How many of the non US-based BOC fanbase have thought to themselves whilst looking at the upcoming BOC gig list schedules "Wouldn't it be great to just suddenly drop everything and shoot over to the States to see BOC play a gig somewhere?".

I'm sure we all have at one time or another... Hellenic Cultist, Makis, certainly has. But here's the difference: he not only thought it - he did it!!

Here's the story of his "Trip of a Lifetime" in his own words...

One month ago I was on a ship in Australia, where I wanted to sign-off... so I did... and when I got back home I got an email from my buddy Redcap "BOC is playing at Greenbay,I will be there I wish you could be there"... and THEN a crazy idea comes into my mind...

Though I would have been only 10 days at home after a long period on a ship, though I knew my wife would "kill me" (for economical reasons and more..)... ONLY the thinking that BOC may not exist next year (hopefully I have the same nightmare for the last 10 years or something... but it never turns to be a reality) made me start looking for prices (air-tickets, hotels...)

To see if I can make it this time and be with my friends and the BOC.

So I managed to find some good deals (though I had a problem to book with NWA since there is no office here but KLM is the one could book for you..)

Then I had to get a tourist VISA from the American Embassy (it took 3-4 days to get it, but I had the fear...),then I wanted to find the best plan so to meet my relatives in NJ and PA the time between the concerts and arrange everything.

That was the best part I would say but when there are such nice and kind guys like: Redcap, Me262pilot, BOCevil, Kira, Wings Wetted Down, Harvest moon who were so kind to share their house with me or drive me to the cities BOC was playing and so many others who were so kind to send me info how to get there (Oystergirl,Ghostrider... and so many more..)..THEN everything is possible... all these guys made feel that even if I had a problem at least I had someone to call... and this was proved in NY when we had the tire-flat out with John's car and Redcap and Oystergirl were there to assist from the phone or whatever...

So... everything was arranged and then comes the bad weather... I was so relaxed everything was in order I was watching the news on TV... I could see and hear the guys saying "no flights to NY for the last couple days... big snow... bad weather..." but I wouldn't listen... then my mother comes to my house and says "are you sure you're flying to NY tom? Did you see the news on tv ?"... then I started realizing there might be a BIG problem... I called the airports etc... and luckily they told me it would be ok the day I was flying...

So somehow I didnt want to believe I was so close but the weather could screw everything... somewhere inside me there was the fear of been lost somewhere in another country... I could see nightmares like the movie (with Tom Hanks) who spent 6-7 years of his life at the airport... things like that.

So here I was at the airport... the flight was like this:

Athens-Zurich-NY-(I had to get the domestic tickets)-Mineapolis-La Crosse.

ZURICH: Everything was covered with snow...

NY: while I was at the airport I could see a HUGE bunch of snow and I was like "Wow! That would be a nice pic!" but then I changed my mind and I left the camera in my pocket... then the guy who was ahead of me takes out his camera and took a pic of that snow... and suddenly 2 policemen appeared from..nowhere..and arrested him or something... ( I was like... "I can't believe it... I managed to come here after all these problems and I could have been at a police station instead of the venue BOC play tom"... )

Then I went to the NWA desk to get my tickets but the lady told me "sorry... there is no reservation for you.. "... I was like "WHAT? Are you sure?"

Then images from the future came into my mind... me killing the agent who booked for me from Athens... but I tried to cool down and I started calling my wife to contact the agent, but it was 20:00 hrs there... then I was calm to think and say to the NWA agent "could you check with KLM please?"... and that was her mistake... so I got my tickets...

And there I was in La Crosse, meeting my friend Redcap after so many years in contact with him online and through snail mail... that amazing!!!

I cannot describe the feeling of meeting people/friends from other countries you never met b4 ! It wasn't my first time since I had a same experience 2 times in the past... in 1999 when I visited Andrew Rushton at his house in Birmingham UK while I was with a ship in Wales... and in 2003 in London during the BOC concert there at the fans meeting at a bar before the show.

It was snowing in LaCrosse and we had the fear how to get to Greenbay... next day Kira was there, WingswettedDown was there, Harvest moon (and not only.. was there and we were ready... probably everybody was sick and tired watching me taking pictures and mpeg of the places, the forests while we were at the car...

My dream had started becoming true ..i was dreaming of this for years...

Me being in a car or bus following the BOC wherever they were playing...

Somehow, we found the hotel in Greenbay and the first guy who we met was R-Jay who was at the door... then it was Robzilla, Syborg, Knuckles, and few other guys and the band too !!! YES ! we were told Jules and Richie were around but I wasn't so lucky to meet them at that time.

