I feel a bit strange writing a review about an event I created and hosted, but at the same time I want to remember and think about all the things that went into creating this event. I also want to share this with all of you.
I won't lie - this meeting took A LOT of work, time and energy. It is all I could think of for the last couple of months. I wanted to make sure that if fans wanted to buy a gift bag, that they would walk away satisfied with it. I didn't want people to complain that it wasn't worth the trouble. I also never made any promises that any band members might show up - just in case. Of course, I had some different confirmations - but they are rock stars, I don't believe them until they make an appearance.
This was for fans by the the fans, the band showing up would of been icing on the cake - very delicious icing of course but the cake is still good without icing right?
Bringing all this stuff from Canada/USA as well as France proved to be the biggest challenge. I know my 2 bags I checked in weighed a crazy 28 kilos and 25 kilos, plus an extra luggage that seemed very heavy too. Plus Susan from the USA also loaded up with her 25+ Kilo bags, filled with posters and ducks and lanyards as well. Delphine also brought a fair share of things - posters, badges, lanyards and flyers too. Nadia also brought the whistling birdies all the way from Russia - they might seem light but put 100 together and suddenly it gets heavy (lucky her husband is strong!). Just remember - that everything had 100 or more in quantity and that adds up fast - even the balloons were 500 strong!
I know I already made a thank you post, but again thank you to everyone - Delphine, Susan, Beth, Nadia, Enya, Cristy, Paula, Mark Reiser, Curry, the Hard Rock Cafe as well as to ALL THE FANS who came to the event and enjoyed the energy of that magical night. A huge thanks to everyone, I had the idea, but it would of never worked without everyone's help!The Actual Review
So Susan, Beth and I arrived fashionably late at the Hard Rock Cafe at around 16:00 - we should of been there earlier but as always things just took longer than expected. For those of you who have seen the photos - we had a special guest around that time - Herman Rarebell came in to talk with us and we did some video taping of him too. For the record - he wanted to stay for the party and originally intended to, but other plans came up and he wasn't able to hang out for very long. As always Herman is a class act. I wish I had more time to talk to him and his lovely wife Claudia but I had a party to prepare for and some early birds were showing up already.
While everyone was talking with Herman, I was talking with the HRC managers trying to arrange things. This is where things went a bit wrong. The first Manager (Heidi) was my contact point and she knew exactly what we expected and needed, but she was about to finish her shift, so she introduced me to the next Manager (Nice fella - Irish I thought?) and he seemed completely in the know about our event and I got to talk to him about things we might need - but his shift was ending just as the party was going to start - and that's where Manager #3 comes into the picture. Nice enough guy, but I don't think he quite understood our event or maybe he just wasn't used to events like these. Things got a bit messy - but I can't necessarily blame him - but I'm not sure how many times I asked to speak to the Manager about a problem and didn't get his attention. It was frustrating to say the least and when I tried to explain about the seating - well maybe I didn't explain myself good enough but lets just say there were some misunderstandings which I think couldn't of been resolved easily. But in the end it all worked out and the HRC did let our rowdy bunch hang out there and tried to accommodate us the best they could until we had to be kicked out.
After Herman left, then it was time for the elves to swing into action. It was very similar to an assembly line, everyone putting something in those bags. Just when I thought everything was in them, there was always something else! Too many workers to thank here, but just know that to put all the stuff in the bags it took a lot of time and energy. Of course then we had people finishing the elf hats too. So how the elf hats came out was - I had wanted to get some kind of hats for everyone and after failing miserably because of price or time, I came across a website with instructions on how to make those elf hats. Now I'm all for making things, but sewing is not my idea of fun, but when I mentioned it to Beth and Susan that's when Beth immediately said "Oh I can do that!" Little did she know waiting until the last minute meant working on those hats everyone - in the queue in Oberhausen, on the trains, at the HRC - oh and she even managed to lose a hat on the train tracks somewhere too! But I'm glad we had them, they seemed to liven things up and make things a bit more like a holiday event.
There were also other things - like blowing up balloons and those air guitars - I had no idea those would be such a hit! But when some fans came up to me and asked if they could bring one home with them - I knew that was a good choice I made.
