Around the World in 60 Days… This – or something like it – was the concept behind making a video to mark our 60th birthday. And the idea? Conchita Wurst would perform a unique birthday song, accompanied by other musicians and friends from around the world. To do so, we set off for some of Austrian Airlines’ very special destinations – Berlin, London, New York, Miami, Hong Kong, Bangkok and (of course) Vienna. That’s how we have been transporting – and connecting – people around the world for the past six decades.
The first stop on our whistle-stop world tour was the German capital, Berlin. Despite the fog and icy temperatures on set, singer Carie Cimen ensured everybody was in high spirits, launching our new version of ‘Happy Birthday’ alongside the famous East Side Gallery.
From Berlin, it was off to the city that never sleeps – New York – where we were greeted by singer Baritone McKenzie. Once the singer from Brooklyn had shown us her hood, we headed straight for Times Square, where we carried on filming – in the sunshine, but at freezing temperatures of -8 degrees.
Having experienced the fresh temperatures in the world’s coolest city, we headed south for the subtropical heat of Miami, where two cheerleaders accompanied Grammy-nominated singer Freddy Cardenas along Ocean Drive. The backdrop to the opening scene was a great vintage car.
The driver of the Ford Thunderbird, Bill, was a special highlight, and even at the age of 80, rocked the set.
In London – usually so rainy, of course – we were incredibly lucky with the weather. And what’s the most English thing you can possibly imagine? That’s right – to get out our summer clothes at the first glimmer of sunshine! Having done just that, the hugely talented Melina Madeleine danced in front of Tower Bridge in a summer dress under a clear blue sky. To the delight of the male section of our camera team, there also happened to be an NBA match going on right next to us whose players were watching the filming with interest.
From there, we moved on to Bangkok, where arguably the world’s nicest guy, Pete Pol from Voice of Thailand, was waiting to greet us. Our to-do list here included street food on the famous backpacker hangout, the Khao San Road, and enjoying a host of other customs and Thai cultural traditions. While we were filming, some schoolgirls passing by insisted on taking part in our video, and just wouldn’t take no for an answer, eventually helping us with the recording and wandering along the Khao San Road with Pete Pol in the video.
The next destination was Hong Kong, where it was the turn of musicians Coey Young and Andrew Wong. In our amazing location, up on a plateau on Victoria Peak, we were met by a beautifully clear view of the Hong Kong skyline. Once there, we were able to film undisturbed and enjoy the view down onto Hong Kong Bay.
We finished off our journey by returning to Vienna, where we broadcast the birthday song by Conchita Wurst live from the capital’s famous public ice rink, the Eistraum am Rathausplatz. Conchita, who has a very personal relationship with our airline, had been particularly anxious to do the event; we had flown her to her very first concert, and that Song Contest appearance.
And afterwards? Well, we paused to catch our breath. Within a short time, our team had produced a modern, funk-inspired birthday song and made a great video to go with it, visiting seven different countries across the world while doing so. Making us true high-flyers, indeed.
So make way, if you will, for the all-new ‘Happy Birthday’ song by the Austrian Airlines Allstars…