Before the show we went to the hotel's bar where more fans and local people were and we had a couple of drinks and all the people would come and talk to us. They were so friendly...

And then it was time for the show!!! It was Soooo Cold outside... I think it was -20 Celsius out... our seats were 2nd or 3rd row and we met lot of other fans there... Redcap and all the others use to say to EVERYBODY that I came from Europe just to see BOC and everybody was so surprised!

And then the band was on stage... "the red and the black" was the opening act... then it was "ODd on Life" and then Eric says "we'd like to thank our fans and especially the ones who came from so far away to see us tonight... Makis... where are you Makis??"

And then I stood up and screamed "over here.."

Eric was "where did you come Makis from?"

And I was (yealing) "Athens-Greece"...

And then suddenly the people from the other close-rows would turn and say "hello...bravo" to me etc... I couldn't believe it you know... and WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL THESE... ????? mmmmmm,can you guess???

A dirty-drunk American from somewhere in Wisconsin... i'm not gonna tell you his name... Noooooooooooooo...

I remember Allen while he was playing the solo on Last Days of May... he lost the tempo And it took 3-4 sec to get the tempo back... but he realized that but I think he was (Allen) pissed off of himself and that lead him to play the LONGEST LDOM solo EVER... Buck had such a funny face like "will you allow me to play my solo??" (same thing happened few days later in NY during Joan Crawford).

The show was great... everybody seemed to be in very good shape... the only sad thing... the only payed songs from the past and the set wasn't so long... 12 songs plus 2 encores... anyways... I loved Richie's play on bass... AWESOME... I loved Jules' drum playing... AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In my opinion he's the only drummer the band ever had who is so close to Albert Bouchard (my fav drummer of all times)... Redcap was so right when he was telling me "the guy attacks the drums like a maniac... "...

I'm not sure if he's the best drummer BOC ever had but I have a feeling this guys fits better than anyone else...

I would never believe what was coming next... I had a small hope I would meet some band members after the show at the hotel but I wouldn't believe b4 that if you told me that would be nothing to the next event...

So... after the show at the hotel's bar: all the fans who were staying at the hotel, Mr Buck Dharma, Jules Radino... and some girls...

I was wearing ALL my BOC banners and patches, buttons and some girls thought I was a band member and they were like (to me..)

"so where do you play next week guys?"

I was: "excuse me..??"

"where do you play next week?"

I was "who me?"

"yes... aren't you a band member?"

I was "not yet... sorry... I just took the plane from Athens to see these guys..."

"what?you came all the way from Greece to see BOC? Wow!!!.."

"I love his accent... " bla –bla bla...

When Buck left the room I started thinking of the next BOC show I was going to be to... I couldn't expect was coming next...

So... Buck, Jules, Jack Secret and me, Redcap, Weavil, Kira, RJ, RObzilla,Weavil's keyb-player and few other guys went to the corner-blues bar across the street where a blues band was playing... on our way there Weavil was saying to me he was so proud to play with Brain Surgeons on stage (we were talking about them..) and then I was "did you ever manage to play with BOC on stage?"

He was "no... I wish I could... but..."

The guy didn't know it was meant to be...

So there was a local blues band... Buck and Jules was sitting very close to the entrance and I was at the other corner where 2-3 girls (pretty I'd say..) would come and touch our hair and want to dance etc... like we were aliens...

Then I noticed Weavil talking to a guy and I had a feeling something really nice would happen... and then he takes the microphone and says "ladies and gentlemen please welcome the BOC... "

And I was like "WHAT ????"

Then Buck takes the blues-band's guitar and Jules is on the drums !! Weavil on guitar and vocals... the local's band slide guitar player on his position

And Jack Secret !!!! on bass... they started playing some blues and Dead Kennedy's I think songs... (I feel so lucky I managed to get some nice and some bad fotos and mpeg ... really nice memories...)... they continued playing for the next 40 min...

Then came a drunk blond girl... stripper I guess... who would show her boobs to everyone on stage... then I noticed RJ saying something to her like "we have a guy with us who's from Greece... " and there she comes... attacks me...

Wants to dance with me... would touch me everywhere... she showed me her boobs I was like "ooh,yes very nice BUT could get the hell out of my sight?? You know there is Buck Dharma on stage... so please... I cannot watch him if you stay in front of me"...

