I tried to go to bed and forget about the deleted tour diary but couldn’t sleep. I’m back. It’s 12:24 am here in Bremen.
We left off with me in Vienna. Most travel days are just up, down, baggage claim, boring. But I was able to spice it up a bit by having my 3 hour “flight” from Vienna to Bremen (via a change in Frankfurt) take 8 hours.
Apparently Lufthansa in Germany is having problems. I still have my ticket with my flight information on it and how the flight from Frankfurt to Bremen will be 55 minutes but when I got to Frankfurt - my “flight” was on a train and took 4.5 hours.
In the end, I got here and all is fine but I got zero correspondence from Lufthansa about this change. That is what pisses me off. I had scheduled a taxi and had to eat that cost because I couldn’t cancel it. Just bullshit. I’m way less mad about it today than I was Tuesday and the ticket counter was not any help at all. Just like “You are taking a train from Frankfurt to Bremen.” “NO, I booked a flight.” “Yes, it says here; ‘flight on train.” No acknowledgement that it was changed.
That’s some bullshit.
I picked up my rental car today and then went and got my stuff that I leave at Niklas’ studio except the bass amp and pedalboard weren’t there. A two hour freak out ensued as I was convinced they had gotten stolen but when Nik got back to me he told me they were just at his house in Osnabrück. But for two hours I was super anxious.
Then I picked up my PA from Heike’s garden and had a wonderful cup of tea and pear chocolate cake while we caught up. It lowered the anxiety that’s for sure. Her garden is picturesque* and some friends stay here when they are on tour. I would like to do that sometime and we make vague plans about it.
At Mona’s I pick up the last of my crap that’s floating around this town and also pick up Mona as she will be singing with me on a few songs tonight. I’m super psyched for her as she just got engaged recently. Such a sweetheart and sings so beautifully. She also has my mandolin in it’s case and hasn’t opened it since I gave it to her which upon opening it up I remember why. This is the mandolin I threw off stage at Breminale. It is in pieces in the gig bag. I may try to find some glue and have a go at re-glueing the neck but it might not take.**
Now I have played Marcthalle Acht before. It was years ago with Riddle & The Stars but I’ve always stayed in touch with Patrick who does the booking. It’s funny, I was here last year at this time and I go an email from him on Sept 21 asking “Do you want to play on Sept 22?” And at the time I had Sept 22 available and I thought he was asking about the next day but it turns out he was asking about Sept 22, 2022. A whole year away.
That is European Tour planning in a nutshell.
I will have friends ask about booking in Germany and I will tell them to plan a year ahead and most of my musician friends (that haven’t toured here) can’t do it. It’s a super weird change in mindset from playing in the USA where you will be asked “Can you play tomorrow night?” There are exceptions of course but generally speaking…
Sorry, tangent. Ended.
Markthalle Acht is a shopping center food court area. Not what one thinks of in terms of music venue and honestly, it is a bit odd. The speakers are suspended way above you and are pointing in one direction. There are no monitors, no stage to speak of, no lights and yet the folks all circle around and you can hear pretty much everywhere. It’s more challenging as the performer because the sound is so far above you, you have to trust yourself and just go for it. If you’re doing a quiet number and the audience is talking, it’s not easy. Shit, if you’re doing a loud song it can be tough too.
But I get there and there’s already people I know waiting for me here, there and over there. I can’t even come close to naming them all for fear of leaving someone out. Just unbelievable how much love was shown to me tonight.
Axel Kruse is starting the show. He and I have talked about doing a show together for years now and this is the first time we’ve made it happen in a long time. Axel has a great acoustic delivery that is like a German Mike Scott.*** and I love his voice. There’s great video of him jumping up on stage the last time I played Breminale and he can be seen laughing when I throw my acoustic guitar up in the air. It’s my favorite moment from that video. Mona sings a couple with Axel too and they sound fantastic.
I asked Mona to sing with me today and she was on board. Did we rehearse? Nope. Just flew on our britches and it was wonderful. She has a really great intuitiveness to singing along and I have a habit of not doing things *exactly* the same every time and she followed. Amazing.
While I’m playing I can see folks singing along all around me. There’s 4 dudes with cameras taking photos and a few more taking video with their phones. I spin around and I feel like I’m really neglecting the folks behind me but the mics and speakers are facing the other way. I keep trying to look back.
I play for a while and Patrick asks me to stop to break and sell some records. I don’t want to stop but this is probably a good idea as I sell a bunch of records. I kick it back off again and at the end of the set Axel gets up and plays Angelia and Long Way to the top with me and we strum it out so hard I break strings. Not them little wires, I break D & G and pierce my finger trying to string change in a hurry. Now there’s blood on the guitar. Making it look mean.
A couple of encores later and it’s time to pack up. I put folks in touch with one another so more people can come to the garden party on Sunday. So many friends/fans here. There’s even the fireman that gave me a Fire Brigade patch off his jacket when I told the story about police patches and he comes up to me and says “where’s my patch?” And I reach in my bag and pull it out for him. I brought it with me thinking I might see him and he’s legit shocked that I remembered.
There was so much more but I can’t remember when writing the story the second time. I’m sorry.
It’s 1:06 am. I have to sleep as I’m driving to Belgium tomorrow.
*Tracy and I are playing in this garden on Sunday, I will take pictures.
**I don’t think this counts as broken on this tour as it was broken on a previous tour, forgotten about and remembered and then discovered as broken.
***From the Waterboys