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  • Writer's pictureJH


November 26, 2017

"If this is the second oldest tree in Europe, why don't you go find the oldest one and cut it down?"

- Deni

Lovely Helena of Erle took us to see the second oldest tree in Europe, which we decided is the arboreal equivalent of late-career Elvis – a tree for sure, but propped up by pulleys and wires and definitely counting on the back-up singers to hit the high notes. Still, at over a thousand years old, it’s in better shape than The King was at the end. Apparently the little courtyard around the tree literally was a court at one time, and convicted criminals would be hung from its branches.

Isn’t Europe romantic?

I love that story, actually. I’m a history guy. Pity the folks who turned into human Christmas ornaments on the old tree, but to picture people standing where I was standing hundreds or even a thousand years ago is pretty heavy to me. History gets me every time. The history in this part of the world is deep and often very, very dark.

After that it was a drive back to The Netherlands, to the Kompenije Rock festival in Jubegga. We had been building toward this show and it turned out to be what we hoped it would be. It was a great venue with a big stage and cool lights. We were on a bill with a trio of really fun cover bands including Plankgas, Willemina and Her Bandits (featuring our old friends Sjoerd on drums and Willemina on vocals), and the 80s rock specialists Rock The Night. All were great.

We were third on the bill and absolutely the wild card of the evening. Sometimes being different from everyone else can work to your advantage on a show like that. After two cover bands playing your heavy favourites, we were maybe a nice change of pace. There were loads of Sarah superfans there too, from both the Germany and Netherlands chapters. I can’t name everyone for fear of missing someone, but we’re so grateful to all of those folks for coming to so many shows. The tour has been incredible for us, and the superfans are a big reason why. Thank you.

I would also like to give a shout-out to faithful reader Marleen, who I got to meet in person for the first time last night. Sorry it was such a short conversation, but thanks so much for following along!

The crowd was a bit thin when the evening started, but by the time we played there was a big audience. As always, Sarah pulled them in and didn’t let go. Soon the space in front of the stage was full and people were dancing and singing along. I think the show sounded great. We can never really tell what it sounds like out front when we don’t do our own sound, but the sound guys were on the ball for sure. On stage it sounded really good, which makes such a difference when you’re playing. Sometimes it’s almost impossible to hear what’s going on. Last night the stage sound was on point, at least from where I was sitting.

Our show ended with calls for encores, which we obliged as much as time would allow. Sarah’s voice is getting stronger again and our energy is up. If you see videos of the show, you’ll see Sarah and Ken and Deni dancing like it’s the first night of the tour. It doesn’t matter if you’re sick or not. When it’s go time, it’s go time. Those three have brought it every night and sometimes it’s been a struggle. Last night it wasn’t. We got to hang around for some of Rock The Night’s show, which was a treat for me. They’re an 80s rock cover band and I’m a proud 80s rock guy. They were a lot of fun and sounded fabulous.

We really have received the rock star treatment at times on the tour. After the shows people want photos with us and autographs and all of that good stuff. It’s so odd to me, but it's a special feeling. We see newspaper stories and media coverage and that kind of thing too. Sarah deserves every accolade and every bit of the attention she gets, though I know the demands can be tough for her at times. I get to enjoy the residual attention and I still kind of laugh to myself when someone asks for an autograph. In a few days I’ll be shoveling the lane and cleaning out the litterbox again, but for today I get to pretend. I’m going to throw a television set through the hotel room window before we get on the road again this afternoon.

I will certainly miss the band when it’s over. Last night, instead of the usual after-party, Ken, Deni, and I indulged a feast in our room and stayed up too late being the guys in the band. There are only a couple of nights left on the tour, so we’re taking what opportunities we can to spend time together. People have begun to ask if we’re ready to go home now or not. It’s a loaded question. I think we all want to see our people back home, but I don’t think any of us wants the tour to end yet. We’re just starting to get healthy. We could keep going for sure. Probably next week I’ll spend most of my afternoons sitting in the back seat of my car looking out the window.

But let’s not talk about endings just yet. We still have some work to do before the KLM Viking girls once again whisk us across the pond. Another drive, another load in, another soundcheck, another show, another tear down, another load out.

Another night of Sarah Smith and her band from Canada, these pioneers in reverse, conquering the Old World.

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