THURSDAY UPDATE FROM ST PETERSBURG
After a great night in Tallinn and an all-night journey to St Petersburg in wintry conditions, R.E.M greatly regrets having to cancel the show tonight in St Petersburg. Lengthy delays at the Estonia/Russia border caused our trucks, crew, and gear (sound, lights, instruments, and so forth) to arrive too late to mount the show.
This is the first time since the widely-chronicled 1995 tour that R.E.M. has had to cancel a show, and it is a major disappointment for the band not to be playing this particular city. As Michael and the band told some Russian journalists at the hotel this afternoon, we are obviously sorry for all of the inconvenience this has caused for people who were planning to be there.
I'm so upset. Why does nothing ever work in this part of the world? Why are the customs people here so goddamn inefficient?
David Byrne mentioned the same problem in his journal back in July - but at least his St. Pete show didn't get cancelled...
St Petersburg Russia July 17
Russia is already an adventure before it even properly begins. After driving 6 hours from Tampere we're awakened at about 7 in the morning at the Finnish Russian border. We're met by Nick, our contact and escort. Nick is in full swat team commando gear- bulging padded black outfit, some knives strapped on and at least one gun. Glad he's on our side. He seems to have some pull, as he waves the customs guys aside when they began to open the bus bays.
We get through pretty easily and then convoy it the 2+ hours into town- but our truck with our gear is unfortunately stuck there- there is at least a mile long line of trucks waiting for inspections. We'll never make the scheduled load in time.
The gear arrives by late afternoon. The show is scheduled for 10PM, but that now seems hopelessly optimistic.
Today's R.E.M. show was scheduled for 7 pm...
The good news is this, kind of (a comment left by Elya, who writes a German-language blog, romkablog. notizen nach der revolution):
Hey, at least *one* participant of the Orange Revolution has a chance to meet Bono: He is taking part in the European Economic Forum at Davos, were Viktor Andriyovich will be, too ;-)
sorry, only in German: http://tinyurl.com/5829d