November 15, 2017
“You’re a creator. That’s the thing.”
“I haven’t had a tour quote in a long time. I couldn’t talk.”
Billy Connolly said, “Everywhere’s great when you’re alive, isn’t it?”
I was reminded of that quote as we were setting up for last night’s show in Kutna Hora, Czech Republic. Not that we needed a caveat to think the Czech Republic is great. It’s just that we’ve been feeling so lousy lately that a break in the proverbial fever just felt so nice. We’re alive again. And everywhere’s great.
We had no idea what we were driving into as we left Berlin. All we knew is that we had three or four hours on the road, that we would skirt past Dresden (which was pretty much liquified by fire during World War 2), and that we would kiss Prague along the way. As for our venue, show set up, audience, etc., we were flying blind.
Sometimes those shows turn out to be the best.
The Czech Republic is beautiful. We crossed an imaginary border from Germany and suddenly there was snow. My impression is that we were at higher altitude. There are a lot of hills in this part of the country. At times it looked like British Columbia to me, at least until we started to drive past towns on the highway. There is medieval architecture everywhere. Ancient buildings. Little shacks and homes and stone walls. And then open fields and trees and grass. The Czech Republic seems like another of those emerging places – traces of the old Eastern Bloc slowly being buried by the new Europe.
We weren’t sure what to expect in terms of our venue, but we were pleasantly surprised as we loaded in to Ceska 1 Music Club. What a great club. Definitely a music venue with a big stage, lights, and great sound. Here we met the latest in our line of legends: Willy. The proprietor of the club plays in a pretty high profile Czech band and knows how to treat travelling minstrels. He ordered food for us, indulged our requests for throat-soothing tea, and worked hard to make sure we had everything we needed. The show was a rare Tuesday night feature for the club. They took a chance on us and we appreciate it.
But would anyone come?
In the end, yes. Music can be a magical world sometimes. Not long before Deni went on to open the gig, a group of people came in from Praha (Prague to you and me). Turns out they had seen Sarah play two years ago in Canmore, Alberta, and were stunned and thrilled to see that she was playing close to their city. Sarah has fans everywhere! They were such beautiful and friendly people. We altered the setlist to play some of their favourites, and they danced the night away. Remember how I said in the Eisenach post that a tiny club packed with people can be really great? So can a club with only a few people who are really into the music.
The show turned into a jam. Willy came up and played bass with us on Tracey Chapman’s Give Me One Reason. Then Ken an Deni swapped instruments and we played Mary Jane’s Last Dance by Tom Petty. Terrific. And then, rarity of rarities, Sarah Smith herself leaned over and whispered that she wanted to play drums. Some of you might not know that Sarah started out as a drummer. She loves drums and I was happy to relinquish the kit to her.
So we played Free Falling with Deni on lead vocals and Sarah holding the groove. It was so much fun. And as you can see, Sarah had a ball. Afterward it was photos with the Canmore crew and fond farewells. A memorable night on a tour full of memorable nights for the band. We’re feeling better. We’re bouncing back.
We’re in the van again now on our way to Austria, where we’re determined to test the theory that Austria has the best coffee in Europe. Sarah said that this kind of tour isn’t for the weak of heart. It really isn’t. It’s not easy to roll with it and not know what the day will bring. The more we travel, the more we realize that road dogs are a special brand of people. Not everyone wants to do this, but for people who love it, it gets in the blood. Last night as we were drifting off to sleep, Deni said, “I could do this every night of my life.”
We miss home, of course. That’s another reason why it’s smart to live in the moment. At this moment, I’m sitting at a stop light in some town in the Czech Republic. We’re trying to figure out how to pull into a gas station. We need to toss out some garbage from the van. There are strange signs everywhere in words I don’t understand and I am far, far from home. The sun is warm and there are crows gathered in the field beside the road.
It’s great here.