As my interview with t.A.T.u. was scheduled on the 17th of February, I arrived at their hotel, the Teatrino, just a few minutes before the appointed time. After a few minutes it was time to make a call to their bodyguard to tell him that I was waiting in the lobby. He came down to tell me that he thought that the interview had been scheduled a day earlier. Misunderstanding!
We agreed that we could move it to the next day, as I was checking for a possibility to arrange for a tour in Scandinavia; I was in terrible need of having a look at the concert too.
At 5 PM, the mini-bus with their dance group, sound technician and a few other representatives working on the Tour, left the hotel for Ceske Budejovice. Julia and Lena went in the limousine and arrived some time after us.
Finally, all gathered in the dressing room, preparing for the concert. The sound technician made his compulsory sound-check, the dance group brushed up a little on their make-up and changed clothes, as did Julia and Lena. I felt really sick from all the running that day and really didn't pay much attention to who was doing what. Earlier at the hotel, their Tour representative introduced me firstly to the dance group and then to Julia. She offered me her hand and said rather relaxedly, "Hi, there." The style was not so formal and I understood that she was in a good mood. I felt relieved. The hell, I was really nervous!
The concert started. There was a fixed order of songs, all Russian ones, plus All The Things She Said, Not Gonna Get Us and Stars at the end. After the Russian part, there was a "Malchik Gay" scene. They called for 2 girls and 4 boys. The boys had to take their shirts off, while the girls remained fully dressed. A guard from the security team on stage noticed that one guy was hiding something. It turned out to be a knife! He was immediately expulsed from the arena. The concert was over for him. Such a shame!
The girls' first choice for the act refused to kiss each other and were asked to leave the stage. It went better with the new ones. The guys kissed too, spitting afterwards and making disgusting faces. They got the signed posters and one soft drink each.
One thing made me smile and almost teary-eyed. There was a girl in a wheel-chair sitting by the stage. Julia and Lena sat beside her and sang a whole song for her! They looked so adorable and sweet! It was certainly a great gesture. They gave a signed poster to the girl too.
It became hot in the arena by the end of the concert. I totally missed the first part as I was trying to make my way around the stage, trying to do a good job of taking press-pictures. At about 21.30 everything was over. We took the bus back to the hotel. I felt completely exhausted and was a nervous wreck. I approached the barstand and ordered a vodka-martini. The dinner for the Tatu Tour team was served. Every one showed up for the dinner. I called a taxi afterwards and went to my hotel with hopes of getting some rest.
The next morning, I was up at 7.30 after a short period of sleep. I actually dreamt about interviewing t.A.T.u. all night through. It soon reminded me of "ABBA-The Movie" scenario. I thought to myself that one thing was missing from the movie - riding the elevator with the stars.
It was around 14.30 when I made my entrance to the Teatrino. After a bit of thinking I went to the bar and ordered some coffee and coke. I heard t.A.T.u. talking at the other end of the restaurant. They were having lunch. Okay, as exact as I am by nature, I lifted my cellular and called Serguey again. He asked if it was okay that they'd finish up lunch first. For me it was just fine. I buried myself into the interview papers, trying to do some last-minute corrections and checking if I had all the equipment ready. Just at that moment, I heard some steps that sounded familiar. It was Julia approaching me and telling me that they were about to finish lunch. I replied something like, "Sure, no problem, take your time." She gave me a smile and went back. Lena passed by the elevators a few minutes later, I gave her a sign and she waved back and said, "Privet."
The rest of the gang came out afterwards inviting me to follow. Serguey said that now the girls were all mine and showed me to their room. They invited me to climb up on the bed too and make myself comfortable. As I was even more nervous than the previous day, such an offer made it all the easier for me psychologically. They started listening to all my small talk at the beginning. I think they were in the mood for an interview. They talked a lot and were sincere. They convinced me of what they were saying. If I would give a quick character description it would be like this:
Lena: Calm, but observant. Always thinking about what to say and how. We had a few little talks "off the record" about Roxette, discussing a bit about music with me promising to send her their latest single. It felt like talking to a friend of mine. Easy and spontaneous.
Julia: All the colours of the jungle. Looking at you with her huge blue eyes that make it impossible for you not to believe what she is saying. Personally, I thought that we could frequent the same dives. Ask me if I know her - probably not. But it felt like I did in that way.
The interview went rather great. It turned out fantastic. The main task was done. I had a few questions with me from the Scandinavian fans. They answered the questions in an express way as they were getting ready for the photo-session for Bravo magazine. I got some time to give them the gifts from Sweden and a few gifts from Estonia that I had promised to pass on. They signed the CDs I had with me as well. I was more than pleased. They are very easy-going and natural. Be earnest with them and they'll be earnest back at you.
The photosession took place downstairs. The girls were very determined to do the things the way they liked. The photographer didn't order them around a lot. Here, you understand that being a star is a full-time job. It all took 30-40 minutes.
We all went back to their room again as I had to pick up my things. On the way back, I found myself standing in the elevator, just the four of us. Security guy, Julia, Lena and myself. I thought either I was dreaming or had lost my mind because that "ABBA-The Movie" just continued accordingly with the original script. I couldn't help it... Lifted up the camera and took a picture, saying something about the situation being classic. The girls must think that I was definitely out of my mind, because they likely have never even heard of that movie that had been released in 1979 when none of them had even been born yet.
The bags and cameras were picked up from their room. I said "bye" to Lena, while Julia was somewhere else. When I got back to the hotel, it felt like a major failure. The pics didn't turn out the way I wanted them to. I needed my third chance.
The rest went by even faster. A few arrangements with some help from their interpreter Svetlana and from God as well (for sure) I was back for the second concert.
Again, backstage, dressing room, cameras, flashes, a terrific concert. The last evening the concert was in Prague and the crowd was even more enthusiastic than on the previous evening. Julia and Lena felt great, they expressed it visibly. A real "kick" from the audience! No accidents with the knives this time. Everything went fine. The atmosphere was loaded and powerful, it all could be felt in the air.
After the concert, there was a short interview for the Czech side, meeting fans and a supper at the arena. For me, the night wasn't over; I came back to my hotel at 3 AM and the next morning my 3 flights back home were waiting for me. I guess the pilots had no idea that they were flying a half-dead person who was 2 pounds lighter but veritably happy. Suddenly, it felt like I needed to hear some t.A.T.u. songs. Here was my player, headphones and a long way back home.
Written by Forre.