So nice in Nice - The Stranglers in Nice on November 27th 2004

Friday 26th
It’s 5am in Berlin. My friend and me stumble out of bed, take a hasty breakfast and make our way to the airport. The plane departs at 7:30am. The flight is smooth and we arrive in Nice at 9:40am. The weather is absolutely lovely compared to Berlin. A bus takes us from the airport to St. Maurice in the north of Nice where we get picked up by the staff of our hotel, Villa Saint-Exupery. We are shown to our room, a seven bed dormitory which we’ve got for ourselves because of the season. It could be quite nice if it wasn’t for the people who have to go through our room to the showers and toilets. Fortunately there are not too many.
We are provided with a long list of suggestions about what to do and where to go in Nice and its’ surroundings. We take the bus back to the centre and then another one to Eze Village, a lovely medieval village on a castle rock. It’s comfortably quiet and there are many beautiful small paths with little shops and restaurants. On top of the hill there are the ruins of the castle and the exotic gardens. We get an amazing overview of the coast and the mountains.

Next stop with the bus is Monaco – Monte Carlo. It’s about 5pm. The sun is already setting and we get a lovely view of Monte Carlo by night with all those huge hotels, the mountains in the background and the Casino of course. After a few more hours of walking we take the train back to Nice and descend to the old town where we rest in a British pub with some Strongbow cider. Not much sleep due to permanent noise… these walls are way too thin…

Saturday 27th
After breakfast we take the bus to the venue, Le Palais Nikaia, to meet with Aurelia from Belgium. As there is still half the day till the doors open we decide to walk down to the beach where we arrive after a little detour to the airport. Again the weather is lovely and we try the sea which turns out to be as cold as it looks… some people are actually swimming in there..
Hunger is creeping upon us and we try to find a place where the dishes are affordable. There is a pizza restaurant close to the beach and we take a look at the prize list outside. Aurelia is about to go inside, but I’m signing to her that it is way too expensive. An older man who is taking his lunch alone outside notices this and tells us that he’d be pleased to pay our bill. He gives us 100 Euros just like that… without asking anything…. really unbelievable.
So we get inside and have a lovely lunch with red wine. Afterwards we go to another pub since it is still pretty early. Pubs seem to be for men only in this area, but who cares? We certainly don’t… We have another beer and take the bus to the venue afterwards…
We arrive an hour early, but there are some football players at the back of the hall who amuse us with their warm-up. Doors open at 8pm. The venue is the smaller hall of a pretty huge modern building. It takes about 500 people and the show is sold out. The stage is not too big and not too small… seems to be just the right size for the Stranglers. But first to the support act, Asyl from France, this is my first concert of the French tour and I’ve heard differing opinions so I don’t know what to expect yet. They get on stage at 8:30pm and they turn out to be really good. The music is well played and they seem to be a tight unit as they easily transfer their energy to the audience. The singer has a charismatic voice and is quite a showman. Nice start.
It’s time for the Stranglers at 10pm. The place is already getting very hot and as always we are welcomed with the Waltz In Black. Right on time JJ, Jet, Dave, Baz and Billy Idol (sorry Paul ;)) enter the stage with good spirits and the   audience is already into it very much. After the first two songs the barriers at the front don’t seem to be able to hold the people back and two boxes have to be brought for support. I take some photos during the first few songs and watch the rest of the show from the side of the stage considering if I should go on taking pictures or follow Chris’ advice not to… I must have looked kinda bored since Paul makes some signs into my direction, but that was not the case… I was just concentrating on my options and after half of the show I decide to get my gear back. As most of you already know there are no changes in the set list apart from Nuclear Device, but the band put everything into each of the songs and you don’t notice that they’ve been playing them for a year already. Peaches seems to be getting scarier with each show. Paul  manages to rip his trousers to shreds during one of his jumps. After showing this little change to the audience he covers it up with his shirt later on. After the first encore JJ holds his French speech which is a bit of a cool down for me, but probably only since I don’t understand much…. Altogether it was one of the best concerts I’ve seen this year. One could feel the power the band put into the show and that’s what they got back from the audience… It was great to hear Nuclear Device for the first time.
After the gig we meet with Chrisinblack, his wife Sarah and later with Paul to have a drink and a little chat. We get back to our hotel by 4am… Thanks to Aurelia for the lift!

Sunday 28th
3 hours of sleep… yawn… Up for a very sleepy breakfast and then back to the city for our last day in Nice. We descend to the old town for some shopping and I finally find a present for my brothers 16th birthday. Lunch on the beach, a lovely walk around the harbour, up to the city mountain with more castle ruins and at last to the old beautiful cemetery of Nice… After some beer we head back to our hotel. On our way we come across a huge number of police men near the football stadium. It will probably be a nice and quiet night… After being accompanied by the police for some metres we finally reach our destiny and drop to bed.

Monday 29th
Not much sleep... again… We get up just to realize that our plane departs in 40 minutes. Don’t panic Alex! It's raining outside which seems to be very suitable in this situation. We ask the hotel staff for help and one of the guys drives us to the airport. We arrive to notice that the check-in has closed five minutes before… Not panicking gets harder… We book another flight for an hour later which goes to somewhere in Germany at least. Fast check-in and off to the gate… Due to technical problems the flight is delayed for ten minutes… for one hour… for two hours… for six bloody hours! Oh the irony… We get a coupon of about 28 Euros each to have lunch on the airport. After looking for an internet facility we head to the restaurant and have a lovely dinner with some red wine and Martini. At last the plane departs at 5:30pm… to Dortmund… we have to get to Berlin though…
The plane arrives two hours later and we take the shuttle bus to the station and the next train to Berlin. Everything goes smooth for a change. We arrive in Berlin 13 hours later and with less money than expected… Sleep now… a lot please…


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