Looking for tickets or info for the Get Happy Tour 2018 featuring Bowling for Soup, Army of Freshmen and The Aquabats?

This domain name was used for the Get Happy Tour back in its original run around 10 years ago, when I used to do work for BFS and AOF. However, for the past 5 years it has been used for my travel blog as I never thought we would have another Get Happy Tour and I didn't want it to go to waste.

But as a favour to two bands who have done a lot for me over the years, and so you don't miss out, ticket info is:
O2 Presale: 10am on 25 September
General Onsale: 10am on 27 September.

Tickets available from ticketmaster.co.uk and bowlingforsoup.com


Archive for April, 2012

The Journey Home

April 15th, 2012 No comments

I’m now back in the UK after what has been a short but very sweet visit to Amsterdam and one which I’m glad I went on despite the stress caused during the planning stages.

This morning we visited the Anne Frank House which was another highlight of the trip. I highly recommend visiting this location if you’re going to Amsterdam as the story you will be told is incredibly moving but I would suggest that you pre-book your tickets so you don’t have to queue for a long time like we did.

The Queue for Anne Frank's House

The Queue for the Anne Frank House

The museum is in two parts – the first one is in the building next to the original house and gives you a background to the Anne Frank story, along with numerous artifacts, before you move through to the second part which is the original building which Anne Frank lived during the Second World War. In addition to the living quarters you also see the hidden annexe where the Frank family hid from the Nazis during the war.

The whole experience was incredibly moving and worth the entry ticket although, being one of the top attractions in Amsterdam, it is very cramped so make sure you don’t go along with any bags like we did. After the Anne Frank house we explored the city for a bit before having lunch near the train station.


Parade in Amsterdam


The parade was quite large!

Street Band

We saw this band before Within Temptation on the other side of the city too

Me inside an engine

Me sitting inside an Aircraft Engine at Schipol Airport

Landing Gear

Leaving on a jet plane

The journey home went smoothly and after flying back to Luton we all went our separate ways. The trip was short but full of great things and I’m glad to have made so many new friends and seen a couple of my favourite bands on consecutive nights.


Within Temptation Concert

April 14th, 2012 No comments

This morning I had breakfast before making my way into the city to meet my friend Jonathan who lives near Amsterdam. I’ve known him for years but we’ve hardly met so while I was in Holland, even though it wasn’t the same city, we made sure we met up.

We met at Dam Square before exploring the city, having a few coffees and then ending up at a cafe on top of a tower overlooking the city which had some great views. It was great to chat for a while and catch up on things while seeing more of the city but it was soon time to make my way back to the hotel to meet up with my friends ready for the Within Temptation theatre show.

Dam Square

On my way to meet Jonathan in Dam Square

There was no need to arrive early as this show was seated but we left in plenty of time to make sure we found the venue and so that we could chill with some drinks at the bar. After purchasing some merch we made our way up to the first floor where there was a bar with a great balcony ovelooking the city. I decided to be classy with some rose wine while the others had other drinks.

The first half of the show was a slower, acoustic gig comprised of rarely played songs with a video background which was great as I’ve only ever seen full sets from Within Temptation. There was a storyline that followed the specially filmed video which made the theatre tour extra special compared to your average show. It was also very civilised with everybody sitting in their seats clapping after every song compared to the usual cheering and rock hands. After the first half there was an intermission and time for a few more drinks on the balcony.

Ant with drinks

Ant on the theatre balcony

Me befor the concert

Me with a Rose wine

Before the show

Inside the theatre

Within Temptation

Within Tempatation – part 1

Within Temptation Part 1

Within Temptation Part 1

Within Temptation

Within Temptation – part 1

As soon as the second half started everybody stood up and rushed forward although this wasn’t really an option for us on the balcony. The second half was a full band show playing many new songs along with a selection of hits from the past. It was such a great show, with such good energy, and at the end we all stood up and gave a very long standing ovation.

Setlist Part 1
The Last Dance
Sounds of Freedom
Our Farewell
The Swan Song
Say My Name
Never-Ending Story

Setlist Part 2
The Promise
Ice Queen
Stand My Ground
Mother Earth

Stairway to the Skies

Within Tempation

Part 2 of the show was full band

The end of the show

Within Temptation saying goodbye

The theatre

The theatre after the show

We were all pretty exhausted by the end of the show so we slowly made our way back to our hotel. The most direct way was straight through the red light district and it was quite an eye opener as this was the first time we had been there at night.


Nightwish Concert

April 13th, 2012 No comments

I’m back in the hotel now after a really great Nightwish gig and am completely exhausted but it has been such a great day.

I rose early and headed out to the venue before my friends were awake as some people I was due to meet were already at the venue from the early hours. The journey was fairly quick and after arriving at the venue some time between 8am and 9am I met my online friends and settled down ready for a long day of queuing.

There’s not much to report from the 10 hours in the queue. It was mainly good weather to start with so we took some time to enjoy the sun, walk around the venue perimeter, grab some snacks etc but as the day progressed the weather got worse. At one point it was raining quite heavily so the poncho I brought with me came in handy. The queue was split into two and the other side of the queue cheated and hid under this.