After the "BOC" jamming... Buck comes next to me and starts talking to me... you know I guess all of us didnt want to go after him since we understand he's had enough meetings at every show and we didnt want to disturb him or something...

I'd never believe any from the band would be so friendly and polite...

There was that blond one again... and then I felt someone "knocking" on my back... it was Jules!!! with such a big smile on his face saying to me "it seems she likes people from Greece..."

Then I was to her: pointing to Redcap... cause I could feel there was a conspiracy going on... "you see this guy with the mustache? He's Italian... and you know how romantic people the Italian are... don't you...??"

We had such a nice time with the BOC guys there...

Next day we drove back to LaCrosse... I was so tired... the time difference sickness was around time to "come"... and I slept at Redcap's couch from 4 pm until next morning I... think... I could say I think I saw Kira and Mark and his brother for some seconds but ..that was it...

So Redcap takes me to the airport with his car... there is NOBODY at the airport at 9 in the morning... I was like "what the hell is going on here? is it a ghost city or something??"

When I saw a guy (YEAH !!!!!) opening the door I said "excuse I want to check in my luggage"... he was "oh yeah... there is a machine somewhere... "

(never did a check in with a machine b4!)..then I managed to do and there was a message "you should call an agent" (since I was a European I guess...)

and then I rung the bell and there's a human being!! At last!!! And suddenly the shops open and there are people!!!!! Yeah... i'm not alone.

Then I had to fly to Minneapolis and to JFK... there was BOC evil waiting for me but there was a delay at the baggage claim machine and it took him some time to find me... then we found the guys at his Jeep (Miller and Jim from NY). Then I had a bad feeling like "please make it happen to be at the show tonight... I don't want any problems or any police to stop us or something..."

Suddenly we felt a tire or brake bad sound... we worried a lot... and John managed to move his car out of the road... and then we saw the tire.."Flat out" (not Buck's LP in 1982 but a REAL one..) and the wheel was totally bent outwards... he was like "I will kill my brother... he's responsible for this.."

And then comes a trooper... I was like "shit on my mouth next time I think of a problem..."... he had a very serious look against us and I WENT to him to "calm him down" since he would realize from my accent we have no idea where we are etc... so I did and he was "so, where are you guys trying to go?"

I was "to a rock concert"... "oh yeah .." he was.."and who's playing" Me and John were "Blue Oyster Cult... do you know them?" and then he had another look at this face... smile: "Do you know RIchie Castellano? The bass player? He's my friend... we were together in school... I know his parents..."...we were like "what ???? Are you kidding..??"

and he was so HAPPY to HELP us... and so he did and called a tow-truck to get the Jeep...

So we went to Malcahey's pub where the venue was... a small corner bar, but it had a big venue place at the back... you didn't have to get a ticket if you tried the bar's door... (they were 2 doors !!)... but since we wanted to be ok with or band we bought the tickets and then went back in from the other door where there was NOBODY there to check you in... Amazing!

While I was going in I noticed a guy with Hellenic Accent... I talked to him in our mother language and he was from my country indeed !!! but he was Greek-American... his name was Ioannis ("Yanni") and he is the BOC cd-cover artist... we had a talk... and he got me into stage !!! Next to Steve Schenck while the band started to play the 2nd song but I preferred to be with the crowd and went back to the audience...

Before the show... I noticed Bobby Rondinelli... we had a pic together...

And met Oystergirl, Gloria and some other people who I know their faces from pics I've seen online but didn't know their names...

The show was great again... much different sound than Greenbay I would say (much better at Greenbay I'd say..), Buck had some problems with the volume of his amps... and there was Eric announcing Bobby Rondinelli and his bro Ted on stage... he told him "I hope you do rem the songs otherwise I will fire you.."..so Bobby pickep up Cities on flame... Ted got Allen's guitar but while he was trying to play a solo there was no volume at all... so he had to go to the amp and turn it up/... and while Buck was trying to play the "bridge" to 2nd part of the song before his solo... Bobby would play a longer part than he should and that screwed up everything and Buck had to play the riff... 3 !!!! times since Bobby wouldn't stop playing the drums !!!

You know..i like this kind of stuff.. .these are unique memories... I dont care at all... I dont mention this to show a weak part or something... my BEST time in USA was the blues jamming after the show... no sets... just play whatever they like...

Also... while Buck was playing a solo... Ted was behind him and Buck tried to turn suddenly but had no idea there was Ted behind him and his guitar "crushed" on Ted's body and he stopped playing for 2 seconds...

