The summer of 2016 was my first summer back home in Norway since 2012. The Rolling Stones were on tour in North America and UK in 2013, Europe 2014 and North America 2015. Add travels to Asia, two times to Australia and New Zealand, and the great Latin America tour, including Cuba, it has been four great years with around one hundred Stones shows, rehearsals, meeting friends on all continents, but still one important part missing in my life. Summer in Norway!
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The band a-ha is the best selling band from Norway. They sold out Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with 200,000 fans once, they have a large following from worldwide fans, and they are right on my doorstep at home in Norway. They did their farewell tour late 2010, and I saw the three final shows in Oslo Spektrum then. It was real farewell shows, many tears from the superfans, great shows. Now they have returned for another 2015/2016 tour, and I was able to catch up with their three shows in Oslo during the four days from Saturday April 30 to Tuesday May 3, 2016.
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Mick Jagger walked out of Hotel Saratoga twenty minutes past noon on Saturday March 26, and left Havana escorted by police motor cycles with blue lights. The rest of the band and the management left around the same time. I had my last night at the Saratoga because the Sevilla was full tonight. Most fans and friends were on their way back home, and I had a flight out of Havana early moning Sunday. This was my last day in Havana, and my last day on tour. When Mick walked out of the hotel door, as I was watching the crowd outside from the lobby, the tour was over for me. The band was on their way back home, and so was I, soon.
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Hotel Sevilla Havana Cuba is part of the Mercure brand, under the French Accor chain. If you ever go to Havana Cuba, then make sure you vist this hotel. It is a truely hidden gem. I stayed at the Sevilla for eight of my nine days in Havana during the Rolling Stones travel March 2016, and that was my third stay at the Sevilla since 2000. It is still my number one Havana choice, and I will return to Havana Cuba and the Sevilla some day for sure. Even if you just do a day visit, make sure you enjoy this great originally Biltmore branded hotel, where once Al Capone and a bunch of other well known names used to hang out, before the revolution that is.
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I have seen every show of The Rolling Stones tour in Latin America. This was a new crowd, the Cuba crowd was a “virgin” crowd. The Rolling Stones have never been to Cuba. I expected the same kind of crowd we had in Montevideo Uruguay, Porto Alegre Brazil, Lima Peru and Bogota Colombia. The “new” crowds in South America were curious, pleasant, relaxed, and you had lots of space in the crowd. But I have been in Cuba a few times, I thought may be I should go early to the show. Friends asked me what my strategy was for Cuba. I did not have any strategy until the day before the show. Then I was in for a front row position.
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It is Thursday March 24 – the day before the day. The Rolling Stones are expected into Havana Cuba this afternoon, and I go out to the concert area to check out how it looks like since I was there last Friday. An open air Coco takes me there in 20 minutes. I meet friends and fans, there are now approx 200 people out there plus the crew of some 300 people working on the finishing parts. The sun is up and it is hot, +34 C i.e. 100 F.
Continue reading “Havana Cuba pre-show report May 24, 2016”
The city of Havana Cuba has not changed much since my previous visits in 2000, 2007 and 2008. I am sure there are many changes as seen from the local people who live here, but as seen from a tourist point of view, it is the same good old Havana Cuba. Havana is a large city, with two million of the eleven million people of Cuba living here. The slow pace, the unique life style and classic buildings, cars and life here is calling upon any visitors for a soon return.
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Havana Cuba March 18, 2016: The second Rolling Stones show in Mexico City was so great. I was pumped, and I worked with my photos and the report until 3am, slept three hours, and then woke up at 6am for breakfast, packing, leaving for Cuba. By 7am I was in the airport shuttle, and 10 minutes later we were on the airport. Interjet wanted us to be at the airport at least three hours before international departure, so I had plenty of time to work on the airport until the 11:15am departure.
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The Rolling Stones show number two in Mexico City Thursday March 17, 2016 was so different from the previous show on Monday. First of all the crowd was just fantastic. Secondly the mood on stage and the smiles and great interactions were unique. Add Mick Jagger spending all his extra energy on stage, Keith tuned up to maximum, Ronnie closing his eyes belting out the most beautiful solo playing, and Charlie keeping the engine running, plus the entire band on fire, and you have a show to remember for a long long time.
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I left home for the Stones tour in Latin America seven weeks ago. Two more days in Mexico City, then I will be on my way to Cuba on Friday. The stay in Cuba will be a relaxing one for several reasons. Easter Holidays in Norway start on Friday, and the holiday last for eleven – 11 – days up to and including Monday March 28. I booked my nine days Cuba holiday in October last year, so this will be a real holiday, with a Stones show on Friday March 25 that is…
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