and within some hours, we get all the way to the south of France.
Train stops, doors open, and a terrible heat knocks me down. It seems like 32 degrees, which is a lot. I'm carrying a big bag with all my belongings for two weeks, and have to store it away at the station.
It's so hot, I have to plan carefully how to avoid dehydration. The MacDonalds restaurant by the railway station is the ideal place for cold, cheap and reliable food in this heat. Two days and nights of travel, but the MacDonalds and my expectations is bringing back lots and lots of energy.
The shuttle buses is running every minute or so from the station to the Grammont place, which seems somewhere outside nowhere. 15 minutes later I'm on site. Once inside, I notice there are Bob Dylan merchandise for sale. Well, so it's true, we will get a bonus this time!
Well, all the travel was worth it, and in IORR 26, if you care, I'll tell you why...PS. Pt. 2 did not make it for IORR 26, but will be there in IORR 27, for sure!
It's Only Rock'n Roll no. 25 Feb. 1996 - © The Rolling Stones Fan Club Of Europe