Last Updated on June 29, 2023 by Ellen
Only a few people know this: my hearing is not good.
Hearing loss is a Kortan hereditary issue. My long-term sinus problems are another factor. And thanks to row 1 Van Halen seats in 1979 — never-ending tinnitus is also in the mix.
For most of my life, I was able to overcome and ignore it all. But as I approach 60, noticeable deterioration.
So I’m taking special notice of how music has suddenly become a big part of our international wandering.
The message seems to be – enjoy it while you can. And I AM!
Scorpions in Serbia
As soon as we flew into Belgrade, Serbia – to start our ‘summer in the Balkans’ tour – we noticed advertisements for an upcoming Scorpions concert.
I’m not a huge fan, but I’ve seen Scorpions twice in my younger days. Their tour history lists Cleveland, Ohio shows on November 20, 1979 (just after Eddie Van Halen first blew my ears out), and April 14, 1991.
Now that our paths cross again, why not check out the uber-successful German rockers who are well over 70 years of age? We grabbed $60 tickets and saw the show last Sunday at the Stark Arena in Belgrade, Serbia.
Actually, throughout our nearly eight years of global vagabonding, we’ve always been on the lookout for big name rock/pop shows like we used to attend in America. None that we cared to see ever coincided with our travel stays.
The Scorpions show was fun. I’d grade it a solid B. Seeing “Winds of Change”, the Eastern European freedom anthem, performed live with 10,000 screaming former Soviet vassals was pretty neat. Too bad some of them chain smoked cigarettes (prohibited) and stood for no apparent reason for much of the show.
Pipe organ performance
The very next night, also in Belgrade, Serbia – which by the way, is a beautiful, comfortable, walkable, enjoyable place in springtime – we attended the opening night of the annual “Days of Organ – dies organorum” festival.
A completely different setting (the Catholic cathedral) and crowd (many senior citizens) and FREE!
Ellen and I both give this event an ‘A’. A spine-tingling Concert Overture – Hommage à Kodály Zoltán performance by award-winning, 31-year-old, Hungarian, pipe organist, Zsolt Mészáros. Wow!
Yep, a kid playing masterful classical pieces, while grandfathers over 70 crank out heavy metal. We live in interesting times – and were truly impressed by both.
Not to be outdone, just a couple nights later, upon arrival in Timisoara, Romania (the country’s third largest city – known as ‘little Vienna’) we stumbled upon the Timisoara Festival of Jazz; part of the city’s ‘European Capital of Culture’ designation in 2023.
A huge crowd, free admission, cheap beer, incredible medieval surroundings, and jazz fusion musicians from around the world. Another feast for my muffled, ringing ears.
Of course, being back on the more ‘refined’ European continent, we’re also already noticing more advertised music events and festivals, restaurant/bar bands, even street musicians – compared to our years spent in the far flung corners of Asia. Churches, opera houses and theaters seem to be everywhere, too.
Thankfully, my hearing is still good enough to enjoy it all. And I intend to do so – continuing with more jazz tonight. RIP Eddie Van Halen.
As always, be thankful and generous, happy trails & more beer.
Life is NOW!