Rubbing shoulders with fellow Springsteen fans near the front of stage produces plenty of banter and comparing of Bruce stories. In 2014 at Auckland’s Mount Smart stadium I met a woman from Springsteen’s home state of New Jersey who’d seen him more than a hundred times. Impressive, but perhaps even a better story came from a small group of intrepid travellers I bumped into at Christchurch’s AMI stadium this week.
I saw a couple had the word “Luxembourg” on their t-shirts. At first I assumed they were Kiwis who had visited Luxembourg. But upon hearing their accent I realised that was far wide of the mark. They were FROM Luxembourg. Talk about commitment! There were three of them, all married men with kids whose wives had said, guys, go chase that dream while you’re young enough and we’ll hold the fort back home. Alain Ronkali was an airline pilot turned union representative, while Oistein Schmit was a high school geography teacher. And because Oistein only had a week break from school, they all committed to the New Zealand expedition within that time frame. In fact Oistein would arrive back in Luxembourg on a Sunday night and be back teaching on the Monday morning. What drove them to it? I got time to have a quick chat, which you can listen to here. I didn’t see them after the show, but I hope they enjoyed it and enjoyed their time in our country. Prost, Alain and Oistein!