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Goodbye Lisbon and see you in Jerusalem

Andy on Sat, 05/12/2018 - 23:45

That is the end of the Eurovision Song Contest 2018. That was quite an ordinary year with no special highlights or achievements. Israel victory is something opposite to Portugal victory last year, and confirms once again how unpredictable Eurovision is. Hopefully they will build organization-wise on the big success of Israel Calling event.

A few words about organization of this year - there were numerous unhappy posts from my colleagues - I think Portugal coped well for their first opportunity to host a big event like this. A massive downgrade was of course the lack of free transportation cards - I realize this is something we all were taking as a must, when it was not - but then this should have been communicated properly before the Euroweek. To be honest a few of us are leaving country with less than 10 Euros in pockets. Then - a massive security, which was very uncomfortable at times - especially Eurovillage, come on, this is a regular square event for the country and was open every year before Kyiv. Then the list of items that could not be brought in to the press center - umbrellas? drugs without prescription of doctor? (a lot of us got a cold due to changing weather) selfie sticks? I'm amased how in the years with the most tight secutiry surrounding the contest, we still get stage intruders.

And then AGAIN - no interview lists and nobody knew how to handle the interviews properly. Throwing Heads of Delegations out of interview area because they can't give interviews there without booking a room, and they can not book one because all rooms are booked and even can't use chairs in corridor? Really? Sorry, have to mention in a negative way a guy called Pedro who was responsible for the interview rooms. Never in past year we had a problem accessing interview room whenever we wanted it. That's not how the things should be run, sorry man. Little knowing people with power is a problem at many Eurovisions though.

On the positive side - we had loads of free water, coffee and tea, and press-center itself operated in a quite convenient way. I almost saw no volunteers which is a good sign, the best volunteer is the one that is not interfering in the work of press. The Lisboa card was a good addition, but it could have been explained it is not a transport ticket and is in fact valid for 24h. I liked Euroclub a lot - finally back to the real club athmosphere - small, but quite nice. Night transportation was quite convenient if you keep on to schedule. Eurovillage was packed with people and was a success too, Red carpet was quite long but organized good so all those side events worked well. My colleagues especially enjoyed press tour of AMP associates. Oh, and the app. Finally an app which is fully functional and informative. Great job on this.

Lisbon is a great city to visit with excellent music stage - I've attended 4 concerts - 2 of which were of local artists, 1 from US and 1 from Sweden. Amazing time. We also had some great travels around the city. The city itself is a best point of interest - all the museums and other venues with paid entries are mostly done to attract tourists though, so may well be skipped. The best way to explore is just to walk around the city, or get on the public transport (tram or bus) and enjoy views from the window. There are also amazing surroundings so if you're here, don't spend all of your time in Lisbon itself.

It was an OK year for #TeamKAZ. We had a 1.5 mln Youtube views during Euroweek (not counting last two days which statistically should bring even bigger figures), so that was quite successful, considering new rules regarding rehearsals filming.

Grand Final Jury Performance Live Blog

ChrisB on Fri, 05/11/2018 - 20:14

Grand Final Jury Performance. Blog will be updated in every break.

Melovin a little nervy in opening verse but recovers quickly and performs with confidence.

Alfred & Amaia did well for juries. Big cheers in arena and press centre.

Slovenia not on top of her game today. Arena loved the break.

Lithuania lacked a bit intensity for juries, but vocals were good.

Austria with more confidence than before. Clap along treatment.

Estonia lost control on one note. Rest was flawless.

Norway. Rybak gives a more serious performance for juries telling them how to write a song with energy.

Portugal. Claudia gives a very emotional performance for juries reminding them, after Norway, that they are watching a program for adults who care about music.

UK. SuRie very secure doing the best she can hoping for a storm on jury scorecards.

Serbia sounds as good as before.

Germany. Schulte not as relaxed as in rehearsals. But good vocals and lifts song with ad-libbing. I have a hunch juries will go for this big.

Albania. Juries brought Eugent to the final and he thanks them with another professional performance.

France. Arena choreo worked very well and juries could go for the stylish look+song.

Czech. Better today than on Tuesday. Also cooler if that was possible

Denmark. The Vikings showed up for juries in fine form.

Australia. Jessica took quite a few risks here and it worked out. Better than she has been before.

Finland. Saara always shows up when it matters. Excellent performance.

Bulgaria. Some outfit adjustments. Fine vocals, slightly overselling and zhana should make sure the mic stays close to her mouth for final note.

Moldova. Having seen this many times now it gets harder to assess. As before I guess.

Sweden. It took them some time, but the sound of backing vocals has finally arrived at studio version level. Well done Sweden.

Hungary. Voice held up. Impressive.

Israel. Netta found a good balance today.

The Netherlands. Waylon is always excellent.

Ireland. Ryan on a wave of euphoria from recent hype. God vocals.

Cyprus. If juries go for slick powerful A-list performances they can't overlook Eleni.

Italy. Very relaxed and good performance from Meta Moro.

Tour around Lisbon

Andy on Thu, 05/10/2018 - 20:22

Lisbon tour

Using the benefits of the Lisboa card given to all press-members (valid for 24 h from the first use, when date will be marked on it) me and Maxim have planned today a trip through Lisbon points of interest.

We've started with the Pantheon, we already were there in front of the building a week ago, but now we actually got inside. It was quite an interesting visit to the history of Portugal and a majestic building.

