Bands im Terminal - Munich Flughafen
Updated: Jan 3
by the way the "im" is correct this is "in the" in English
Today, I wanted to share with you a recent event related to my music hobby that was very exciting and a real memory maker. It has been some 40 years now that I have been singing and performing in bands. (yes, I know what you are thinking, how could he have been performing for 40 years when he is only 40ish? Okay, I am 40ish plus a few years)
Over these past 40 years, I have had a few pauses from the music along the way, as life can sometimes get in the way of the things we love. Nonetheless, those of you who know me well, know that music is a big part of my family heritage and is a personal passion for me.
As I began to write this blog, I started thinking about some of my experiences related to music over the years (this what we call “a walk down memory lane”). First, I thought about some of the places where I have played. There has been quite an array of venues; churches, festival halls, school auditoriums and gymnasiums, concert halls, county fairs, casinos, theaters, theme parks, malls, department stores, pubs, cafés, bars, restaurants, and biergarten’s. I have sung at birthday parties, weddings, funerals (not my favorite), anniversaries……..well just about any occasion possible, except a bar mitzvah (which is totally on my bucket list). At these places and events, I have performed for just a few people at a little church or café up to performing at concerts with thousands in attendance.
While living in the USA, I have performed in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York, Virginia, West Virginia, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, Tennessee (Nashville), Kentucky, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa and probably a couple of other states I cannot recall. As you might imagine, it is still mind-boggling for me to be playing in Germany.
Here are some links to some of the places I have played over the years
My country band played here as the opening act for a big country singer in the mid-’90s. http://www.meadowbrookamphitheatre.com/
My country band played at this venue in Nashville. https://wildhorsesaloon.com/virtual-tour
I played in this casino showroom regularly for 4 years; first with my country band, then later the band converted into a classic rock/Journey tribute band. https://www.motorcitycasino.com/Entertainment.aspx?Page=Chromatics&banner=entertainment-chromatics
Last Friday was another first for me and it was what we would say in America “it was one for the books” (for my German friends, this phrase means, an event or happening that was so incredible that will surely be remembered for years to come). Our little band from Landshut played at the Munich Airport (MUC).
Munich airport was named the best airport in Europe in March 2019. https://www.munich-airport.com/munich-again-scores-big-success-in-latest-world-airport-awards-6212242 We specifically performed at Munich Airport Terminal 2, in 2019 it was rated the 3rd best airport terminals in the world. Munich Airport Terminal 2 is jointly operated by Munich Airport and Lufthansa as a 60:40 partnership. Last Friday marked the start of spring vacation season in Europe and it was also the conclusion of a massive exhibition event held in the Munich area, that many people had traveled to. On this day approximately 59,000 passengers would be traveling through Terminal 2. Travel can be a stressful undertaking on a normal day, but to travel on a day like this, it can take stress to a whole other level. The concept we were hired for was to play acoustically, like street musicians (German = Straßenmusiker) moving to various locations throughout the airport, entertaining the travelers on this busy day.
We arrived at the airport at 12:30 p.m. Our band members are Stephan - guitar, Martin – bass guitar, Tom – Cajon & Melodica and me – vocal cords and rhythm guitar. (by the way, the boys in my band are a great group of guys, except the American).
We were greeted by our host (Elisabeth) and she took us to a security office to have our photos taken and receive the passes that would grant us access through security and to the departure gates and baggage claim areas. We then we gathered our equipment and headed into the airport to begin our musical adventure.
On a side note, when I first start playing in Germany (after not performing for many years), I would get quite nervous and over time I have become less nervous when we play. But on this day, I was very nervous. No microphone, no amplifiers, no effects, no lyrics tablet (carrying lyrics is a sign of old age, well I had mine with me, but I couldn’t really use it). We were playing about as raw and stripped down as it gets. (you know I mean, from a musical standpoint, not stripped down personally. That is something I don’t think anybody needs to see…..sorry for the bad image).
Our first stop was in the passenger arrival area (the place just outside of baggage claim, where your friends and family wait for you after a long trip or it's the place where the guy stands with a sign with your name on it, who was hired to pick you up, because you don’t have any family or friends). We started playing and all the people who were waiting on their passengers to arrive turned around to see what was going on. Many started taking photos and videos with there mobile phones, some started swaying with the music and I could see many of them mouthing the words to the songs. At that moment I thought WOW! I think this is going to be good day.
After playing a few songs at our first stop, our host took us to the passenger check-in and baggage drop area. The place was packed, and the lines extended to the outside of the terminal with hundreds of people in the line. While in the check-in area, the video crew showed up to take some photos and record this historic event (it was historic for me). The response from the people in the check-in hall was very nice, but just a little more uptight than in the arrival area. I am sure that no matter how nice it may have been to be serenaded by 4 smoking hot guys (sorry) while checking in for your flight, you were still stuck in a long line, only wanting to get to your gate on time.
