Tour Diary, Sept 16, 2023

Waking up in Bad Doberan (near Kühlungsborn) is one of those waking up and not knowing where you are experiences. I have slept here before but in that just waking up alone moment there is a feeling of “where am I?” that feels out of time and space.

I remember reading that The Replacements used to play a game on tour where they would just randomly point at someone in the van and demand “Day, Date, City?” And the one being quizzed would never have the right details. I always thought it a funny story but if it weren’t for the tour diary, there’s no way I would know the date and I rarely know what day of the week it is anyway. 

It’s a long ride back to Bremen from Kühlungsborn today. I finish up listening to Dave Grohl’s book on the ride and get back to Heike’s garden in the late afternoon. I have about 2 hours until I have to leave to go to tonight’s show at Haus am See in Oterstedt, Osterstedt, Osterstadt… hold on, I have to look it up. I was so close; Otterstedt. 

Haus am See is a sort of locals only restaurant on the banks of a small lake. I say “small lake” because when you’re sitting there, you can see all of it. It’s very cute and feels like New Hampshire and the mosquitos suck like New Hampshire too. I have the option of playing inside or outside and the mosquitos are the deciding factor for indoors. 

I am served up a delicious dinner of schnitzel, potatoes and mushroom gravy. When I ask for “Apfelschule” as my beverage of choice I get a sideways look from the bartender. No matter where you go people are suspicious of you when you don’t drink alcohol.* 

Setting up in the corner of the room, there’s nothing glamorous about this “stage” as it’s literally just the corner of the room. I put my PA speakers up on chairs and dial in a sound pretty quickly. As I start, folks start coming in the room and it’s never like, capacity seating but I play for a mostly full room the whole night. 

Again, folks that don’t know me at all, come in and sit down and listen. I think there’s an element of me coming to where they are that they appreciate. There’s lots of entertainment options in the city but this is in the woods, on a lake…there’s not a lot else going on here. I’m not making fun when I say that. There’s places like that everywhere and I love going to those places. 

I’m asked by a few people “How is it that you ended up here performing?” “I was asked.” 

Sonja and Barbara have come to see me tonight and they sit with Heike while I play. Sonja and Heike have seen a few shows now and there’s this feeling of changing things up a bit night to night just so they don’t get bored. And that’s hard! As much as you rehearse your songs to perform a certain way, there are elements of song introductions that are also rehearsed to an extent so you feel like you’re telling the same people the same story even though most of the people there have never heard it. 

Years ago, Tracy and I went to see Blue Rodeo in Vancouver. It was an amazing show and just before they played “what am I doing here?” Gregg started the introduction of performing in front of a big Ferris wheel early in their career and the woman next to us shouted something like “Yeah, we know!” And Tracy and I were like “But we don’t!” And that is a thing that I think about every time I start a story that I’ve told a few times, there’s new people that haven’t heard it yet!

Back at Haus am See I play some big loud songs, some quiet ones and everything in between. I unplug to sing a couple in the middle of the room with no PA and I am really enjoying doing this. I don’t know if it will fly in other places but I want to try it. Future tour diaries will likely have a mention of when I try this and it didn’t work.

I have a great talk with a few folks buying cds who really dig the music. One guy shouts out for another mandolin song, so I obliged. There’s another table of folks that have come out to see me who have seen me before and I have a nice catch up with them as well.  

When we’re bringing stuff out to the car it is so dark in the parking lot that I am just walking towards where I know I parked. I can’t see the car until I’m right upon it. It feels almost like a campground it’s so dark here. When I plug in the phone and try to use GPS - there’s not near enough signal to find me. Heike and I drive for a bit saying things like “I think we turned here” and the roads are tiny, grown over and almost feel like an oversized sidewalk in places as they are made of not pavement or asphalt but individual bricks. After 10 minutes of driving GPS finds us and we get back to Bremen with ease. 

I’m starting to feel the fatigue of no days off and not retaining as many details the next day. If I write right away, I’m still sharp enough to remember but two days later it starts to blur the details and my writing gets less sharp as well. It’s like the beginning of the Yellow Wallpaper compared to the end of the Yellow Wallpaper.**

Right Now - it’s 8:08 am and I’m on a train. According to my FitBit, I got 3 hours and 24 minutes of sleep last night. I’m hoping for an easy travel day on only two trains - Bremen to Hamburg and then Hamburg to Copenhagen. 

I will rest once I’m on the second train. 

*And Apfelschule is kind of a kids drink. It’s apple juice and sparkling water and honestly, it’s delicious. I make it at home now. 
**another description that probably only works in my head.

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