Excuse me, yeah, hi, I’m with the band

So I have been slacking and haven’t been updating the world of my travels like I should… but there is good reason — Tallinn’s nightlife.

Truth is, it makes Vegas look like a fucking bike ride. I have never seen more people in a little town party harder, longer and stronger than anywhere else. Until I came to Tallinn.

Bars close “early” at 2 am — then you go to another bar that closes at 4 am then another one that closes at 6 am. It’s like a treasure hunt of liver poisoning.

Regardless, I’ll tell you all about the Tallinn nightlife in a separate posting… because, well, it deserves it.

This post, however, will be about my Almost Famous moment.

So there I was, minding my own business at the Riga Airport waiting for my Air Baltic flight to Tallinn. I had already paid my 21 Euro to have my bag checked (you tricky little motherfuckers — giving these great flying rates and burying the fact that you don’t allow free baggage unless you have a business ticket… suddenly $128 for a flight becomes $158 — and RT becomes $60 more than you originally planned). Not that it is a huge deal — but that is a shady little Air Baltic rule. So when you are shopping for cheap airlines, recognize that the cheapest ones might not be the cheapest if they hit you with the bag fees at the counter.

I probably should have researched better — but I was assuming that up to a certain weight was free. Nope, anything checked costs money.

Then I waited in line forever as the two desk clerks for Air Baltic checked in the entire airport. The grid showed seven different airlines. All checking in at the same place. I guess that is how they keep costs low — but it’s kinda stupid. Anyway, I finally break through the death camp lines and I’m sitting there at B16 about 30 minutes before my scheduled boarding.

Suddenly about 10 different guys and two girls come walking by — all wearing Kaiser Chiefs regalia. Instantly I’m transfixed and channeling back to some very vital Jeremy Piven (Droz) knowledge, “What’s this? You’re wearing the shirt of the band you’re going to see?”

So I start chuckling and staring. Kaiser Chiefs UK Tour 2009 Jackets… Chiefs Europe Tour 2010… Kaiser Chiefs hoodies… The Future is Medieval 2011 tour t-shirts. The one guy, standing in at about 7 ft 2 in, notices that I’m laughing. He, in a super American accent, is like “Pardon me, but what is so funny?”

I’m like, “What’s this? You’re wearing the shirt, jacket and hoodies of the band you’re all going to see?”

Huge Dude: “Yeah. Well, it is the company uniform.”

Huh?

“They’re Kaiser Chiefs.” [points behind him] “They’re a band from England and have a show tonight in Tallinn.”

Feeling like an ass, I look behind Shrek and see that there are people behind him, sitting down, but I’m not really familiar with the Kaiser Chiefs so I don’t necessarily believe him either. Oh. And you are?

Well most of the group here are roadies and producers, but we’re all in the KC family.

I can’t help but notice that you have an American accent, where are you from?

Quasimodo: “Milwaukee… and you sound East Coast. Philly or Baltimore.”

So I get to chatting a bit and he introduces me to the band, the roadies and his Irish girlfriend (who literally can suck his dick standing up — which I couldn’t help but notice… since you know that is exactly what happens). They are quite the motley crew of a couple. He looks like giant bearded Dave Grohl with long hair and she looks like Gidget the Midget from the Howard Stern show.

Low and behold I’m sitting directly behind Paul Bunyan on the flight on a Fokker plane. Fokker’s are really small (the baggage bin above my head was big enough to fit my jacket, but for a 50 minute flight, who really cares). Next to me is the drummer for the band, chatting away with the lead singer across the aisle. I was jotting down notes — because that’s what I do when I’m remembering stories and whatnot — and I had the fixtures for the Euro playoffs (which were drawn that day) at the top of the page. Drummer inquires about them and I tell him about the draws and whatnot and we just chat soccer the whole time. Premiership, England, and the Euro draws. He pokes the lead singer and is like — “Tonight, mention that you hope Estonia gives Ireland its marching orders in the Euros. The crowd will go batty.”

And just like that, the plane is in descent. Now we didn’t have the true Almost Famous moment when the band thinks they are going to die, but as we were landing, we were getting blown all over the place and landed about 3/4 UP the runway. It was the closest thing to death that I’ve been apart of. But it was a Fokker, so it could stop with much less space than a Boeing 737 or anything bigger. However, the pilot needed the whole runway and the auxiliary bit at the end. So much so that we needed to reverse just to get back towards the airport.

Realizing that we all basically just cheated death, Lurch turns around and says, “Hey, you doing anything tonight? You wanna come to the show?”

I decline at first, saying that I have never been to Tallinn and that I wouldn’t know where to go. He’s like, “Well its called the Rock Cafe and you’ll probably pass it on the way to the hotel.”

Sure. No idea what you sing or who you are but yeah, why the hell not? So then he gives me two general admission tickets. I say that I only need one because I’m by myself.

“Perfect way to introduce yourself to a pretty Estonian girl then. Small venue, its been sold out for weeks.”

Smart man.

Soundtrack of the Moment: Tiny Dancer

So I get situated at the hotel and it is attached to a mall basically. So I ask the front desk girl how far it is to the Rock Cafe and if I could walk to it. She says that I could walk to it but it’d be better just to have a taxi or hop on the bus. The bus is 2 euros so I go for that route. As I’m walking to the bus stop I see a group of girls. We all get on the bus together. I then ask, “Anybody know what stop I should get off for Rock Cafe?”

“Just follow us, are you going to the Chiefs show?”

Yes.  KC. Word association. Kansas City… Chiefs. Kansas City Chiefs Kaiser Chiefs. That band. The Chiefs.

Lingo down. Just follow along.

“What’s your favorite album?”

Fuck. [Think you bastard, think] Um, well I like ‘The Future is Medieval’, but I miss the older sound.

When in doubt, be vague.

“Yeah, we hope they play older stuff from [blank] and [blank].”

Yeah, I totally agree. So do you all have tickets? 

“Course, but our friend doesn’t. She’s sad that she can’t go. Huge Chiefs fan.”

Well how about you call her up because I have an extra ticket and don’t have anybody to go with. Free of charge. One good deed deserves another.

And the lead singer mentioned the Estonia vs. Ireland thing… and the crowd erupted on cue. So I feel good that I helped deliver that message also.

The girls paid for my drinks that night after the show and they were actually really fun and cool. No crazy stories to tell, just a fun night out with some Estonians. I never did disclose how I came across the tickets.

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