After being an avid fan for about seven years, I promised myself that 2018 would be the year that I would see one of my favorite bands, Billy Talent.
I was hoping to go to a festival this summer in the U.K., but no line-up made me say, “I must go,” so I decided to spend the money on airfare to see the Canadian punk rock band band Billy Talent at an intimate venue in Luxembourg. I have actually been to Luxembourg before with my grandpa for a day in early 2016, you can read about our time here (apologies for the lack of pictures, just now going through and adding them to old posts).
Tuesday, 26 June: First off, a notably horrible outward journey. After driving myself to Stansted Airport, I arrived to a delayed flight, which was fine by me because as long as there’s food, a toilet and WiFi, I could wait ’til kingdom come. We departed about two hours late and were airborne by 9PM. However, in the air, we were informed that the Luxembourg airport has a curfew of 11PM, so we could not land there. We landed at Frankfurt Hahn airport and were put on a coach to Luxembourg that took about an hour and a half. The ultimate piss-take? They dropped us off at the closed airport, where there was no public transit and no taxis available. Luckily, someone booked a taxi ahead of time and told the driver to call his other driver friends and we were all in shared taxis in good time. My original flight was meant to land at about 10PM, but I didn’t even get to my hostel until 3AM. Unreal.
Wednesday, 27 June: After having a nice lie in, I went for a short walk into town for a bite to eat. I was still tired and had a bit of a headache, so I took a short nap until my friend Nils messaged me saying he was in town after travelling from Stuttgart. I walked to the venue and met Nils in line. After a few hours, the doors opened and we hung out, got a bite to eat and enjoyed the opening band.
Before I knew it, Billy Talent took the stage and I was filled with adrenaline. They played an amazing set and I moshed and crowdsurfed throughout. Actually, I got cut off after about 6 or 7 times. They played an amazing set, sounded great and brought incredible energy. One of my favorite moments was when they brought their original drummer on to the stage to play a few songs. Aaron has been taking breaks from the band since 2016 as he battles his struggles with an MS relapse, which my mom also has.
After the show, I waited outside the venue to meet the band and get my CD (I brought all their albums, but didn’t want to be a pain so I only had them sign one) and ticket signed as well as Nils’s CD as he had to leave once the show ended. First Aaron (drummer) came out and I told him how great it was to hear him play as I’ve seen how hard MS can be. Then Jon (bassist) came out and said he saw me crowdsurf all those times. Then Ian (guitarist and back-up vocals) and Ben (lead vocals) came out at the same time. Ben complimented my Anti-Flag shirt and Ian told me how he was actually born in London. As far as I could hear, I was the only native English speaker at the small show and they certainly noticed. The members noticed my accent and asked if I was Canadian, to which I told them I’m South Canadian (American) but I lived in the U.K. It was great to have a quick chat and have them sign my ticket and CD. I was so elated, I probably skipped the first 100 meters the way back to the hostel before walking the rest of the way, getting back around 1AM.
The first video below is my Snapchat story with pictures and short videos taken throughout the night and the second video is during Viking Death March, my favorite song, where we all stayed low leading up to the final big chorus.
Clip 1) my ticket; 2) the venue; 3) This Suffering; 4) The Navy Song; 5) Rusted from the Rain with Aaron on drums; 6) Nothing to Lose (I think Aaron might have been on drums for this one too, I can’t remember)
Thursday 28 June: After relaxing in the morning, I took a stroll through the city center at lunch time and then called it a day so I can rest up for my drive after I get to Stansted Airport, whenever that may be.
I had an amazing time, one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to, and I’m glad I could share it with Nils! And now I’m no longer a Billy Talent virgin and I’m sore all over. You know what they say: your first time always hurts!