The Magic Highway


Christie bass player Kevin Moore writes about the band's first gigs in Estonia, a country which loved the band after watching the historic Sopot show in 1970.


Rocking in Estonia

IN 1970, the people of Estonia, a Baltic state then trapped behind the Iron Curtain, witnessed something very strange indeed via Polish television. They saw their first ever long-haired Western pop group in the shape of Christie, at the Sopot festival. And in November 2011, 41 years later and for the first time ever, Christie played two live shows in Estonia – in Tartu, and the capital Tallinn.
    Over the decades, a host of Estonian bands have covered Jeff Christie’s songs, as evidenced by the reception all of the singles received when we played them, Iron Horse almost on a par with Yellow River.
    Our promoters in Estonia looked after us splendidly, with the ever-helpful Laurie making sure everything ran smoothly. It was fascinating to visit a new territory as always, and we were actually very lucky with the weather. Mid-November, Estonia is usually blanketed with snow, but we had clear blue skies for the most part, and cool, thought not bone-chilling temperatures.
    We explored the old town of Tallinn, which was a mixture of Russian and German architecture, and quite beautiful. Some of the buildings dated back as far as the 14th century, and the architecture alone silently told the story of Estonia’s chequered history as an occupied people.
    On the morning after our arrival, Jeff was interviewed in the lobby of the hotel by Estonian television, such was the interest in all things Christie, and in particular how significant the landmark televison appearance in 1970 was.
    The first show entailed a three-hour drive through the heart of the country to Tartu, where we played in the town concert hall to a wonderfully appreciative crowd.
    It was a long day, as we had to drive back to our hotel in Tallinn that night. The following night saw us headline at The Rock Cafe in Tallinn – a great gig and a great crowd. There was already talk of us going back in the summer to perhaps play a festival, and we really look forward to that. A great country, and great people.
    We still had some time on the final day for another wander around Tallinn, and Jeff and I were given an interesting insight into the Estonian mindset, culture and history.
    We left the hotel around 3pm, fairly civilised compared to our usual touring standards – which often entail us leaving at 3am! But it was still a long day ahead, stopping off in Frankfurt for a three hour layover as it turned out, just escaping the noise restriction deadline and being grounded in Germany for the night. But it was certainly worth all the effort, and we hope to return to Estonia in the summer of 2012.

Jeff interviewed for Estonian TV

Coping with airport food

More at Kevin's blog.