Zdob şi Zdub is back for a third go at Eurovision for Moldova. They’ve teamed up with the Advahov Brothers to serve us up this slice of crowd-pleasing nonsense. Using the Chișinău To Bucharest overnight sleeper train they demonstrate the strong kinship between Moldova and Romania. There’s never a surprise at a mutual exchange of douze points between the nations but this is perhaps the most overt show of transnational support we’ve yet seen. Blatant? Maybe, but given the circumstances in Europe right now it’s rather nice to see a former Soviet country celebrating its neighbour rather than bombing it.
I’ve spent more hours than I care to recall on Soviet trains, and the fun video picks out plenty of the traits of the journey: the stuffy compartments, the stern-looking dezhurnaya casting her eye over the smooth running of her carriage, and the officious border guard. The restaurant car seems to have improved since my day but believe me when I tell you that most journeys aren’t this lively. As much of an adventure this overland travel may be, any lingering romantic notions are soon overcome by the intense ennui in real life. Unless you travel a class or two down: there genuinely isn’t a dull moment in the basic, open platzkart carriages. Nor a quiet one, when you’re lying there in supreme exhaustion trying to sleep, but where else might you find a soldier who can open a bottle of beer at 3 am using only his eye socket? I kid you not.
One thing Zdob şi Zdub can do is bring the performance. With a 6th paced debut and a 12th paced comeback result under their belts this feels a good bet for the final once more and there’s plenty of chaotic Balkan energy to rouse the crowd who’ll be gagging for something to party to. This will find plenty of support right across the whole of the eastern regions. It’s not quite ticking all my boxes, but I’m sure it will be a riot on the stage.
My marks: 6 points