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"The National Pantheon, housing the tombs of Portugal’s major historic celebrities, is located on the original site of the church of Santa Engrácia. Founded in the second half of the 16th century, the building was totally rebuilt at the end of the 17th century by the architect João Antunes. Even though it was never used as a place of worship, it still preserves, under its modern dome, a majestic nave with a polychrome marble decoration typical of the Portuguese Baroque architecture. Being an icon of Lisbon’s cityscape and having a privileged location, as it overlooks the city’s historic centre and the river Tagus, it is listed as a National Monument"

"The personalities entombed here include the Presidents of the Republic Manuel de Arriaga, Teófilo Braga, Sidónio Pais and Óscar Carmona, Presidential candidate Humberto Delgado, writers João de Deus, Almeida Garrett, Guerra Junqueiro, Aquilino Ribeiro and Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, fado singer Amália Rodrigues, and footballer Eusébio"

Official page: http://www.patrimoniocultural.gov.pt/en/recursos/cedencia-e-aluguer-de-…

Next, and we made a huge mistake there, was Teatro Romano. Not because it was uninteresting, it actually was fine, but to get from Pantheon there you have to climb a lot. We calculated that we had to do 30 floor climb on that day. The museum is made of two parts: excavation site and ruins itself and the museum demonstrating antiques discovered on the site.

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"The Roman Theater was built in the 1st century, at the time of the Roman emperor Augustus . It was rebuilt in the time of Emperor Nero, and during the reign of Constantine was partially dismantled. Abandoned in the fourth century, it remained buried until 1798, the year in which the ruins were discovered after the earthquake of 1755. The object of several archaeological campaigns since 1967 there have been recovered part of the benches, the stage and a large number of decorative elements. The museum itself is housed in a seventeenth-century building in the probable area of ​​one of the old theater entrances"

Official page: http://www.museudelisboa.pt/en/equipamentos/teatro-romano.html

Bullet (with support) in RCA Club

Andy on Fri, 05/11/2018 - 10:15

Finishing the year with the concert events I've attended a heavy metal conert (finally pure hard'n'heavy). It was a concert of Swedish band Bullet with support of Screamer and Rexoria. The concert amazingly started in time, but I arrived late since I was pretty tired after the tour and just wanted to see the headline band (sorry).

Bullet having six album releases since establishment in 2001 are playing traditional hard'n'heavy which nowadays is considered old school. They didn't disappoint, despite the crowd actually was the smallest of all concerts this week with around 40 people attending. What is with so many great metal concerts in Lisbon and hardly 100 people attendance to any of them? Prospects of metal music in the country are disappointing if we compare it with Stockholm or Vienna where such concerts were packed with youngsters and even girls.

Bullet in RCA Club

Jury Rehearsal Semi2 Bookmaker Update

ChrisB on Thu, 05/10/2018 - 00:15

Today we have seen the jury rehearsal of semi2 and the betting markets have reacted on some entries:

Winners:
Romania gave a good vocal performance and is now shorter than before.
Denmark also assured the markets of qualifcation.

Losers:
Russia seems to be in trouble according to the odds.
Latvia also drifted a little bit after her performance for the juries
And the markets seem to have lost in Serbia after tonight which drifted heavily.

Semi1 Juryshow Review and Bookmaker Update

ChrisB on Tue, 05/08/2018 - 09:21

Here are a few thoughts on last night's jury show:

I picked up some vocal issues with FYR of Macedonia and Belarus was in my view a little nervous, so those will need to do better for the public.
The big winner of the night was Cyprus who smashed her performance under live pressure and gave it even more.

The betting markets have reacted accordingly, and Cyprus, I repeat Cyprus, is now the favourite to win Eurovision.

Saturnia in Musicbox

Andy on Sun, 05/06/2018 - 09:31

Another day - another event to learn more about Portugal and it's brilliant music stage. We went psychedelic again, even space-rock rather with the band Saturnia who were doing a presentation of their new album The Seance Tapes in Musicbox venue in Lisbon. A trip through the 6 previous albums, revisited by its creator, the renowned musician and producer Luís Simões. According to the press-release, with rare live appearances, and a creative process always enveloped in secrecy, this Saturnia concert was one of the must-sees of 2018 - and it definitely didn't disappoint.

The concert surprisingly got going practically on time (22.30) allowing to get back on the night bust at 00.30.

Trance music of Saturnia is dominated by the layers of organ, synthesizer, guitar and sitar that bring sometimes calm, sometimes eruptive environments, hypnotic effects with the soft voice of Luís Simões adding to the athmosphere. After experimenting with electronic influences, band is now back to the late 60's / early 70's space-rock-psychedelic, proto-progressive; with some similarities to Pulsar, Can, King Crimson, Tangerine Dream and sometimes even touches of Ravi Shankar.

Band had complete discography on sale, and I've got the new album for 13 Euros. For others I again went digital.

Saturnia at Musicbox

Bookmaker Update Day 7

ChrisB on Sat, 05/05/2018 - 17:21

It was a shorter day at rehearsals and the only substantial move in the market was on Australia, that drifted further.
The betting markets are confident in ruling out an Australian win now and it drifted on all other markets as well like the Top10 and even qualification doesnt seem to be as safe as previously assumed, which might be a temporary overreaction.
The winner of the day in the market is Moldova which continues to get great reception at the press centre.