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The Austrian Audience Never Fails

I must admit it took almost the whole week to recover from what happened in Zurich last week. I have never experienced anything like those two shows. I slept pretty bad before the shows with the strangest dreams ever, but for some reason I don’t remember having that much good energy on stage and in a room. And the two hour emotional chaos... Jesus Christ. It all feels so right and somehow it all makes sense now. During the show there are so many feelings and memories going through the system about the moments you wrote the song somewhere to memories from that city and to the familiar faces you see in the audience. You all look so beautiful out there. I have cried on stage a million times before, and I sure will in the future too, but never ever has it felt as good as it did in Zurich both nights. Thank you so much for coming out after the long wait and thank you for whatever the angel power you filled the room with. Literally I was staring at the living room wall for a few days after I came back home. Luckily the Finnish Ice Hockey lions gave us some new kind of dopamine last night at the World Cup final and now I’m back on this planet again. Congratulations Lion-boys. So proud of you <3  
So here I am once again above the clouds on Finnair wings and this time I'm on my way to Vienna, Austria. For some reason the show in Vienna has been the place in the past where a lot of friends and family members come see the show, this time too. I’m actually glad we barely had any guests last weekend as the whole touring thing was all new to us after the break and now we should have some of the lyrics and chords deep in our systems already.
Vienna means so much to me. I came here for the first time in 2006 for Christmas with our then keyboardist / producer Jukka Backlund. We felt like spending the holidays somewhere just the two of us (as we were so much in love with each other <3) and we hang out all over Austria for a week. It was actually kind of cool. All the families were enjoying Christmas together, we were walking around Vienna and Salzburg and other smaller cities having beers with people who didn’t have a family to spend the Christmas Eve with. We even drove to Zell am See for one night. In that hotel room we both woke up after a nap to this strange TV show with really strange music performances. We looked at each other and asked if this stuff is for real?? The show was “Musikantenstadl” and on stage in between some horses and sheep was mister Maxi Arland. He became my Schlager idol. 
The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about Austria, are the festivals. I have had a picture of myself at Frequency festival 2019 as the wallpaper on my laptop since that show and for me personally the best festival experience ever is our last Novarock show in Nickelsdorf in 2018. Don’t get me wrong, there have been basically only amazing festival and show experiences during these years in 31 countries (yes I counted them for my biography) but somehow that Novarock show went to the top. We played like animals. Because the crowd behaved like animals. Good animals. Very good ones. I saw mosh pits, naked human beings, kissing and uncontrollable energy for the whole 75 minutes. 
When I think of Austria, I can’t avoid also remembering the moments when I really broke down there in 2007 at the lobby of hotel Trieste. It’s been my absolute favourite hotel in the city ever since, but that afternoon was quite heavy. We were on a two week Europe-wide promo tour with keyboardist Jukka and that day in Vienna was the start of it all. There was a river boat with a grand piano booked for us, fans and media to join and after that night we were supposed to continue to Belgium, Italy, Hungary, Sweden and Germany. Before the next round. The day before Vienna I had made the hardest decision in my life until then and fired our guitarist Janne. I can feel it in my throat even now when I think about it. Afterwards it’s easy to say it was the right thing to do and that everything happens for a reason, but damn it was awful and I felt like the worst person on the planet.  
So I walked to the hotel lobby after the morning interviews, saw the record company people and our fans and then my eyes went dark and I fell. A blackout. We cancelled everything that day and the weeks after and I have never felt that guilty in my life. That was actually the only time Sunrise Avenue ever cancelled anything. I felt like I had betrayed the whole band, all fans and also myself. I was weak. But that was one of the first messages from the universe that we all have our limits. And the understanding and love I received then from Fans, record company folks and everyone was also amazing. I realized I wouln’t have to be strong all the time. This beautiful music business sucks sometimes and it can get pretty hard on you, but it’s also full of beautiful people with good hearts. Thank you again.  
Years after that Janne called me and today we are very close friends. That is one of the biggest miracles in my life so far and I can’t even start explaining here how thankful I am for having him back in my life. Time heals wounds, but understanding and forgiveness are just amazing. I have learnt so much from this man whose dreams I once crushed. Vice Versa, he says. 
So the first date on this tour was in Switzerland. Actually first two dates and they were much more than I even imagined. I was wondering if we can ever make it as good elsewhere - or even better than last week, but then I remembered the words I said on stage years and years ago in Austria. These words have been on this flag in every room in Austria where ever we have visited this beautiful country. The Austrian Audience Never Fails. And they won’t. And we won’t either. This place and you in the room tomorrow just mean too much to us. 
Time to take a shower and to go enjoy the city a bit. I was out with a bicycle in Zurich the whole weekend. I wonder if they got them here. It’s amazing to be back on these streets. We’ve seen some moments together.
My heart is already pumping blood for tomorrow night and getting ready for another mega moment so I can fly back home on wednesday to stare at my living room wall. See you all tomorrow. I can’t wait. I love the whole world and pretty much everyone on it right now <3
Forever Yours,