It was now time to move to the departure area where the travelers had already gone through security and were at their gates. However, this did present us with a bit of a challenge. Even though we had been granted security clearance, when we tried to enter the departure area of the terminal at the airport employee security area, we were turned away because they could not scan our instruments. So we were escorted to a dungeon area below the airport (I mean basement, German = Keller) where we had to wait outside of a huge door with security cameras pointed at us and could only enter the security area when we were called by a mysterious voice coming through a speaker. We could only enter one person at a time, then we were scanned and our equipment was scanned (band equipment – STOP). It was a bit creepy.
Now we were in the departure area. Munich airport is really awesome, there is a lot of shops, restaurants, bars, bookstores, massage and even sleeping capsules (I think they are for sleeping, I suppose you can use them for what you like, perhaps share with a friend). They have it all.
The plan for us was to go to some of the busy gate areas and play a few songs for the passengers who were awaiting their departures and then move on to another gate. Well, of course, there is no better method to get around the airport than the moving walk (German = Fahrsteig). Tom would jump on first and sit on his Cajon and we all then jumped on and start playing as we were cruising to the gate areas. You should have seen the look of surprise on people’s faces. Many of them were trotting alongside the moving walk, recording us as we passed by. After we did this once, this became a recurrence throughout the day as we moved around the terminal.
While in the departure area a friend of the band (Tracey), who lives in our same town and happens to work for Lufthansa, joined us. We had previously let her know we would be performing there. In that Tracey had access to all the flight information, she proceeded to direct us to the busiest gate areas to perform. Getting to some of the gates included a train ride between terminals. Of course, we had to play on the train and no better song than “Long Train Runnin” by the Doobie Brothers (definitely something you don’t see everyday at the airport).
One of our stops included the gate for a delayed flight to Spain. Nothing better to distract the delay in a departure than some guys playing some music. When the delay was announced, I thought the Frank Sinatra song “That’s Life” was more than fitting. We carried on with a couple of songs and had some of the people dancing and singing until they started boarding the plane.
Under the context of it’s a small world, we also met Raluca. Raluca works in the retail area of the terminal. Years previously, our band had played at a special event at the store she had managed in our town. Of course, we had to play her a special song. Then as we were nearing the time we were to finish for the day, we headed to baggage claim. By this time Michael had taken over as our host and he took us to baggage belt for a flight from Tokyo. Just minutes into our first song, I see this man we know from our town (Tom). He has heard us play in our town a least a dozen times over the years and you should have seen the look on his face. I am sure he was a bit foggy from his long journey, he may have thought he was still sleeping, his look simply said, what are these guys doing here?
Our final performance of the day was at the spot we had begun our day, the arrival area. As we walked out of the baggage claim we noticed a group of girls holding a big balloon, with words “Bridal Shower”. Perfect! We went to them and sang a song. They danced and sang along and after explained that they were waiting for the Bride to arrive for a bachelorette party weekend and asked if could play for the bride as she would be coming through the door in just a few minutes. We waited and then the bride walked through the arrival doors (of course wearing a crown) and we begin to perform the Motown song by the Spinners, “I’ll Be There”. The bride immediately began crying and screaming, then was hugging all her friends and they all joined in singing and dancing. What a special moment and I hope it was the start of a great weekend for the girls.
We played for around 5 hours on this day. Tom’s hands were swollen from beating the Cajon. Martin’s fingers were sore from playing the thick strings of his acoustic bass, one of Stephan’s fingers were bleeding and my voice was feeling rough from the hours of singing without a microphone. But you know what? WE HAD A BLAST!
On this day, we probably sang for a couple of thousand people who were traveling to places around the world. It was amazing how many people were taking photos, shooting videos and holding there phones to share our music with someone they were calling. I suppose its just because it is not a normal occurrence at the airport. We got to see the smiles, the singing, and the dancing of total strangers. These were people that we will likely never see again and I truly hope that we may have brighten their day just a bit with our music.
I can completely assure you that I am not the best singer you will ever hear and am okay (at best) when it comes to playing the guitar. I have simply been blessed over the years and especially today, to have been surrounded by some really good musicians that enjoy making music and who have allowed me to be a part of their band. A day like the day we had at the Munich airport prompted me to take a moment and be thankful for all the places, the events and the people I have had the opportunity to play for over the years. I Am Truly Blessed!
Thank you Martin for organizing this gig for us. Thanks to Elisabeth and Michael for hosting us, keeping us hydrated and for feeding us. Tracey thanks for guiding us to the hot spots and looking after us and a very special thanks to Munich Terminal 2 for an awesome memory. What a special place, I hope we can do it again.