Hiding from the rain

Some of the queue hiding from the rain under a plastic sheet

Ajax Stadium

The HMH was next to the Ajax Stadium

Over the course of the day I met quite a few new people which helped pass the time and, as we had all queued there for a long time, we were all like minded. This was evident when it got close to doors and we all just wanted to get inside to secure our place on the barrier. When that time came we all ran (except past the security guards) straight into the venue and secured our places. I was lucky enough to get a place next to the people I had met and almost central on the barrier.

Squealing Pig!

Me, Fiona and Squealing Pig

Squealing Pig!

Squealing Pig!

Fiona sleeping

Fiona sleeping outside the HMH

Eklipse were the first band on stage and played mainly covers on violins etc. They were ok but nothing special. Battle Beast were next and I was really impressed with their singer although they weren’t my sort of music. Then there was a tense wait while the set was changed over for Nightwish – this included the dropping of a huge material screen to create an effect when the band came on.


Eklipse opening for Nightwish

Battle Beast

Battle Beast were next in line

Before Nightwish came on

Before Nightwish came on

The Curtain

The pre-Nightwish curtain

Nightwish were great – the new album combined with the pyro combined created a great atmosphere. The show started with Marco in a rocking chair behind the large screen and then burst into songs from the new album. There was a lot of pyro and a lot of energy but this was split into two with a quieter acoustic section in the middle.

The setlist
Wish I Had an Angel
Slow, Love, Slow
I Want My Tears Back
Come Cover Me
The Crow, the Owl and the Dove
The Islander
Last of the Wilds
Planet Hell
Ghost River
Dead to the World
Over the Hills and Far Away

Song of Myself
Last Ride of the Day

Here’s a selection of my best photos from the concert.


Marco Hietala




Nightwish and some pyro!



Nightwish Pyro

Nightwish Pyro!

Tuomas the maestro

Tuomas Holopainen

The end of the show

Nightwish saying goodbye

Absolute chaos trying to buy merchandise but after buying a t-shirt and a flag I made my way outside to meet my friends.

Tomorrow I’m starting the day by meeting an old friend of mine that lives not far from Amsterdam before seeing Within Temptation play a theatre show in the city.


We’ve arrived in Amsterdam

April 12th, 2012 No comments

I’ve made it to Amsterdam and have found it to be a colourful and diverse city so far. Tomorrow is the day I see Nightwish but first about my journey here.

Yesterday I made my way up to the Travelodge in Luton where I checked in and chilled for a bit while waiting for my friends who were joining me from another direction. After they arrived we chatted for a bit about the arrangements for the weekend before finding a local pub for dinner. It was quite a nice pub and I had a great steak and chicken combo. After dinner we made it back to the hotel for an early night ready for our early flight to Amsterdam this morning.

Today we made our way to the airport car park before making our transfer to the airport. There isn’t much to do at Luton Airport other than wait for your flight so there’s not much to report except we were glad when it was time for our flight. We flew with Easyjet so there was the usual panic for seats but we left on time and we were soon on our way to Amsterdam.

After arriving we made our way to the airport station and travelled into the city by train. The journey was quick so we arrived in the city too early to be able to check into the hotel and decided to have lunch instead. We found a fast food outlet just around the corner from the hotel that had free wi-fi so we chilled there for a while. The food was nice but a piece of advice for anybody who, like me, really dislikes mayonnaise – they put it on everything whether you want it or not so stay away from fast food outlets and stick with supermarkets or nicer restaurants.

Hotel toilet

The hotel toilet room was a little hard to turn around in!

We checked in and made our way straight into the city centre to look around. One of the first places we stopped was Dam Square which is the main meeting point in Amsterdam and seems to be the hub of activity like the South Bank in London. Like the South Bank they also had people dressed up in costumes like Ghostface and Darth Vader who, for a small fee, would pose for photos with you. I decided to take on Ghostface but became his next victim.

Walking around Amsterdam

Walking around Amsterdam

Ghostface got me!

I became the next Ghostface victim!

Walking around Amsterdam

Walking around Amsterdam

Canals in Amsterdam

One of the many canals of Amsterdam

My friends were feeling sleepy so chilled back in the hotel for a bit with food from the local supermarket while I wandered around the city checking out some more sights including the Anne Frank House, The Homomonument, several churches and many, many canals. The Homomonument was an especially moving sight as it’s a memorial made up of three pink triangles within a larger triangle which commemorates the LGBT victims of the Second World War.


The Amsterdam LGBT district

The Amsterdam LGBT district


One of the three pink triangles of the Homomonument

The Homomonument

The land part of the Homomonument

Anne Frank House

Anne Frank House

The entrance to Anne Frank's House

Me at Anne Frank’s House

After getting back to the hotel I saw my friend was making a skype call to the orphanage in Uganda where she volunteered for a few months (I visited during my last trip abroad) so I joined in the conversation to say hi. It was great to see how the kids were getting on a catch up about Uganda related things. However an early night is needed tonight, however, ready for a long day of queuing outside the Heineken Music Hall to see Nightwish so I’ll be signing off for now.