The Stellas — Live from Asia (5/10-5/14)

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Charlotte's The Stellas are in the midst of a tour of Southwestern Asia to perform for troops at bases in the Middle East. They've agreed to keep us updated on how it's going along the way:

Day 1: May 10 8 a.m.

We all met up at Jacob's house to load up equipment, and make some last minute adjustments. We arrived at the Charlotte airport two hours before our flight, which was a good idea because after checking in all our equipment — 30 pieces — our plane was already boarding. First issue we had was two of our bags were overweight. After we started freaking out, the guy behind the counter told us we could buy duffle bags for $35, so we gladly purchased three of those and got everything underweight.

Our flight schedule was Charlotte to Atlanta to Washington to London to Biskhek. Thirty-six hours and a couple of time zones later and we arrived in Kyrgyzstan. We passed through customs, met our contact and headed toward the base. By this time, it has been almost two days since we've been in a bed, so we shower and crash. May 11 happened but nobody really knows when?

May 12

Four hours after going to bed, we are back up and eating lunch before our base tour. It was Taco Tuesday in the DFAC (Dining Facility) and was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. At Manas AB, we were given a tour of all the facilities, got a great breifing from the base commander, took a Humvee ride with Security Police and got an airplane tour of a KC-130.

We went back and ate again, and then headed over to Pete's Place for soundcheck/setup. The first injury of our tour was Shaun's brand new Les Paul. When he opened the case, the neck was snapped completely off. It was a sad moment, but luckily we brought three extra guitars.

When we showed back up at Pete's, the place was packed — easily 400 people there and more large groups outside. By far the most appreciative crowd we have ever played for. Loud ovations after every song no matter what we played. We invited the "Manas AB Idol" winner up to sing with us on our cover of The Kinks "You Really Got Me" and a group of Airmen joined us for The Ramones "I Wanna Be Sedated." We played a 45-minute set, then took a short break, then returned for another one-hour set. Our first mosh pit happened to our song "RIP," but was quickly broken up. The stage was huge, nice light show and a amazing crowd made it by far the coolest show we played to this date.

After the show, we signed autographs and posed for pictures for the next hour, then dove into the local Russian beverages. We were given beers called "9," because they were 9-percent alcohol, which actually tasted pretty good. Our beautiful Russian bartender, Anastacia, asked us did we wanna see a card trick. Of course we did, then she amazed us for the next half-hour.

A few 9's later and we all stumbled back to our rooms, that unfortunately weren't where we left them. Every building looks the exact same, so Shaun and Devin guessed their way home. Which led to a couple of incorrect doors, finding other soldiers already in their beds. Eventually everybody found there own beds and went to sleep.

May 13:

We got up for Lunch which was t-bone steaks! Outstanding. Then we packed up and sat in the Passenger Terminal and watched Taken. Our first flight took us to Kandahar, Afghanistan. While we sat around waiting for our next ride, we watched Queen's Top 20 videos on TV. One of the guys there approached us saying his daughter Amanda had heard of us, so we talked with him and signed a CD for her. Then we got on a plane to our final stop of the day Al Udied, Qatar.

May 14:

We landed after midnight in Qatar, there are almost 8,000 people at this base and we are told most will be at our show later today. More updates to come...

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