March is the birthday month of Trad.Attack!’s live performances! In March 2014 we conquered our first stage and thus we celebrate our 7th stage anniversary! Which concerts have moved the band members the most or made them feel awe, or even years later brought a smile upon their face? Sandra, Jalmar and Tõnu share with you their fiercest stage adventures around the globe.
When I started thinking about the most intense concert, which has really shaken me both emotionally and physically, or is remembered with a special feel to it, then to my positive surprise I recalled a lot of concerts!
Viljandi Folk 2016 - the gates were opened already 45 minutes before the concert and people just rushed to the stage. Concert in the Czech Republic in 2017 - in the middle of the concert the electricity suddenly went out and we performed the song "Kallimale" acoustically on the stage for about 1000 people. In the summer of 2016 in Portugal, our luggage didn’t make it to Portugal and we had to borrow everything we needed for the concert from the locals. I was on stage for the first time in a white dress because it was the only suitable outfit I could find in this small town. In 2016 in France - fresh pancakes and oysters were served behind the stage. In 2017, in the US desert - after a crazy concert, all our things were covered with a thick layer of sand. This list could go on and on!
But if I had to pick just one, then I'd like to experience a concert in Canada again; It was our first Canadian tour. The Canadian audience is very warm, but they tend to just sit in their folding portable chairs, sip wine and enjoy the music. Those who wanted to dance had to do it on the sides of the stage. I do not know whether we said this to each other before the concert or whether it was our common feeling, but aspired to get the people standing by the end of the concert. AND WE MANAGED TO DO IT!!! The organizers also said that this is something rare! To add to the already existing exuberance, I received a letter the next morning from Toomas Hendrik Ilves (Ed. former president of the Republic of Estonia) stating that one of his acquaintances had sent him an e-mail praising us and saying: “Trad.Attack! knocked it out of the park! ”
The concert which gives me goosebumps is the "Kullakarva" presentation concert in Setomaa in August 2018. It was a completely insane undertaking - the idea of building all the infrastructure needed for the concert on a meadow far by the border of Estonia (ed. Setomaa is considered far for people travelling from the capital city) was bold and risky, but we really wanted to do it. And you know what happens when you really want something - you just do it! And so we did, but there was plenty of thrill even until the first chords.
Initially, our plan was to bring more people than the amount of inhabitants in the whole of Setomaa to the meadow of Treski Küün. Well, it didn't quite happen, but the dream still lasts. Thanks to "Kullakarva" having had its second presentation concert in Tallinn in June, there was less tension with the Setomaa concert because we had the know-how concerning the team and the production.
But what happened then? The rain poured… and poured… and poured… and poured. Something that we did not imagine even in our darkest scenarios, happened. The whole meadow was a beautiful wetland by the start of concert preparations. By the way, wetlands are very important in the context of nature - they are the so-called kidneys of the earth. But for us, it meant a crisis meeting ASAP!
The team that arrived to build the venue was perplexed. And what were we doing meanwhile? We were waking up in a hotel in Denmark because we were touring. :))) But the phone rang demandingly and I answered it with great fear. It was Karl, our production boss, who said that the truck sank through the ground and we can't give a concert there. Ohmy!! Challenge accepted, was my only thought.
Although we hoped that we would not have to consider the worst scenarios, we still had a backup plan - to organize the concert at the Värska Song Festival Grounds. I immediately called the mayor of Värska and said that 4,000 people want to come to Värska to listen to the fiercest band in Estonia and we got him on board. Within hours, all the necessary stuff was in Värska and the preparation could begin.
True, we lost 6 hours of valuable time and it was still raining, but everyone was working hard (like Tõnu (ed. Jalmar uses an Estonian wordplay with Tõnu’s last name Tubli which means good or well done)) and did their best! The historical concert in Värska was mega! The cherry on the pie was the fact that it was only 13 degrees outside during our concert and our fingers were cold until the last chords, but the experience was u-n-b-e-l-i-e-v-a-b-l-e!
After using up my energy hundred times more than I imagined possible, I still enjoyed a party after the concert! A punch line for this story comes from a local entrepreneur Silvi who accommodated the whole team. She said that it was a great show, but the screen could have been bigger. :D This is an obvious sign that people wanted to experience it all even closer than that.
Thanks to everyone who came! There are quite a few cool videos about it on our Youtube as well; all the foreign organizers we have shown it to have said that their festival will be small for us. :)))
Just recently I came across a video from 2018 where after a concert in Kirsimäe (ed. main stage of Viljandi Folk Festival) with an audience reaching nearly 7000, I sat on a bench behind the stage, changed my wet clothes to completely dry ones, took a sip, grabbed my trombone and went directly behind the stage to go down the rather steep slope and at that moment due to light rain - a pretty slippery slope of II Kirsimäe (ed. the stage is set at a hill surrounded by slopes as the festival takes place midst the old ruins of Viljandi castle). There, a bus was waiting for me, picked me up, and we quickly rushed through the crowd and through the party in the courtyard of Viljandi Sakala Center, or actually the courtyard of Viljandi Kaubamaja where I got over a two-meter wall from the parking lot behind Sakala Center. Wearing a trombone, which of course went in front of everything. :) The band Angus was already waiting for me! Then I put on the right clothes which I’d perform in, took my instrument from my case and quickly blew some life into it. At the same time, I attached the ear monitors and listened to how the audience at the courtyard of Sakala Center was already waiting intently and making quite some noise. Hands together and one loud “ANGUS!” with the band and the stage falls silent, the lights dim and I step on stage… That night I played with different instruments for about four hours. Honestly, I don't remember much about the concerts because there was just no time to think, but that rushing moment did stay with me. Plus, Mikk Mihkel Vaabel captured it very nicely (watch the video here). ;)