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Heerhugowaard


November 6, 2017

“Tomtom.”

- Deni

“Tomtom?”

- Ken

“Tomtom!

- Sarah

Heerhugowaard.

Say that ten times fast. Say it once, even. Just be careful when you hit that “d” at the end or you’ll bust all your teeth out.

Before I go any further, I want to take a minute to thank everyone who has been following this blog. Honestly, I started it as a personal writing challenge, with hopes of recovering from a kind of literary coma. I didn’t expect it to find an audience, so imagine my surprise when I turn up at shows and people are asking when the next entry will be posted. Wow. And the compliments have been very humbling. Thank you. It encourages me more than you know.

Right, on with the show.

We were saying during the diesel boondoggle that Sarah is due a couple of great days. We had one yesterday. After a really fun show at the Taverne in Bergen, we packed up the van for a quick trip down the road to another pretty little Dutch city, but not before a stop for some very welcome home cooking and family time.

Sarah’s cousins-in-law, Jimmy and Cora, live in the city of Haarlem. We stopped in for a few hours to have lunch and say hello. One of the cool things about touring this way is that you get to experience other parts of the world at a level beyond tourism. We’re in people’s homes and local venues and neighbourhoods. It’s a look at real life, at least up to a point. We get to talk about real things like taxes and social engineering. If I can make a blanket generalization, it’s that Canadians and the Dutch are very much alike. The Netherlands has felt a lot like home.

Jimmy and Cora treated us to an incredible lunch of balletjes soup and bread. The soup features half beef, half pork meatballs and vegetables in a thin broth. Wonderful. The bread, as with all bread in this country it seems, was soft and delicious. Homemade food is such a treat on the road.

After lunch it was on to Heerhugowaard, to a bar called Café de Swan for a rare Sunday afternoon show – always an attendance question mark back home. It’s a neat venue. The proprietor, Jan, welcomed us with open arms and cold drinks. They really do look after bands over here, and it’s so appreciated. We didn’t need to worry if anyone would come, either. Our Friesland friends and German girls were there in numbers, along with a large crowd of locals. We played, they danced. Perfect.

There’s a band from the area called 4Nations (I hope I’m getting that right) that covers Sarah’s song Stand Up. We played it towards the end of the show, with an extended breakdown section. Members of the band were in the audience, so we had the singer and drummer come up and play the song out with us. It was a fun moment in another really great show. It must be gratifying for Sarah to have bands playing her songs. I think the 4Nations folks were thrilled too.

We ended the show to a wall of cheers. Encores encored, we got to hang out with people and shake hands and sign things and pose for photos. Sarah is so good with people. From my vantage point on stage, I can see how she connects with fans. It’s not easy to do, especially among people who may not know who you are. She’s captivating, though. Not just the voice, but the stage presence. It’s important. And after the show, she has time for people. Gratitude is a powerful thing. She lives it.

We stayed for a second night at the Spring Flower B&B in Bergen. As Café de Swan was an early gig, we got back in time to hit Taverne Bergen for a nightcap with some friends we met at the Bergen show. The nightcap turned into another little food festival in the party garage at Nadra and Paul’s place. Such generous people. They treated us like gold. We won’t forget it.

We also got to rock an e-bike and then Ken almost got killed. Just another night on tour.

After that it was a relatively early bed time in a warm, comfortable room. It was the sleep of angels, until ….

To be continued.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, this public service announcement from Deni and Ken:

#cafedeswan #Heerhugowaard #SarahSmith

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