And on "Joan Crawford"... Allen would never stop the piano-intro... it was the LONGEST INTRO EVER... the guys were looking at him like "will you please stop the piano intro to play the song?"

I noticed Jules kind surprised when Bobby was on stage... he didn't seem to be so comfortable... I don't know if Bobby was there to show to everybody he's still available for the band or something... not so sure...

I forgot to mention that b4 the show I met Jack Secret with his wife, son and a friend and they invited me to the restaurant across the street... we had a beer... and Jack told me stories from the past... mostly on Imaginos project and Athens 1987... and more and we had some pics together..

I'm not gonna mention the sets since there were people at bocfans.com who did it... so...

but the set more HEAVY in NY(Long Island) and I had the weird feeling I was at BOC's home... I felt it from the fans too... much different/wild people than the 1st show..more hardcore metal faces... at Greenbay were also parents and A LOT 12-13 years old kids...

And then when the show ended (the band was still on stage saying "bye-bye") there was a guy next to me yelling to Allen "are you coming to England soon?" then Allen was like "I have no idea..."

And I asked him "excuse me, are you from England?"...and he was "yes,I am Andrew Robinson..." and It was my pleasure meeting the guy...

But the reason I was looking for a guy from UK was because Redcap told me at his house before I left that he was informed my friend from UK Andrew RUSHTON..was going to be in NY too !!!

I was like "WHAT ????"... I was in contact with him couple days b4 I left and he didn't mention ANYTHING... and Redcap was "yes Andrew Is like that... "..i had no idea they knew each other,but in NY I realized he was mentioning another Andrew... .

After the show we met Buck, Jules and Richie (he was so excited when we told him the story with his friend Eric... but he already knew from Jack I think... and when he saw us was like "was it you who met my friend Eric?")... we met his sister,Bobby Rondinelli and his brother... Oystergirl her husband and many other fans...

The next day my cousin came from Delaware to pick me up from the hotel

And took me to West Caldwell to my and his aunt's house where I stayed for 1.5 days... my other cousin came with his limo and gave me a ride EVERYWHERE in NYC... ex-twin towers,China town,everywhere in NY and NJ... amazing ride !

That evening my cousin from Delaware came again to take me to Philadelphia were I spent the next 2 days... we went to an NBA game (Sixers-Cleveland)

And all museums etc of Philadelphia... it was nice...

Then we met Mike (me262 pilot) who was so kind to accept me to his house for one night (it was a long BOC night...) and next morning he took me to all historic places and museums of Devon and at a Greek restaurant...

And then we met his friend Mauro and went to Atlantic City...

We found our hotel and went to the casino where BOC was playing... I had never played b4 at a casino and I tried and I was lucky to win 250 dollars in the next 5 minutes!!!!..that was it..i played some but I lost 20-30 dollars and I gave up...

Then we had to find the way to House of Blues... suddenly Jules was infront of me and recognised me and said "hello... do you know where the venue is?"

We found the way to the venue BUT they would let any cameras...

Anyway I found a reason to get a photo-pass...

Our seats were at the balcony but we preferred to be close to the stage... there was that drunk old guy who would kill me to get my kronos silver jewllery...

Miller was there again... too..(b4 the show I met him at the desk and he was like "is my name on the guest list?" the lady replied "No.."

Then Miller was "it doesn't matter I do have a ticket anyway.."Before the show there was a blues band trio on stage..the encore was "Roadhouse blues"

And then there was a familiar intro music and BOC was on stage... .

The sound was great... everything was perfect... except the opening act.."R&B"..somehow the volume of the guitar was off and when the curtains were away and BOC started playing the tune (one next to the other with the guitars in hand..) there was only drums and bass sound... .

They had to restart !!!!

BUT it was the BEST of the 3 shows I watched... Richie rocked... the guy is AMAZING! Jules too ...

HOB filmed the gig I'm sure... I forgot to say that Eric mentioned Miller in NJ... saying "here's a sample of the average BOC fan",asking him questions like "how many tees you have?" (300),"how many giggs have you been to?"

After the show we managed to meet the band and get some pics...

The next morning Mike drove me to the bus-station in Atlantic City and the rest is history... I had the same flight backwards... NY-ZURICH-ATHENS

I want to thank ALL BOC fans (and not only) who were so kind to help me in the states and made my "tour" comfortable... and especially (for different reasons):

Redcap, Me262 pilot, Jack Secret, ALL the onliners I met at the hotel in Greenbay, BOCEvil, Buck Dharma, Jules and everyone from the band... did I forget somebody????