Then arranging "The Chapel" room we had too - moving this and that, setting up the tables, etc. Delphine rocked with her lotto ideas - we had expected more gifts but in the end that didn't end up happening. Fun fact - you know those little eggs that Delphine put your names into? Well they were Kinder eggs. My friends - that's a lot of Kinder!
Somewhere in the middle of all of that Susan told me "EAT" and we shared some appetizer and some drinks. We originally planned on going to the Hofbrauhaus for a break but we were already running late. ...And the doors opened...
I honestly couldn't tell you what was going on outside our HRC room. I just knew that 20:00 was getting closer and closer and WHAMMO there was a queue forming up. This was a mix up, I'm not sure what happened but we were trying to avoid a queue and the HRC was supposed to try to keep people coming to us in small groups. But in their defense they were pretty busy there that night, so I think it was just part of the magic. I think we gave our first Gift Bag out at around 20:15 and then the chaos began.
Fans from all around the world, some who I recognized and some who I didn't very patiently waited in line to get their bags and a photo taken. There was some confusion as to where to go after they got their bags - the room we had was too small and filled up very quickly. So Beth ushered people (or tried to) out to tables. But then the tables filled up quickly too. I found it strange that during this time the Manager never came to check in on us or anything, but maybe that's just me. Eventually things settled down, I would say it took about 90 minutes or so before Delphine and I got a chance to catch our breaths. Again, so many people were helping all around, you know who you are and it made a world of difference!
In the back of my mind I kept on thinking "I need to do a Livestream, I need to do a Livestream." But I had no way of leaving my station. But eventually I snuck away for 10 minutes with my iPad and walked around to show everyone what was going on. Looking back I would of done that a bit differently but I was glad I got something on Livestream.The Gift Bags
I intentionally kept the items in the gift bag a surprise - oh sure I shared some things, but many of the things were a surprise. I haven't heard any complaints (yet) so I'm hoping people are satisfied with them!
Included in the gift bags were:
With Logos - Drawstring black bag, Nylon frisbee, Keychain with scorpion charm, notebook, 3 balloons and pens
M&M's - Specially designed Scorpions M&Ms with a scorpion on some of them, Rock & Roll forever, Scorpions and Rock Your Life on some of them too. (I never knew how heavy M&Ms were until I had to lug these around Europe!)
Scorpions patch, Mark Reiser Poster, 2 postcards, Russian bird whistle, lanyards, duckies and more.
Trust me, there was absolutely no profit made from these gift bags and the M&Ms were my gift to everyone. The Gathering
All in all I think the party was fairly successful. It was a rocky start and none of the band members showed up (even though I had been told there was a strong possibility of it). There was a time when a few people were upset that everyone wasn't sitting together and that no one was mixing it up, but that got resolved as time went on and more drinks were drunk. For me I think the best time was during the lottery drawings and afterwards, the singing, laughing and just playing around. If we had a bigger room, I don't think we would of had that problem, but it's hard to fit 80-90 people in a 30 person room!
There was smiles everywhere and the group photo was great to see and I almost missed it hah.
My heart soared when I got a chance to breathe again, to see how people didn't want to leave. How everyone was just so happy to be there and enjoy these moments with friends and strangers alike. We had people from so many countries - even Brazil made an appearance. At one point I even managed to find 2 random guys from Canada to speak French with and they had no idea about the party, they were just in town for the show. Well when I say French I mean Quebec French. Seriously, by the time midnight appeared, I wasn't quite sure what language I was speaking in, let alone thinking in.
I think I was in denial for most of the evening, but in the back of my mind I kept on thinking "We did it!" Everyone was so sincere and I only wish I had more time to sit and chat with everyone. I was also thinking how I couldn't of done this without Delphine - she remembered some details that I didn't and those little personal touches really make the difference.
The singing at the end was so much fun, I think that the guys in the band would of been proud of their fans.
Putting this thing together was one of the hardest things to coordinate, but the memories that remain are simply priceless and worth every minute I worried about everything!
Now...I hope that some of you who were there will give a review too. Who knows maybe we can try to get another meeting in 2013 or even a couple of them and it would be great to see your impressions. You can always tell me directly too. Even if you hated it!
There was so much energy there that night, I've heard some people say it was magical. I think it is true.
So my friends, did you enjoy the gathering of Scorpions fans at the Hard Rock Cafe as well as the gift bags? I hope so!