November 7, 2017
… the home renovation crew turned up at 7:40 a.m. to start tearing windows and doors out of the B&B. Deep Coma Deni handled the noise like a champ. Jumpy John was Mr. Eyes-Wide-Open from the hammer’s first fall. It’s okay, though. I got a solid six hours for the first time since we arrived. No complaints.
Okay, now it’s confession time.
The truth is I don’t write about everything that happens on the road. A lot of what we talk about and what we do is very personal, and keeping it inside the van is partly how we build bonds with each other. We’re a unit. We’re a family. Sometimes we need to put up our boundaries and protect them, at least for a little while.
I’m going to break that rule right now and tell you about a problem we’ve been having from day one. I hope Sarah’s okay with me talking about this, because her opinion means the world to me and I wouldn’t hurt her for anything. To be honest, I thought this issue might make the tour really tough at some point, and possibly even kill it. Thankfully, we’ve worked it out between us and I can tell you that everything’s going be fine because ….
Wait for it.
Sarah found a yoga mat!
Creature comforts are important sometimes. For Sarah, that means being able to do yoga to stretch and focus and relax, but we either couldn’t find a mat or didn’t have time to look for one in our travels until we had a few minutes to wander in Bergen. And there, beneath a blazing rainbow, hearts pounding and teetering on the edge of hope, our wondering eyes at last fell upon … well, a yoga place. They had mats for sale, and thus, like The Great Battery Crisis, the Quest to Find the Fuel Tanken, and the diesel boondoggle, the Search For the Yogen Matten was successfully resolved.
Then it was on to Germany, to the home of a Canadian ex-pat named Kenny and his family. As ever, we were welcomed with open arms and hot coffee. Kenny is actually a former Londoner who was prominent in the local music scene. He works with touring bands including Sarah’s to book gigs and make connections in Europe. The family house is old and quiet and full of music. A great place to stay.
We dropped our stuff off at Kenny’s and relaxed a bit before getting changed and plunging the Silver Moose (the current name for our touring van) into the heart of Dusseldorf, urban population 1.2 million. Obviously we jumped a few population levels from the charming Dutch towns we were playing, and traffic was intense. Sarah handled it as she always does. The evening’s venue was a really cool jazz club called Em Pootzke, established sometime in the 1600s. It’s a long, narrow room of the sort that you find in Toronto. They build a stage by putting planks over two seating booths and it works great. Needless to say, the proprietor, Peter, was a warm and generous host.
The show was awesome. The only small glitch was that my microphone cut out at some point during the second set, so the good people of Dusseldorf were denied what I’m going to tell them was a heart-stopping experience of angelic vocal harmonies. It really is a privilege to get to sing with Sarah on this tour. Her songs have such great melodies to play with. What a treat.
Once again our German girls came out, along with some of Sarah’s other friends from Germany and even Canada. The club was full on a Monday night. Incredible. We had Peter come up to play sax with us for a few songs in the second set, along with a local singer named Kati of Kati Ford and the Nightshift Band. Things turned into a bit of a jam and we had a great time. I have yet to play a stadium gig, and I’m sure it’s amazing, but I will never discount the simple pleasure of playing a small club full of smiling faces. It was great.
We finished at about midnight. Sarah, of course, was mobbed by people who wanted to meet her and have pictures taken and buy CDs. We stayed at the club until probably 1:30 and then packed up and drove back to Kenny’s house. Best sleep we’ve all had on the tour so far.
Last night was kind of a profound one for me. Between sets I was outside the club, in a narrow, brick-lined lane surrounded by old buildings and shop signs in German. I was also exchanging messages during the breaks with a musical acquaintance of mine who plays in a very prominent Canadian rock band. We met each other via an interview I did on my old music blog. At a certain point the whole scene just kind of hit me. I was in Germany playing music and chatting privately with a rock star. Crikey. I don’t say that to appear impressive or important, but to illustrate the amazing opportunities that music presents to people.
One of the very first posts I did on this site, before the tour started, is about taking chances on the things you want to do. I’m experiencing all of this right now because I did that. You just never know where a single step might lead you, so again I encourage you to put yourself out there, whatever your dream may be.
I realize I didn't start this one with a tour quote since it was a continuation of the last post. I wouldn't want to deny my readers, though, so here you go:
"In the pearls of darkness, the purse shall be found."
"I have a good cradar. I can tell when people are crazy."
Until tomorrow ….